While about to dip my toe in the self-publishing waters I realised I needed a bit of hand-holding, and this seems to be the perfect accompaniment. It covers why you want to make the jump (although, for most people the obvious answer is 'agent/publishers aren't interested'), how to go about it, from formatting your book etc. to other things you need to know, like tax issues.
I found it a little strange though that a European author would write so much from a generally American perspective. While this is undoubtedly to get the bigger audience, the message wouldn't have been diluted by addressing it as a European.
A couple of things that I didn't like though were the pointless 33 interviews with authors. This was just padding. Half a dozen would've been acceptable as these are generally gloat pieces. They explain that an author did well but their variables mightn't match yours.
Also, this non-fiction book doesn't assume that you would be writing non-fiction either. A few pointers on writing anything other than short stories and novels would be appreciated as they can be a harder sell. There's no Amanda Hocking of non-fiction yet after all.
That aside, it's very cheap and gave me most of what I wanted to know.
on 21 July 2011
Let's Get Digital is a book of three parts. The first part explores the 'digital revolution', why now is a great time to be a writer, and lessons the publishing industry should learn from the music industry. With sections such as "Could Piracy Be Good For Authors?" and "E-book Dominance Is Inevitable" this section is the definitive statement on the state of digital publishing at the moment.
The third section is a series of success stories. 33 different writers, some well known and some not so much, talk about how they got into digital publishing and the kind of ride they've had since. Some of these stories are a bit on the short side, but all of them are interesting and inspiring. You really get a feel for how digital self-publishing is empowering so many different writers, and could do the same for you.
The second part of the book is what I like to think of as the meat in the sandwich. Or the burrito maybe. I never did like sandwiches all that much. But then burritos have a really thin wrap, which is a little unfair to sections one and three, so maybe sandwich is a better metaphor after all...
Anyway, the second part of the book is meaty, telling you exactly what you need to do to self-publish. From writing to formatting to promoting, taking in cover design and editing along the way. There are other books which go into more detail about specific aspects, but 'Let's Get Digital' gives a really good overview of the whole process, with pointers to where you can get more information if you need it. It also goes a little more into the 'why's than many books do, with two parts of the section on promoting your book titled "Don't Be A D*ck" and "Do Unto Others." The advice to stay on the ethical side of the line has to be good for anybody seeking longevity in their writing career.
All in all, this is a must-read for anybody who is thinking of self-publishing. Whether you're a traditionally published author thinking of moving their back catalogue onto Kindle, a new writer who's frustrated with how long it takes to get an agent, or just someone who has a couple of poetry collections they'd like to share with the world, you'll definitely get something out of this. For the price, it's a bargain.
on 15 August 2011
Any potential reader's first question about a how-to book should be, does the author know what he is talking about? In David Gaughran's case, it might be reasonable to wonder. He's published a few short stories and this book. While that might not seem like much in the way of experience, it also proves one of his contentions, that self-publishing is something that anyone is capable of doing.
Gaughran had been writing for years, attempting to follow the traditional route to publication. While he'd had agents that were interested, he had not yet broken through. Then he heard some stories about authors who had found success through self-publishing and others, previously traditionally published, who decided to spurn traditional-publishing to go it on their own. He began researching self-publishing, and shortly after starting blogging about what he had found. His blog quickly became one of the go-to sites on the subject. Many of his popular blog posts were reworked for inclusion in "Let's Get Digital."
The book has three parts. The first and the last are of potential interest to any reader, even one who knows they'll never want to publish anything.
Part I makes the case for self-publishing -the "why you should" portion of the subtitle. It gives an even-handed view of where the publishing industry is today, where it is going, and makes the case for self-publishing. While acknowledging that everyone has different goals in their writing, Gaughran makes a solid case with ample facts, figures, and research as support for his contentions.
Part II covers the details of self-publishing. Along with appendices, this section tells you what you need to know to produce your book. Among other subjects, he explains those things many self-publishers skip, almost guaranteeing failure. Why the cover matters and the reasons you need an editor along with formatting and promotion are among the subjects covered.
