by Kylee Baumle Book publishing has certainly taken some interesting turns in recent years, thanks to technology. Gone are the days when you had to have a publisher to produce a book. Self-publishing venues abound. If you decide you’ll self-publish, I applaud you. I may do that myself someday. But this option has some pitfalls that you’d do well to avoid. As a fellow garden writer once said, “If you self-publish, you almost have to do a better job than those who go through a traditional publisher.” This is because, in spite of its rise in popularity, the public mindset is still pretty much that people self-publish because they can’t get a traditional publisher to buy their ideas. This isn’t always the case anymore, but it’s hard to change public perception and self-published authors need to put out a product that doesn’t look like an amateur effort. If you choose to submit a proposal to a traditional publisher or the publisher contacts you with a book idea, you’ll have the experience and expertise of those who work in the trade to guide and direct you. You’ll pay for that in reduced royalties, but the cost may be worth it when all is said and done. Neither of you wants to put out a second-rate product. As a book reviewer, I am sent a great number of books to read and review. No, I don’t have one that bears my name on the cover (yet), and I don’t claim to be an expert. But as a lifelong consumer of books and one who looks at hundreds of them in the course of a year, I can recognize those which have qualities that stand out above the rest. A few suggestions for those who choose to self-publish: 1. If you have the funds, hire an editor. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, enlist the help of a large number of people by asking them to read your book, critically. Even those who aren’t in the field can be very good at spotting awkward phrasing, grammatical errors and typos. Tell them to give it to you straight and mean it. 2. Choose your self-publisher carefully. People do judge a book by its cover. If it has a cheap, pamphletized look to it, your effort is not likely to be taken seriously. Try to emulate the professional publishers if possible. Check around and try to physically look at books that self-publishers have produced. It may cost more to put spit and polish on the cover, but after all the work you’ve put into it, don’t skimp on packaging. continued on next page
The premier issue of the first and only magazine for the garden communicator.