If ever there was an industry that deserved a comeuppance it's book publishing, with its snotty editors, rude agents, inefficient business practices, and clubby atmosphere. It survived the initial Internet onslaught (most of us, it turns out, didn't want to curl up with a computer), but might have a harder time with print-on-demand publishing--assuming authors can find a way to drum up that demand. Like a lot of folks, Lincolnwood resident Ken Traisman had a novel he couldn't get published: The Chicago Gale, the story of a Jewish-Irish knuckleball pitcher going for a season of glory in the big leagues. Traisman had an edge over most fledgling novelists--he's a lawyer who makes his living as an editor of legal publications and has coauthored a nonfiction business book--but it didn't help. He couldn't get in the door of any of the established publishing houses and couldn't land an agent. Then, a little over a year ago, he discovered iUniverse.com. For $99 iUniverse sent him a manuscript template, came up with a cover design, got him an ISBN, and made his book available on order at Barnes & Noble bookstores (Barnes & Noble owns a chunk of iUniverse), Amazon.com, and its own Web site. Traisman gets a 20 percent royalty on every copy sold, but has to market the book himself. Now that it's easier to get published, the challenge is promotion, he says: "Media entities like the Tribune and WGN seemingly won't touch a print-on-demand book." He'll talk about his publishing experience at 7 PM on Thursday, March 7, at the Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood in Des Plaines. The first of three "Inside Writing and Publishing" programs at the library, it's free, but reservations are requested. Call 847-376-2787.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.