Answers to all your self-publishing questions

Jacqueline Simonds is a “book shepherd” who lives in Reno and has clients all over the country. If you’re not following her on Twitter (@jcsimonds), you should be. This is the review I wrote on of her new book, The Self-Publisher’s FAQ:

I confess I haven’t read this book from cover to cover yet, but that doesn’t say anything about its readability. Have you ever wished you knew a self-publishing expert you could call with a question and get a knowledgeable answer from without a lot of small talk? Now you have this book. Simonds provides the information you need in true FAQ format that’s conversational yet to the point.

If you can’t find your question in the detailed table of contents, you’ll probably see it in the index. Every conceivable topic from what decisions need to be made early in the process to how to market what you publish seems to be included.

As a fledgling self-publisher, I will keep this book handy and refer to it often as I go through the process of publishing my first book. However, its usefulness is not limited to first-timers. It covers so much material that even experienced self-publishers are sure to find to solutions to problems they have encountered in previous efforts. Rather than reading it and putting it away, I will keep it with my most-used reference books.


I don’t know whether this is necessary, but here it is in case you’re wondering: The author did not ask me to review her book, and I paid for my copy.

Is Reno ready for a book blog?

Is Reno ready for a book blog? I think it is. Am I ready to write one? I don’t know, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a Web page for the Trembling Leaves Twitter account. (“Is Reno ready for a Twitter book account?” just doesn’t have the same appeal.)

I’m always curious about Northern Nevadans who have their books published, publish their own books, or even publish the books of others. And like most avid readers, I love bookstores, both new and used. Lately I have become addicted to buying used books and try to keep up with the best sales. Since I’m following all of this information anyway, I decided to start a Twitter account to share it.

I hardly ever hear anyone refer to Reno as “the city of trembling leaves” anymore, so the name I’ve chosen for this project might not mean anything to you. (Of course books have leaves, but why would they be trembling?) It comes from Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s City of Trembling Leaves, a novel set in Reno and published in 1945. Apparently quaking aspens were popular around town when he was growing up here in the 1920s.

What do I have to do with books? Not as much as I’d like, actually. I’m a  copy editor with a degree in journalism; most of my experience has been in public relations,  engineering and environmental editing, and academic journal production. I’ve been trying to start my own publishing company, Zabeliana Publishing, in the past few years, but it’s been slow going. My first project is re-publishing my great-great-grandfather’s Civil War diary with historical notes. Whenever I see another local author publish a book, I’m inspired to keep working on mine.

I look forward to your feedback, here or on Twitter.