A Valuable Resource--Free
Recently on my way back home from the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference, I picked up a Sunday copy of the New York Times and poured through it while waiting in the airport. It’s always a personal treat to read this newspaper because it generally leads me to some idea or something valuable for my writing and editing life. The back of the book review section contained a full-page ad for a how-to book, Get Published! by Susan Driscoll and Diane Gedymin. Driscoll is the president and CEO of iUniverse and over the last 20 years has held a variety of positions at HarperCollins and Holzbrinck including publisher, editorial director and marketing director. Gedymin is the editorial director at iUniverse but has more than 30 years of experience as a literary agent and publisher of HarperSanFrancisco and senior editor at the Putnam Berkley Group. This ad clearly promoted the fact Barnes & Noble owns iUniverse. The fact that two seasoned publishing professionals had a new book was what caught my attention. I’m familiar with iUniverse as a company to self-publish a book or produce a print on demand (POD) book. Some of my colleagues at the American Society of Journalists and Authors have used iUniverse to get some of their out of print books back into the marketplace. The ASJA has a contractual relationship with iUniverse as a service to our members.
From this ad in the Times, I decided to ask for a review copy of this book and read it. From the beginning, I understood it would likely have an agenda or pushing authors toward self-publishing. Looking around the iUniverse website, I figured out their company formula for email addresses and wrote a brief letter of introduction to Diane Gedymin, the editorial director, requesting a review copy. My email worked and shortly I received an email from Gedymin saying they were sending the book.
I’ve been reading this book and discovered it contains a great deal of publishing insight for any author. Whether you are a novelist or a nonfiction writer or whether you are unpublished or much published, this book contains a realistic look at the marketplace backed with statistics. Also the authors include great thoughtful questions for any author as they think through how to get their idea into the publishing community.
Admittedly the book includes their agenda or the promotion of iUniverse and even includes the iUniverse editorial guide. My printed copy of Get Published! was produced using print-on-demand technology. Here’s a couple of the statistics tucked (and documented) in this book:
* Fourteen million adult Americans engaged in some form of creative writing last year.
* Finished manuscripts for an estimated 8 million novels and 17 million how-to books are lying in desk drawers all over the country, waiting to be published. (page 64)
Or here’s another one that leaped out at me:
“Most authors don't have a realistic basis of just how serious the competition for publicity is,” remarked the publicity director of a major literary imprint, who asked to remain anonymous. “Most reviewers at major media get, on average, 300 books a week. The amount of books produced has increased while the amount of book coverage (not to mention sales) has decreased. Most authors desperately want their books to sell and would like to make livings by writing and publishing, but the sad reality is that probably 5% of authors in print are able to do that.”” (I’d encourage you to read this full article—the link was in Get Published!)
Beyond the dose of realism, Driscoll and Gedymin teach would-be writer about the traditional publishing market and the self-publishing market plus they walk any author through the necessary steps to set realistic writing goals and also do good research about the competition for their idea in the bookstore. The insides of this book are attractive with some cartoons and interesting graphics. It’s an excellent how-to book and I’m glad to have a copy.
In addition, the authors include a number of well-crafted worksheets along with a link to find them online. It’s through these worksheets that I discovered how each of you can get this book without cost in an electronic format or the printed version. Go to this link and fill out the request for either the electronic PDF book (you get it immediately) or you can receive the printed version through the mail (a better option from my view). Admittedly you have to provide some information to receive this book—your name, email address, physical mailing address and phone number.
When you ask for this book, understand that iUniverse is using this book as a tool to generate additional business. You will probably receive some follow-up via email or on the telephone or through the mail (since you furnish all of these options with the form). Even with this caveat, I believe it’s an excellent resource for anyone and the price is right—free.