Writers kick-start career with print-on-demand

2012-07-02 17:10



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On a Sunday afternoon, there was a steady stream of visitors to a house in Alexandria, Virginia. Inside John Saul is signing copies of his first published book, "Candle in the Window".

"It is a collection of verse that I have compiled over the last 40 years," Saul says. "There are 66 selections in the book. They range from humor to children to love and romance, kind of [a] large range of things."

When the local housing market collapsed a few years ago, the 64-year-old former construction manager felt the time was right to share his passion for writing with the world. But he realized timing was not everything.

"After you get a dozen or so rejection letters from typical publishers, well-known publishers, print publishers, you get kind of frustrated," Saul says. "You wonder, 'Is this not worth doing?' You kind of question yourself."

Last year, Saul tried a different approach: self-publishing his collection online as an e-book.

"It is surprising, the reaction I have gotten from online, because people all over the world can look at it, and read it, and judge for themselves," he says. "The sales online have been tremendous."

But not everyone likes electronic books.

"I got a lot of requests from people that wanted to read a book in their hand and not through an e-reader," Saul says. "So I kind of wanted to appease those people."

Saul found a solution at a local book store, Politics and Prose, and its Espresso Book Machine, nicknamed Opus. The machine allows customers to print their own paperback books, complete with full-color covers.

Bill Leggett is a consultant at the store: "They can either bring in their Word document and we can turn that into a PDF, help them with the formatting," says . "Or if someone is capable, they can bring in the PDFs of the cover and the book, and we will just print it."

Leggett says no project is too big or too small. The price starts at $7 a book, plus two cents a page and it takes just a few minutes to create. Since the store introduced the Espresso Book Machine in November, it has printed about 6,000 books.

"People have printed memoirs, family histories, manuals, teaching aids," says Leggett.

The self-published books are sold in the store and by the individual authors.

"This is a book-signing flyer that was posted up in gymnasiums, libraries and grocery stores. I just passed them out by hand in the community." Saul said.

That's how Phyllis Clover learned about "Candle in the Window".

"I haven't sat down and read his book yet," Clover says, "but I do look forward to it."

John Saul says he would be back at Politics and Prose at the end of the year - to print his next book.

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(来源:VOA 编辑:旭燕)



















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