Do you dream of publishing a book?

Word count: 350 words

Reading time: About 1.5 minutes

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers.  

I read Penelope Trunk’s blog every time she publishes a post. I’m not sure I’d like her a lot in person — she seems a bit short tempered and, for a time, she promoted plastic surgery for women (on the theory that women who looked better would get better jobs – EWW.) But in other ways she’s very savvy and she doesn’t hestitate to stand up for herself.

So here’s a post of special interest for would-be book writers in which she describes her experience with a big-name publishing company (which she wisely declines to name because, basically, she trashes them.) What most writers will find intriguing is her endorsement of self-publishing. “Self-published books are the new business card,” she says, “It’s a way to remember someone and also know what’s interesting about them.”

Trunk continues: ” The only reason to have a print book is to be in Barnes & Noble. You can achieve just about every goal you might have for book publishing by publishing it electronically. An electronic book serves a lot of purposes: you can talk about bigger ideas than a blog post allows for. You give people an easy way to know you for your ideas. You can create a secondary revenue stream for yourself. A print book is mostly about vanity.”

I’m not so sure about the vanity thing. I buy most of the books I read for the Kindle now, because I prefer that device. But won’t read non-fiction there because I like to make notes on my books and flip through pages quickly, looking for information. (Both things are possible but difficult on a Kindle.)

And while I sell my own book as a PDF — I also make a print copy available, for a slightly higher price (to cover the cost of printing). Most of my readers choose this “premium” version.

Regardless, Trunk makes an interesting argument. And I totally agree with her about the value of self-publishing.

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