Publishing professional Kim Staflund has produced several dozen short ebooks on making it as an author, covering subjects as diverse as publishing poetry and appropriately pricing an ebook. Her fourth full-length offering aims to outline all aspects of producing a book, from idea to marketing.
Staflund begins by examining the supply chain in general and the ways it faced upheaval during the pandemic. She makes a case for breaking with traditional publishing and print-focused sales in favor of generating new jobs in a local economy via print-on-demand. She then discusses the process of producing a book, including the topics of writing (do it yourself or hire a ghostwriter?); publishing options (traditional, indie or hybrid?); literary agents; interior and cover design timeline; editing and much more.
While she covers both traditional- and self-publishing, her clear, plain-language directions — from understanding copyright law to selecting colors for the cover art — will be a godsend to authors choosing the indie route and looking for a fully-realized guide to the basics of an often opaque process.
By framing this as a look at the supply chain, however, the author does the book a disservice. Much of it discusses segments of publishing—writing, editing, design—that occur long before what most would consider the start of the supply chain. The real value of Staflund’s book lies in her demystification of the tasks traditionally performed by publishers: SEO, marketing, design, and so on.
Additionally, some may find the author’s scorn for traditional publishing and its “tired restrictions” and “outdated rules” misplaced and her enthusiasm for particular outdated technologies confusing; for example, she lauds the Espresso Book Machine as a revolutionary game changer, without noting that the machine presented unforeseen problems that led even early-adopter bookstores to drop it relatively quickly.
Those who can overlook these issues, however, will find this a helpful guide to the process of publishing in today’s changing landscape.