As a self published author I welcome the many and varied unsolicited services that are being offered. Creating the work is a pleasant chore. The challenge of getting into print has been largely removed by the self-publishing industry. Marketing is the largest obstacle yet to be overcome. Lacking expertise in the field of packaging and presenting my material, I welcome the opportunity to learn what services there might be to fill the gaps in my skill sets.
One recent solicitation brought to mind an old saying, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” The offer was to take my book and polish it into perfection. The ad read in part, “publishers are not interested in anything other than the perfect book.” I have no earthly idea what a “perfect” version of any of my books would look like and not being willing to gamble a sum of money to find out, I deleted the offer.
My goal is not to write a perfect book. My goal is to tell a good story. Remember those days around a campfire or huddled with family in the glow of a brace of candles during a power outage. How would stories told at those times be rated on degrees of perfection? Were the stories you shared during sleepovers ever perfect? Or were they just good stories? I wonder, in what way is a good book any less entertaining than a perfect book?
Any writer should be able to avoid the obvious gaffes such as not creating anachronisms and should never resolve conflicts by resorting to deus ex machina. Correct spelling and punctuation, except as a stylistic device, is a given. I suspect that these are points held in common by the perfect story and the good story.
My books are not right margin justified. The reason is not very profound. My word processing program has the world’s worst hyphenation dictionary. Not only will it use full word sized gaps in the middle of a sentence but is known to hyphenate a word by separating it after the first or second letter. Not a single reader has yet commented about this and if someone likes a story enough to buy the rights then I am sure they will re set it to their liking.
I write what I call “airplane” books, just the right length to last the average reader for an entire cross country flight. For me this is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pages. I will leave the creation of the 1000 plus word masterpieces to others. My characters are very real to me and working them for 1000 pages would cause many of them to go into active revolt. Some of them are very mean people and so I try to stay on their good side.
To all of you who are sending solicitations and offering advice on marketing, please continue. But be advised, I am not in the market for a jar of “perfect book polish”.