Wisdom Moon Publishing
Boutique Publishing House
 

 
OUR MISSION

Wisdom Moon Publishing, a nonprofit corporation, is dedicated to offering creative, original books that foster an inspired appreciation of our life experiences, of our relationships with others, and of our world. See also our more detailed Mission Statement.

SELF-PUBLISHING: ITS PROS AND CONS

Why pay a single red penny to have a MS (manuscript) turned into a book that is for sale in the wide, wide world, when there are ways to publish one’s special writings in book form for free? I am replying to these issues as the President and Editor-in-Chief of Wisdom Moon Publishing.

I think that free is a good cost. Of course, some of the huge operations in business do provide good, cheap (if not free) service. This is their understandable interest in having more books for sale. In this, they frequently have a particular, general structure (or set of procedures) to their part of getting a text to print.

What they offer is largely if not entirely mechanized, requiring little or no actual human oversight. (Hopefully the programs used do not create too many glitches.) They also regularly completely bypass any responsibility of editing or formatting of MSS (manuscripts).

In practical detail (“the devil is in the details”), this means that whatever text an author sends to such publishing houses, the responsibility for its quality and features rests entirely on the author, who is solely responsible for any misspellings, grammatical errors, fonts that do read clearly and easily, color designs that can obscure the text, and even the author’s page formatting of text that might have part of the text not printed on the pages of the published product at all. (What you send is exactly what gets printed.)

Having a text sent to such printer services that reads “Tthey wanted to have a snack toogether” will be printed exactly that way.

Some misspelled words can be caught by some online programs the author can use, but sometimes a correctly-spelled word is used that is not the correct word that should be present; a program that looks for misspelled words will not always notice such problems.

For example, if a text reads “He told an interesting tail” an editor with an attentiveness to mischosen homonyms will easily pick up that this sentence should be, rather, “He told an interesting tale.”

Or, “Him and Mary looked into the store window” or “The dog and the cat was staring each other down” will not typically be corrected for errors in grammar or diction by houses that offer free publication.

Such issues, it may be pointed out, are often stated quite explicitly in the agreement (or contract) that the author accepts in going forward with this free service. If an author wants to do it that way, that can have an incredible appeal. But the text that is the basis of the envisioned book is often a raw product, written in a way to hurry the process (workshop idea: “Write your life story in 30 days or less”), to minimize the actual work of writing and then creating a presentable, readable text.

Here we do not even go into the work of a competent editor in correcting spelling, grammatical, and diction errors, but also reviewing the overall structure of the manuscript, its coherence (or lack thereof), the flow and rhythm of ideas, whether prose, poetry, or text written in another genre.

These are quite important for determining (and improving) the quality of the work, and something we often appreciate once these suggestions have been pointed out to us as we prepare the work for publication, or, worse, only on looking at our published book and noticing how it lacks such qualities, seeing what we wish would not be in print.

This is not to make anyone nervous, but just to be able to reflect on these issues before a next step that can be wearisome, time-consuming, or even expensive in the long run.

That said, the natural desire to do the least amount of work and create the greatest results (a future best-seller, perhaps) can be enticing but misleading. In this light, there is a recurring idea that a great book is already sitting in our mind, fully formed, simply waiting for us to transcribe the masterpiece onto paper or into a word processor. Even authors who have claimed that write unhesitatingly whatever comes to their mind (or fingers, as in typing) are typically known to take that draft as no more than a first draft.

If we look at the history of publishing, however, there are famous examples of authors who kept making significant changes from the draft sent to the publisher, through the various proof copies sent for review, even to a final review version, the galley proof. An impressive example of this never-too-late-to-improve-a-text is in the work of Marcel Proust. Time is regularly of the essence in producing a work of lasting value: for example, Du côté de chez Swann, Proust’s first volume of his seven-volume opus, A la rechercher du temps perdu, was written starting in 1906 and first published in 1913; Joyce’s Ulysses was written in earnest from 1914 on, and published (in France) in 1922. These artists certainly did not accept their first draft as definitive, that much is clear: See here the galley proof with corrections by Proust, or the galley proof of Ulysses, as corrected by James Joyce.

   
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