Sunday, August 26, 2012

Choosing the right book cover

If you're self publishing, one of the tasks you will have is choosing the proper book cover. I looked at dozens of them and in a lot of cases I found myself underwhelmed by what I saw. Granted, I didn't know what the books were about, but unless I knew the author, I had no interest in buying, borrowing or browsing them. I shudder to think that others may pass by my book for the same reason. BUT, in the process of making a choice I realized something that I hadn't thought of before. I checked out photographic websites that Createspace was associated with, looking at dozens if not hundreds of photos that I could choose from. I came up with two very different photos, with two widely different tones. One, a melancholy winter's scene, the other, a hand in a dramatic pose which reeked "defiance" to me. My first thought was to go with drama, something I hoped would stop people in their tracks (or at least give them pause). I asked opinions of friends, and they were evenly divided. After going back and forth over a weekend, I realized that I had gotten tired of the dramatic version. That it wouldn't last the long haul of working with this book over a period of time and that it was important that I still liked the cover after many weeks or months. So melancholy won out and hopefully I'm right. Come Septemter, I'll know the answer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why Can't I Proof What I Wrote?

If you've ever had to proofread anything that you've written, be sure that you hand the job over to someone else. Even that isn't foolproof (no pun intended). Get two people to do the job. With my first book, I actually thought I could read and pick up the typos, awkward sentences, printing mistakes. Ha! I missed multiple places that would have been obvious to anyone with any eyesight at all. But not to the person who wrote the words. You see what you meant to write, not actually what is on the page. If you don't follow any advice at all, follow this maxim. DON'T DO YOUR OWN PROOFREADING.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Too Easy to Send

So like everyone does, I forwarded an email which extolled the Italian athletes for holding a minute of silence last week in memory of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, as well as a French athlete who showed his Hebrew tatoo which translated to "I am nothing without them." I assumed that both events honored the 1972 athletes, but in fact the Frenchman was honoring his grandmother who died at Auschwitz. I never read all the way to the very bottom of the text, in fact I only looked at the photo caption. No real harm done, but it was a red flag to me that even with the best intentions we can perpetuate inaccurate information onto the internet which then can live forever. I tease kids about their short attention span and lack of detail, but here I am doing the same. When people send me rumors I always check them out on, but still here I was sending out info which I thought meant one thing and instead it meant another. How many times are we doing this now? How much is out there that is wholly correct and can be traced to the source? Emails are too easy to send and too difficult to retract.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The fun of self-publishing?

The world has changed since I self-published my first book, Flying Out of Brooklyn. And that was only a few years ago. Then the word Kindle was new and who expected anyone to read their books online? Certainly not me. Then self-publishing was still a bit stigmatized, even though more and more authors were doing it. Like Cole Porter said, everybody is doing it (well maybe not birds or fish), but many mainstream successful -used-to-be-traditionally published authors. Using Creatspace has really been easy. Everything after writing the novel seems easy. Pick out your font, decide on your cover, proof the digital copy, check the hard copy, Oh yes, if you do it all by yourself it would be practically free. But if you're me and can't format or design there is a charge, but along with that is daily help. The hard part of course is the marketing, the getting the word out to the world process. If I learn that part, it will all be worth it. Actually, it's the writing which is the best part. The rest is all icing on the cake.