For the Love of Books and Book Publishing

Photo from the book, "Old English Country Cottages"  1906

During my childhood, my father worked as a machine mechanic in a printing shop. He would often bring home discards or irregular "books." These were simply blank pages with a comb binding.  We used them as sketch pads. Most likely they were "test runs" to make sure the machines were working properly.

We had bookcases in most of the rooms in our Massachusetts home. Dad also had a workshop in his garage with homemade bookcases to hold his manuals and maintenance books.  He built and repaired many things in his shop.  Once he made me a beautiful bookcase and painted it pink.  It made my bedroom look lovely!

Each of we children had many books of our own, including a complete set of "Little House on the Prairie" books. In the downstairs den, there were built- in bookcases made by my grandfather. These held a complete set of Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias from the 1930's.

Mother had homemade recipe books from her own Mother. These were comb-bound or stapled to hold them together.   Elementary schools often held fundraisers by collecting recipes from the children's mothers and compiling them into pretty booklets.

I absolutely love books and have several hundred in my own family library here at the Estate. I am often adding new titles or old vintage books to the collection whenever I find something special.  These are sometimes discards, gifts, or cost a few dollars.  Last year, I found a few lovely books in a discard box at our hospital gift shop. 

Many have book ideas and want to have their books published. I hope I can give you some ideas that may help.

There are three types of publishing:

1.  Royalty Publishing -

This is a where a large company gives you a publishing contract and does all the publishing at no cost to you.  When sales come in, you are given an agreed upon royalty payment.

Often the author does book tours and signings.  These writers may also be called upon to be speakers at churches and conferences.

One example (of non-fiction) is Margaret Jensen, the author of "First We Have Coffee."  She wrote several beautiful books which were published by the likes of Harvest House.

Fiction author, Beverly Lewis is another example. She is well known for her Amish stories. 

You can find a listing of royalty publishers in the annual book, "Christian Writer's Market."

2. Self  - Publishing -

This is where the author pays all costs involved in the printing of books.

An example of this type of publishing is "The Learning Parent" company founded by Rick and Marilyn Boyer. They set up a company name and published their own books. They are much loved in the homeschool industry and have a large, beautiful family. Be sure to visit their site, "Character Concepts."

When you do your own publishing, you need to find a printer.  Today, we can use "desktop publishing" to our advantage using "Word Document" and different types of software to create our own books and then send them to a printer for publishing.  (You can find a printer online or in your local phone book.)

You would first need to do all the technical work yourself - including editing, proofreading, etc. There are many freelance workers out there who would be happy to help you for an hourly rate. 

You could also work with "vanity" presses for a fee to help with every stage of editing, proofreading, design, printing, and marketing.  A list of these types of publishers can also be found in "Christian Writer's Market."

There are also some print-on-demand publishers including Createspace which is associated with Amazon.

3. Homemade -

If you are looking to publish a small number of books, you might like the homemade option.

- Sewing -

I have seen printed pages carefully sewn together with thread to make a lovely creation.

- Comb binding-

There are small comb binding machines you can purchase from office supply stores. These are easy to use and are perfect for things like cookbooks and children's schoolwork.

- Stapled -

You need publisher software and a duplexer printer (prints on both sides).  This simple type of book can be stapled together in the center (to look like a regular size book) by using what is called a "long reach stapler."

These make charming homemaking books, especially when you use card stock in pink or lavender paper for the cover.

 They are also good for homemade coloring books and comic books for children to write and draw in their own "books." These types of books require nothing but blank paper and a stapler!

In whatever method you choose, there will be plenty of research and trial-and-error. We learn best by trying and learning from our own mistakes. Writing and publishing is very hard work! It can often be a labor of love with little reward.

John Wesley had his sermons and books published on a regular basis. He hired a printer to do this work for him.  In his journal, dated September 1756, he says, "It is now about eighteen years since I began writing and printing books; and how much in that time have I gained by printing?  Why, on summing up my accounts, I found that on March 1, 1756, I had gained by printing and preaching together, a debt of twelve hundred and thirty-six pounds."

- From "The Works of John Wesley, volumes 1 - 2," page 385.

  In later years, he made profits from his sales and had much money to give to charity. His books were later picked up by traditional publishers and are still in print today!

For busy authors in these modern days, who self publish, They can make a living by writing, publishing, and speaking. Hal and Melanie Young are a good example of this, with their ministry work and printing company, Great Waters Press. They are most known for their book and blog, "Raising Real Men."

There is also a gentleness to writing and publishing books. I have recently discovered an old fiction author, Grace Livingston Hill, who wrote from her home.  I also read her biography by one of her grandchildren. Her books are Christian treasures and so inspiring.

I also know of a housewife who has a charming room just for her writing, artwork, and book printing projects.  She sells vintage books from a small online shop.  She shared pictures of the beautiful room she works in, complete with fireplace, lamps, antique furniture acquired from her own family, and 19th century book presses!  Her shop is endearing!  You can visit her and learn more about her shop by going to "Lanier's books" to see her post, "A Tour of the Shop.

If you have an interest in purchasing books or of writing and publishing your own, I hope I have given you some ideas and a good start for your own research.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Homemade and Thrifty - Basic Cookery.

Great Faith and Blessings! - All of God's Children Have Shoes.

We need more of this - Homemaking Propaganda.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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