Saturday, October 27, 2012
Today... it's all about books
I would even go so far as to say, it's about traditional books. The ones with covers and paper pages. The ones that rustle and smell of fresh ink. wipe your bookshelves clean and steal all the books you have already paid for. 6. Paper books do not crash, do not lose their content, do not require internet access, and do not need to be recharged. 7. Book pages are visible via reflected light. Electronic device screens are visible via projected light, which is much more harmful to your eyes. 8. There is no such thing as a leather-bound signed first edition of Alice in Wonderland on an e-reader. 9. If your electricity goes out, and you lose access to TV and internet, you can only use an e-reader as long as the battery lasts. But you can read a paper book all night by the candle light and not give a hoot that you are cut off from the rest of the world. 10. Quality illustrations are totally lost on e-readers. No HD screen can replace the joy of your kid pointing at an enormous 8-1/2" x 11" brightly colored page and saying, "Is that Wharton the elephant, mommy?" I could make this a very long list, but I am sure you get the idea by now. Readers, I suggest that you use your e-readers for books you don't feel strongly about and can afford to lose. But if it's something you really enjoy and want to keep for a long time? Get a paperback. Or, better, yet, indulge and get a nice hardcover. Writers, do not dismiss the print-on-demand channels out there. If you do not buy any of the fancy promotion packages (which do squat anyway and hardly ever pay for themselves in sales), it costs nothing to publish a paperback or a hardcover. Yes, the paper format requires more layout work and the cover design is an exercise in precision. But I think it's worth the effort. Amazon's CreateSpace offers paperback publishing only - no hardcovers (they are missing the train on it, I think). Their books are of average quality, but cost less. The main advantage is that they actually review your book and cover .pdf files and tell you if there is an issue before you can publish. For instance, some page numbers in Word do not adjust their size, if the page count goes to two and three digits. So, page 165 might appear as 16 or 1. CreateSpace review people will point such things out to you. They also have a very nice on-line preview function, where you can electronically leaf through your entire book and make certain that everything looks in order. Lulu offers both paperback and hardcover printing, and their size and cover options are superb, as is their quality. The basic cost of printing is higher, as the company uses superior papers. There is no review process, so your manuscript and cover had better be iron-clad. Fortunately, you can keep each book as "private access" and preview it for any issues, before you make it available to the public. Also, if you don't feel confident enough about creating something in one of the more complicated formats - like a photo- or a cookbook - Lulu does offer a wide range of pre-set templates you can use online, building your book and your cover one page at a time. The last but not the least - and I have harped, am harping, and will continue harping about this - promote, promote, promote. Use channels like Hootsuite and BookBuzzr to plug your paper books along with the e-editions. Design your tag lines to attract the right audience - "No e-reader? No problem!", "Enjoy the old-fashioned reading here!". You get the idea. Promotion is not a dirty word and promoting your work is not beneath you. Collaborate with other writers and artists for mutual promo posts, blogs, and interviews. Oh, and when you have a chance, buy a paper copy of your own book. Display it proudly.