Part III are a series of short success stories from thirty-three different authors who are happy with their self-publishing experience and tell about their route to success. These serve as inspiration and, if you pay attention to what they say, validation of all the things Gaughran has said previously. I imagine this section could also serve as a great starting point for readers to find new authors that interest them.
Lately several books on the subject of self-publishing have hit the virtual bookshelves. While many of them have good ideas, "Let's Get Digital" is the first I've seen, that I felt was both credible and comprehensive. I'd recommend it to any writer who is considering self-publishing or anyone interested in the current state of publishing.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
on 2 August 2013
I read David Gaughran's book, 'Let's Get Digital,' because, as a self-published author of e-books, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect upon the development of the e-book industry.
This review relates to the first part of Gaughran's book, because, having been through the technical processes of publishing and promotion, etc., the second part was not so relevant to me. But, having skimmed through Part 2, I imagine if you're new to e-book publishing, this would be a useful condensed guide and maybe a helpful forerunner to the inevitable -and, I hasten to add, ultimately rewarding!- wade through the weighty tomes of Mark Coker.
Part 1 was, for me, a very enlightening and motivating read. I know Gaughran has a vested interest in bigging-up e-publishing but if, like me, you've embarked upon the self-publishing journey, without really considering what's currently happening in the world of traditional publishing, his arguments are well worth reading.
The success stories of authors in the final part of the book are also necessarily up-beat. What's interesting though, reading through them, is the randomness of people's success; these weren't always writers who were particularly driven or focussed about succeeding in publishing - they, were, however, most always authors who were very committed to the writing process.
I would recommend this book to all self-published authors as a means of reflecting upon the development of e-books and as a tonic if you're doubting the wisdom of 'going it alone.' Reading 'Let's Get Digital' does give you the sense that you're part of a growing community that's growing in confidence about its identity and legitimacy.
It's a well-structured book so whether you're an aspiring author, an existing author or a curious reader, you will easily be able to navigate your way around it and dip into relevant sections when you want to.
on 13 May 2012
As someone who is considering taking the plunge into the world of self-publishing, I found this book incredibly useful. Far more than a how-to guide, the book is divided into four sections:
Part One focuses on the digital revolution and gives some relevant and fascinating details on what is happening in the publishing industry at the moment. Usefully, it also includes some number crunching on royalties. This section is a real eye-opener. Crucially, Gaughran doesn't just focus on the US publishing industry, but casts his net worldwide. As a UK writer I was especially happy to see this.
Part Two looks out how to actually go about self-publishing on platforms such as Amazon, Barnes and Nobel (not useful for me as I live in the UK) and Smashwords. It covers everything from self-publishing myths to formatting, uploading, pricing and marketing. I found the marketing section especially useful. For me, this section was the most useful (in a practical sense), full of no nonsense advice that will help you to make the best impact with your e-book when you do publish.
Part Three contains 33 success stories from self-published authors in a variety of genres. These were inspirational and served to prove that it is possible to find success (of varying degrees) without the help of a big name publishing company.
The final section is an appendix about practicalities and resources. The resources section is incredibly useful, as is the section on copyright and ISBNs etc.
The entire book is written in an engaging, yet informative style that never becomes condescending. It isn't a one stop shop for all you'll need to know, nor does it pretend to be, but any extra information you might need can be found via the links in the resources section.
If you are thinking about self-publishing, this book is a great starting point, both in terms of the advice contained within and the information about the "current" state of play.
on 17 May 2012
This book is quite simply essential for any writer considering self-publishing their work, whether they are previously unpublished or have had a traditional publishing deal in the past. David breaks down the background to the digital publishing revolution, and explains why self-publishing is the best option for any writer who wants complete control over their work, to get their books out to readers sooner rather than in years (or never!) - and why this is a financially smart move too.
The second part of the book explains the 'how' - simple, sensible advice on how to produce a professionally edited, great looking book and distribute it on major platforms (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc.)
