Modern Evangelization Part 1: Publish on Demand

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Have you ever looked at the book market today and concluded that any idiot can get published?  It’s true, any idiot can get published. I should know, I’m one of them.

No, this isn't a Createspace cover, but it only cost me $30 -- Createspace has its own collection of covers that would fit a religious novel.

No, this isn’t a Createspace cover, but it only cost me $30 — Createspace has its own collection of covers that would fit a religious novel.

My talents lie in writing books.  In my case, my novel A Pius Man – written under the name Declan Finn – centers around the figure of Pope Pius XII.  I wrote it as a thriller, since more people seem to get their history from Dan Brown novels than from history books.

And I have a history degree I wasn’t doing anything with, so, why not?  And, with another piece of interesting technology – called Publish On Demand – I didn’t need your standard, large, anti-Catholic publishing house to go through.

No, this isn’t a plug for my own novel. There is technology here, honest, and it is called Publish On Demand.  Essentially, it takes what used to be called vanity press and combine it with modern printing techniques, so you don’t actually have to shill out even one dime towards publishing a book – be it a novel or a book on theology.

Just imagine it:  you have friends who don’t know anything about Catholicism, and they ask you questions about your faith – and, of course, they can’t be bothered to read the Baltimore Catechism, because that would be easy.

And they ask you incessantly, because they can’t really remember all of the details of your complex arguments, reasoning, etc., and they try to repeat it to other people.  Or you have some idiot at work who yells at you for coming in which ashes on your forehead.  In both cases, you can literally hand them a business card (from something like Vistaprint for $5 in shipping charges), and tell them to go read your book, then come back to you.

If you think I’m telling you to go out and make money, no, not really.  If you sell through Kindle Direct Publishing, or even Createspace (hardcopy) novels, you can set your own price, and make it so that you make exactly one penny. Or not even that.  Or you can write up a book, and order a few dozen “proof copies,” and then hand them to your friends, tell them to educate themselves, and get back to you if you have any more questions … and then add to your book these answers in order to answer future retorts from other people in your life.

If you’re wondering why I think that there will be return “customers,” it’s because that’s how I’ve found people normally ask questions – insistently, and because they didn’t pay attention much the first time around.

In my case, A Pius Man is very much a Catholic Da Vinci Code … or maybe an anti-Da Vinci Code, since not only is A Pius Man based in fact, it’s actually entertaining.  I slipped in history, philosophy, theology, and other inconvenient facts in between the car chases and shootouts, if only so that they learn something just by accident.  And, when I get enough people’s attention, I intend to release the sequel, A Pius Legacy, to answer the inevitable follow ups and complaints I get about the first book.

If you decide to go the “publish on demand” route and write your own book involving theology, I have two suggestions for you:  one, at least be able to footnote it – even if you don’t use the footnotes, you are at least aware of what comes from where – and, two, you can use personal anecdotes, just not too many.  Editing can be done on your own, obviously, even if you just give it to a friend of yours who is an English major.

And if you think that you can’t write a book – well, maybe you can’t.  But that doesn’t stop James Patterson from pumping out a dozen books a year.

Some reliable companies are Lulu.com and Createspace. They’re both relatively straightforward and simple to utilize, though Createspace would probably be cheapest and most effective.

And if you can’t … well, we have a solution for that. Tune in next time. We’re not done yet.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2013 John Konecsni

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