By Diane Lau, writing (2006)
Living Beyond Reality Press, $2.99, ISBN 0-9778722-7-0
I have no intentions of publishing my own book - nobody I know has become famous so I never have the chance to write a scandalous bestselling tell-all biography about that person and make big bucks out of it, dang - but I can't resist purchasing this book because it's only $2.99 and I can never resist a cheap book.
Having said that, this book has only 50 pages and five of them are the front cover, index, acknowledgments, et cetera. While the early chapter on "the truth" about dead tree New York publishers and how the self-publishing/electronic publishing will revolutionize the industry come off like optimistic and idealistic ramblings rather than anything else, Ms Lau however sticks to the facts in other parts of this book. I like how she makes it clear that people who follow the self-publishing route most likely will not have a bestseller in the leagues of John Grisham and Stephen King and that the satisfaction will come mostly from the fact that the book that you believe in (and no editors at the big publishing houses apparently do) will find an audience that appreciates your book.
Ms Lau however isn't merely using services of companies like Lulu, Xlibris, or iUniverse to publish a book - she's all about starting one's own publishing house, albeit a small scale one like her own Living Beyond Reality Press. She makes it clear that this book isn't supposed to be a thorough instructional manual - at 50 pages it's unlikely to be one - but a mere introduction to setting up one's own publishing house. She begins by describing how she set up Living Beyond Reality Press. The real gist of the book however can be found in the chapters describing the paperwork needed to kickstart the process, the importance and the ways to obtain an ISBN number for one's book, how to copyright one's work, the way to typeset and prepare the book as well as the tools to design a cover (even those using Xlibris and others will find this information useful, I think, since those POD requires the clients to set up the pages on their own), and how to get the book published with a printer like Lightning Source Incorporated. Other matters like website design, promotion, and getting a merchant cart on one's website to sell those books are touched on as well.
Cutting away the Pollyanna-esque rah-rahs about POD and/or self-publishing - which is to be expected but still, it's really not like POD is becoming bigger and bigger each day; the number of people who are using POD are certainly increasing but the market for these books certainly aren't unless the person doing the POD is already a celebrity of some sort - this book however does seem like a decent and pretty comprehensive 101 kind of introduction manual to self-publishing. There are plenty of links - although a glaring flaw is that at the time of writing the author's own link to a part of her website that promises updates on this book is dead - and the writing is clear and easy to understand. There are also sensible advice about staying away from businesses that try to take advantage of aspiring authors.
While the content isn't on the heavy-duty site, it is also packed with enough substance to make it an economical alternative to constantly scouring sites like Absolute Write and other similar sites while trying to figure how to do this or that when it comes to independent publishing!
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