A People’s Guide to Publishing: Build a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful, Book Business from the Ground Up

Joe Biel. Microcosm, $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-62106-285-1
This is a politely rebellious guide to thriving on the periphery of what its punk rocker-turned-publisher author dubs the “Literary Industrial Complex.” Biel, founder of indie press Microcosm, plays the part of motivational guru for book business newbies, striking a generally positive tone (“Frame your message around what you believe in, not what you oppose”). Seemingly conversant with every conceivable facet of book publishing, he generously imparts his accumulated knowledge in straightforward (but not dry or didactic) fashion, and offers study questions at the end of each section. The business strategies are all practical enough: emphasize traditional print books (as opposed to relying on e-books), build up a sturdy backlist, and forge personal relationships with one’s customer base. Perhaps most helpfully, Biel maps out all possible divisions of labor in a publishing house and the duties required for each. Mixed in with the DIY tips and encouragement are some less obvious and even counterintuitive caveats: for instance, that successful books can kill a small publisher if not managed correctly. Though beginners might feel intimidated by these and other words of caution, this insider’s guide to outsider publishing should leave aspiring publishers feeling inspired, optimistic, and well-informed. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2018
Release date: 12/01/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-982604-75-2
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