COVER: I’m the best. Without me, they wouldn’t even check the book out.
STORY: Cover, you’re just the good looks. I’m the brains.
BLURB: Nobody will see your brains until I convince them to look inside.
PRICE: They won’t see how the story turns out until I show them what a great value the book is.
FORMATTING: My excellent design is what makes it such a great value.
CHARACTERIZATION: The memorable characters generate future sales through reviews, recommendations, and referrals. I draw out the reader’s emotions.
EDITING: Those would be bad reviews if not for me!
MARKETING: I created the buzz for this book, and I generated sales and reviews.
COPYRIGHT: You’re all wrong. I’m best.
BLURB: How the deuce are you best? Nobody even reads the stinkin’ copyright page.
Everyone but Copyright laughs.
COPYRIGHT: If not for my copyright statement, everyone would be getting this book for free. And if not for my fictional works disclaimer, we’d be getting our rear ends sued. That’s how!
STORY and CHARACTERIZATION: Get rid of us, and nobody would want the book for free. You wouldn’t be able to pay people to take the book.
CHARACTERIZATION: Besides, there isn’t anyone – living or not – fantastic enough to be confused with a character in this book.
EDITING: You weren’t so fantastic in the first draft.
COVER: I could have sold that first draft.
MARKETING: No, I could have sold it.
STORY: Only because the story is so amazing.
COVER: Who’s going to read the story if nobody checks out the book? Huh? Answer me that.
MARKETING: Not to worry. I have it covered.
COVER: Really? What if I were the ugliest cover anyone ever laid eyes on? Or what if I looked like a perfect cover for a completely different genre? Would you still sell me then? Huh?
STORY: Readers would rather have a great story than a great cover.
COVER: But they will judge how good the story will be based on how great I look. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
BLURB: Even if the cover is amazing, they won’t check out the book until I capture their interest.
FORMATTING and EDITING: And they would shut the book quickly if not for us.
STORY: Or if I didn’t engage the reader right off the bat. Look, Cover and Blurb, you only have to engage the reader’s interest for a few seconds. I have to entertain the reader for several hours straight.
VOICE: I have you all beat.
PRICE: Who are you?
AUTHOR PAGE: I’m the about the author section.
Everybody but Author Page laughs.
STORY: Nobody even gets to the about the author section until the book is finished. How can you be the best?
AUTHOR PAGE: Because without the author, this book wouldn’t even exist in the first place.
FORMATTING: You’re not the author. You’re just a page about the author.
AUTHOR PAGE: I also generate future sales by sending fans to the blog, social media pages, and fan page.
MARKETING: You can thank yours truly for those pages.
COVER: Much of that marketing features a picture of me. My image makes the book marketable. I’m the brand.
CLIMAX: Excuse me.
CLIMAX: I’m what every reader wants. They yearn for me. They read hundreds of pages just to get me. The closer they get, the more they want it. I give them everything their hearts desire. Any reader will tell you that I’m the best part of the book.
STORY: You!? You’re not even a whole page. They read me for several hours, and you just for a few seconds. Why, if not for me, they would never reach the climax.
ENDING: It’s not the climax they’re after. It’s the ending. They want happiness. They want all the loose ends to be tied. I make the readers happy. I make them come back for more in the sequel. I make them recommend the book to others.
COVER: Look! Someone’s coming.
BLURB: Places, everyone!
INTRODUCTION: It’s so nice to meet you.
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)