Eat, Prey & Kind of Love …
First of all, I have to tell you . . . I did not like Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, there’s no question that the author is talented. It’s well written—about a married women who doesn’t want to be married. She’s got to do a re-direct on her life to find herself, so she’s taking a year off and schmoozing, speaking Italian and eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Indonesia.
Did I mention she does love her husband, David—the one she doesn’t want to be married to? What scares the hooey out of her is having a baby—something that, in the early days of their relationship, they agreed they would do when the big 30 hit. Fast forward to now; it’s approaching and our author is a blabbering mess.
is a Publishing Consultant/Professional … really?
Years ago, I was a financial planner … before financial
planning was a profession. Starting as stock broker with EF Hutton, I learned
that savvy investors did something besides buy and sell stocks and bonds. An
early bird in the CFP arena (Certified Financial Planner), I eventually left Hutton
to start my own company, where I specialized in overall financial planning.
Then a national study was done on up-and-coming professions … and being a
Financial Planner (now with caps!) was at the top of the list. In fact, the
fellow who headed up the study was so impressed with the results that he quit his
day job and became a Financial Planner.
Fast forward to today. I’ve been coaching and shepherding
authors for almost 20 years now. But it wasn’t until last year that I formally
tossed in the day-job towel and embraced Book Shepherding full-time.
<em>Why so many authors think that their friend who teaches literature at the local college, or their sister who loves everything they write and do is the perfect editor for their work is beyond me.</em> Your editor can make or break your work—she can shape and shore it up … or, put in some commas and check your spelling. There are now more self and independent published books than those produced by the traditional NY houses—and too, too many have minimal, if any, editing. Think “ruthless editing.” Cut and shape, hire a pro—and, when in doubt, cut it out.
Look for an editor who “gets” your topic … it will save you hours in their education. Let them know if there are quirky or unusual phrases or words in the beginning. If all the editor is doing is copy–the grammar and punctuation–he won’t be thinking about what sub-heads and layout should be. Somewhere along the line, authors began to think that editors worked at minimum wage … wrong. You will pay from $25 an hour and up–most are going to come in the $50 an hour range. The cleaner the copy you give them, the less you are going to spend.
eMarketing is everywhere. For authors, it should start with the signature in each email. What’s in yours?
Start with using upper and lower case letters in your email and website addresses. Email and website addresses rarely are just one word wonders, especially when it comes to book titles. Help your reader to visually get cues to your name and title. Sue@IveWrittenTheMostFantasticBookInTheWorldAndYouBetterBelieveIt.com is a heck of a lot easier to read than email@example.com.
The typical, www.thenameofmybookisfantastic.com is too hard for your reader’s eyes. Not to mention that a whole bunch of letters strung together could actually spell out something that you didn’t intend to say. Help them out—print your websites and emails with caps on your cards, correspondence, emails, letterhead—everywhere.
Guaranteed, you will have a much better chance of them remembering you and your title.
Insert a photo of you or the cover of your book. Get a QR code–with the smartphone becoming the norm–a quick scan of the QR code via the users phone will take them to the site you want them to go–your website, an article, even the link to buy the book.
What a tangled web they weave … In the past two months, I’ve worked with several private clients and fielded numerous phone calls/emails from authors who have issues with their “publishers.” In all cases, they’ve been duped.
Their publishers are really not “publishers,” at least in the sense that they have the infrastructure to create and support a quality book and its author; that they have their internal team—from editing to some semblance of book design and publishing marketing and publicity; and that they are accountable in the critical accountability departments of actual book sales and responsibility.
I attended a national conference last month whose members were speakers. Many were well established speakers—a majority was new to the industry, gobbling up information that would hopefully turn them into a star on the platform. Having a book helps. Within the Exhibit Hall, several booths proclaimed that they were publishers … they would publish your book for a small fee. What they were, vanity presses—nothing more, nothing less. The predators of the print world … and they were signing up people … their next victims, left and right.
Are there Red Flags that can help you spot the vanity press in sheep’s clothing? Sure, start with: