Marketing a Book #4 – A Very Public Interview

My first television interview was aired at 5:30 PM on April 2nd on Cogeco’s Cable 14 – Hamilton, Ontario. I had been interviewed for employment many times, but never publicly, and never about something as personal as an autobiography. The overall experience gave me confidence and prepared me for my next interview to come, with a reporter from a local newspaper, The Flamborough Review. Here’s a bit of background information just before I launch into a critique of the interview.

In my last post, I explained that the recent TV interview came about through a chance meeting with the host of the show, who just happened to be someone I knew. That was a bit of good luck. Being interviewed by someone you know increases the comfort level of the whole process. We worked together more than twenty years before and got to know each other well enough then. He was the principal of a high school where I was Head of the Science Department. Although we hadn’t seen each other for years, and contact was limited to one congratulatory email when the host was elected mayor of Hamilton, when we reconnected everything fell back into place.

The show’s host met with me for about an hour prior to the day of the interview. During that meeting ,he engaged me in discussion and posed some general questions. At the end of our meeting, I gave him a complete bio, a brief synopsis of the book’s content, and a copy of the book itself. The interview was scheduled for the next afternoon when it would be recorded live to tape.

The interview went smoothly and I was relaxed. It really helps when you are being interviewed by someone who knows you. Nevertheless, his questions were probing. The taping was for a half hour show and that was to be the length of the interview; no retakes, no editing, and no chance to misspeak. My goal was to answer questions fully but succinctly, not use too much in the way of gesture, and mind my posture. Although I think everything went well, the proof will be in the viewing.

The setting: Our family room at 5:30 PM on Thursday, April 2, 2015

The viewers and reviewers: My wife and I

The interviewer: Larry di Ianni, retired high school principal, former mayor of Hamilton, Ontario, and a host of a weekly current affairs program in Cable 14 – Hamilton, Ontario.

The interview subject: L Alan Weiss – retired Special Education Specialist, début author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment.

The questions posed suggested that the Interviewer had read the material provided, read selected sections of the book, and prepared a set of probing questions. His demeanour was relaxed and friendly, which put the Author at ease.

The Author seemed relaxed, but a bit stiff in affect. Perhaps I was more sensitive to this perceived stiffness than others might be. We are often our most severe critics.

The Interviewer spent the first ten minutes or so asking questions related to the Author’s life story based on the autobiographical section of the book. Why did you immigrate to Canada in 1968? What was it like to be separated from family and home? Why did you pursue a career in teaching after training for a career in research science? Why did you decide to write a book? The remainder of the interview focused on the book and the Author’s intent in writing it. Why did you select a title (Through a Lens of Emptiness) that uses a word, Emptiness, which has negative connotations for most people? Can you explain Taoism for our viewers? How do Zen Gardens fit into your book? Your book is also a memoir about the process of writing an autobiography, could you tell me about that.

The Author responded to all questions with candour and relatively succinctly. The initial stiffness rapidly gave way to a more relaxed demeanour. He answered questions related to personal choices and potential conflictual feelings directly and without hesitation. The Author (me) did not shy away from positions that might be contentious, but tempered his language in all cases. He seemed prepared to answer questions, knowledgeable about the content element of the book, and demonstrated his knowledge of related material in a confident but humble manner.

The viewers, my wife and I, thought the interview went well. My wife is my most trusted critic. She knows me like no other individual and would tell me if it hadn’t gone well without hesitation. I was satisfied with the overall result too. Although my answers were direct and to the point, there were times when they might have been briefer. It was a terrific first experience all-in-all. I’ll stop here before this post, like some of my interview answers, becomes too long.

I came away from this experience with the following insight:

· I can give a credible public interview performance.

· I might spend more time on talking points and possible questions related to my life story, which was probed more than I thought it would be.

· I came across as sincere and modest, but answer questions comfortably.

· The interview was successful because of the preparation of the interviewer and the way questions were asked.

