Comments

  • Thanks for that. Just read it. Thank goodness I did my book through Lulu and ticked all the boxes on this article !!

  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    For every point mentioned, it's just a matter of common sense.  Smiley Happy

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    No everyone has common sense though. We see many examples go through Lulu.

     

    Point 5 is nonsense. I would challenge anyone to detect what software was used to create a finished publication. Word can do all of what point 5 says makes a book look professional. Perhaps the writer has never used Word?

     

    Traditional publishers use 'industry standard software' because they can afford it, it's tax-deductible so costs them nothing, and it's possibly all they know because they were trained on it by establishments that could also get the cost back. And of course, the user only uses it because their employers have it.

    Adobe products have far more bells and whistles than most self-publishers will ever need. Then again some very long-established publishers use quarkxpress because it's one of the first, but it is around $1000   http://www.quark.co.uk/en/Products/QuarkXPress/#1

     

    This is a bit of a rash statement also >>   There’s a reason traditional book publishers take an average of two to three years to take a book from rough manuscript to hard copy. They take the time to do it right.

    The top selling books are often linked to annual TV series (usually TV Chefs) and come out at the exact same time. But what does take a very long time. or should, is the actual writing, not the publishing. I know this article is about self-publishing, but it should separate the creation of the words from the publishing of them. The two are not the same thing even though once the writing is finished it then has to be made ready for publishing and then published.

     

    But none of this means that even a 'perfect' book will sell.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    No everyone has common sense though. We see many examples go through Lulu.

     

    Indeed we do...

     

    Point 5 is nonsense. I would challenge anyone to detect what software was used to create a finished publication. Word can do all of what point 5 says makes a book look professional. Perhaps the writer has never used Word?

     

    Traditional publishers use 'industry standard software' because they can afford it, it's tax-deductible so costs them nothing, and it's possibly all they know because they were trained on it by establishments that could also get the cost back. And of course, the user only uses it because their employers have it.

    Adobe products have far more bells and whistles than most self-publishers will ever need. Then again some very long-established publishers use quarkxpress because it's one of the first, but it is around $1000   http://www.quark.co.uk/en/Products/QuarkXPress/#1

     

    MS Word is an industry standard so far as word processing is concerned. However, it is in fact fairly limited so far as page design is concerned. This is why publishers use dedicated software to do this. That being said, you can still make a very nice-looking book using nothing but Word (or WordPerfect or many other good word processors).

     

    The problem is really two-fold. The first is that too many self-published authors simply don't know how to use the software they have. The second is the sad fact that far too many self-publishers don't know anything about book design (having, by all evidence, never actually opened a book in their lives and looked at) and put their books together willy-nilly. This is also the reason for Point 6: "yucky formatting."

     

    This is a bit of a rash statement also >>   There’s a reason traditional book publishers take an average of two to three years to take a book from rough manuscript to hard copy. They take the time to do it right.

     

    Two to three years is actually a little longer than average, though it can sometimes take that long. Nine months to a year has been my experience. Nevertheless, the statement made in the article is one that is often expressed as a reason for self-publishing a book: the need for instant gratification. But there is an important misperception involved. And that is the idea that the writing of a book and the process of publishing it are two separate actions. That is, that what the publisher receives is a finished, ready-for-press manuscript and that it then takes two or three years for this to appear in print. The truth is that a good part of that time is taken up by the editing process---that is, getting a manuscript in good enough shape to publish. This may involve months of rewriting by the author (editors do not rewrite anything: that is up to the author to do). This goes on until the book is letter-perfect at least so far as the content is concerned. Then it is copy-edited. Then it is fact-checked (if non-fiction). Then it is proofread. Meanwhile, artwork is being prepared, catalogs are produced, advertising and marketing are geared up and review copies are created and sent all over the country.

     

    This takes time.


    But what does take a very long time. or should, is the actual writing, not the publishing. I know this article is about self-publishing, but it should separate the creation of the words from the publishing of them. The two are not the same thing even though once the writing is finished it then has to be made ready for publishing and then published.

