One of the great advantages of indie publishing is being in control of your book. Recently a reader contacted me, asking my opinion about publishers. He was republishing a book done in 2011 that had not done well, blaming it on the vanity press. As someone ever interested in deterring folks away from those entities, I took a look at the book in an effort to assist.
The cover was the best part. Beautiful. But it declined from there.
The writing was chock full of grammar issues. The writing wasn’t fluid. It was a memoir of sorts and wrought with the word “I”. The blurb was minimal and likewise full of errors. The author had no website, but worse, had not taken advantage of the Author Central page on Amazon, a freebie that every author ought to have fleshed out. As much as I abhor vanity presses and their predatory nature, I saw where they had done just what was asked of them. This was all on the author.
I told him:
1) Pull the book
2) Cancel dealings with that press
3) Rewrite the book
4) Get feedback from a critique group
5) Get feedback from an editor
6) Redesign the cover
7) Acquire new blurbs
8) Acquire testimonials from those who did like it
9) Study indie publishing
10) Hire someone to format the print and digital book (although I adore Joel Friedlander’s book templates)
11) Get his own ISBNs, especially if he intends to write more books
12) Use CreateSpace for print on Amazon
13) Use IngramSpark for print on non-Amazon sites
14) Use Amazon KDP for ebook on Amazon
15) Use Draft2Digital for ebook on non-Amazon sites
Don’t worry, this author won’t recognize himself here. I get a few of these every week, asking how to proceed after a vanity press deal has flopped. I’m adamant about protecting people’s privacy, but I received enough questions on this topic to warrant this week’s editorial. If you think this is you, don’t let it bug you. Trust me, you have ample companionship in this dilemma. Your job now is to learn from your failures and spin it into success. That’s why we fail in the first place: to take us a step closer to doing it well.