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Self-Publishing Course at Davitt College Proves a Great Success

Self-Publishing Course students with copies of their books in their hands.
Photo taken at Books@One, Louisburgh, where their books were printed while they watched

This autumn saw the inauguration of a self-publishing course at the Davitt College adult education night class programme in Castlebar. With an incredibly wide ranging curriculum at the college, that also includes a creative writing course, it seemed a natural fit to empower writers to go on to publish their own work.

Under the tuition of Alex Blackwell, author, commercial printer, marketer and self-publishing professional, the objective of the course was to teach the participants how to correctly format their manuscript as a book and design their own book cover. The end result of the course would be a self-published book in hand.

The participants came from far and wide, some driving hours each way to take part in the course. Using their own laptops and software, along with online tools, the participants got to work under the direction of their instructor. Everyone approached the task with a positive attitude and put in a lot of effort – writing, rewriting, formatting and designing. They learned to use the available tools to have their first book proof printed locallyat Books@One, Community Bookshop in Louisburgh, with the potential to either continue printing at Books@One, and then later to continue printing at Books@One, print in larger quantities with a commercial book printer or upload to Amazon to sell on demand in print and Kindle formats. It was a lot of ground to cover in just eight weeks. The end result speaks for itself: a selection of beautifully designed, professionally produced, finished books in a wide ranging spectrum of genres and styles.

Some of the comments submitted by course participants tell the story…

“My work has been transformed from a basic story to a professional book.”

“At the start of the course I had only 500 words. Alex inspired and motivated me on the journey. To hold my book on the final night was just a dream come true – What an end to the class!!”

Alex is so right about the joy of holding your very own book in your hands. Nothing has come as close to pride and happiness for me in quite a long time. For that, I'm more grateful than I can express.”

To these and many more encouraging comments, self-publishing instructor Alex Blackwell replied, “I felt that by passing along my experience in book writing, layout, production, printing and marketing, I’d be able to help satisfy the dreams and share the joy of authors holding their own books in their hands. There’s nothing better than having someone tell you that you’ve made a difference in their lives.”

With print-on-demand technology and online digital marketing, the up-front costs are no longer prohibitive. Getting a book published is now something everyone can achieve. Today, with a little technical skill and determination, one can upload digital files of a finished and formatted book at little or no cost. It is then listed on the likes of Amazon who sell one copy at a time without anyone ever having to further intervene. Copies of the book can also be produced locally in Louisburgh at Books@One on their Espresso Book Machine™ for sales, review copies, book launches or for gifts.

With the success of the inaugural course and expressions of interest already coming in, the course is scheduled be repeated in early 2019. “We will have to limit the course to 15 students per cycle because there’s a great deal of personal attention that is given to each individual. That’s the only way to ensure that everyone gets the benefit,” said Alex.

For more about the courses at Davitt College or to sign up, go to: mayosligoleitrim.etb.ie/nightclasses or call Davitt College 094-902-6172

For more about Books@One go to: booksatone.ie or visit them in Louisburgh

To learn more about self-publishing, go to: whiteseahorse.ie/Self-Publishing


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