Day: July 11, 2006

Real life lessons in self-publishing

Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped recently self-published a book called 55 ways to have fun with Google. He has published a nice post listing his Lessons Learned Self-Publishing With Lulu. Its worth reading from all perspectives. I wonder if traditional publishers would benefit from as honest feedback as this?
A flavour:

1 Yes, self-publishing at Lulu works, but it’s not really all that easy. The result is worth it though.
2 Always go for the most widely distributed software (e.g. Microsoft Word with an English interface… not OpenOffice Writer, not Word in German) – this way, most converters and help files will work with your document.
3 Use a standard Lulu template, but expect months of headaches formatting a book with Word unless you’re a Word expert. Consider yourself glad if you have a Word expert around…

What skills will I/We need five years from now?

It struck me yesterday that I have been ignoring one critical element of the issues facing publishing. That issue is the personal responsibility of editors and authors.

What do editors and authors have to learn, or do and understand, to fit into the increasingly complex pattern of modern and future publishing. Are they lessons already earned or do I need to learn new ones? Will I find myself outpaced by newer arrivals into my field (Not, I stress, that I have been here long)?

I am slightly confounded that I have somehow never considered the whole equation from this perspective before. It seems so obvious now that I have been thinking about it for a while.

So I have decided to throw the question out to readers and hopefully they will respond with interesting comments and suggestions.

Simply put what set of skills will be the ones best suited to the new publishing age and the challenges it presents?
Are there skills we can leave behind?
What new ones do we need to learn?

Please comment below or e-mail me. I will round up suggestions either later in the week or early next week! And if I have missed a question don’t hesitate to ask it for me.