Review Wednesday: The Naked Truth About Book Publishing by Linda Houle

Linda Houle is a co-owner of L&L Dreamspell, an ebook publisher, which makes her well qualified to write a book surveying the industry today. Dames of Dialogue already reviewed The Naked Truth About Publishing, but I want to put in my own two cents.

Houle uses a lightly sarcastic tone to review the various forms of publishing available to the fictional author Annie.  Not surprisingly, Houle is slightly biased toward ebook publishing, but her analysis is pretty even-handed nevertheless.  In fact she could have been even more critical of the traditional route of submitting to the “agency six” in NY if she’d cited the non-scientific survey done by Jim C. Hines which revealed that the average respondent had been writing 11.6 years before selling his/her first novel to a major publisher.

For me the most valuable parts of The Naked Truth were Chapters 8 & 9 which gave general guides for the process of self-pubbing a POD (print on demand) book and an ebook.  I’d been planning to do this for myself, using a variety of sources, now all I have to do is fill in a few details.  Those guides and the resouce section make the book well worth the price.

The only quibble I have is that Houle has created her own term for what serious self-pubbed authors do.  She dubbs this “Author Publishing” to distinguish it from using a subsidy or vanity press.  I’ve heard others like Kris Tualla and Lisa Bentley call this Independent Publishing (when an author creates a company to do all the functions of a publisher – from printing to advertising).  Houle calls small presses Independents, so I had to remind myself that she was using her own definitions for these terms.

Otherwise, this is a valuable resource, and I recommend it to anyone considering which road to publishing is best for them.

2 Comments

Filed under Book reviews, writing

2 responses to “Review Wednesday: The Naked Truth About Book Publishing by Linda Houle

  1. In fact she could have been even more critical of the traditional route of submitting to the “agency six” in NY if she’d cited the non-scientific survey done by Jim C. Hines which revealed that the average respondent had been writing 11.6 years before selling his/her first novel to a major publisher.

    I read this survey when it first came out (I read Jim Hines’ journal), and I didn’t take the 11.6 years as a criticism of traditional publishing at all. I don’t think traditional publishing is unflawed by any stretched, but a decade or so doesn’t seem all that long … I mean, don’t we spend at least the first half of that time, maybe more, just learning how to write in the first place? I know I did, at any rate. So while there are slowness issues in publishing for sure, I don’t think they account for all of that 11.6 years–part of it is learning time, too.

    I was just reading an article by Jess Hartley on three reasons to self-publish–and one not to: http://www.mlvwrites.com/2010/05/guest-post-three-reasons-to-self-publish-and-a-big-one-not-to.html Her take made a lot of sense to me.

    • I agree, I don’t think Hines meant any of his statistics to be taken as criticism. I thought Linda Houle might have interpreted them that way though, if she’d known about them.

      Thanks for sharing Jess Hartley’s guest blog. I think she’s largely on target– especially about the desire of many disappointed authors to make an end-run around the strictures of traditional publishing. One piece of advice I’ve seen over and over in books and articles about self-publishing is that it is essential for the author to get professional editing. Without it, your book truly is “not good enough.” And if anyone thinks that self-pubbing is easier than the traditional route, they haven’t done enough research.

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