     

    As I mentioned above, the publishing process is in fact part of the writing process. "Being made ready for publishing" involves the book's editing---by which I don't mean going over a book for punctuation, spelling and grammar but rather the initial editing process, which looks at style, content and sense. There can be an awful lot of writing still to do even after an author has had their book accepted by a publisher. The writing of a book is not finished until both the editor and the author are happy with the ultimate results and the book is in fact ready to appear in print.

     

    One of the biggest problems with self-published books is that authors will skip over the editing processes. They will do this because they believe that an editor will rewrite their book (they won't) or they think their deathless prose is absolutely perfect as written (it surely isn't) or the reason may be that they simply cannot afford an editor. It may be any of these reasons or a combination of them but the result is invariably the same: an unprofessional-looking book.

     

    But none of this means that even a 'perfect' book will sell.

     

    Truer words have seldom been spoken. But all other things being equal, a professional-looking book stands a better chance out in the real world.


     

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    No everyone has common sense though. We see many examples go through Lulu.

     

    Indeed we do...

     

    Point 5 is nonsense. I would challenge anyone to detect what software was used to create a finished publication. Word can do all of what point 5 says makes a book look professional. Perhaps the writer has never used Word?

     

    Traditional publishers use 'industry standard software' because they can afford it, it's tax-deductible so costs them nothing, and it's possibly all they know because they were trained on it by establishments that could also get the cost back. And of course, the user only uses it because their employers have it.

    Adobe products have far more bells and whistles than most self-publishers will ever need. Then again some very long-established publishers use quarkxpress because it's one of the first, but it is around $1000   http://www.quark.co.uk/en/Products/QuarkXPress/#1

     

    MS Word is an industry standard so far as word processing is concerned. However, it is in fact fairly limited so far as page design is concerned. This is why publishers use dedicated software to do this.

     

    But how many self-publishers? Which is what the article is about. Adobe products are far from cheap, in fact are they not now all on the Cloud at something like $50 a month?

     

    That being said, you can still make a very nice-looking book using nothing but Word (or WordPerfect or many other good word processors).

     

    Yes indeed one can. Most books are simple really not needing what the very expensive products can do. 

     

    The problem is really two-fold. The first is that too many self-published authors simply don't know how to use the software they have.

     

    Very true. Or even how to use a PC, or even anything other than Facebook.

     

    The second is the sad fact that far too many self-publishers don't know anything about book design (having, by all evidence, never actually opened a book in their lives and looked at) and put their books together willy-nilly. This is also the reason for Point 6: "yucky formatting."

     

    Let's hope that the decline of people asking for help in the forums is a sign that only those who do not need it now use Lulu. But I doubt that having seen some promoted in Shameless. In the 'good old days', pre-Shameless, it was possible to offer help to people who really needed it, even when their postings in a thread that could be replied to, did not ask for any.

     

    This is a bit of a rash statement also >>   There’s a reason traditional book publishers take an average of two to three years to take a book from rough manuscript to hard copy. They take the time to do it right.

     

    Two to three years is actually a little longer than average, though it can sometimes take that long. Nine months to a year has been my experience.

     

    True, if they are not trying to match some other deadline, such as a film release. Some famous writers churn out so many books a year though, I think their publishers have a turnaround of a few weeks.  Smiley Happy

     

    Nevertheless, the statement made in the article is one that is often expressed as a reason for self-publishing a book: the need for instant gratification. But there is an important misperception involved. And that is the idea that the writing of a book and the process of publishing it are two separate actions.

     

    To a self-publisher they should be. Write it. Get it right. Self-publish it.

     

    That is, that what the publisher receives is a finished, ready-for-press manuscript and that it then takes two or three years for this to appear in print. The truth is that a good part of that time is taken up by the editing process---that is, getting a manuscript in good enough shape to publish. This may involve months of rewriting by the author (editors do not rewrite anything: that is up to the author to do). This goes on until the book is letter-perfect at least so far as the content is concerned. Then it is copy-edited. Then it is fact-checked (if non-fiction). Then it is proofread.

