Self-Publishing Is Like Planning a Wedding

 

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If you’re getting married, have been married, or had the unfortunate fate of being involved in helping plan a wedding, these will sound somewhat familiar:

“You can have Aunt Lucille take pictures. Don’t waste money on a photographer. You need a skilled DJ.”

“Have your sister’s boyfriend DJ. Hire a professional photographer.”

“Your mum can bake the cake, but get a designer for the centerpieces.”

“You can make your own centerpieces but not the cake!”

“Have an open bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“Have a cash bar or everyone will be pissed.”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

So here I am, planning a wedding. A marriage of words, thoughts, ideas, dreams, technology, design, and marketing.

How I’m to untangle all the information and advice, I truly don’t know.

Self publishing is kind of a DIY project. (Thankfully, not all of it since DIY and I don’t really get along.)

Authors everywhere have their own ideas of exactly what you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do yourself and what you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT spend your money on. I actually like this because, through their own experiences, they are helping other writers. Which is a lovely thing to do.

However.

The differing opinions are mind-boggling.

“You must hire a digital artist for your cover.”

“You can make your own cover in Canva or even Word!”

“Don’t pay a proofreader. Have your friends look it over. Save your money for marketing.”

“Put yourself out there and sell your own book. You have to get a proofreader.”

“Find someone to format the book or it’ll be a disaster.”

“It’s easy. Just grab it from Word and upload it to Createspace.”

“Take your own author photo…”

“Get an experienced photographer…”

“No matter what you do…”

“If you have to cut corners…”

And so on.

What’s a writer to do?

 

Okay, gentle readers. I know you. I like you. I have your books. (I think you like me well enough.) I really want to know…

Did you self-publish? What were your experiences? What did you do yourself and what did you hire someone for? Any advice? I’m listening. And I’m ready to hear it.

 

Does Size Really Matter? (In Defense of the Pithy Blog Post)

 

Does size really matter?

 

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On Sundays, I publish a post of 200 words (or less). But every blogger knows anything under 300 500 1,000 (what is it now?) words is not a “real” post.

Huh. My fingers were flying across the keyboard as my ideas were pouring out. I recall reading and responding to comments. I could have sworn that was real.

Even my full-length posts are usually only 300-700 words. I say what I need to say then get the hell out of Dodge.

Yes, I know: Google spiders, SEO, zzz…

When I taught, I rarely gave my students a firm word count. If the assignment would clearly benefit from a strict number of words I did but, most of the time, when they asked, “How long does it have to be?” I answered, “As long as it needs to be.”

Yes. I’m sure that annoyed some students. Moving on.

Blogs.

If you go on and on (and on and on) when you write, maybe you should think about whether you need every single word. If you simply love writing long pieces, that’s great. Go for it.

I prefer short, to-the-point posts. I enjoy writing them, and I enjoy reading them. I will read lengthy posts but only if they’re super duper awesome with a cherry on top. I don’t have anything against long blog posts.

Why do so many bloggers have a thing against short posts?

Reason #1. It won’t be picked up in search engines. That’s kind of my problem, not the reader’s. They don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine. Really.

Reason #2. “It’s annoying” to click on a link and be directed to a post with less than X number of words because it has no “substance”. This one irks me. Substance and length have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I have read some loooong posts with lots of “keywords” that were fluff. A bunch of letters grouped together on a page without saying anything. Those are impressive. I mean, seriously, that’s got to be tough to do. How does one even go about writing 3,000 words without saying anything? I’ve got to take a class on that.

I’ve also read some short, thought-provoking posts that pack a punch.

If you have a lot to say on a subject and it takes 2,000 words to say it, that’s cool. I’ll read it. But please do give the little posts a chance. Writers can sometimes surprise you with how much they can say in 400 words (give or take).

 

“Don’t use seven words when four will do.” 

 

My Sunday thoughts in (way over) 200 words. I know, irony is fun.

 

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I was going to stay far away from this but I… Just… Can’t. So, for you, gentle readers, here’s what I’m saying in a nutshell: It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it.

 

Do you have a specific word count you stick to? Do you force yourself to keep writing a post because it’s too short even if you feel like it’s done? Does the size of your blog post really matter?

 

Taking the Red Pen to Your Comments

 

If you’ve commented on my blog, chances are, I’ve edited you.

 

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Please pop your eyes back into your skull and know this: I do not rewrite comments. I edit. Or, more precisely, proofread.

Why? Well, for one thing, I can’t help myself. I mean, I can not help it. My OCD-ish tendencies notice typos like a giant slug in a rose garden.

When I see an extra space, I delete it. When I see a forgotten period, I add it. If you type ‘dp’ when you clearly meant ‘do’, I change the ‘p’ to an ‘o’.

That’s how I roll.

Second. If I know someone pretty well, know their writing, and see an error, I’ll correct it. It might embarrass them to have a misspelling. Eh. It might not.

But I have had plenty of people submit a second comment correcting their typo. “Oh no!” or “Sorry! I meant to write…” I trash that and just fix it for them. Unless it’s a funny comment. Then it stays. (Seems I’m not the only one with typo/commenting issues. Just saying.)

I wish people would do this for me. *sigh*

Third. If you leave a really long link, it messes up my mobile site and the page just sort of floats around making it difficult to read. So I turn your long link into a short link.

Instead of http://sarahbrentynflash. wordpress.com/ 2015/09/01/ legume-allergy- leads-to-domestic-troubles-2/

It neatly says: Legume Allergy Leads to Domestic Troubles

If you’re new to Lemon Shark, I won’t edit you. I don’t know you or your writing style.

You could be using slang or live in the UK and your ‘realise’ is not a typo but a right proper way of spelling ‘realize’. You could be the next e e cummings and like using all lower-case. It’s cool. Your little letters are safe with me.

I love my readers and their comments. I do. I appreciate the time it takes to read and respond to a post. I also have some kick-ass commenters at Lemon Shark who add so much to the discussions.

You might be a bit offended by this confession but do give me a bit of a break. (I’m trying to uncover my true colors—refer back to mention of OCD).

And, if it helps, I edit my own replies. All. The. Time. Especially from my phone. Damn auto-correct. Also, the cute emojis sometimes show up very differently once I hit “post comment”. I’ll put a frog face (no, I don’t know why I’m putting a frog face) and then it’s like… Wait. What is that? Edit. Change. Aw. A smiley face with its tongue sticking out. Much better.

So, if you’ve commented here, I’ve probably edited you. #SorryNotSorry

 

Have you ever edited a comment? Are you going to stop commenting here because of my confession?

 

(Someone please make my day and tell me you’ve found a typo in this post.)