“You Are What You Write”–Mark Shaw
In chapter one of Self-Publisher’s Report, Mark Shaw not only lets the aspiring writer know that in the readers eyes he or she is what he or she writes, he stresses that authors and poets are the most important people in the publishing world. Without them, publishers would not exist.
In this nonfiction book about self-publishing, Mark Shaw takes the aspiring self-publisher through a publishing journey. First he asks the aspiring writer’s motivation for writing. Then, he takes the reader to a major book chain for bookstore research where shows the aspiring writer how the bookstore handles books. He not only shows the books and where genres are located, but he also introduces the aspiring author to publishing periodicals. He then removes a book from a shelf, and opens it and explains how a publisher lays out a book for publication. Then Shaw takes the reader back to his own library and shows the aspiring writer what other famous contemporary and classic writers say about their writing experience. He then sits the reader down, shows his own body of work, and tells the aspiring writer how he functions day-to-day as a writer. He also discusses book ideas. He then recommends the aspiring writer to copyright his or her book to ensure that no one steals it.
Shaw inspires and motivates the reader with basic principles of writing and provides examples of good writing from his own collection of work and from highly recognized authors. He also provides basic instructions concerning writing principles including making spelling corrections,homonyms, homophones, correct punctuation, avoiding cliches, manuscript formatting among other things. He stresses the importance of good editing. His work is well-organized, and it provides a practical introduction for the beginning writer to the self-publishing world. He then explains how he would self-publish if he were new to the publishing industry. He is a recognized expert with valuable insights into the publishing industry.
Even though I was disappointed that he said nothing about self-publishing e-books, I wish I had his insights when I first started self-publishing. I find the timeline he provided especially beneficial to the would-be self-publisher. Even though I not see Mark Shaw’s viewpoint as the final authority in self-publishing, I would definitely recommend this book as a resource for aspiring writers who are considering publishing their own work.
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