Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An author you just can't refuse

Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller are among the world's most respected authors, but for a while they had a hard time finding a publisher.
Rather than seek a mainstream outlet for racy novels such as The Black Book and Tropic of Cancer, they used the Obelisk Press, a French publishing house started by Jack Kahane to print his own novel.

That was the 1930s. Now, a young Henry Miller could use new Internet companies like Blurb.com, i-Universe, Lulu.com or Xlibris to print his book - and even sell it through their online stores.

Gwen Fuller used Blurb (www.blurb.com) to publish her book, Do Mallet the Suitcase, a collection of spam e-mail arranged as haiku. Avoiding traditional publishing was a plus for Fuller, 48, a life coach in Menlo Park, California.

"There was a process that I was sort of unwilling to get engaged in when there was something that could so immediately deliver a quality book," she said.

Blurb requires customers to download its software, which then lets them lay out text and photos. Then they send the specifications to the company, which prints the books in either hardcover or soft.

"If you order 10 copies, you get a 10 percent discount, 100 copies you get a 15 percent discount," she said. "Over 200, we encourage you to give us a shout."

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