Draft of Author Sign-Up Form for Read Tuesday

Read Tuesday Curtains

I made a draft of the author sign-up form for Read Tuesday. (In case you haven’t heard about it yet, you can learn more about Read Tuesday—a bookselling event like Black Friday—by clicking on the link below.)


The draft has ten questions and a note at the top. Some of the questions will be optional, most will be required (which are required should be clear when filling out the form).

Please look the draft over. If you have comments or think of something we should consider adding, please let me know.

We’ll have a separate form to sign up books (rather than authors), and we can also add separate forms for any small publishers or booksellers that may wish to participate in the event.

Remember, it’s just a draft. (So don’t try to complete the form yet.) Once it’s ready, I’ll post a link to the form, and all you’ll have to do to participate is complete the form online and press a magic submit button. Then I can create a database of the answers at anytime.

Click on the link below to open the form. (It’s a PDF file. Be sure to scroll down to the subsequent pages, or you’ll only see the first few questions.)

Author Sign-up for Read Tuesday

In the note at the top, you can see that I gave myself a silly title, just to show you that I’m really unimportant—that’s what titles are for, right? (Read Tuesday is about many authors providing a great program for thousands of readers, not about any one person or group of people.)

Regarding the image above with the red curtains… I got this idea that we might be able to stir up a little pre-launch buzz for Read Tuesday, and I thought closed curtains like you see in a theater just before a big show might be a good idea. However, the primitive method that I used resulted in a highly pixelated image. I put an image on the Read Tuesday website, the Twitter page, and the Facebook fan page, so at least anyone who visits these sites will see that something is in the works. (These sites are otherwise empty.) I was going to suggest that we post this picture on our blogs, and perhaps even create a few posts to try to stir up some pre-launch buzz for the Read Tuesday event (you can see one image on my sidebar to the right), but since it’s rather pixelated, I decided not to suggest this.

Actually, it’s hard to notice the pixelation on the small sidebar image, so adding these red curtains to all our sidebars might not be a bad idea after all. Feel free to add it to yours and to spread the word. You’re welcome to copy the red curtain image (either above or from the sidebar).

In about a week, we should have much nicer images to work with to help brand the Read Tuesday program. When these are available, I will let you know, and that’s when the Read Tuesday sites will launch.

Chris McMullen

Authors: Try Giving Yourself Advice

If another author asked you for advice and you checked out the other author’s book, would suggestions come to your mind? Maybe you would comment on what you do or don’t like about the cover. You might have suggestions for the blurb. If you found something in the Look Inside that put you off, would you mention it?

People generally love to give out advice. That’s why everyone tends to receive a lot of advice, even when it wasn’t sought. People form opinions easily, and many people don’t hesitate to share them.

Even if you don’t share your opinion so freely, you still form opinions. Suppose you’re checking out a book. You’ll know in an instant if you like or dislike the cover, if the blurb attracts your interest or not, and if there is something that you do or don’t like about the book.

But a funny thing about advice is that while people love to give it to others, they often don’t take their own advice.

  • Evidently, you don’t have to have a good track record in your own relationships in order to give dating advice to others.
  • Apparently, you don’t need to have any skill in a sport yourself in order to give tips to others.
  • Clearly, you don’t have to make the best work-related decisions in order to advise others about their career paths.

Here’s my point. If you’re looking at someone else’s cover, you might find yourself wondering, “How can you put that on your book?” But if it’s your own cover, you don’t tend to be as critical. If you’re shopping for a book, you might think to yourself, “That blurb doesn’t try to catch my interest at all.” But when it’s your own blurb, you’re already interested in it. When you pay five bucks for a book, you tend to get disappointed if you catch several typos. But when it’s your own book, you often read what you meant to write instead of what you actually wrote.

There are two things you can learn from this:

  • You need to try to step aside and evaluate your work critically. Take a break from it and try to approach it as if you were seeing it for the first time, and try to evaluate it as if it were someone else’s book.
  • No matter how hard you try, you can’t see your own work as if it were written by someone else. There is no substitute for external opinions. Getting this before you publish is invaluable.

I know a few authors who will think that they judge themselves more harshly than anyone else – i.e. you feel that you are your own toughest critic. Many of us feel that way.

But we’re our toughest critics only in certain aspects. You’re not your own toughest critic in every aspect. You judge yourself harshly only in the areas that you care about most. You give yourself a large allowance in areas that you don’t care much about.

However, those areas that aren’t so important to you might be very important to shoppers. So even if you are your own toughest critic in some regards, honest external feedback – if you can get it – is still very likely to help you find ways to improve your book.

You shouldn’t necessarily change everything based on external feedback. But first you need to know what that feedback is before you can decide whether or not you feel it merits attention.

Have you ever come across books where the cover, blurb, Look Inside, category selection, or something else probably could have benefited from a little advice? Of course, if you send advice to all of those authors and publishers, some of them won’t want it. I’m not telling you to go advise others about how to publish their books. I’m suggesting that we all need to evaluate our own books more critically, and especially to benefit from more external feedback prior to publishing.

We just don’t look at other books the same way that we look at our own. In this regard, books are kind of like kids. Your book is your baby. It’s not like other books, is it?

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)