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on 24 February 2014
First: be aware that this book is chauvinistic: it completely ignores Europe (the continent that has produced the greatest fiction this planet has ever seen) as if we do not exist. The Geographic Index, stretching to twelve pages, includes just two UK entries (an 'Appraisal Service' and a conference).

Secondly, the book is entirely orientated towards those who want to produce Kentucky Fried Books rather than anything of any quality. It makes the mistake of equating success with units sold. The authors it lauds are churning out books on a conveyor belt, several books a year. And the only way to achieve their level of sales, we are told,is for the author to massage the market through obsessive on-line interaction with individual readers.

The book's repeated advice is "pay an editor". No! No! No! Writing is about vision, and the moment you start involving other people in the project (other than to proof-read), your vision has been corrupted and the book has become just one more consumer commodity pandering to the lowest common denominator.

The most important book for writers is The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, and I presumed this book would be its companion in the field of Self-Publishing. It is not. Before publishing the 2015 edition, Mr Brewer would do well to look at that august publication and appreciate just where he has gone wrong. We need more facts and contacts (for example, I would like a list of POD printers who can be commissioned by the author direct rather than via a self-publishing service).and fewer self-congratulatory interviews.

In summary, this book is aimed blatantly at wannabes, rather than at serious writers keen to find an alternative way into people's hearts now that the mainstream publishing industry is dominated by just a handful of soulless conglomerates.

I have awarded it two stars not one, out of recognition that from its 362 pages I did garner six website addresses of interest. That was a lot of reading to get six small pieces of information but still, better than nothing I suppose.

It has been said: "Nobody ever went bankrupt underestimating the taste of the American public". Indeed.
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