Yes, I know. Time is money. Time has an opportunity cost.
In my recent book about the publishing industry (Look Before You Leap: The Smart Author’s Guide to Avoiding the Money Pit and Achieving Financial Success in the Publishing Industry), I do suggest that writers take a look at how much time they spend on their book.
For those writing for economic/business reasons, I suggest that you write and publish your book efficiently.
Please do not think that I’m advocating that you rush your book into the world and create a product that is sub-par. (In other, more direct, words: Don’t put a crappy book into the market that is not professional looking).
Your book must represent you and your all-important brand WELL in the marketplace.
I just had a wonderful time attending the 2017 Independent Book Publishers Association‘s Publishing University in Portland Oregon. I was very impressed by the keynote by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press which described the publishing industry as “super chaotic”, “exciting” and “incredibly beautiful”.
Brooke comes from the traditional world of publishing historically, yet she embraces a new world where you don’t have to be accepted by a more and more consolidated (and elite) set of traditional publishers. She Writes Press is a “hybrid publisher” that will take books based on content, not just on author platform. In her book Green Light Your Book, she gives aspiring authors some great advice on how to be more gutsy and entrepreneurial in their writing and publishing endeavors.
Brooke serves on the Board of one of my favorite entities in the indie publishing world, the Independent Book Publishers Association. She and this nonprofit entity are extolling self published/indie published authors to bring their level of professionalism to the highest standards. The goal? So that you look at a traditionally published book and self/indie published book side by side and can’t tell the difference.
Here is all the information about the IBPA’s Industry Standards Checklist.
I LOVE this idea, but I also don’t think that self/indie published authors need to feel like they must pretend to be something they are not.
In Look Before You Leap, I purposely over-rode the suggestion of my interior designer who had set the “sample pages” for my book with a traditionally-published template/look (paragraph indents and no spacing between paragraphs).
I had studied some of the best-selling books in the recent months, and these books (Teach and Grow Rich by Danny Iny, Published by Chandler Bolt, etc.) don’t look traditionally published. They have breaks between paragraphs. They don’t indent paragraphs. They are faster reads. They get useful information across very quickly. Their audiences don’t care that they are self-published. In fact, it might even help as the audience is largely entrepreneurial.
So I tried that model (let’s call it “the entrepreneurial model”) for my newest book’s interior design.
My first book (Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes) has a traditional look and yes, you can find it in Hudson airport stores. But is it flying off the shelves? My income statements say the answer to that question is “definitely not”. 🙂
What are your thoughts about industry standards for books? I know this issue is a very charged one. I would love to hear your comments.