Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Becoming a publisher

Title page
There are probably many people who have a book inside them, and a few seriously want to publish their work to the world. But if you are not a famous name or remarkably young and good-looking then your chances of getting a publisher are slim. This does not mean that your book is no good - those who read it will be the judge of that.

However, this is the internet age when anyone can publish a video on U-tube or make a blog. Then the public, not the publisher, decides what they want to see and read. With the new technology it can be the same with books, too. You decide what you want to publish, and a print-on-demand (POD) computer will print and bind a book every time someone orders one. No piles of unsold books in the garage (assuming you have a garage).

Books, however, are still a little tricky. You can use Lulu or Amazon Createspace but Lulu and Createspace take a fair slice of whatever revenues you get (albeit less than a traditional publisher). There are also some limitations regarding formats and distribution, which also differ between the these two providers. I wanted complete control of the book creation process.

When I came across David Henschel's poems and formed the idea to publish them, I realised that the only way I would get the book to look the way I wanted and to be distributed as widely as possible was to go direct to Lightning Source, who print for Lulu and many others.

However, Lightning Source does not design the book for you. There are plenty of help files, but all the layout, cover and industry-compatible file creation are the responsibility of the person who submits the book (in this case, me). Thus I embarked on a steep learning curve to becoming a publisher. More on this in future posts.

My grandfather worked in the book design department of Rich and Cowan and (I think) Jonathan Cape, so maybe it's in my blood that I enjoy the whole process of book creation, down to deciding the margins and typeface.

For 'Here's and Nows' I shall be using the 'look inside' facility on Amazon, and you can judge if I have done a good job. Or of course you could just order a copy of Heres and Nows: Poems From A Life..

- Martin

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