Publishing is NOT Writing

by Daniel Sekarski

A picture book dealing with global warming

A picture book dealing with global warming

Publishing is NOT writing; work is not play but can be rewarding.

It has taken years and diligence to complete the publishing process to a final, near professional level. I have just finished my second children's book using the same process, but the second effort was not much easier than the first.

The first book, Bemba's Secret Garden, was originally written for The United Nations Environmental Program. The second book, Four Part Harmony, was also put together for tha UNEP.

They had political problems publishing the books in the end, and though they had great praise for the two stories about teaching children concern for their environment and being fair and supportive with their lives, they scrapped the project prior to publication.

I thought it was such a great shame to let such a well done and important topic drop along the wayside because of politics, so I decided to publish them myself and start a small publishing company to help others with the same problem.

I found Lulu's system very flexible, and it was quite inexpensive to start the process.

It took another year for each book to bring them to completion.

You must consider that I am a stay-at-home dad and can only tackle publishing in my limited spare time. You must also consider that my books were complicated, with 50 full page color images and the text to go with them.

The formatting and editing is overwhelming for one individual. I was lucky enough to have two extremely talented illustrators to do all the images. The results are quite noteworthy.

The time it took for the books to arrive at each editing phase was long and time consuming. This I believe is quite necessary to insure that the printed quality is well visualized.

It usually took about 10 printed drafts to arrive at the proper quality level for distribution. This was at 20 bucks a copy for my 100 page book and 15 bucks for the 50 page book.

The turnaround time for each book was two to four weeks.

You can see how the time can add up. On the last book, I had to completely give up on the printing that was done in Spain because the quality was so dismal I could never work with it. The books were never cut the same, and the binding was so inconsistent that pages were falling out half the time.

Lulu is supposed to reprint the books at a U.S. printer now, where I have had little or no problems with either printing or binding.

The first book, in all fairness, was much less a problem at the printing and binding level.

In conclusion, if you do not have time and patience, and if you are not willing to do the work and battle the frustration, find a different line of endeavour.

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Mar 01, 2008
the nuts and bolts of Print on Demand
by: Steve B.

Daniel, your account is an excellent reminder that the nuts and bolts of self publishing include quality control in a huge way! Print on demand seems to offer an opportunity to "correct your errors" essentially, but clearly there are costs involved.

Here's a quality control heads up: only about 75% of your website fits on my medium sized screen, left to right, and no scroll bars appear to let me find what I'm missing! Lots of misspellings and mis-punctuation on the home page too. I hope it's okay to point that out.

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