Book Review: Cemetery Maps
The Reader

Book Review: A People's Guide to Publishing

A People's Guide to Publishing: Build a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful, Book Business the Ground Up
Author: Joe Biel

This is a relatively short review because I didn't give this book the in-depth reading it deserves. As an author, I was interested in learning marketing and other strategies that could be useful to me. While I learned a few, this book surprised me by opening my eyes to a whole part of the book business that I really didn't know very much about.

Biel has a lot cred in this world and the book is straightforward, easy to read, and detailed. There is plenty of advice, anecdotes about hard-earned lessons, and practical matters of day-to-day business. In addition to his own experience, Biel brings in examples from other independent presses, such as Chicago's beloved Haymarket Books.

As an author, there were many things I learned that I wish I had understood earlier in my career. Biel explains very clearly where the money is in publishing (and where it is not, hello CreateSpace) and exactly what publishers have to contend with across the entire chain -- from printing to distribution to retail. (I now have even a deeper appreciation for my publisher, O'Reilly.)

I can't imagine that if you're interested in running an actual, profitable book publishing business that this book won't become your dog-eared bible. While you can buy a copy at Amazon, you'll probably regret it after you read the book. Go get it direct from Biel, or your local bookseller instead.

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