Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats.
And maybe a border collie or other critters.
© 2006-2017 All rights reserved
- Name: Becky Mushko
- Location: Rural Virginia, United States
I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Offers I Can Refuse
As for the "basic" book trailer, how would a reader—who hasn't even heard of your book—find your book trailer on YouTube, which has gazillions of other book trailers. The "publisher's" list of YouTube videos are here. Of the 29 (that's how many were there when I checked), seven were promotions for the company. One of those (http://www.youtube.com/user/InfinityPublishing/videos) was kind of a 49-second Christmas card that had mini-second exposures of Christmas-related books. A whopping 77 people had viewed it since it was posted on Dec. 7, 2012. This one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwDJALkmFm8) was a minute and forty-two seconds of 2-second views of lots of book covers. I thought it was a hoot that a rival vanity press had an ad on it.
And what about those "reviews"? Do I really think that 10 reviewers are actually going to read one of my vanity-pubbed books and post a review? What's that review going to include. A lot of folks are aware of fake reviews on Amazon: here and here and here. Or maybe the "publisher" will hire Harriet Klausner?
And $495 for this crap?! I hate to think that someone will actually pay this. But a lot of vanity publishers offer similar packages for even more $$$.
Others have also jumped on the author scam bandwagon. Last week, a friend who had self-published his own book, sent me a copy of this email:
Essentially this means that for a good chunk of change. this "company" would display one copy of your book—facing out, no less!—among gazillions of other books at the book fair. Just how many folks do you think will actually pick your book up? And if they do, who will talk to them about it? How will they know where it's available?Dear Publisher:
Join me for the Beijing Book Fair, New York Library Association, and the Frankfurt International Book Fair.
Display Your Book For:
* Bookstore Buyers * Agents * Publishers *Retail Buyers * Distributors *Public Librarians * School Librarians * Universities * Distributors * Wholesalers * Colleges * School Systems * Foreign Rights Agents * Multi-Level Marketing Agents * Shopping Network Buyers *
Book Shows Offer Fantastic Benefits Including:
* No Travel Stress & Expense * Cover Facing-Out Display *
* Catalog Listing & Distribution * Online Database Profile*
Upcoming Book Shows (click link to learn more & buy online)
Beijing Book Fair:Aug 28-Sept 2, Beijing, China
*purchase placement deadline August 5th $190 New York Library Association: September 25-28, Niagra Falls NY
*purchase placement deadline September 8th $120
Frankfurt International Book Fair: Oct 9-13, Frankfurt, Germany
*purchase placement deadline August 12th $190
We display one copy of your item cover facing out!
Interested attendees contact you directly through our exhibit catalog!
Buyers are looking for new and exciting titles for sales, rights and exposure!
Save Time and Money by allowing us to display your book!
If you're self-published or vanity- published, your main way of selling your book is going to be out of the trunk of your car—or at least in face-to-face situations with potential buyers. Don't waste your money on promotional
But, if you want to throw away your money, pay me $50 and I'll drive around the county with a copy of your book on the dashboard of either my 94 Dodge truck or my PT Cruiser (you choose!) and I will park in the Kroger or Walmart parking lot for at least 15 minutes so passersby can see your book. Plus—for no extra charge—I will post on Facebook a picture of your book being looked at by a very cute kitty (again, you get a choice of which kitty). Finally, I'll comment on your FB page or your blog (again, you choose!) the following comment: "Hey! You wrote a book. Nice going!"
Is that an offer you can't refuse, or what?
Sunday, June 23, 2013
I've been on a committee to read submissions—lots of submissions—for an anthology that my writer group is putting together. First the submitters had to send in hard copies. The three of us on the selection committee would read the hard copies, select the works we wanted to include, and then notify authors to send in electronic copies of the works we had chosen. That would be simple enough, right?
|Some—not all—of the anthology slush.|
While some submissions were a joy to read, and some would be a joy if a few glitches were fixed, others—well, the English teacher that I once was would be turning over in my grave if I were dead. (Since I'm still alive, the English teacher I once was is seriously missing my red pen.)
The selection committee had established some submission guidelines to ensure that submissions were uniform and easy to read. These were basic manuscript format and weren't difficult, but some entrants had problems with a few of our requirements. For instance, we asked that all entries be in Times New Roman 12—a font and size that's easy to read and which is available on just about any computer. Having all entries the same font and size would make it easier for the selection committee to determine how much space an entry will take up in relation to other entries.
Many entries were indeed in Times New Roman 12. Some entrants, alas, were a bit more creative in their choice. A few used Helvetica or other sans serif fonts. (Fortunately no one used Comic Sans or Papyrus.) Well, it's easy enough to change the font/size, but the fiction entry submitted in all capital letters will have to be retyped.
We asked that the hard copies of essays and stories be double-spaced and poetry be single spaced. Double-spacing isn't difficult, but a few prose entries were nonetheless single-spaced. And a few poems were double-spaced. Spacing is fairly easy to fix, though.
A little trickier to fix is the use of two spaces after end punctuation. Those of us old enough to remember typing class know that on a typewriter (remember those things?) you did indeed put two spaces after a period. But you DON'T DO THIS when you're using a computer. Putting more than one space anywhere in a manuscript leads to real problems when the text is justified. Those extra spaces look like big holes in justified text.
Apparently several submitters were still trying to use a computer as if it were a typewriter.
Using the "show invisibles" feature in Word, I could easily see all the times the space bar had been hit Here's an picture with no indent set:
And here's one with the indent set to the fifth character space:
Speaking of indents, don't put an extra space between paragraphs if you're indenting. That's overkill. Pick one or the other in your manuscript. Since we really didn't want all those extra spaces in the book, we just wanted paragraphs to be indented. (Yes, those spaces between paragraphs look nice in a business letter—but not in a manuscript.)
We wanted all poems flush left to make printing set-up easier. But several folks hit the space bar several times to get the lines where they wanted them on an 8.5 by 11 page. The book page, however, will be a smaller size than 8.5 by 11, so a poem won't occupy quite the same space. If we ever do the anthology as an e-book, poems that are "creatively" spaced will be a real headache.
When submitters were notified to send in electronic copies, things got , er, creative. We'd asked that submissions be saved as a doc. Not docx. Not rtf. Not a zip file. The elderly version of Word on my Mac doesn't recognize a docx. and thus can't open it. However, Pages—the Mac word-processing software—will open a docx. and then convert it to Pages. Then I do a "save as" from Pages to a Word doc. Does Pages change anything in the original? Maybe, but I don't have any way to be sure. Some ended up pasting their submission in the body of a document, so that had to be pasted into Word, etc.
In the guidelines, we asked for a bio of 50 to 75 words. We probably should have made it clear that we wanted the bio written in complete sentences. But most people got it right.
Anyhow, I'm been slogging through the electronic copies for a couple of weeks now. The slogging has made me realize that I never want to serve on a selection committee again.
And I miss that red pen I used when I graded student compositions.
Saturday, June 22, 2013