End of Summer and Fall kick off the Book Award submission season. Will the author be honored for his or her words and book? Or will the Book Boot be felt? The question every author needs to ask is, “Did I do the best job in writing, in presenting, in connecting with my crowd—the people who need, want my words?” In other words, “Did I rush to publish?”
Working with authors every day, there are routine hiccups that are all too common. When they are pointed out, they are often surprised that they didn't notice them—both pre-layout and during layout. To anyone who is experienced with books, those hiccups are glaring and would have been noticed quickly.
What’s that mean? Simply this: don’t go it alone. Before you enter your book, make sure it’s of “star” quality.
The Boot Starts Here … on the Outside
The title doesn't work. The reader is clueless as to what the book
is about. Does it solve a problem? Does it entertain? Who is it for?
The cover itself isn’t connecting. Colors don’t work; design looks unprofessional; the fonts don’t grab.
The cover production didn't include barcodes, price of the book, or categories.Copy on the back, dust jacket or flaps doesn't work or it’s visually difficult to read.
The Boot Continues ... on the Inside …
On the opening, for a nonfiction book—it’s all text, with no visual relief—white space helps, illustrations, callouts, are the chapter openers eye-appealing and if there are part pages, how do they look? For a fiction book, are there breaks (think bathroom) where there are distinct chapters?
What about running heads—are there any? Every professional book has them—title of book on one side and the changing chapter on the other—sometimes, you will see the author’s name. A constant reminder to the reader of the title of the book and the chapter he or she is in.
Does it look like it’s been professionally designed or does it come right it of a Word document? What about stranded words and lines—are there widows and orphans … those lines and words that get left behind or alone?
Some layouts are justified; some are not—ragged. You can go either way. Forced justifying, without reworking words, maybe a little tightening between them is another tell-tale sign of a DIY. Seeing sentences that are too tight, where you almost can’t see the difference between the words … or so loose that you can drive a truck through them also shuts out, “A professional didn't touch this.”
Then ... There’s the Read …
When your book stops the judges at the cover and the back cover … and then throws up detours with a quick visual of the interior landscape … how do you think the judge is going to pre-think the rest of the book read is going to be? A little prejudice may now have set in—let’s be realistic. If the judge see’s that you care enough on the outside of the book … did you really care about the inside—the story, the message?Next week, we will review Book Awards you should consider entering, including USA Book News, Indie Excellence, Independent Publishers and much more.
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord Indie/Fab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Unplugged, a two day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at http://togi.us/authoru. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.