· Not all interviewers are equally skilled and may not be as friendly, so be prepared for the unexpected.

· When you ‘put yourself out there’ answer all questions with conservative candor.

· If you can’t stand by your words and thoughts, you shouldn’t be in the hot seat.

My next interview will appear in print. The words of the interviewer and any quotations are more permanent than the fleeting words of a TV interview. It will be another interesting experience, which, of course, will become the subject of a blog post in this series on Marketing a Book.

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Did you have a first experience interview? How did you react? Please comment….

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Marketing a Book #3 The Mysterious World of Publicity and Publicists

Writing a book was challenging. Bringing it to the point of being published was a matter of time and mechanics. Seeing the book as a finished product was more exciting than I thought it would be. The next part of this author’s journey was going to be a challenge. The established author with a following sets off on this part of the journey ‘with a song in his heart and a bounce in his step’. The début author has another experience altogether.

The unknown and untested author (that’s me) has a target audience in mind which he wants to reach and not much more than that in his kit bag. He takes his first steps on a path into the unknown world of ‘putting himself and his work out there’. He walks cautiously as if he is about to walk through a minefield while marching over a bed of hot coals at the same time. On either side of his path are thousands upon thousands of books on bookstore shelves and an endless array of eBooks all clamouring for the attention of a prospective purchaser. He is in dire need of some handholding and a soothing security blanket at that moment. ENTER THE PUBLICIST!

In my case, the publishing package purchased included some great materials, like posters and business cards, flyers and bookmarks. The materials I received were beautifully prepared and gave me a professional set of publicity material. Everything was printed clearly displaying the book’s title and some distinctive portion of the book’s cover in evidence along with the necessary information to purchase it. This was the beginning of branding a newly minted author, L Alan Weiss (me again), and his book Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment.

My book looked great and those publicity materials had a very professional look and feel about them. However, it is up to me to make the best use of these materials as I can. I’ll get to my adventures as a self-publicist in a bit, but first let’s talk about some serious handholding and a comfy security blanket that came my way; not for free, of course. Nothing is ever free, but some things are definitely worth the expense.

Publicists come in two flavours; one works for you and comes at a cost, the other costs nothing but the author’s time and energy. I chose to purchase the services of a social media publicist to help me make the best use of that intricate and powerful domain of human interactions. Social media has such potential, but I lack the sophistication to make the most of it. I’m just guessing, but my social media publicist is probably 35 to 40 years younger than I, which is just perfect. He’s sure to be knowledgeable about the social media domain. He sounded enthusiastic and interested in helping me as best he can.

I purchased a twelve-week package of support, including an audit of the social media elements I already use and a social media campaign prepared during the first week of our association. Over the remaining eleven weeks of the campaign, he will monitor the effectiveness of the campaign and make appropriate adjustments as we progress. In the end, I will receive a final report on the campaign. I will report on the experience, to you my followers and readers, in the form of a post on this blog.

The real adventure in publicizing my work begins as I act as my own agent, my own ‘boots on the ground’ publicist; an impossible task without two crucial happenings. The first was so unexpected that I can only use the word “kismet” to explain it. About four months ago I was meeting with someone over coffee at a local café, when a person from my past recognizes me and stops to say hello. In the course of our brief conversation, he asked me what I’d been up to since retiring, so I told him I had been writing a book which was close to completion. “That’s interesting”, he said.

This man, who was the principal of a school where I had taught in the early 1990’s, now hosted a weekly half hour show on local cable television. He said, “Keep me updated and let me know when it is in print, I’ll interview you on my show.” And so it has come to pass that on Wednesday, March 25th the interview was recorded live to tape, for broadcast on April 2nd. What a great opportunity for me to get my agent/publicist’s feet wet. See what I mean by “Kismet”. I’ll write a review of my interview in the next post in this series.

