Well one of the things that stirred me into action was a review in the TLS of Anne Trubeck’s : So You Want To Publish A Book? It is a good broad brush overview of the publishing process but it didn’t go very far into the dark arts of how to typeset and hand over a registered book to a printer.
One of the first things I looked around for was the current DTP packages. In the past I’d known QuarkXpress and the intricacies of LaTex* but these were too complex or expensive for my needs today. If Adobe’s InDesign was still a stand alone app I would have been interested but, again, the subscription model was too pricey.
Affinity Publisher seemed to have all the right features at the right price point – plus it had a 90 day trial so I went with that. I then cast around searching for tutorials on YouTube and written reviews of the software.
I found a book by Fiona Raven and Glenna Collett called Book Design Made Simple that was an in depth InDesign primer and through her allied website found a review comparing Affinity Publisher quite favourably with InDesign – in fact several of the comments under the blog post were by users who were able to use the book and transpose the instructions for making books in the cheaper program. I found a second hand copy on eBay in the UK and bought it. Fiona and Glenna also have a lot of general allied resources available online for free. Their site and blog are full of really useful tips demystifying the typesetting book design process.
The typeface I want for the press is the old Doves Type which has a fascinating history. So I bought a copy from Typespec. Doubtless I’ll be buying a couple more in the months to come as the need arises.
Having sorted the software issue and tutorials around it I now knew I had to get an ISBN (in fact several) if I wanted to publish, distribute, sell and deposit my books online, in shops and libraries in the UK. The place to do this is the Nielsen ISBN store in the UK. I’m not going to go into the whole ISBN process here but I did come unstuck at the start by choosing a name that had already been taken for a small publishing press. It was only by chance I found it through a search on Amazon.
Because ISBNs have to be linked to an allied URL when signing up on the Nielsen site I had to cancel the domain name registration I’d bought and linked to the press and then choose something no-one had registered yet. That’s how I ended up with the Majuscule Press.
After this I bought the new domain name and linked a WordPress blog to it with a professional blog theme. After that I created an admin email and on the back of that I created an Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Anchor podcast station – interlinking all of those as well.
I have been on the internet (pre web) since 1994 and have worked extensively with professional video and audio in education since the beginning well before the advent of zoom so I thought I would take the opportunity to document my journey and the resources I’m using to make a small press. It was too good an opportunity to miss. Not bad for 2 days’ work.
The Majuscule Press now has a newsletter in which I filter out and highlight the resources mentioned in the blog. Click on the link below to have all the info in the post above delivered in a more digestible format to your email on an infrequent basis.
*I do know the basics of Latex and for a free program it is impressive and very ‘extensible’ but I’m not sure I want to debug my writing as well as typeset it!