It’s finally done. I am a self-published author. It’s curious how many parallels exist between this newfangled, all-electronic, website, blog, social media, etc. publishing process and the publishing process of, say, the seventeenth century. Back in the day (i.e. the 1600’s) a person would write a book and there it was – a manuscript. He* would then try to convince someone (a printer) to take the manuscript and print it out. Now the writer had a nice stack of paper of his printed work. Next, he had to shop around for someone to bind it all together. At this point it became a matter of “who you know” or of money (plain and simple). OK, let’s say our writer had the good luck or wherewithal to produce a nicely bound copy of his work. What now?
The next two steps were publishing the work and selling the work. The seventeenth century saw the fairly rapid development of a commercial support mechanism, that is “the publisher” (usually called the “printer”) who would take the manuscript through the entire above process. On occasion, the printer/publisher would also attempt to sell the work. More often, a separate operation existed to actually sell the book – called, not surprisingly, the bookseller. This last part of the process was usually encapsulated on the title page, to wit:
London, Printed by Adam Islip, and are to be sould (sic) by Nicholas Bourne, at the South entrance of the Royall Exchange
These last steps, publishing and selling were usually where the money issue also manifested itself. Finally, the finished product was done and offered to the public. So, what about the parallels?
1. (Then) Write a book – (Now) pretty much the same, except now we usually use a word processor or dictation software.
2. (Then) Bind the book – (Now) Actually print it out at home or take it to a printer like Fedex or UPS, then self bind it or pay someone to bind it, usually very expensive.
3. (Then) Print the book- (Now) Submit it to an online book service/printing/selling operation like iBookstore (Apple), Kindle (Amazon), Smashwords, CreateSpace, etc.***
4. (Then) Publish the book- (Now) Same as step 3.
5. (Then) Sell the book- (Now) As step 3, but with the marketing aspect essentially tossed back to the writer.
So then, like the song says, “Everything old is new again”!
The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One may now be downloaded for FREE from:
The iBooks Store
* I use the masculine pronoun because it was seventeenth century Europe after all. For better or worse, not very many female writers went through the process described. Some did, but the people involved were overwhelmingly male.
*** Note that these operations represent the end point or publishers, which appeared at the end of seventeenth century.