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Comments for The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days

The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 DaysThe Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days: 08/11/09

The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days is one of a large number of self-publishing how to books by Fern Reiss. I should preface my review by saying I have no immediate desire to self publish but am not opposed to the practice. I do however, feel that the advice given in this book is completely back to front.

Rather than focus on the book or even the topic of the book, The Publishing Game begins with setting up the personal publishing house first. There are long chapters on getting ISBNs, distributors and markets before even thinking about to actually write about! In this regard the book has the same slimy feel that most "internet marketing" and "social networking life coach" sites have.

From my own limited experience with writers (and self publishers) most write for a self-driven passion. They have to write. Those who have books that don't quite fit a niche will sometimes end up self-publishing until they do build an audience. To me, this seems like the sensible way to do things and the passion for the craft will show in the final product (the book).

The ones who have self-published just to make money are pretty obvious (Rich Brother, Rich Sister comes immediately to mind). The books that result from a drive to make money quickly are just as bad a read as The Publishing Game is.

Let me put to you another way... If you want to bake a pie, do you build the pie factory first? Probably not.

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Comments (8)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, August, 12, 2009 at 15:39:31


Is it aimed at writers who've already completed their book? I'm curious about how ISBNs are assigned, but totally agree with you - seems a backwards way to plan things. And you last line made me laugh. Of course you don't.

Comment #2: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 13:51:24


The book is aimed at people who want to sell books and game the system. They are instructed to first set up the publishing company, then find what the current hot niche market is (regardless of what the author's actual instrests are), plan a whole bunch of titles based on that niche (to then make publishing company look legit), set up distrbution plans and then finally write and edit the first book.

Comment #3: Thursday, August, 13, 2009 at 10:51:51


Well, that does sound really shady. Who does business that way.

Comment #4: Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 17:31:26


The author of the book has done just that. She has written a whole bunch of different "Publishing in 30 days" to prove her point.

Comment #5: Tuesday, September, 1, 2009 at 06:36:48

Fern Reiss

Sorry that you didn't enjoy the book. If you read the back cover or website description, you'll see that 'deciding what to write the book about' is deliberately not included in the contents: This is not meant to be a book on how to write, or what to write, or whether to write; there are plenty of great books on those topics. Rather, it's a book for authors who have already written a book, and have decided on self-publishing. (It has, in fact, been used by many traditionally published authors who are switching to self-publishing.) So what those authors need to know are the nitty-gritty details (that you didn't like, apparently) of how to set up a publishing house, how to get ISBNs, etc., rather than details of how to write, which they already do, and do well. (There is one day devoted to 'zero in on your subject' early in the book, but that's not meant for writers who have no idea what to write--it's meant to make sure that the writer understands that s/he will be doing his/her own marketing and publicity, and thus need an idea that will sell. (If you'll notice, the first sentence of that day's description is "This book assumes that you already have a polished manuscript in hand.")

Incidentally, this is not a series on self-publishing as you suggest; the other two books in the series are a step-by-step plan for getting a literary agent and traditional publisher, and the same step-by-step plan applied to publicizing a book (whether self-published or traditionally-published) successfully.

I wrote the books because, though there were many books on self-publishing (and publicity, and getting an agent) my mind works linearly, and there were no day-by-day plans for doing these tasks.

And no--you wouldn't bake a pie by building a pie factory first. But if you wanted to open a publishing house, which is what this book addresses, you *would* start by getting the ISBNs early in the process. People who've never baked a pie before probably should look elsewhere :*) (And people who, as you suggest, are in this business to make money, probably should choose another business altogether: The joke about the publishing industry is that the way to make a small fortune in publishing is to start with a large fortune :*)

Comment #6: Monday, September 7, 2009 at 20:32:26


Thank you for your lengthy comments. Please understand that books have lives beyond their websites and other marketing. I stand by my post.

Comment #7: Tuesday, September, 8, 2009 at 01:08:35

Christy Pinheiro

Actually, I wrote a book on-topic like this and released it a month ago.

My co-author is a professional mystery writer that got accepted by two big publishers. The advances dried up, and then he went broke.

Now both of us publish non-fiction technical (niche) books for profit, and we are doing really well. I understand that this might seem slimy to some but I don't really see any problem with making money as long as the book has a useful value to the reader.

I recommend non-fiction as the real bread-and-butter for writers. I don't really know how Fern's book is formulated, but I like giving authors hope that they can publish and still feed their families. I don't think that you are going to "make a billion trillion dollars!" But I make a nice income as a technical writer and it's more than I made as an accountant. I think that's pretty nice.

Comment #8: Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 19:27:04


I haven't read your book so I can't comment on it. I'm not against non fiction nor am I against self publishing. About a third of the books I review are self published (and that includes fiction and non-fiction). I just think this book had a strange approach to the process.