Published Author

And because most of us have a secret desire to be well-known and witty authors, there exists a vast network of sources ready to help us. You’ve seen the ads: a "reputable" New York or Toronto publisher is hunting for a few good writers. So you send in your manuscript—

Have you ever wanted to write a book and have it published?

Come on, tell the truth.

Of course you have.


And because most of us have a secret desire to be well-known and witty authors, there exists a vast network of sources ready to help us.

You’ve seen the ads:  a “reputable” New York or Toronto publisher is hunting for a few good writers.

So you send in your manuscript — then by return mail, the president of the reputable publishing company will share his huge and reputable staff’s opinion of the merit of your book.

There are a few snags. It seems the reputable publishing company needs to edit your brilliant work.

That will cost money. And then there is the pesky cost of printing and binding and distribution. More money.

After the reputable publisher has separated you from thousands of dollars, you get a crate of books that could cost you ten grand.

Sell them at your church social or use them for anchor weights.

Vanity publishing. It’s the nasty side of publishing — except in the case of Mark Twain.

Vanity publishers love to tout Mr. Twain as an example of how successful you can become if you pay to publish your own work.


Alas, for every Mark Twain there are 10,000 marks with bushels of books they can’t sell. Can’t even give them away.

Still, it would be nice to be a published author of a real book, wouldn’t it?

Well, I will tell you how to do it for the price of a Big Mac and fries! Lean in closer. First, write a book (in MS Word or WordPerfect format).

Design your own cover using a program such as MS Publisher. Use color and clip art. E-mail this package to a “printing-on-demand” specialist and have a book made for about five bucks. Heck, go wild have five books made — total cost: $25.

In about a week you will get five beautifully bound books.


Toss the books strategically around your living room and when movie stars or critics drop by, utter witty things.

That’s all there is to it and you will have saved thousands of dollars, Mr. or Ms. Published Author.

Now, you might be asking yourself, how can anyone print a book so cheaply? Xerox is behind much of the technology that creates your book and binds it in the blink of an eye. This includes a four-color cover.

Printing-on-demand is the wave of the future. (I like the people at: Lisa ( is one of my favourite executives there — helpful, upbeat & great sense of humor.) ph: 800-724-1100

published-author-4Lisa Mays

Be warned:  the contents of the book that a printer-on-demand manufactures will be no better than the file you send.

And if you want to spend a few hundred dollars to get an enormous amount of help with your book, check out This is a group of humor columnists. (Full disclosure:  I’m part of the group.)

They have a publishing arm (which I am not connected with) that can be most helpful with editing, designing and marketing your book. You get to keep all the rights.

How did I hear about printing-on-demand?

I had four novels that were, sob, out of print. iUniverse re-published them recently and they are available to anyone in the world via the Internet.

iUniverse ( does not “warehouse” a single book of mine, but they certainly bang ‘em out in a flash when they get an order.

Just for fun, I ordered a couple of my books from iUniverse.

They used NetPub to print the books. My books arrived a week later. I was delighted with the quality.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, go to: and do a search under my name.

New technology ensures you don’t need a “reputable” New York or Toronto publisher to sweet-talk you into an expensive vanity publication when you can do it yourself for the price of a Big Mac and fries. (Note:  there may be a one-time set up fee since I wrote this.)

In these digital days, it’s easy to become a published author.


Well-known and witty — that’s the tough part.

Of course it won’t be long before most written work will go digital.

Following are some thoughts on that world and using some of its techniques you can market your words that are printed on dead trees.

Digital selling / part one

Digital selling / part two

The future? Close in this ad

but no cigar yet….

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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