The second happening was born out of the social media endeavour. The agency that provides the service had me complete an extensive questionnaire, including many items that forced me to discuss and describe my book in a number of ways. The effort put forth in completing the questionnaire yielded enough material for me to produce a good press release document. Hopefully, that document will generate a few more interview opportunities and some local speaking engagements.

My life as an author/agent/self-publicist will certainly provide material for more blog posts at the very least. I will continue to update my followers and new readers on my adventures.

Until the next post . . .

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are you working with a publicist? What is your experience?

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Marketing a Book #2 – Lemony Snicket’s Great Advice

Marketing a Book #2 – Lemony Snicket’s Great Advice

Wouldn’t it be great to come up with a concept as neat as Lemony Snicket. Of course, that idea reflects the genius of David Handler. It is up to others to come up with their own ideas for a great and entertaining series of books in the genre of their own choice. There is one product of David Handler’s thinking that we might all copy without fear of copyright infringement. That idea was expressed in an article by Sarah Shaffi in the Bookseller ( http://www.thebookseller.com/news/lemony-snicket-urges-authors-connect-indie-bookshops Oct. 16, 2015)

In the article, Shaffi relates Handler’s ideas on using indie bookstores to market your book, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. Obviously this is just one of several marketing techniques planned for my campaign to sell copies of my book Through a Lens of Emptiness. In Marketing a book #1, I already discussed using Google Ads and Social Media to get my book some profile. Here’s how I plan to implement Daniel Handler’s idea.

I have already approached my local independent bookstore, Pickwick Books in Watertown, Ontario, with the idea. I have asked them to give my book placement in their shop in return for free advertising on my personal website. The plan is for me to provide a few signed copies of the book for sale in their store, and for me to share the profit on the sale with them. Since I can get copies of my book at a discounted rate, and can set the sale price for those copies as I wish. This arrangement is a win-win for Pickwick Books and for me every time a book sells.

Working with my local independent bookstore is logical but clearly only good for moving a few books. To make this a viable plan of action, I’ll need to line up as many independent bookstores in as broad a geographic region as possible. Not only will this take some effort on my part, but also some thought as to how to approach a bookstore with the idea and how to select the stores I want to approach. The number of books I purchase at a discount from the publisher is limited by the resources available to me ($$$$ + time + proximity). Because of these limitations, I need to establish some meaningful criteria to guide my choices.

These are the criteria I will apply to selecting which bookstores to approach:

1. The store needs to have a good location and regular clientele.

2. The bookstore should be relatively well established.

3. Use the post office and a phone call to introduce myself.

4. The owner of the bookstore should show some interest in the content of my book.

5. The bookstore should be within one to one and a half hours drive from my home.

That’s the plan and this spring is the launch date. I’ll keep my readers informed about the efficacy of this plan as it unfolds. I thought Lemony’s Dan Handler) idea had real merit. My only innovation re his suggestion is to provide free advertising for each bookstore participating in my plan on the web.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) –
Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Visit my author website at http://www.lalanweiss.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

Marketing Your BookBuying Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

The publisher, iUniverse, has published my book. They provided all the editorial and production service covered by my publishing agreement with them and they have been most satisfactory. I have blogged regularly, posting progress reports and reflections on the processes involved as they unfolded. Now books need to be sold in a highly competitive market. An audience for Through a Lens of Emptiness is out there for sure, but the target audience for a book is both ephemeral and elusive unless an author can reach out to it. This is a daunting task for a début author, so all the support he can get in this endeavour is welcome. Unless he is particularly well connected with individuals that know the ropes, purchasing useful services are essential.

I’ve tried to build a bit of a following on my own over the last two years through blogging and the twitter-sphere. I’ll discuss that experience in the next blog post. I provide the following reflections with an understanding that which supports an author purchases are determined by $$$ available and not the desire to purchase quality services. Please note, I never name the support services purchased nor the prices paid in that everyone’s choice in services and service level will vary. The only service I will name is Google Ads, since everyone who uses the Internet knows what they are and who supplies them already.

