Parents give the gift of self-publishing
Her solution? She published her son’s diary from the first and second grades as a book and put it on sale at select bookstores. The book, titled “Mother, I’m Growing By the Day,” sells for 8,000 won ($8).
Asked why she decided to make the book, Ms. Hong said it was because, “there are things that only children can say at that age. It’s a shame if those fresh ideas go to waste. Now that those thoughts have been published, my kids can look back on them whenever they want, and it’s a great gift to their grandparents.”
Many families these days are publishing their children’s diary entries, book reviews and records of scientific observations. Some middle and highschool students have even published their own books to help them get admitted to prestigious schools.
Last year, Lee Mi-hye’s 15-year old nephew published a collection of her English essays, which played a crucial factor in her being accepted to one of the top private high schools in the United States. Encouraged by the example, Ms. Lee is urging her 6th-grade child to prepare a collection of book reviews for publication in the near future.
If a child has talent and great ideas, the publishing house might offer him or her a formal contract. According to Lee Yeong-mi, a manager at the Woongjin Think Big publishing company, however, it’s not enough for the child to merely be a talented writer ― most books will have to be self-published.
There are three different ways to publish a book: Work through an existing, large publication company, use an Internet publication service (known as “publishing on demand”) or simply bind a bundle of pages together by hand. Seong-hun’s family chose to work through a professional publishing house that Seong-hun’s father, Yu Ji-yong, learned about from a 12 year-old author.
Due to the difficulties of getting into, and being successful in, the publishing industry, numerous new self-publishers are jumping into the market. The formal publication process can greatly alter a book from its original manuscript, and the outcome may not be what the authorintended. Through formal publication, an International Standard Book Number (“ISBN”) is also printed on the book, which gives it a more “official” feel, by proving that it has been through the editorial process.
Publishing is also an expensive hobby. In Seong-hun’s case, the family spent 5.5 million won on the production, printing and distribution of 1,000 copies for distribution and 300 copies for the author. A publishing house pointed out that in order to lower costs, families should print shorter books without color photos; even with all the cost-cutting, a self-publisher will need at least 3 million won.
If that’s still too much, publishing on demand might be a better option. Authors can get as many copies as he or she want and have them delivered straight to their homes. Two of the main Web sites that provide the service are iOlive and On Print. Each site varies, but all give the author a wide amount of control. On the downside, the choices for design and layout are limited and no ISBN is printed, although iOlive offers a premium service that includes an ISBN and a larger variety of book and page designs.
Finally, the cost of the cover can vary depending on the material: cloth, hardcover or paperback. Hardcover books are more durable but using an old t-shirt for the cloth cover can add a touch of creativity to a child’s first publication.
by Lee Na-ree