FastPencil & Book Oven: Learning from Self-Publishing Models

Whether you consider all self-publishing a dismissable legacy of offline vanity publishing, the future of the book business or something in between, it’s worth paying attention to tools like FastPencil.

FastPencil offers a full workflow for authorsfrom editing input on blog musings to ISBN assignment to printing using assigned templates to distribution through online booksellers (for a fee, of course).

The combination of online collaboration and POD workflow make FastPencil a real slick operation and a possible model to emulate for a small publisher looking to streamline their print or ePublishing business.

All editorial is done online in a collaborative space open to as many contributors as necessary. Portfolios from freelancers or in-house staff can be stored, tagged and browsed through when projects are begun for ideas about look and feel. An online marketplace is set up where finished books are available to buy, either in electronic format or as a print book.

Those willing to be even more adventurous might even open up the editing process for certain types of books to the masses, a la O’Reilly, to create a fanbase and online chatter pre-publication.

The good news about all this is that you really don’t have to do it alone. From what I understand, providing this kind of workflow is the mandate of Book Oven. You can get all the goodness of online workflow without the hassle of building your own. If Book Oven creates and maintains relationships with printers, there might even be some pricing breaks based on economies of scale impossible to create separately.

Online self-publishing communities like FastPencil are making it easier for non-professionals to publish books. How great would it be for professionals to borrow some tricks and make it easier for themselves to get their books into the market in the same way?