I was informed about marketing services available to me through a marketing representative from iUniverse. These services were carefully explained to me, all my questions were answered in full, and there was no pressure or push to purchase any of them. I had time to think over the possible offerings and made my choices in my own time. The information available on the publisher’s web site provides some information about what is on offer, but direct contact with a knowledgeable individual was essential.

Google Ads looked like the best bang for the buck. This service allows me to define my target audience by age, interest, la gauge, and geographic region. The initial agreement for these ads covers the first three months of marketing. This means that for three months, informing my target audience that Through a Lens of Emptiness is available for purchase will be assured because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The second service selected purchases the services of an professional author publicity services to help me create a social media presence. This service is the more expensive of the two, but it is a pragmatic way of filling a big gap in my knowledge and experience. I have been finding my way through the nuance of using blogging and twitter to build an audience and establish a profile, but I still am wondering in the wilderness. Using Facebook to create an author well developed author page remains obscure. I look forward to the support I will receive and the knowledge to be gained from the experience.

The marketing ball is rolling and should gain momentum after I submit the extensive questionnaires that provide the necessary information for these service to move my marketing process along to the next stage.

In my next post I’ll reflect on my experiences with twitter and blogging.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness , now available through Google Books, Amazon.com, and the iUniverse Book Store.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are professional marketing services actually necessary? Do you use an Twitter based Marketing services? Please comment……..

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Working with an e-Publisher – Live at Last, live at last, my book is live at last

Working with an ePublisher – Live at Last

This blog strand focused on experiences and thoughts related to self-publishing and working with a specific publishing service provider. Those who have been following these posts know that until now, the ePublisher is never identified. Five days ago the book went live, which means that it is available for purchase either as an eBook or as a print on demand copy. The publisher can be identified now that the writing and production phase of my self-publishing project is completed. IUniverse provided the services and supports that enabled me to complete the project and bring Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment into being.

Of course, there are a number of companies that provide services to the self-publishing author. Each offers packages with various services included; the more services provided the greater the cost. The question for the would-be author is what level of service he requires to supplement the level of expertise he brings to the table. If the aspiring author is a novice in the writing and publishing field, then the more support one purchases the better. In my case, the package selected was the full meal deal.

I am not shilling for iUniverse in any way. Their services were selected based on the best information available from the iUniverse web site and from self-publishing forums. Some of the forum comments reflected less than satisfactory experiences, but squeaky wheels make the most noise, so I took them for what they said and nothing more. If you have been following this blog strand, the reader will know that my experience has been essentially positive from the beginning of my association with iUniverse in April 2012. I was determined to make the process work for me from the outset, take the advice given and act on it, and put in the sweat equity required to produce a publishable work. When the process began this a newly published author hadn’t a clue what was involved in terms of time and energy, but over time I discovered the magnitude of commitment required.

IUniverse provided contacts to support me from the very beginning of our relationship. In the beginning there were opportunities to discuss some of my ideas with individuals that were likely part of the marketing and sales staff. Their principle role seemed to revolve around informing me about additional services I might be interested in purchasing, but they were also willing to engage in extended conversations. When working with a company offering self-publishing services don’t be offended by these efforts at further monetizing the services on offer, after all that’s part of the business. No one ever twisted my arm to purchase any extra services. Listen carefully to what is on offer, one of those services might just be your cup of tea. The fact is, that in their efforts to interest you in other services you have a chance to discuss your ideas with a complete stranger, which is as useful as having conversations with people you know. Perhaps such conversations are even more useful than one might think, because whoever your target audience is, they are strangers too.

If a complete editing package is purchased, your work will be reviewed by editorial staff three times. My manuscript was reviewed by a developmental editor, a content editor, and a quality editor. The most useful editorial service was the DE (developmental edit). That’s when the author learns just how much work they still need to do. My own manuscript was full of faults, all of which were described in detail in an earlier post in this blog strand. If you are fortunate to have a good developmental editor go over your manuscript, make sure you read all their comments in detail. Those individual comments were essential in determining the scope and range of work required to get the writing process on track. In my case, the first draft required radical surgery, restructuring, and rewriting.

