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Re: cost of self publishing

-----Original Message-----
From: Rupert N. Evans <r-evans4@STAFF.UIUC.EDU>
Date: Sunday, May 23, 1999 4:18 PM
Subject: Re: cost of self publishing

>If you _really_ want to self publish, it is relatively easy
to do the whole job yourself if you have a laser printer and
a word processor program. It helps if your laser printer has
a duplex attachment.

I've done exactly the same thing by laboriously printing on
both sides of the paper. EEEK! On the reverse pass, the
printer grabs two sheets on a single pass and CONTINUES
PRINTING! You scramble to stop everything and make sure you
start exactly where you jammed.

Since my books are mostly long text documents with lots of
illustration, I use to use Ventura 5 for the page layout.
The program came free with CorelDraw 5. It was so buggy that
you moved the mouse a little too fast and the screen would
fill occasionally with garbage characters. The first time
this happened, I saved and exited, only to find out on
opening the file that the garbage characters were now part
of the text. We will try to avoid any further exclamations
points and shrieks.

Despite this, it was the best long document DTP I have found
until I got Ventura 7. I tried FrameMaker and didn't like
it. It seemed more like a word processor than a DTP. No
precision control over kerning and rules, for example. I did
Lineland and Cancun User's Guide in PageMaker 6.5, for
Windows which I really liked a lot, although it is not
really adequate for a book, lacking automatic footnotes and
many numbering features, no automatic bullets, no automatic
drop caps.

But it does have an excellent imposition program and its PS
files print on any imagesetter without problems.

When I started, pre-Internet, there was no one in Cancun who
even knew how to bind a book and I had no way of getting any
books on the subject. I remembered the instructions in a
book on bookbinding projects that I left in Mendocino like
an idiot in 1977. I figured how to do a perfect binding
using C-clamps and white glue, which I reinforced by cutting
grooves into the back with a handsaw and then gluing in
nylon fishing line with a couple of inches hanging off on
either side to secure the cover boards. Looks a bit homemade
(which is kind of nice, actually) but it's a book. The
binding effect is somewhat what you might expect if Grandma
Moses were a book artist -- naive but sturdy and very

Each book is unique, an edition of one. I use different
materials for the covers and the content varies, too. The
latest version of Forbidden Dreams: Fragments of a Novel in
Progress has a complete full color 16-page magazine section
bound in that is an integral part of the plot. The next copy
is going to be sewn and bound in signatures. There's an
expert bookbinder here now, a man from Argentina, and he's
going to show me how to do it. He does bindings that look as
if they came off pirate's ships. He stamps the titles in
gold leaf with hand type. He likes lots of elaborate
Alhambra tooling.

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