And the winds of change keep on blowing my way. Continued work with my friend Carol White has moved this project on down the road to success. As mentioned in an earlier post, I was hesitant to try to identify, contact, work with, and integrate all of the individual elements necessary to get Views from Sandhausen from my simple mind, to a really cool book in my hand.
Following the advice of Mark Levine in his landmark book The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, I thought that I had found a good self-publishing company, Aventine Press. They allow you to purchase your own ISBN numbers, which means that your work is truly a self-published work (he/she who owns the ISBN IS the publisher). They do all of the work and integration, for a fee, and by using them you can breathe a sigh of relief. They will ensure that everything is done according to custom, they speak the ‘language’ of ‘Publishers’, and they don’t take too much off the top, as to render your profits insignificant.
Carol pointed out that there are really good folks out there that will sheppard me through the little piles of ‘stuff’ that is usually found in a field. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? She provided me with a link to http://FiveRainbows.com that really helped me understand that this road (self-publish) may actually be possible. They appear to have the reasonably-priced services that I need to procure. So, I have contacted them and we’ll see what develops.
The book’s cover design is a source of concern and potential expense. This is the proverbial ‘first impression’ to your work. Not only the front but as much or more important, the back cover and spine. A potential buyer (and I know because I keep Amazon and Border’s in business) looks at the cover and makes a decision to pull (or not) the book off the shelf. It is the back cover that really ‘sells’ the book. If you don’t have a compelling ‘hook’ to make the potential reader open the book, all is lost. Statisticians say that there is an 8 – 12 second information transfer between your words on the book, and the buyer’s brain. If that exchange is not crisp and intriguing, back on the shelf your book goes. The spine serves and the front cover for books packed into a shelf. “To pull or not to pull”, is the critical decision point. Your name has to be there, along with the book title, but you need something else. Another ‘hook’ as it were.
Well, I’ve done that; I have a cover/spine/back that I’m very happy with, but there is still nagging doubt. I mean, I’ve designer this with PowerPoint, but we aren’t making presentations here bub! So, after all of the work and expense to date, I’ll have to make that investment to know that I have done everything I can to make it the best that it can be.
Interior design; there is a dilemma. When you read the book you don’t even notice how the interior is laid out. If it is good, that’s all you can do. If it’s bad, wrong fonts, wrong size, wrong paragraph treatment, and poorly envisioned layout, will put your reader off faster that you can say yettch! If it is not done well and harmoniously, not to mention poor execution by the designer, no matter what the hook, your potential customer will form an instant impression of the author’s style and taste. You need an interior that says “I like that and I think that I’ll enjoy reading it”. Largely, all of these nitpicks are just there to find an excuse to reject the book and move on down the shelf. It is very much a case of shooting yourself in the foot, if you don’t get it right.
So, on this beautiful Monday, I am still learning, awaiting ‘the’ bible of self-publishing, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier. It is due Wednesday. There will be little sleep for this guy as I will read it cover to cover when it arrives. In order to get that title correct, I went to Amazon and searched on ‘Sandhausen”. Eleven results came up, mostly paraphernalia for the Sandhausen soccer team (they are quite good – we actually went to a few matches). There were no English books in the list, and I still appear to have the ability to achieve “Top Rank” with my Views from Sandhausen website. I can get about the business of having that designed AFTER I have a completed cover design finalized.
As I reflect back over these last few months of intense work, I can’t help thing about Lynn and I, sending out our daily View, always knowing that there was a book in them, but never knowing what a Project this would be! I’ve said it before, it has been cathartic, and for that I am thankful. I just hope that I can make ‘Our’ Lynn proud!