     

    One would hope that now they are not bound by snail-mail the whole process is much faster.

     

    Meanwhile, artwork is being prepared, catalogs are produced, advertising and marketing are geared up and review copies are created and sent all over the country.

     

    This takes time.

     

    Don't forget the article is about self-publishing. But I have often seen such reports before, and they often refer to those who can chuck umpteen £1000s at it, have possibly already had other books published by a company and wishing to cut out the middleman, possibly have an agent, and all the things most people who use places like Lulu do not have.


    But what does take a very long time. or should, is the actual writing, not the publishing. I know this article is about self-publishing, but it should separate the creation of the words from the publishing of them. The two are not the same thing even though once the writing is finished it then has to be made ready for publishing and then published.

     

    As I mentioned above, the publishing process is in fact part of the writing process.

     

    It depends on the type of self-publisher. One would hope that before any one gets in to Lulu's Project Wizards, they already have a well-written, well-formatted, book, to publish. Most self-publishers are one-man bands don't forget, not having the advantage of a team helping them write it, market it, publish it, which can be both a blessing and a handicap.

     

    "Being made ready for publishing" involves the book's editing---by which I don't mean going over a book for punctuation, spelling and grammar but rather the initial editing process, which looks at style, content and sense. There can be an awful lot of writing still to do even after an author has had their book accepted by a publisher. The writing of a book is not finished until both the editor and the author are happy with the ultimate results and the book is in fact ready to appear in print.

     

    Indeed. If one has an editor etc. This is Lulu, the home of free self-publishing ...

     

    One of the biggest problems with self-published books is that authors will skip over the editing processes. They will do this because they believe that an editor will rewrite their book (they won't) or they think their deathless prose is absolutely perfect as written (it surely isn't) or the reason may be that they simply cannot afford an editor. It may be any of these reasons or a combination of them but the result is invariably the same: an unprofessional-looking book.

     

    Usually all of those.

     

    But none of this means that even a 'perfect' book will sell.

     

    Truer words have seldom been spoken. But all other things being equal, a professional-looking book stands a better chance out in the real world.

     

    Indeed it does, but as you said, many people have no idea what a professional-looking book looks like. Often when they are told they often reply "but it's just the story that matters".

  • I designed the interior of The Maya Papyrus entirely in Word and I genuinely don't think it would be possible to tell the difference between that and a 'traditionally' published book designed in Adobe Whateveryoucallit 15.0. It's not what you've got, it's what you do with it (as my wife always says).

     

    That said, if I was trying to put together a glossy coffee table book with pictures and charts and other graphics, I doubt Word would be up to the job.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

     

     

    Nevertheless, the statement made in the article is one that is often expressed as a reason for self-publishing a book: the need for instant gratification. But there is an important misperception involved. And that is the idea that the writing of a book and the process of publishing it are two separate actions.

     

    To a self-publisher they should be. Write it. Get it right. Self-publish it.

     

    It's that second part that gets overlooked. Usually, it seems, for two or three reasons. The first is the inability to recognize the fact that an author cannot effectively edit their own work---or the idea that their work is perfect as written. The second is the erroneous belief that professional editors will rewrite a book on their own. The third is the excuse that the author cannot afford professional editing. But they need to understand that if they are putting something on the market for sale, they have a responsibility to offer a product that is of a professional level of quality.

     

    That is, that what the publisher receives is a finished, ready-for-press manuscript and that it then takes two or three years for this to appear in print. The truth is that a good part of that time is taken up by the editing process---that is, getting a manuscript in good enough shape to publish. This may involve months of rewriting by the author (editors do not rewrite anything: that is up to the author to do). This goes on until the book is letter-perfect at least so far as the content is concerned. Then it is copy-edited. Then it is fact-checked (if non-fiction). Then it is proofread.

     

    One would hope that now they are not bound by snail-mail the whole process is much faster.

