Tag Archives: self-published

Top 6 Most Common Query / Cover Letter Errors

Query and cover letters are not fun, but they are necessary evils. I don’t know of anyone who has ever gotten away without writing a single one. However, in order to avoid sounding naive, lazy, inexperienced, or just plain crazy, avoid these common mistakes:

  • First of all: Find out if the publisher interested in your genre / type of manuscript. Sending out a question about the type of books they are interested in, shows clearly that you did not do your homework and did not even read their website / submission guidelines … Why should they be interested in publishing your book, if you are not even interested in their publishing genres.
  • Address the letter to the correct person.
    Nothing is more annoying than getting a letter addressed to someone else, or addressed to the wrong agency / publishing house, or without a salutation or to the name of the editor / publisher.
  • Do not make unrealistic claims about your story.
    Your book might become a best-seller someday, but you have no way of knowing that. However, if you already have (in writing) a deal from a charity to purchase 10,000 copies or you self-published and sold 45,000 e-books or you’ve already sold the rights in 15 other countries – that information is worth including.
  • Do not make demands.
    You can ask things politely, but don’t tell me that I have to print this, or that I have to respond by a certain date, or that I have to give you XXX royalty or … I don’t know about you, but nothing irks me more than a bossy letter from a stranger.

Read the whole post “The Poorly Written Query

The author describes herself as “Editor/Publisher, Location: Texas, United States and: overworked, underpaid, with a teething tantrum-throwing toddler. What I Do: Talk about writing, submitting, publishing, and marketing children’s books and teen books.”



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The UGLY Duckling



Book Store

Book Store


I just read a marvelous book on self-publishing and I would have given it a 5-star review for its content, but it was – against the own advice of the authors – not copy-edited, not even spell-checked – and the layout was not done professionally. While reading these errors were so disturbing, that I will give it not more than a 3 or 4-star review.

“It doesn’t cost any more to produce a good-looking book than it does to produce a bad-looking one” Joel Friedlander wrote in his great blog about sloppy, self-published books:

This is true for both, paper books and e-books that are often shambles from a book design point of view.

But not only that, these self-published books often lack the basics, such as putting them through word spelling, copy editing, beta-reading and having done a professional layout (and converting, if it is an e-book), rather than just smash-word it on the cheap.

Another blogger wrote:
“Needless to say, poor quality e-books are becoming something of an embarrassment for publishers trying to convince readers to pay a premium for downloads (as Kassia Kroszer recently pointed out in Publishing Perspectives: it is hard to justify higher e-book prices when the product simply isn’t up to scratch), and clearly it’s an issue publishers need to address sooner rather than later if they want win this argument.

The problem of substandard e-books partially stems from the fact that many publishers currently lack the means and expertise (and, to some extent, the will) to produce high quality e-book editions themselves. Their workflow and production process are set up for print, so the quickest way to create e-book files has been to outsource the job to third parties, inevitably with very little quality control.”

If self-published authors want to be taken seriously, and compete with paper books (both, hard and soft cover) from commercial publishers, they need to offer seriously edited book content and also a professional book layout.



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Self-publishing Sensation

An Awesome Book

An Awesome Book

Harper Collins signed a three-book deal with self-publishing sensation Dallas Clayton. The Los Angeles based Clayton self-published the children’s picture book An Awesome World! in 2009 after writing it for his then six-year-old son.  Clayton says is about “dreaming big and never giving up.”

Available just through his website, Clayton sold tens of thousands of copies of the book through word-of-mouth and Internet marketing.  In 2009 he established the Awesome World Foundation, which promotes literacy by donating one copy of An Awesome Book! to charity for every copy sold through the website. Amazon published Clayton’s follow-up book, An Awesome Book of Thanks!, in 2010 through its Encore imprint.

Under the deal Harper Collins will publish its own edition of An Awesome Book! in spring 2012. Clayton will also develop children’s content across multiple platforms, including television.



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