Thursday, August 4, 2011

Let’s Get Digital / David Gaughran

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Non-fiction

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: YES Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


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.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five stars


Consuelo Saah Baehr said...

As one of the happy authors featured in David's book,I wish it had been around when I began this interesting journey. It would have saved me from all the newbie mistakes. As your review notes, it is comprehensive as well as inspirational.

Heather Marie Adkins said...

Fantastic book and an absolute MUST-READ for any author, aspiring or already published. Great review!

Cheryl Shireman said...

I was also fortunate enough to be one of David's featured authors. And I echo Consuelo's words. I wish this book would have been available six months ago when I first published my novel, Life is But a Dream. It would have saved me a lot of work! But, having said that - the last six months have been a whirlwind and I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you for asking me to share my story, David. And thank you to the readers who have made my dreams come true. This is a MUST read for any writer thinking about going the Indie route. And, as a reader, I loved reading about the other writers featured in this book. Great job, David! And, by the way - there is a PDF version available on David's site for free! :)

Lindsay Edmund said...

LET'S GET DIGITAL is a terrific resource for self-publishers. Gaughran's blog is pretty terrific, too.

Jan Hurst-Nicholson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Hurst-Nicholson said...

I was also honored to be asked to contribute as a featured author and I enjoyed reading the other writers' experiences on the self-publishing route. It feels good to be able to share in David's success.
Having now enjoyed minor fame in our local knock and drop newspaper, and been asked to give a talk at our SA Writer's Circle, I am frequently asked for my advice on e-publishing. I'm happy to say that I can now save myself much time and effort by simply forwarding the PDF version of Let's Get Digital!

David Gaughran said...

Thank you for the comments, and thank you to Al for a really great review!


Mary Pat Hyland said...

A must-read for all beginning the self-publishing journey! Congrats on the five stars, Dave! Well deserved.

Sift said...

We reviewed one of David's stories and the other is in the queue. With some of the best editing and covers I've seen, he definitely knows how to produce a high-quality product.

Unknown said...

Great review, and blog, David.

Based on your comments, I'm adding a few of your recomendations to my reading list.


David Gaughran said...

Two of the contributors to the "success stories" section of the book have since been signed to big trade deals. It would have been three only Michael Wallace had other commitments at the time and couldn't contribute. I really should have called it "Indie Draft Picks 2011"!

David Gaughran said...

And thank you to Sift/Sarah - that is high praise indeed.

Jake Hardman said...

Like many readers of your blog I’ve written a couple of manuscripts but not been able to find an agent/publisher. I like your reviews, so found this one particularly interesting. I had been thinking about putting one of my manuscripts online, but had not wanted to engage in ‘vanity publishing’. Having bought, Let’s Get Digital, in response to your review, this has changed my thinking. I now intend to indie publish the fist of my manuscripts, which has been edited by Sally Spedding.

No more silly thoughts about putting work on line being about vanity. I’m keen for people to get to know my characters, who have become ‘good friends’ during the writing process. I’m also keen to get feedback about readers like and dislike people about my writing.


BooksAndPals said...

Good to hear, Jake. I really dislike the term vanity publishing. Not that I don't think it was valid, when it was coined, but those who continue to use the term are too often those who aren't in tune with the new reality.