Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Your Publisher Can See Your Hot Pink Polka Dot Undies!

I often explain to my clients and prospects that during the writing, editing, and publishing process, they may feel as if we are rifling through their underwear drawer -- and it really does feel that way.
I feel it too. I often know way more about a virtual stranger than I want to know, but it is necessary because authors are sharing their inner most thoughts through their writing.

Call it the Bermuda [Shorts] Triangle, if you will.  And if you don't feel like that, well, I say you aren't done with your publisher yet.

Here's a brief explanation ...

On the top tip of the triangle you should ask yourself one or more of these questions whether you are writing fiction, nonfiction or children's books:

Do I know enough about the topic to write this book?
Should I tell this story?
Is this story mine to tell?

This first point is something you will have to analyze from within.  An author questionnaire that goes deep into your platform, your experience, your knowledge and your goals will help you determine the answer.


On the second point, ask this:
Will anyone care?
Will anyone buy my book?

The second point is answered by some good research.  Is there a market for this book outside of your mom reading it and saying she couldn't put it down.


On the third point, it's personal and deeply hidden within from one's third grade teacher's glare. It's the thing that stops a lot of writers in their tracks. Consider these questions:

Am I paralyzed by the fear of using incorrect punctuation?
Will people be surprised/disappointed/judgmental about my grammar?
Will I be embarrassed by my horrible spelling?

This is the one we want you to stop worrying about. If you are hiring a qualified book editor, let them help you. Your job is to drive the car and let the editor be the mechanic. (P.S. We have book editors.)


Now, write your book and realize that you are in the same boat as every other author.

End of my Analogy Salad for today.

Ingram Spark Music-On-Hold

Dear IngramSpark -
If I am taking the time to call you, I'm probably having trouble with something. Your website usually takes care of any issues I need to correct for all of my clients.

However, your Music-on-hold selection plays a couple of notes continuously, and I can feel my blood pressure rising and rising and rising.  And I have consistently good blood pressure.  Please, change it or answer the damn phone.

Thank you,
A customer

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Epitaph for the Epigraph

"The nice thing about quotes is that they give us a nodding acquaintance 
with the originator which is often socially impressive." 

Kenneth Williams, Acid Drops (1980)

What is an epigraph? It's a short statement (a quotation, an idiom, a poem, etc.) that comes at the beginning of text, but the words are written by a different author who is usually cited after the statement.

I am not a big fan of using famous quotes or epigraphs of any kind in books. Why? Because it doesn't do anything to further your voice as the author. It validates the person you quoted, and usually that's about it.

The worst thing that could ever happen to an author is that you get on a fabulous show, the interviewer reads your book, and during the interview says something like, "You quoted Winston Churchill at the beginning of Chapter 2. Tell us about that."


Now you are in the position of telling the interviewer why you chose the Churchill quote, what it means to you, and how it relates to your book. What will the audience remember? The Churchill quote.

Why not use pull quotes (highlighted text pulled from the main body of the text) from your own insightful prose? You have ideas. You have profound thoughts. You have wisdom. Your words are valuable too, and you are the first one who should honor them. Why not celebrate your own wisdom and talk about that when given the chance? After all, you want that interviewer to say, "Mr. Author, at the beginning of Chapter 2, you said something profound. Tell us about that!"


"Craft your thoughts into such profound wisdom that 
future authors will endeavor to quote you in their own books."

Lisa Pelto, CMI-Keyring, 2017