Kindle Self Publishing – Get Thee an Editor

 

Kindle Self Publishing - You Need An EditorKindle Self Publishers, Listen Up

Kindle is a boon to authors (and readers of authors), but in our rush to self-publish, we skip a step.

Really Good Writing Demands Editing

Editors abound in mainstream publishing; not so much with Kindle Self Publishers.

Mainstream publishing has editors for a reason – and that reason is authors think that their work, the words they labored so hard for, revised so intently, and love like children, shouldn’t be questioned, touched, or God forbid, stricken from their work.

Not just new authors.  Anne Rice of vampire fame decided she didn’t need input on her work.  Her decision-making process in her words:

After the publication of the The Queen of the Damned, I requested of my editor that she not give me anymore comments. I resolved to hand in the manuscripts when they were finished. And asked that she accept them as they were. She was very reluctant, feeling that her input had value, but she agreed to my wishes. I asked this due to my highly critical relationship with my work and my intense evolutionary work on every sentence in the work, my feeling for the rhythm of the phrase and the unfolding of the plot and the character development. I felt that I could not bring to perfection what I saw unless I did it alone. In othe[r] (sic) words, what I had to offer had to be offered in isolation. So all novels published after The Queen of the Damned were written by me in this pure fashion, my editor thereafter functioning as my mentor and guardian.

This goes on and on …. but you get the picture.

After getting some rough reviews on Amazon.com, Anne Rice  posted a 1200 word rebuttal saying she had “no intention of allowing an editor ever to distort, cut or otherwise mutilate” her sentences. Public opinion dares to disagree.  Most people find her unedited work too wordy, rambling, and difficult to finish.

Sort of like that paragraph from her blog.

Hemingway. Fitzgerald. We want to be them.

Papa, Ernest HemingwayOur goals for writing are varied, but I don’t think many authors want to produce froth.  In our zeal to turn a memorable phrase, we forget that the masters were economical with words.  Spare.

“No Pilar,” Agustin said. “You are not smart. You are brave. You are loyal. You have decision. You have intuition. Much decision and much heart. But you are not smart.” 
― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls

Tight. Crisp. Beautiful.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Needed an EditorMore?

“I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

His sentences are imperfect, but his voice, his storytelling, is clean and clear.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Editor, Andrew Turnbull (Collected Letters) had this to say about Fitzgerald’s writing: “Fitzgerald was a lamentable speller. Following his ear, he habitually made such slips as “definate” and “critisism”, and proper names were his downfall. Fitzgerald frequently addressed his best friend, Ernest Hemingway, as ‘Ernest Hemmingway’ or even ‘Earnest Hemminway’.”

Which Brings Us to Spelling

The eye sees what the mind expects to see.  When we’ve worked over a piece of prose, we know what we want it to say and our mind will oblige us with a perfect view.  We overlook our misspelled words, incorrect contractions, improper tense.  Things that make us look unprofessional.

A fresh eye, trained to write and punctuate will catch those grammar school errors and save us from ourselves.

If for no other reason than the words spell check didn’t find because they were the wrong word, spelled properly, every author needs an editor.

So, get an editor.  Before everyone sees those typos on their Kindle.

 

Web Design: 5 questions to ask before you Hire a specialist

Are you getting good web advice?Unfortunately, in my business, I get called in a lot when web design projects aren’t going like they are supposed to. People who have jumped onto the internet bandwagon, bought a site, or had one built, and aren’t getting what they wanted from it.

These are the things that I’ve experienced with my clients, and you ought to run screaming (well maybe just run) in the opposite direction if you hear these words spoken.  And for sure, you should put your checkbook away and save your money.

Your blog represents . . . You

Drive Traffic to Your WordPress BlogYour blog is the most personal thing you will ever show the world.

Present anyway you want, most of the people who see it will never see you. If your blog’s job is to promote you and generate revenue, then you are going to meet people. Via phone, email, or in person.

If you build it, will they come? 1 of 3


Perhaps, in the 90’s, when I first published (June 21, 1998, Laloba Press went live) it didn’t take much to be found in the search engines and to get traffic.  And to make money on the world-wide web.  (Our favorite fantasy!)

In those early years, I had a couple of gigs that went to really impressive numbers of hits in a hurry; Aerosmith.Mu being the highest trafficked website I’ve ever built (1,000,000 hits a week when I pulled it down – long story, different post; but I’ll tell you, those Aerosmith people didn’t buy a thing.  NO income from that site even with all that traffic. I did have great seats at concerts in Boston and Atlanta for years though.)

My GeorgiaMortgageMoney.Com website got a lot of attention, good traffic, and supported my family for about ten years.  At one time it got the attention of a mortgage lead generation website conglomerate who considered buying it for their use. (Great gig if you can get it, selling websites to the big guys.)

But back to my point, that whole “Field of Dreams” philosophy is a pipedream. Even in the nineties we had to do SEO, we had to get listed in those places that people looked, and we had to have something people were actually looking for.

The number of websites listed on Google grew from 26 million in 1998 to one trillion in 2008; now, in 2010, the number of pages estimated on the web is infinite* (and growing by the day).

For about a year I made good money –  $500 to $1000 bucks a month just selling for Match.com.  Don’t try this at home.  They changed their affiliate payout and my income went to zero.  I killed that site.  I should have revamped it for another personals site, but, honestly, I was sick of the whole personals thing.

The entire time GeorgiaMortgageMoney.Com was live (10 or 12 years) I made about a grand a month off one advertiser – a guy selling information on personal lines of credit.  He changed his payment plan too, so he’s not getting any press here.  It was my only ad – I was making money from the mortgage applications the site brought in, but that one ad paid all my expenses.

