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Re: Self-publishing



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Hi Laurie - In addition to the instruction book that many of you on the list
have been buying, I publish a story annually at Christmas and produce it as
my seasonal greeting. I make 120 copies of the book, which fits into an A2
envelope, send 60 and sell the remainder. Depending on the amount of text,
there may be some illustration.

The text is formatted in Quark Xpress, illustrations either scanned from
drawings, photos or (in one case) actual objects, or produced in Adobe
Illustrator. When I have everything together, I manually move the pages
around so that signatures read correctly, print it out using a fine setting
on my inkjet printer, then take it to Kinko's for duplication. Last year's
story, "Elves: A Cautionary Tale," was the seventh annual Christmas book I
have made in this way.

The stories are brief enough so that a single signature pamphlet binding does
the trick. I pick specialty papers for their reproduction. There are many
available, both plain and fancy, at places like Xpedex. For several years I
have used pre-printed papers with a consistent border around them and/or a
repeated motif for the cover paper, then chosen a complementary paper for the
inside story. For the sale stories, I also write a brief "blurb" and enclose
that with the story and envelope so that people have an idea of what they are
buying. I've found that if I keep the illustrations somewhat simple (i.e.,
high contrast and not tonal) and give careful instructions to Kinko's, the
results are pretty good. I did have problems initially with them misaligning
the type from one page to the next (that I had spent considerable time making
sure lined up in the layout). But now I stress that I want the type to align
and so they are more careful and it does. Though this method might be
considered quick and dirty by many, I don't charge a lot for the stories ($5
with envelope), they make an unusual and inexpensive gift, and I always sell
enough to pay for the run.

I think there are many many ways you can "self-publish." I don't have the mo
ney, the physical stamina or the interest to produce books by letterpress,
but I still want to get my work out there. My computer is my solution, and,
since I upgraded and added an inkjet printer, I have produced several other
books that I consider "artist books" taking advantage of the available
technology. I hope this helps. Barbara Harman

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