     

    It is. I have done twenty books for one publisher and every step of the process was done via email. But that actually only saves a few days over all...it still takes just as long as it ever did to do a good job in the editing/revision process.

     

    But what does take a very long time. or should, is the actual writing, not the publishing. I know this article is about self-publishing, but it should separate the creation of the words from the publishing of them. The two are not the same thing even though once the writing is finished it then has to be made ready for publishing and then published.

     

    As I mentioned above, the publishing process is in fact part of the writing process.

     

    It depends on the type of self-publisher. One would hope that before any one gets in to Lulu's Project Wizards, they already have a well-written, well-formatted, book, to publish. Most self-publishers are one-man bands don't forget, not having the advantage of a team helping them write it, market it, publish it, which can be both a blessing and a handicap.

     

    I have a hard time seeing where not having a team of knowledgeable people, each contributing their specialty to the success of a book, can possibly be a blessing. What I see over and over again are people trying to undertake jobs for which they have absolutely no experience or training. They are like a person who knows nothing about automobiles offering to repair your car for you...and wanting to charge you for the service no matter how ineptly it was performed.

     

    "Being made ready for publishing" involves the book's editing---by which I don't mean going over a book for punctuation, spelling and grammar but rather the initial editing process, which looks at style, content and sense. There can be an awful lot of writing still to do even after an author has had their book accepted by a publisher. The writing of a book is not finished until both the editor and the author are happy with the ultimate results and the book is in fact ready to appear in print.

     

    Indeed. If one has an editor etc. This is Lulu, the home of free self-publishing ...

     

    So? That is absolutely no excuse for offering a shoddy product for sale. In fact, it is the entire point of the article under discussion. The almost overwhelming number of people taking shortcuts or working in ignorance or laziness continue to give self-publishing a bad image.

     

    Truer words have seldom been spoken. But all other things being equal, a professional-looking book stands a better chance out in the real world.

     

    Indeed it does, but as you said, many people have no idea what a professional-looking book looks like. Often when they are told they often reply "but it's just the story that matters".

     

    How many times have we all heard that! Smiley Mad


     

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/

  • Richard_Coady wrote:

    I designed the interior of The Maya Papyrus entirely in Word and I genuinely don't think it would be possible to tell the difference between that and a 'traditionally' published book designed in Adobe Whateveryoucallit 15.0. It's not what you've got, it's what you do with it (as my wife always says).

     

    That said, if I was trying to put together a glossy coffee table book with pictures and charts and other graphics, I doubt Word would be up to the job.


    You are quite right. Word can put together a perfectly good-looking book if the book is primarily text, as a novel would be. I have used it for that myself (even though I very much dislike Word, being a WordPerfect man myself).

     

    The majority of the books I have published via Lulu, however, have been assembled with an antique version of PageMaker (version 7.0!), which is more than adequate for what I want to do. Since it is specifically designed to format pages, it not only streamlines the process it allows me a great deal more freedom than Word in what I can do in the way of page design.

     

    By the way, self-publishers are not limited to using either Word or impossibly expensive layout software to format their books. There are any number of excellent free programs available.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    That said, if I was trying to put together a glossy coffee table book with pictures and charts and other graphics, I doubt Word would be up to the job.

     

    It's possible if purchased as part of Office because that's one of the things Office was created for.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Nevertheless, the statement made in the article is one that is often expressed as a reason for self-publishing a book: the need for instant gratification. But there is an important misperception involved. And that is the idea that the writing of a book and the process of publishing it are two separate actions.

      

    One would hope that now they are not bound by snail-mail the whole process is much faster.

     

    It is. I have done twenty books for one publisher and every step of the process was done via email. But that actually only saves a few days over all...it still takes just as long as it ever did to do a good job in the editing/revision process.

     

    That's what happens when teams and committees get involved.  A camel = a horse designed by a commitee Smiley Happy

     

    But what does take a very long time. or should, is the actual writing, not the publishing. I know this article is about self-publishing, but it should separate the creation of the words from the publishing of them. The two are not the same thing even though once the writing is finished it then has to be made ready for publishing and then published.

