Resource for self-publishers: The Naked Author
The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-publishing by Alison Baverstock is published by Bloomsbury (2011). It is a wide-ranging, practical, introductory resource.
The book begins by establishing an overview, discussing reasons for self-publishing, the stages of the process, and the history of the phenomenon. Subsequent chapters lead the reader through the stages of writing, editing, and production, finishing with distribution and marketing.
The author is known in the industry primarily for her knowledge of marketing. In this book she supplements her own knowledge with assistance from co-authors in areas such as editorial support, proofreading, production, and typography.
The treatment throughout is concise and informative. Frequent use of case studies (ranging from a few paragraphs to a few pages) helps to illustrate what self-publishing looks like in practice.
The book has, I feel, two weaknesses. First, the balance is not quite right. Whilst marketing (including copywriting) gets three chapters (not unsurprisingly, given the author’s specialism), distribution and book production receive much more restricted treatment. More could usefully be said on these subjects (not least on indexing). Readers are likely to want to consult supplementary resources – Adrian Bullock’s Book Production (Routledge), for example.
Second, e-books are discussed primarily as a separate subject (with their own chapter), rather than integrated throughout the book. As a result The Naked Author has a somewhat ‘old school’ feel. In particular, the coverage of cloud services for the funding, production, and distribution of digital books is rather limited.
That said, The Naked Author is a helpful resource. It is difficult to believe that any author starting out on the self-publishing journey would not find the book a profitable first port of call.
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