The other edits provided opportunity for further refinements, but by the second draft (66000 words of it), the final product had taken on its essential shape. In addition to editorial support, specialists in marketing, book production, and publicity were also on call to assist me in various stages of the process. If you do the research, and total the cost of all the services included in the most complete package iUniverse offers, an author attempting to locate and purchase a similar set of services on their own will spend at least as much money, if not more.

The other advantage to working with a company like iUniverse, or any of the other companies who offers services like these, is the sense of structure within one must work. Each specific phase of the process allows the author to target their energies, and focus on what needs to be done at any particular stage of the process. I still need to review the printer’s copy for defects in workmen ship, but the files submitted to me for approval suggest that the finished book will exceed my expectations. The same can be said for all the marketing materials, book launch materials, and an author web site that were included in the publishing package purchased.

My next blog post in this strand will reflect my reaction to the Printer’s proof copy and the actual materials included as marketing materials and book launch materials. So far, I can say with confidence, that every dollar spent has been worthwhile. This blog strand will continue as I work through the experience of marketing a book. When my author web site goes live, I’ll provide the link, but that will take about a week.

Until then, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness, Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment which is now available through the iUniverse book store and Amazon.

Nota bene: The book will also be available through other supply channels as they come on stream. Some information still needs to be uploaded to these book stores including a book cover image and brief excerpt. Apparently it takes several days for a listing to take on its complete form. Thanks for understanding.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

What was your reaction when your book went live? Comment below if you wish…

Leave a comment

Filed under Working with an E-Publisher

Working with an e-Publisher – Update

PerWorking with an e-Publisher – Update

In my last post I related two points of information; the first explained that the publishing process had reached the stage of approved block designs for the cover and book interior including a completed index, and the second related to a small tense issue in the cover text.

I sent a note to my PSA (Publishing Support Associate), the title of the individual who guides me through the final part of the publishing process. In the note I explained my concern. His response explained the context in which the tense was chosen, which made perfect sense. If you consider the tense relationships in the cover text as a unique piece of writing, then inconsistencies in tense seem like a glaring error. However, the cover text is written in reference to the completed book and to the actions of the author in writing it. Thus, the past tense in amongst words implying the present make sense, since the acts related to writing are in the past.

As I reflect back on the whole experience if writing a few key ideas stand out in my mind.

1. Completing a lengthy writing project is more work than one can imagine.

2. The sense of accomplishment on completion of the project is greater than expected.

3. The final product cannot be achieved without the support of many professionals unless one is thoroughly versed in every phase of the process.

4. The writing process presents the writer with moments of exhilaration, frustration, satisfaction, and dismay. The remarkable thing about all these feelings is that there is nothing unpleasant about them.

5. If one is not prepared to be disciplined, self-critical, persistent, and determined to complete your writing project writing is not the best way to spend your time.

The next step in the process is to review the printer’s proof. When it arrives by courier, I will see the finished product for the first time. My next post in this series will follow shortly after the proof copy is in my hands. The feeling of excitement that comes with this stage of the process is irrepressible. The plan is to luxuriate in the moment.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Working with an E-Publisher

The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

My last blog post in this series focused on the topic of indexing and cover layout. I had chosen to purchase the services of a professional indexer and cover layout specialist rather than attempt those tasks myself. I’ll address the cover polish first, and then the index.

I had already signed off on the block design for the cover by the time I had written my last post, and I still find it gives the book an attractive and professional feel. The only problem with the cover is found in one sentence of the text. Although I provided most of the text, the cover editor added and subtracted a bit to the text that appears on the flyleaf or the back cover, and that’s where the problem lies. One sentence has four key verbs contained within, the first is in the present tense, which fits with the tense of the whole. The second, third, and fourth verbs are in the past. Ugh! I missed that when I reviewed the text.

