Design Your Book to Sell

buy my book its awesomeWhether you design your own book exterior and interior or are working with a professional, here are a few precepts that will guide you towards a better product, and thus more sales.

Lesson Number One: Think of the Reader’s Experience

As you write your manuscript, in the back of your head you consider the emotional experience the readers will have as they progress through the story. So when you design the look of the final product, you should likewise take careful account of the process the buyers go through, from the first awareness that the book exists to that final, “Yes, I’ll buy it!” Which is about 2 – 15 seconds, so you’d better do a good job of it. Continue reading “Design Your Book to Sell”

6 Overused Phrases and What They Reveal About Your Writing

mark-twain-never-saidOne of the most difficult things for authors to do is improve the tone or style of our writing. Tone especially is a nebulous, hard-to-define quality that is essential to the reader’s enjoyment of our work, but we rarely get specific feedback about it, or find any way we can fix it if something is wrong. And feedback is essential, because these qualities are so intuitive that it is difficult to self-analyze. It’s easy to figure out that you use more commas than most writers. It’s much more difficult to realize that you sound “preachy,” and even harder to fix the problem.

However, there is one way of getting into the depths of your own writing: analyze your overused words. Continue reading “6 Overused Phrases and What They Reveal About Your Writing”

The Next Seven Book Reviewer Complaints

Mistakes authors makeEveryone had so much fun with the last seven complaints I had while reviewing books, I thought I’d give them a chance to get right down to some more. Some are a bit esoteric, but when a reviewer is really busy and looking for an excuse to go on to the next book, a few of these will do the trick every time.

8. Information Dump

This is feedback from everyone in comments on the earlier post. NEVER, EVER, EVER bore the reader with an Information Dump. I know you need us to know the whole life story of the main character, but we don’t know we need to know it, so why read it? So we put your book down after Page three.

When is an information dump not an information dump? Never. The only time information is okay is when we don’t notice it, or, best yet, when we want the information. If you can set up a situation where the reader feels like, “Why is he doing that? WHY is he doing that? WHY IS HE…? Oh! That’s why!” then you’ve got it nailed.

Part A: Developmental Errors Continue reading “The Next Seven Book Reviewer Complaints”

Organizing Multiple Manuscript Versions for Publication

grinding-bookThis is not a post that will teach you all sorts of wonderful things. This is a lament to make you all feel better, because it shows you that somebody else goes through the same epic battle as you do throughout every step of the self-publishing trek. In this case, the obstacle is keeping track of manuscripts during the publication process.

It all started when I went into the hospital for minor (and I emphasize the “minor” part) leg surgery, and made the mistake of allowing my wife, Linda, to stay with me while I had the pre-surgery chat with the surgeon. You know, the one where he writes a big arrow on the appropriate leg and signs it with a felt pen, just to avoid mistakes. But my mistake was letting Linda hear what he had to say about how long I was supposed to take to rehabilitate myself. Continue reading “Organizing Multiple Manuscript Versions for Publication”