Feb 12 – Dreams and nightmares

Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday which means tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

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You can’t live the dream if you look like a nightmare… Garrett of Organo Gold.   Garrett is a young man, dressed in a suit. He looks sharp and intelligent and when he opens his mouth to speak, it is like a moment with Yoda. Bits of wisdom just come out and you’re mesmerized. I particularly liked this quote, because it reminded me of a couple of books I’ve been asked to help lately.

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These books were written over a long period of time and the people who wrote these books really like what they wrote and think the world should experience it.  But when it came to publishing, they took all the short cuts. They did their own layout – even though they had never laid out a book before. They did their own cover, even though they had never created a cover before.  And they published their own books without paying any additional fees just because they could. Now they have a finished book, but no one is buying it. And they would like to know why not.

It is just like the time I did it in 1998. I published Angel On Board with a two-color cover – with no graphics on the cover, spiral bound and using Times New Roman text squished on as small of a page as I could because it reduced the print costs. Yes, I had made a book, and I could sell the book (or at least people bought it) when I sold it to them myself. They caught my passion and bought the book. But the book wasn’t ready to publish and it wasn’t professionally done. I’ll never forget the sweet woman who picked up an early copy of Angel On Board by its spiral bind and held it out to me like it had cooties… “Did that yourself, did ya?” she knowingly asked in a shrill voice that I’ll never forget.

I was proud of my accomplishment and said, “Yes I did.” And I convinced her to buy it. So I thought I had won the day with that encounter. However, in just the next year, I met a cover designer who for $50 made my cover come alive.  See the history of Angel On Board’s cover here.  The result was dramatic. It went from a book that I had to sell to a book that could sell itself.

My point is that we all start out as amateurs and sometimes it shows. Getting just a little professional help can make a world of difference. I started out as an amateur and learned through brute force and ignorance (emphasis on the ignorance) how to navigate through the publishing industry.  I started the publishing company that I wished I could’ve found – one that teaches authors what they need to know to be successful.  I know how it feels to love a book so much and hope that people will understand, read it and share it, and I know the sting of having that not happen or not happen quick enough. But every time when I’ve gone for guidance about it, I do learn more and make things better. The resources are out there. Some are free – and some need to be paid for.

If you have created your book in a vacuum, and it isn’t selling the way you want it to, then perhaps it is time to reach out and get some advice to improve your book. Marketing alone will not help if your book looks ‘like you did it yourself.’  Write to us at http://getting-published.com

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