Archive for the ‘Self-publishing Authors’ Category

Out of the Frying Pan–Into the Frying Pan?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Entry #6, Bill Ruesch recession-recovery diary

Dear Reader,

In my last post I mentioned redirecting my efforts toward book printing. Some may think that is a fool-hardy strategy, after all, e-books are all the rage. Paper books are passe. E-book readers are being sold everywhere. Amazon has the Kindle. Barnes & Noble markets the Nook. Sony sells the Librie and there are at least 8 other brands available including the iPad and iPhone. In fact, the e-book reader competition is so hot that it makes the war between BetaMax and VHS seem tame. It’s anybody’s guess as to which reader will dominate. I’m sure they are taking odds in Vegas if you are a betting person and want to get in on the action.

One e-reader can hold hundreds of books

There is even speculation in the industry that the Kindle by Amazon may soon be offered free, so if you haven’t been able to afford one yet you may get it as a bonus for buying a certain quantity of e-books.

So why would I choose books for a focus when the world seems head over heels for e-books?

There are two reasons:

  1. Over 700 Thousand self-published books were printed last year.
  2. I feel that we aren’t done with books yet. A tangible book has an intangible value over an electronic book. It’s tactile. You can hold it in your hand and savor the feel of the binding, the smell of the paper and the beauty of the design. Try as you might, there just isn’t any way for you to lovingly rest a signed first edition of an e-book in your library.

From my observations, self-publishers as Rodney Dangerfield used to say “Get no respect.” Being brutally honest about it, they don’t get respect because they stop short of doing the job right. Publishing a worthy book requires massive amounts of effort. It’s an exercise in attempting perfection. Readers who report that a book is full of typo’s, grammar errors, and poor syntax will persuade other readers to give your book a pass. No wonder most self-published books only sell around 50-100 copies. It costs a little to hire proofreaders, editors, graphic designers, and layout artists, but if you go cheap on your product you will get what you paid for–a cheap product that doesn’t appeal to the masses.

My specialty is printing, which I assure you is much more complicated than sending your masterpiece to Kinkos, or most of the on-demand printers. Yes, you can get a decent book printed if you know what you are doing, but so few do. I also know artists, editors, and marketers that can help self-publishers win. So, if you are a budding self-publisher and want the help of proven professionals don’t be afraid to call. It doesn’t cost anything to talk. My number is (801) 474-1270 or you can email me at billprintbroker@comcast.net.


 

To Book Publishers (Traditional & Self) Who Just Don’t Get It

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

In reading a response to a discussion I started on a writer’s group on LinkedIn, I was struck with the thought that it isn’t just self-publishers who need to pay attention to the quality of their products. Some very big names are guilty of foisting-off crap.

The kind of food you'll find at Cracker Barrel.

Recently I visited a Cracker Barrel Restaurant with my wife. For those who may not be familiar with Cracker Barrel, it serves southern style comfort food at reasonable prices. We like to go there when we just want foody-food. Nothing fancy.  No cooking with exotic spices like saffron or curry. On the menu will be dishes like meatloaf, country fried steak, and catfish. You can choose your sides from a menu that includes fried okra, turnip greens, and corn. For desert there are various cobblers, pie, and ice-cream. Yum.

Before you get to the restaurant part of the place you have to wend your way through kitschy collections of merchandise that change with the season. My wife loves to peruse their tables of nick-knacks, music boxes, and stuffed animals. Now, as I am writing this it is three days from Christmas, so they were all decked out in a torrent of red and green. Santas and gift items were stacked nearly ceiling high. My eye caught an illustrated book of The Night Before Christmas. The illustrations were beautiful. I wish I could say the same for the book. The workmanship, especially on the cover was a disaster. Both covers, front and back, bowed outward from the spine. It was not only ugly, but made it impossible for the book to lay flat on a table. Here was a book that I wanted to buy, wanted to take home and treasure, wanted to read it to future grandchildren, but I couldn’t get past the cover. This was not an heirloom piece; it was a piece of carnival crap. I looked at the spine and was surprised to see that Simon & Schuster allowed this mess to go out under their banner.