     

    As I mentioned above, the publishing process is in fact part of the writing process.

     

    It depends on the type of self-publisher. One would hope that before any one gets in to Lulu's Project Wizards, they already have a well-written, well-formatted, book, to publish. Most self-publishers are one-man bands don't forget, not having the advantage of a team helping them write it, market it, publish it, which can be both a blessing and a handicap.

     

    I have a hard time seeing where not having a team of knowledgeable people, each contributing their specialty to the success of a book, can possibly be a blessing.

     

    Perhaps when some say, "well we do like this chapter, really we do, but we think it would be more main-stream marketable if it was adjusted, and while you are at can you loose 30,000 words to make the story fit into to the pulp market price range?" Marketing experts and accountants control too many aspects and can stiffle creativity.

     

    What I see over and over again are people trying to undertake jobs for which they have absolutely no experience or training. They are like a person who knows nothing about automobiles offering to repair your car for you...and wanting to charge you for the service no matter how ineptly it was performed.

     

    That can be true. Those offering Proofreading for a fee who simply put it though a word processor's spell checker.

     

    "Being made ready for publishing" involves the book's editing---by which I don't mean going over a book for punctuation, spelling and grammar but rather the initial editing process, which looks at style, content and sense. There can be an awful lot of writing still to do even after an author has had their book accepted by a publisher. The writing of a book is not finished until both the editor and the author are happy with the ultimate results and the book is in fact ready to appear in print.

     

    Indeed. If one has an editor etc. This is Lulu, the home of free self-publishing ...

     

    So? That is absolutely no excuse for offering a shoddy product for sale. In fact, it is the entire point of the article under discussion. The almost overwhelming number of people taking shortcuts or working in ignorance or laziness continue to give self-publishing a bad image.

     

    I cannot disagree with that. But the opposite is those not having a few $1,000 or even $100 never being able to publish. There are some good books amongst the rubbish and I say thank god for Previews.

     

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Have you ever seen the book creation software that Blurb provide? It's a shame they do not sell it.

  • I've worked with Word, Publisher, Quark Express and prefer Adobe Indesign these days. My view is that if you are going to write  several books, then learning a good software can assist in fundamental ways.

     

    These software are purpose made tools and handle a variety of media (images, text, text styles, line artwork, etc.) giving you a lot of control over the elements that may make up your manuscript, leading-on to to exporting PDFs for upload to Lulu.

     

    While Word is very capable it is more of a general purpose software, which can handle a variety of tasks particularly in an office or business environment. Taking some time to aquire skills in the appropriate software may benefit self-publishers and their books.

  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    What about WordPerfect? I have been using it since it was launched.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

     

    As I mentioned above, the publishing process is in fact part of the writing process.

     

    It depends on the type of self-publisher. One would hope that before any one gets in to Lulu's Project Wizards, they already have a well-written, well-formatted, book, to publish. Most self-publishers are one-man bands don't forget, not having the advantage of a team helping them write it, market it, publish it, which can be both a blessing and a handicap.

     

    I know they are one-man bands...which is the probably the single biggest problem with self-publishing. You have far too many people doing things for which they have absolutely no talent, experience or training. Even if they do, that doesn't change the fact that the publishing process is part of the writing process since the writing is not over until the manuscript has had its final edit. 

     

    I have a hard time seeing where not having a team of knowledgeable people, each contributing their specialty to the success of a book, can possibly be a blessing.

     

    Perhaps when some say, "well we do like this chapter, really we do, but we think it would be more main-stream marketable if it was adjusted, and while you are at can you loose 30,000 words to make the story fit into to the pulp market price range?" Marketing experts and accountants control too many aspects and can stiffle creativity.

