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Will Your Book Get The Book Award Boot

By Expert Author: Roger Peterson

Fall kicks off the Book Award submission season. The question every author has ask is, "Did I do the best job in writing, in presenting, in connecting with my crowd-the people who need, want my words?" In other words, "Did I rush to publish?"
Working with authors every day, there are routine hiccups that are common. When they are pointed out, they are often surprised that they didn't notice them-both pre-layout and during layout. To anyone who is experienced with books, those hiccups are glaring and would have been noticed quickly.
What's that mean? Simply this: don't go it alone. Before you enter your book, make sure it's of "star" quality.
The Boot Starts Here... on the Outside
The title doesn't work. The reader is clueless as to what the book is about. Does it solve a problem? Does it entertain? Who is it for?
The cover itself isn't connecting. Colors don't work; design looks unprofessional; the fonts don't grab.
The cover production didn't include barcodes, price of the book, or categories.
Copy on the back, dust jacket or flaps doesn't work or it's visually difficult to read.
The Boot Continues on the Inside...
On the opening, for a nonfiction book-it's all text, with no visual relief-white space helps, illustrations, callouts, are the chapter openers eye-appealing and if there are part pages, how do they look? For a fiction book, are there breaks (think bathroom) where there are distinct chapters?
What about running heads-are there any? Every professional book has them-title of book on one side and the changing chapter on the other-sometimes, you will see the author's name. A constant reminder to the reader of the title of the book and the chapter he or she is in.
Does it look like it's been professionally designed or does it come right it of a Word document? What about stranded words and lines-are there widows and orphans... those lines and words that get left behind or alone?
What about hyphens? Where are they on the page and just how many are there? Multiple hyphens on a page can get ugly to the eye. On the other hand, no hyphens scream self-publish-there should be some.
Some layouts are justified; some are not-ragged. You can go either way. Forced justifying, without reworking words, maybe a little tightening between them is another tell-tale sign of a DIY. Seeing sentences that are too tight, where you almost can't see the difference between the words... or so loose that you can drive a truck through them also shuts out, "A professional didn't touch this."
Then There's the Read...
When your book stops the judges at the cover and the back cover... and then throws up detours with a quick visual of the interior landscape... how do you think the judge is going to pre-think the rest of the book read is going to be? A little prejudice may now have set in-let's be realistic. If the judge see's that you didn't care enough on the outside of the book... did you really care about the inside-the story, the message?
If you personally want to create a book that gets attention, you pull together a team that can deliver the dressing to make it happen.

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