I believe that books are a treasure. They last decades and centuries even. It saddens me to think that the noble business of publishing, especially the giant houses like Simon & Schuster, may be more focused on profit than quality.

I have heard authors complain that their traditionally published books were an embarrassment to them. That the cover designs didn’t truly represent the book, and that cheap cost cutting methods were implemented. Authors who have sold their rights to the publisher have no claim on how the book is manufactured. As for The Night Before Christmas I’m guessing it was sent to a sweat shop overseas to be printed and bound for the lowest price possible, a price guaranteeing maximum profit but sacrificing the honor of the book. I didn’t buy it. I’m hoping no one does. If enough customers reject poor quality the publisher will have to ask why. Why didn’t this book sell?

I plead with self-publishing authors to realize that they have total control of their children. Dress them up in their Sunday best and send them out to play. The day may come when the marketplace will select a self-published book over a traditional one because of the value added that comes from your care.

5 Great Reasons to Write a Book

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

I’m here to say that writing a book is good for the soul as long as your expectations are realistic. The chances of being a best selling author are probably worse than winning the lottery, but notice that the lottery’s notoriously slim odds doesn’t keep people from entering. If you write only for the pleasure of writing and keep your expectations in line, you will find much to commend it.

1.

A book gives you prestige and raises confidence. In my profession I am known as a print broker. Those in the graphic arts industry know what that is, but no one else seems to. The best I can expect after trying to explain what I do is an unenthusiastic, “Oh.” On the other hand if I say I am an author and starting an association of self-publishing authors, I get, “Wow, that’s great.” That is a big difference.

2.

A book allows you to say all the things that you’ve wanted to say. Whatever your experience or field of expertise is, don’t you just hate it when people get it wrong? The Stephen Spielberg movie called Catch Me if You Can, made me indignant. Toward the end of the movie Spielberg’s lead character was printing checks on a press located in France. It was all wrong. Checks are not printed the way they were portrayed and it made me question this movie, and frankly every other Spielberg movie made. Has he never visited a print shop?

3.

Writing a book is a pleasant pastime. I’m a morning person. I wake up a good two hours before anyone else in the house. Writing gives me an opportunity to jump start my brain. It is good exercise. Currently I write for two blogs (Talking Through My Hat and Chicken Scratchings), submit articles to Ezine, and am working on two books, one fiction, and one non-fiction. I also belong to the Utah State Poetry Society and have written two books of poetry. Many of our poets are older people. I’ve noticed some things they all have in common, their minds are sharp, and they love life. When I’m in my 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s if I can be like them I will consider it a great accomplishment.

4.

Writing fiction lets your imagination soar. Most of us in our daily lives have to deal exclusively with the mundane and routine details. It can get very boring. If you write fiction you can go anywhere, do anything, and experience things that are considered impossible. My wife writes a blog The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry. She has created a connection between a fairy world and our backyard. She writes in a serial style with each entry a continuation of the story. Arial Hollyberry has enriched our lives.

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5.

Writing is meditation. I don’t know about you, but my life seems to be like a runaway freight train. I find I have to react to situations far more than I would like. When I write, however, my mind is focused on my thought. It’s a kind of meditation. My wife complains sometimes that I don’t hear a question she asked. She’s right. When I’m in the writing space the rest of the world is cut off. Ah.

—————–

What do you do once you have a book? You may want to find an audience. After all, what good is a book that no one but you reads? Learn how to use the Internet for book marketing the easy way through the Author’s Platform.

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He's available to help you with any of your printing, or publishing needs. Please contact him if you need a book, marketing materials, or anything else printed. His thirty-five years of experience, and thousands of happy customers is your guarantee of satisfaction.

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© Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.