I have emailed the appropriate support person in the editorial department to see if the tense can be adjusted. Since I already signed off on the cover design, I’m not sure it can be altered, although it should be a simple matter to address. The tense issue is a very small one in the grand scheme of things for two reasons. First, only a very picky reader is likely to notice, and secondly, this is predominately going to be sold as a print on demand or an eBook. It’s not like I will get much shelf space in Barns and Noble or Indigo/Chapters.

This small issue is just that, a small issue. I just wanted to point out that it exists because the final text was prepared by a cover polish expert. Expert or not, he or she is just as likely to miss a small error like this. The error exists in the hard copy of one paragraph of the cover text because I abrogated my responsibility to a ‘professional’ with sheer abandon. Within lies the error. Hopefully, a change will be made to rectify the issue. We shall see how responsive the editor will be to my request. I’ll let you know.

The index was completed and forwarded to me by PDF file as usual. It looked pretty good and gave the reader a good idea of the range and scope of the content. I assessed the quality of the index in substance and layout by comparing it to the index in a few works of non-fiction, and it compared favourably. I happen to be reading Hawking’s A Brief History of Time at the moment. The index in Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment is not demonstrably different in appearance and usefulness as compared to others, even Hawking’s book. So when it comes to indexing, go pro and spend a few $$.

The next step will be to review and approve the Galley Proof of the printed version of the book. When it arrives, I will post my comments.

Until the next post, as always, I remain your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

1 Comment

Filed under Working with an E-Publisher

Awaiting the Index, a Worthwhile Wait

 

Awaiting the Index, a Worthwhile Wait

My manuscript has been turned into a book. The work Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment, is nearing its publication date. The text is in the hands of a professional who specializes in indexing. I expect to receive the index for my inspection and approval in a few more weeks. The topic of this post relate some thoughts on the value of specialized services.

Self-publishing is not an inexpensive undertaking. The package I purchased provided many editorial and support services, but not the type that result in a polished finished product. Proof Reading the final blocked out interior text and cover text is essential. No matter how excellent one’s technical writing skills may be, and no matter how exhaustive the author has been in proofing his or her work, a professional proof reader is worth the cost. This service was available to me at about $1000. You might find this a steep price to pay, but my brother paid almost twice that to proof edit his crime fiction novel, which has many fewer words than the 66000-word piece I have produced. No matter whether one uses the service provided by an e-publisher or hires an independent proof reader, there is a cost to producing a text free of errors.

If the work is a fiction, then indexing is not an issue, but if it is non-fiction, even creative non-fiction, indexing is necessary. Just examine any work of non-fiction, and an index should be present in the majority of those texts. The indexer will read my text and create an index that reflects the intent of my work. I will have a chance to review his work, but based on all the other supports I have received, I expect the index will be well done. My cost for indexing is close to $800. Again my reader may be shocked, but the expense is well worth it. The task of indexing is both tedious and highly specialized.

The added cost of specialized services is well worth it. I am confident that the final product will compare favourably with other industry standard books. Whether my book has public appeal or not is a moot point. The potential sales of an unknown author’s first book are a statistic that time will reveal. That will also depend on how the book is marketed and what exposure it gets. Marketing my book is the next exciting adventure that awaits me..

My work is a creative non-fiction. The factor that makes it easier to market non-fiction is that the target audience for my words and ideas exists. Reaching that target audience is the trick. I’m working on that problem as I await the official release of my book. Of course, I will be blogging on that experience as well. My plan is to dedicate myself to marketing my book over the next year. It will be yet another interesting experience in the life of the first-time author. I must admit; there were times when I thought that the sobriquet AUTHOR would never apply to me.

Until the next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Do you think that all non-fiction genera books require an index? Please comment…..

