One of our recent clients is Glenn Burkey, the owner of 5 Star Business Consulting & Coaching in Painesville, Ohio. Glenn brought us his business self-help book, The First Class Way, and we provided the full publication treatment for him: editing, paperback and hardcover production, and e-book design. Here, Craig breaks down his long history with Glenn and how he approached the design of the book's cover:
When I was a high school senior in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, one of my closest friends was Melissa Burkey. We worked on the newspaper staff together, and I was a frequent guest at her house. I adored her, her mom and dad, and her siblings. Still do. Always will.
At that time, her father, Glenn, was a builder. I didn't know much about his background or his business, just that he was an exceptionally busy guy. After Melissa graduated from high school, a year behind me, the family moved to Ohio. I made a few visits over the years—one in the mid-1990s, where I saw Glenn run a marathon, and another in 2003 when I was covering the Oakland Raiders for a West Coast newspaper.
A few months ago, Glenn contacted me and said he'd written a book. I was only moderately surprised. I'd known him to have a curious and engaged mind, a vital tool for writing. He asked me if I could help him prepare it for publication, and I was glad to do so.
The First Class Way is a fascinating book, both for Glenn's personal story of towering business success and failure (I had no idea), and for his plainspoken, actionable advice on personal and professional development. Glenn's a business consultant and coach now, helping business owners discover how they can, in his words, make their work "provide a lifestyle, not a life sentence."
Here's the cover we came up with for his book:
A few things to note:
Obviously, the approach here was businesslike, much like Glenn's book. Different choices would have been made for a novel, or a book of narrative nonfiction. Much as with writing, effective book cover design involves deep thinking about content, audience, and objective.
In the days to come, we'll have more about Glenn, his book, and his business.
In the meantime, you can visit his website here, and find his book here.
Daniel Boucher is one of our editing clients. We became acquainted with him through his wife, author Kendra Elliot, who's published by our same group. Later, when Daniel was seeking a copy editor for his new novel, THE STORYTELLER, Craig jumped at the chance to work with him. Here, Boucher talks with Craig about bringing that story to life.
Q: You chose to write your novel THE STORYTELLER for the Kindle Worlds platform, adding it to the Lee Goldberg-William Rabkin series. What intrigued you about going that route?
Early on Lee had posted a contest to get published in THE DEAD MAN's canon series. I entered but didn't win. However, the idea I had at the time never left my head. It kept knocking and knocking until finally is started screaming at me to be written, so I started writing it with the understanding that I could submit it under Amazon's Kindle Worlds program, where I could add my story to the Dead Man World.
Q: Your novel is notable in that it's both an homage to and an extension of the original book in the series. How fun was that?
It was a lot of fun—but also a bit of a challenge. I had to keep re-reading the first novella, FACE OF EVIL, to make sure I had my story straight. Also, there's a lot of homage to some of my favorite authors throughout, as well as one *big* homage to a very well-known author (hint: it's not Stephen King). We'll see if any readers figure that one out.
Q: I know you submitted this manuscript to rigorous editing—on the developmental end from Jacque Ben-Zekry and with copy editing by me. What did you learn from that process? Why is it important?
With Jacque I learned how to identify and address plot issues (it's a continued learning mind you), as well as the value in trimming content to pick up the pace when there's simply too much going on. It was hard to make the cuts where she had suggested, but in the end I was excited by how much better it read.
With you I learned that I have problems with it's and its, that commas can be overused, the importance of understanding that there a lot more words in the English language for moving about than "he made his way over" and that a copy editor, like a dev editor, can offer a lot when it comes to sprucing up story.
The biggest—most important—thing I learned was that I'll never release another work that hasn't been dev/copy edited. Why? Because no matter how ready you think—you KNOW you are—you're not.
Get. It. Edited.
Q: Anybody who follows you on Facebook gets a steady diet of movie recommendations and the full menu of your cultural interests. When did you decide to start blending those interests with a desire to write fiction?
I've loved movies for a long as I can remember, but it wasn't until I read CUJO (probably worth noting that I'm a die-hard King fan) that I learned reading could be fun. Since then reading has always been a visual experience for me. That may sound weird, but a good book really unleashes my imagination and I have no trouble visualizing what happening. Having said that, the combination of the two was never "planned" but is just a natural piece of me. I like it. And, if I like it, it makes sense that others will too.
Q: You and I are both married to other writers, which means we probably ought to start a support group. How much of your works in progress do you share with Kendra?
A support group? Where do we find the time?
Kendra and I share everything—except our writing. She's very much a keep-it-close-to-her-chest writer when she's writing (even her agent doesn't get to see it until it's done!). I try to read everything she writes once it's ready, and I'm always in awe of her skill.
As for me, well, what I write doesn't fall under her umbrella of interest. But she's always taking time to stop and help me when I need it. I'm sure I annoy her with all the noob questions.
Q: What are you working on now?
Believe it or not, a romance. I'm a huge romantic comedy fan and love to read anything by Susan Mallery, Mary Kay Andrews, Elin Hilderbrand and the like. While my novel is not necessarily a romantic comedy, it does have humor and (I hope) captures the "feel good" vibes like those of the previous authors I mentioned. I'm excited to write it, and I'm sure that'll remain, right? Authors never get tired of writing, right?
We're in the business of telling stories, across a wide range of media. Here's how we do what we do.