The final part of the book is a set of testimonies from self-published writers who have done well. It doesn't add much to the book in the way of hard information, but it does add weight and real-world examples of what David's talking about.
on 14 April 2012
"Let's Get Digital" is a must for everyone who is considering creating and publishing their own e-books.
Of all the many self-publishing how-tos and handbooks that are currently flooding the market, this book is definitely the best, chock full information, tips and helpful links.
on 17 September 2015
Obtaining this book as part of The Indie Author Power Pack is probably, the most inspirational and best value writing on self-publishing and marketing I have discovered. The other two books in the pack are, Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant and How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn.
David Gauphran starts from the premise that the reader has very little budget and needs to quickly learn how to publish their book as professionally as possible. He deflects doubts that the reader may have about self-publishing by examining the publishing industry at the moment, and showing that self-publishing is the future. He explains that editing and cover design are vital for a book's success and provides information of how to obtain these services.
The second of the book is concerned with promotion and publishing. He discusses the importance of a mailing list and how to use it to promote your books. The Appendix includes a section of resources including publishing, editing, cover design and promotion. This section if worth taking time to peruse and explore.
After covering how to get a book into print, the last section includes interviews with 33 self-publishing authors. This section is probably over long, but demonstrates how many people are active in self-publishing and the importance of networking with other self-published authors.
Anyone who is serious about self-publishing, should acquire a copy of this book and have a look at David's web site.
on 24 February 2015
Yes, Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran, is a good book to read for anyone interested in self publishing. I think it is just the book I needed to read at the moment, as I am in the midst of preparing my second book for publication. To my relief, in clear, readable prose, David Gaughran in his book gave me good reasons for what not to do and what not to be concerned about as regards self publishing. I was particularly interested in what he had to say about what is to me the daunting prospect of building an author platform on the Internet.
I could relate very well to what he had to say about publishing a print version of your book as well as an E-book version. Like him, I will never forget how happy I was when I held the paperback version of my book in my hand. Looking at the E-book version of my book on my Kindle is a pleasure, but it is not as good as looking at the paperback version of my book as part of my book collection.
I enjoyed reading the success stories of self published writers which brought the book to an end. Lately, I have been thinking that self publishing has made a lot of people happy, which is a good thing. Waiting to hear from literary agents and publishers for up to six months only to receive the expected rejection letter does not do anyone any good at all. Self publishing has put an end to that, as David Gaughran reveals in his book, which ends with some useful addresses on the Internet for those interested in book publishing, particularly in the difference between the traditional way of publishing books and the new way of self publishing. I found the book to be interesting, comforting and a pleasure to read.
on 19 December 2014
This was very interesting and very useful on understanding the ebook market, how to manage within this market, and how that market is changing the general publishing market.
However, I did feel that there were a a number of misapprehensions.
Whilst it may correctly analyse the difficulties of traditional publishers and of brick-and-mortar bookstores, extending this to print books in general is misplaced.
Saying that you cannot buy print books new except online overlooks the fact that many charity shops are effectively second hand bookstores, and when we say second-hand we actually mean recently-new in many cases.
Saying that you cannot buy print books new at all because of the rise of ebooks, overlooks the fact that print-on-demand is the new way of doing things, and that Amazon, said to be the leading enemy of traditional publishing, runs one of the leading print-on-demand companies (CreateSpace) as well as having their own print imprint, Thomas and Mercer.
In addition, many publishers are using CreateSpace as their printer for new books, as well as for backlists, meaning that by utlising print-on-demand these books are effectively in print format, existing from the moment of an order, before that moment existing in potential.
There is also the niche market or the self-selecting market - by publishing in print, an author can sell to those interested in their work, and this has a much larger print market than it does an ebook market as the value is in the ownership, rather than just the content.
I also don't understand why he thinks that there aren't travel agents anymore, there certainly seem to a be a good number where I live! The internet hasn't killed them - it may have reduced walk-ins but they now do a lot of business on the phone, or by email, and their physical premises often double as Western Union send/receive agents.
But, perhaps as his aim is to show how fantastic an opportunity the ebook market is, he over-played his hand on the decline of print in order to be more persuasive, though it is not really necessary to have done this.