     

    You say this is so as though it were a universal fact, but I just don't see that happening. In any case, if someone took a book to a publisher that required such drastic changes in order to make it fit their schedule, the author probably pitched to the wrong publisher in the first place. Publishers will ask for changes generated by marketing concerns, yes...but no one forces the author to do this. For example, when I sold a trilogy of novels to Berkley/Ace I was asked by the editor if I would change the heroine to a hero since she felt the book would have a larger market that way. I was even offered a larger advance. I declined to do this...and the book was published with the heroine.

     

    What I see over and over again are people trying to undertake jobs for which they have absolutely no experience or training. They are like a person who knows nothing about automobiles offering to repair your car for you...and wanting to charge you for the service no matter how ineptly it was performed.

     

    That can be true. Those offering Proofreading for a fee who simply put it though a word processor's spell checker.

     

    That's just plain fraud!

     

    "Being made ready for publishing" involves the book's editing---by which I don't mean going over a book for punctuation, spelling and grammar but rather the initial editing process, which looks at style, content and sense. There can be an awful lot of writing still to do even after an author has had their book accepted by a publisher. The writing of a book is not finished until both the editor and the author are happy with the ultimate results and the book is in fact ready to appear in print.

     

    Indeed. If one has an editor etc. This is Lulu, the home of free self-publishing ...

     

    Indeed, indeed...and the need for instant gratification multiplied by laziness and/or incompetence results in the flood of books that have given self-published books the unenviable reputation they have.

     

    So? That is absolutely no excuse for offering a shoddy product for sale. In fact, it is the entire point of the article under discussion. The almost overwhelming number of people taking shortcuts or working in ignorance or laziness continue to give self-publishing a bad image.

     

    I cannot disagree with that. But the opposite is those not having a few $1,000 or even $100 never being able to publish. There are some good books amongst the rubbish and I say thank god for Previews.

     

    No kidding.

     


     

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/

  • potetjp wrote:

    What about WordPerfect? I have been using it since it was launched.


    Same here. I much prefer it to Word. 

     

    However, like Word, it is not specifically designed for the creation of page layouts so it has many of the same limitations.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher

    Ron Miller wrote:

    Richard_Coady wrote:

    I designed the interior of The Maya Papyrus entirely in Word and I genuinely don't think it would be possible to tell the difference between that and a 'traditionally' published book designed in Adobe Whateveryoucallit 15.0. It's not what you've got, it's what you do with it (as my wife always says).

     

    That said, if I was trying to put together a glossy coffee table book with pictures and charts and other graphics, I doubt Word would be up to the job.


    You are quite right. Word can put together a perfectly good-looking book if the book is primarily text, as a novel would be. I have used it for that myself (even though I very much dislike Word, being a WordPerfect man myself).

     

    The majority of the books I have published via Lulu, however, have been assembled with an antique version of PageMaker (version 7.0!), which is more than adequate for what I want to do. Since it is specifically designed to format pages, it not only streamlines the process it allows me a great deal more freedom than Word in what I can do in the way of page design.

     

    By the way, self-publishers are not limited to using either Word or impossibly expensive layout software to format their books. There are any number of excellent free programs available.


    WordPerfect.

     

    Ah, yes, 5.1 with the white-on-blue, and the claw commands, with the multi-color interpretive card pasted above the F-keys... Those were the days. MSDOS will never die...

     

    But Word is an entirely different animal, and for my money, it's better.

     

    Okay, I will grant that it is difficult to make a photo sit still in Word. When I'm making cheatsheets and training materials, I use Powerpoint because it puts the photo where I tell it, and leaves it there.

     

    But there is nothing inherently better in a page of text from Quark or Pagemaker than a page of text from Word. The same fonts, the same spacing, the same print quality and resolution. I would argue that any perceived differences are a matter of preference.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    But there is nothing inherently better in a page of text from Quark or Pagemaker than a page of text from Word. The same fonts, the same spacing, the same print quality and resolution. I would argue that any perceived differences are a matter of preference.

     

    It possibly like the early days of games consoles where people argued that the one they had bought was the best, when very often there was nothing to choose between them. The same happens with cars even.

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