The Perils of Publishing

Full disclosure: the author is a member of my extended family.

Dawn is not a seasoned author, having first published eight years ago. However, this book reveals deep insight into the publishing process. You have written a book. What do you need to do to get it published, and even more, make a profit? It’s here, and it’s laid out in a concise and well-organized form and in some depth. Somewhere out there may be a Gray’s Anatomy on publishing your book. This is not it. It’s a handbook you can absorb in a few hour’s reading and use to launch further investigation.

Start with why you want to publish (which may seem superfluous) then follow up with targeting your readership, some serious concerns about editing (yes, you really need to hire a professional editor), and follow through by addressing such matters as warehousing and sales fulfillment, finally getting down to the nitty of selecting type face and paper stock.

Of course, if you are already a successful author, then you have an agent, and he’s going to pitch your manuscript to big name publishers, and the publisher is going to take care of the details along with a sizable chunk of the revenue. Else, you are going with an independent publisher, and you are going to take more control, bear the risk, and reap most of the rewards. A temptation is to turn to a vanity press, which will take your manuscript and your money and will produce a book. This is not advised.

If you are new to publishing, then this book will acquaint you with industry-standard terms such as International Standard Book Number (ISBN), query letters, and Print on Demand (POD). If you are from the twentieth century, this book will bring you up to date with the modern world of publishing, which is leaning toward electronic publishing, the king of which is Amazon. Maybe not stated explicitly, but likely correct, is that if you are going the do-it-yourself route, Amazon will be the way to unload a lot of risk and burden. The process is addressed, but I would like to see more specifics.

This appears to be the author’s first non-fiction book, and it carries over much of the style she developed in her earlier works (I have read one). Emily Brontë had a style that served the genre well.  Truman Capote developed a narrative style in his travel writings and carried it over into works such as “In Cold Blood.” This book could do with some more of Truman Capote.

An early thought was, “Why is my niece writing a how-to book on publishing, especially one addressing matters of writing style? Shouldn’t somebody like master stylist Stephen King have already covered this base?” Then I got to the end of the book and saw she recommends On Writing, by Stephen King.

And by the way, prospective writers are reminded that Carrie was rejected 30 times before Stephen King got it published. Take heart.

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About John Blanton

I'm a retired engineer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have served in the Navy, raced motorcycles, taken scads of photos and am usually a nice guy. I have political and religious opinions, and these opinions tend to be driven by an excess of observed stupidity. Gross stupidity is the supposed target of many of my posts.
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