The Open Publishing Guide – Rochester Institute of Technology

Rachael Gootnick is a recent graduate of the School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has written an introductory piece for selfpublishingreview on the work and research being carried out by students and directors Open Publishing Lab which provides a free resource for self-publishing and independent authors called The Open Publishing Guide.

“The Open Publishing Guide (OPG) is an open-source website created and maintained by the Open Publishing Lab (OPL) a research lab based in the School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The OPL is dedicated to researching new models of content creation and developing innovative, open-source and cross-media publishing projects.”

This is a well-thought-out and invaluable resource providing listings of author solutions services, video tutorials, book templates and a clever eight-question service finder tool (Self-Publishing Advisor) to whittle down your choice of companies when you are considering what is the best self-publishing option for you. I did find a few glitches with the tool (when you select colour book option, it actually drops Blurb from the list of services!), but Rachael Gootnick does say that the Open Publishing Guide is about to get a website revamp with more companies to be included in their database listing. At the moment the list is made up of a lot of photo book services like MyPublisher, Picaboo, Blurb and VioVio.

“While there are massive amounts of information on self-publishing on the Internet, not all of that information is presented in a positive or non-biased manner. We wanted to give individuals who were thinking of starting the self-publishing process a centralized resource for gathering motivating and non-sales driven information.”

For me, this is the most telling quote from Rachael’s article on selfpublishingreview about the work being carried out for The Open Publishing Guide. It is hard to find resource information and advice on self-publishing which is unbiased. Authors often find their information from two extreme ports of call; author solutions companies who are more interested in selling their services at any cost and will dress up the realities and challenges of self-publishing; and staunch advocates of the mainstream publishing industry – often authors themselves – who believe anything outside of the recognized traditional path to publishing a book is simply vanity publishing and lacks quality and legitimacy.
The Open Publishing Guide will be re-designed for February 2010 with more projects and resources in the pipeline.

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