Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words
Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: YES Paper: NO
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David Gaughran is an Irishman who lives in Sweden. (I wonder if he and Susanne O’Leary are involved in some kind of exchange program.) He has two short stories, If You Go into the Woods and Transfection, available for the eReader of your choice. His first novel, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, is an epic historical adventure he hopes to have ready for release this fall. For more information, visit his blog, where, if you’d like, you can download a PDF version of this book.
The internet has revolutionized many industries. Travel agents are (almost) no more. The music and newspaper businesses are both vastly different than they were a few decades ago and are still rapidly changing. Now we’re seeing the same in the publishing business with self-publishing becoming a viable, some would say preferable, way for authors to reach readers. The subtitle, How to Self-Publish and Why You Should, summarizes the contents.
When I read this book, it wasn’t with the intention of reviewing it. It didn’t seem like a good fit for our readership. Then I considered that many of our followers are authors and many who are readers like me might be interested in the mechanics of self-publishing. So, I decided to give it a go.
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.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five stars