Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Get Digital

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of writing, revising, revising again, getting published and then working your ass off to promote your own books, my model thusfar has been Robert Newton Peck's Secrets of Successful Fiction, a barely 100-page guide the author of A Day No Pigs Would Die and other books put together to show aspiring authors the ropes. There are better books on writing (Richard Rhodes' On Writing comes to mind) but for the budding author wanting a glimpse of the business from the point of view of a successful author, Peck's book, bar none, is the best out there.

There's now a companion to that volume, one primed and ready for the digital age -- and that's David Gaughran's Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should.

Both books are similar in content and length. Both advise the basics of writing -- getting your story and characters straight through revision after revision, seeking professional help whenever necessary and relentlessly promoting your own books no matter what your publisher may think or want to do on their own. Gaughran takes the voyage into the digital age, offering plenty of advice and ladders through the world of digital self-publishing.

There are a few interesting quirks in his book, however. One is a nit-pick, and may be due to his Irish upbringing, but throughout a book in which he preaches watching out for typos and errors that bug readers, he can't seem to find the cent symbol. I found out how to do it easily enough (Here is is: ¢. And here's how to do it). But again, that's picking nits.

The success stories -- I like hearing them as much as the next guy, but seriously, after the first ten of the 33 testimonials he has in the book my eyes were glazing. Those testimonials needed to be culled by at least half, with those presenting similar material to others cut completely. I know showing that many testimonials chimes in with his evangelical approach to demonstrating self-publishing success, but they're hard on the brain to read. They blended together a lot.

That said, this book is an excellent primer for anyone looking to get into (I won't say break into, because that breaking barrier is obviously gone) the self-publishing world. Lots of nuts and bolts features that every budding author should be interested in.

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