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

 


 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing a book

Working with an E-Publisher The Final Steps #1

Working with an E-Publisher – The Final Steps #1

This is the next in the series of blog posts related to working with an E-Publisher. The process has reached the production and printing stage after thirty-one months. The final stages revolve around entering the proof reading changes, reviewing the block design proofs for the cover and inside of the book, reviewing and accepting the proof reader’s changes, another review of the text and cover to make sure everything is correct, accepting the final cover and inside designs, indexing, reviewing and approving the index, and final review of the Galley Proof for problems. I am required to accept and sign off on each step.

The ‘quality edit’, which was performed on the last version of the manuscript was submitted after corrections were made, along with a corrected version of the text that would be printed on the back of the book. This is the version that was submitted for layout to fit the 6×9 format plan for the finished book. Once formatted, the block design proofs were reviewed by a proof reader. The book cover was also designed and my suggested text was polished. Once complete, the inside block design proof, proof reader’s corrections, and cover design were sent back in PDF format.

When the PDF files with the block designs for the inside matter and the cover were received, I also received a list of the proof reader’s findings and had to review and accept each suggested change. Each change was listed on a form which was indexed by the page number, the paragraph number, the sentence number, along with the suggested correction and a reason for the change. That file, along with the accepted changes were sent back to the publisher, the changes were made, and the PDF files were sent back for my review. Any changes that I felt still needed to be made were entered on a form in the same manner as the proof reader had provided.

I received the PDF files of the cover and inside matter once again. This time, I needed to verify that the final changes I wished to be made, had been made correctly. Once again, I needed to state explicitly that the changes had been made as requested. Following that acceptance e-mail, and before the process of set up and printing could move forward, I officially signed off on the block designs. The publisher can get on with the remainder of the process now that my approvals are official.

I’ll describe the remainder of my experiences as my project moves toward the final published work. However, before this post concludes, there are a few important reminders.

· The publisher provides support all along the way, but the author bears responsibility for the quality of the final product.

· The amount of support from the publisher depends on the publishing package you purchase. Make sure you know what services to expect based on the package purchased.

· Make sure you review your manuscript carefully at each step of the process. If you are less than diligent in your review, costly and embarrassing mistakes are inevitable.

· Use the best writing support available. These include a top quality word processor and a quality grammar checking service. I used Word 2013, Grammarly (available at www.grammarly.com ), and also a high quality text-to-voice software package. As stated in an earlier post, the text-to-voice software allows the author to step back from his work and be objectively critical, listen to the rhythm of the language, and listen for the clarity of meaning in the language written for others to read.

· Always save backup copies of your work.

Until the next post, your faithful blogger, L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness.

www.lensofemptiness.com Release date TBA

Leave a comment

Filed under Working with an E-Publisher

December 25 is a Day to Think about Jesus

Knowledge of the life of Jesus comes to us from the Gospels, so we need to accept them as written for what they are, a post facto rendering of history. Historians place the birth of a male child called Joshua, who is considered to be the historical Jesus, in either 4 BCE or 2 BCE. His death by crucifixion at the hands of the Roman Procurator of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate, takes place when Jesus is thirty to thirty-three years old. What is certain, is that there was a man called Joshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) who played a significant role in the history of the Jewish people at that time in Roman Judea.

Before continuing, I should make two points clear to the reader; this blog is written by a very Secular Jewish person who views Jesus as a co-religionists who was a courageous advocate for his take on Judaism at that time. Jesus was a well-educated Jewish person who was raised in the Pharisaic tradition of the Oral Law. The Pharisees followed a more personal form of Judaism which did not depend in the Temple or the priestly class represented by Sadducees. The importance of a personalized form of Judaism independent of the need for a Temple in Jerusalem was critical, since it would be destroyed in 70 CE.