And there are authors who are pulling in $100K a year off their blogs.  But it isn’t like the money rolls in while they sleep.

Previous | Next “Whattya got?”

*The Official Google Blog, We Knew the Web was Big,  “The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark.”

Rock On!

If you build it, will they come? 2 of 3


In the movie Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean is asked, “What are you rebelling against?”  To which he answers, “Whattya got?”

So, I’m asking you, “Whattya got?”

  • Pretty pictures?  Great flash?

    No-one will discover a flash site without a name like Versace or Chanel and even those sites will make you nuts with their introductory movie and inability to really get information. Click on a link for information on the Versace Unique mobile phone, and you get a form to fill out, not information.  And then they’ve got your phone number and email address . . . I’d expect more from Versace, and they have that dreadful techno music that is going to blare over anything you might have chosen to listen to on your own.

  • How about a cookie-cutter website for real estate agents, mortgage people, or even dog-sitters?

    Those “website-in-a-box” themes that let you add your name, address and phone number aren’t going to bring you business unless you work them, and if you leave the text they came with, Google is going to consider your site spam for using the same text as the other 10,000 sites that look just like yours in different colors.

  • You have content.

    Please tell me you have content.  I don’t care if it is your personal Gay Pride rant, or your answer to Arianna Huffington, you have content and it is yours. It isn’t some other article you’ve seen and rehashed, it isn’t one you’ve plagiarized with some tricky software to steal other people’s work, and it isn’t one that is blatantly the RSS feed of someone else’s website.

Previous | Next  You wonder if it is worth the struggle.



If you build it, will they come? 3 of 3

 

You have to wonder if it is worth the struggle.

You have to work at being found: you have to work the SEO, the social media angle (Facebook, Twitter, et al) and create a community with which you interact.  And while you work to get your twitter followers above the number ten, and the people who get your feed in the thousands, you wonder if it is worth the struggle.

May I remind you of just a couple of bloggers who have gone on to other successes. The two that come to mind are:

Julie & Julia

A woman decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, and blogs about it daily.  Goes to a book.  Book?  Book, movie, I’m surprised she’s not on a walking tour!

And then, a movie, by Jove.  I’ll admit, I had NO interest in the blog or the multitude of books.  I watched the movie, and while the Julia portion was wonderful(!) the Julie part could have been left on the cutting room floor.

But, do you think Julie Powell minds?  I certainly would not.  I’d take a book deal or a movie deal on any of the blogs I write on, and laugh all the way to the bank bad reviews or no.

Jen Lancaster

Our gal Jen wrote a blog (www.jennsylvania. com) which someone decided should be a book.  I read it,  “Bitter is the New Black” , and while some of it was funny, most of it was just plain mean.  Evidently that works for NAL, which is part of PenguinGroup.  And apparently she has arranged and rearranged her blog several times over, producing a new book every now and then . . . or taken snarky things she’s written since the first one was published to create the new ones.  She’s turned into a veritable industry of  . . . bitchiness.

Interestingly, jennsylvania isn’t so bitchy lately.  I don’t really believe what she says, in that I don’t believe she means it after having read her first book, but maybe it is a good thing for her karma to be putting nicer words out in the cosmos.

With those two success stories, you should realize that YOU can do anything.

 

Previous |

Tom Peters and Lady Gaga?

Lady GaGa and Tom Peters in the same post?  It seems like the perfect match to me.

I’ve just finished Tom Peter’s book, “Brand You” and if anyone has taken his advice and made it her mantra, it would be Lady GaGa, The Fame Monster.

Brand You, was originally published in 1999, and I’ll admit I may be behind in my reading.  But it is fresh and new to me, and still topical.  After all, aren’t each of us working to promote ourselves at whatever we do, or whatever we want to do?

If you know of Lady GaGa, you know she has created a persona that almost everyone recognizes, whether they care for her or not.

[pullquote]I’ve just discovered GaGa, too, in my usual, sideways, circuitous route . . .  I’ve seen photos of her outrageous costumes and heard of her latex clothes, which seem to be talked about a LOT more than her music.  I don’t have a taste for latex, and the red veil sort of put me off, so I didn’t pursue intimate knowledge of l’gaga.

Looking for something to watch on hulu, since I’ve seen everything netflix has to offer, I watched an episode of Glee and it happened to showcase the fame monster.  I immediately hit YouTube, and fell in love with this woman.

I like the songs, I like the video, I love the name, The Fame Monster.

[/pullquote]

Tom Peters has written numerous books on self promotion, his latest being “The little BIG things; 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence.”

And,  they all are in the same voice. Be really, really good at what you do, and be really, really, really good at letting the world know you’re good.

Hence, the Fame Monster/Tom Peters connection.

In Web 2.0 parlance, this would mean that you

  • have developed a community
  • engage your audience
  • interact with your community

ALL the time.

and, as a “Fame Monster” you are actively engaged  in promoting yourself in some or all of these fame machines:

  • Your Blog
  • facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Article writing
  • email marketing
  • newsletters
  • free reports

If not, I hope you’ll become a regular here . . . sign up for the newsletter, get the reports, get the RSS Feed.  I want to help you in your quest to become a Fame Monster! And the best Brand You ever.

And for fun, heres l’gaga.  Bad Romance . . .  Reportedly the MOST watched YouTube Video of all time: Total Views: 238,152,814

The Art of RockStar Buzz

Read “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to Attract Massive Attention for Your Business, Your Product, or Yourself ” by David Seaman and then, when you realize that doing everything in that book will be a full time job, come back and get professional help here.

Ten years web design, graphic, authoring experience. We will design your website start to finish. We will design your WordPress site with the Thesis theme framework and you won’t believe your eyes.

Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to Attract Massive Attention for Your Business, Your Product, or Yourself