Why then, should a Jewish person, advocate for the importance of Christmas as a time to recognize the birth of an important leader of a significant Jewish sect? As such an advocate for the memory and respect for Jesus as a person, and as a Jew, there is no room in my heart for the mythology of Jesus which forms a significant part of the four gospels. There is no room in my head for the idea of an Immaculate Conception or miracles or resurrection or even a Messiah. These ideas are impossible to accept as anything other than a significant mythology because of my focused study of the history of the Jewish people and a rigorous education in the sciences. Now let’s continue with these points clearly stated.

Jesus is important to me because:

1.  He was a scholar, a thinker and a leader of an important Jewish sect.

2.  He, and those who followed him maintained the essentials of Jewish practice, including all the celebrations of holidays, dietary laws and the rite of circumcision, but decried the idea of sacrificing animals as a part of religious practices.

3. He had the courage of his convictions, and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions knowing that the High Priests and the Sanhedrin were the puppets of the Roman State in Judea.

4. He advocated a belief that is based on all that was good in Judaism and was a kind a gentle leader. He truly led with the consent and support of his followers.

Jesus had the audacity to challenge the practice of ritual sacrifice by attacking the practice of changing foreign currencies to the coin of the realm. This service was required by those who came to the Temple, so they could purchase animals for sacrifice by the priests of the Temple. This has to be true, because such people as money changers operated in the Hall of the Gentiles, the first great courtyard inside the Temple where commerce of various sorts was allowed by all peoples, Jews and non-Jews alike. When he attacked these activities within the Temple, Jesus knew he was attacking the dominance of the priestly class as well as the Roman State that controlled them. Jesus was not naive politically. He knew exactly what he was doing and why.

There was nothing Jesus did as a sect leader that would have bothered either the Jews or the Romans, because he was simply the leader of another of the many sects of Judaism that were common throughout Judea and the Jewish diaspora that existed in those days. He only became a problem when he attacked the practices of the Temple. At that point he became a threat to stability in Judea, after all, he had a growing following which might begin agitating against the practices advocated by the Sadducees. They might had fomented rebellion, all be it a minor one, that would undermine the authority of the Temple and the Sanhedrin. Since there had been several revolts and rebellions by the Jews in Judea, Rome was not going to allow the possibility of any disruptions to peace (under the strict control of Rome) and law and order in Judea.

I won’t go into the matter of the trial and punishment of Jesus in this post since the intent is to honour his birth and his importance as a Jewish person in the history and evolution of a religion. There a few interesting ideas to present before ending this post, including the role of the Essenes in this story, and the matter of Jesus’ lost years.

1. The Dead Sea Scrolls informed us that the Essenes practiced Baptismal rites and held a strong belief in resurrection and the idea of a Messiah as early as 200 BCE.

2. The Essenes were apolitical and had no place for all the arguments between the Pharisees and the Sadducees or the struggle for power between the Priestly class and the Roman government. They separated themselves from all of that by retreating from society.

3. It is likely that Jesus spent some time with the Essenes. Jesus disappears from the Gospels at the age of 12 and reappears when he is baptised by John in the river Jordan. John the Baptist was a Jew and his practices were very clearly influenced by the Essenes. That is exactly why Jesus accepted baptism.

4. Jesus is supposed to be of the House of David. He had twelve disciples. King David ruled with the consent and assent of the Twelve Tribes and their leaders, a striking parallelism. Initially the power was in the hands of King Saul who came from the tribe of Benjamin. Saul was not the popular choice. When Saul died as a result of his failed attempt to conquer Philistia, David was announced king. David came from the tribe of Judah and had been the popular choice all along.

The idea of the popularity of Jesus and the modified Judaism he espoused, makes him a significant person in my mind. Has the followers of Jesus continued as a Jewish sect without the pressures of persecution, would it have survived as a sect? Would it have grown into the major streams of Christianity, Catholicism, Orthodoxy and the all the manifestations of Protestantism that exist to day is a good question with no answer? Of course that’s not the way history unfolded.

Have a great Christmas, and let’s all celebrate the birth of a great man, Joshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

As always, your faithful blogger, L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Please visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

1 Comment

Filed under Religion