On-Demand Books Expose New Authors
In a contest designed to promote its print-on-demand technology and expose the talents of unpublished authors, Xerox Corp. this year created an Aspiring Authors program, which awarded one winner with 100 copies of her published novel and a $5,000 check.
Author Barbara Grosh's manuscript "Tenure Track to Mommyville" was selected from more than 250 entries from around the country. Grosh received her prize at a special ceremony during Print 05 in Chicago.
Entrants to the contest submitted their manuscripts using Lulu.com, a provider of online publishing tools and a Xerox partner for the contest. The manuscripts were printed at ColorCentric Corp., a Rochester-based commercial printer, using a black-and-white Xerox DocuTech 6180 Production Publisher for the book block, and an iGen3 Digital Production press to produce the full-color covers.
Grosh had previously submitted "Tenure Track to Mommyville" to several agents and received a handful of rejections. "I believed that if I persisted, eventually I would find an agent, and I hoped that the agent would find a publisher," Grosh says. "But from friends' experiences I expected that to take a long time and to be very discouraging." With her award-winning manuscript in print, her chances of finding an agent should increase, she says.
Because all entries were printed using full-color, laminated covers with black-and-white book blocks on 6 inch by 9 inch offset book paper, the entries were judged strictly on content.
Grosh says that the advantages of publishing a book digitally are that it is fast, simple to do and the copies are of good quality—equivalent, she says, to those she would buy at her local bookstore.
Peter Perine, vice president of publishing segment marketing, graphic communications, Xerox Production Systems Group, says the quality of digitally produced books has improved, and Xerox is currently conveying this to publishers. "[We] try to [tell publishers] that quality should no longer be part of the discussion," Perine says. "Ten years ago when we started doing black-and-white book blocks with a DocuTech, [the] halftone quality was nowhere [near] where it is today. And on the color side, with our iGen family, quality doesn't appear to be an issue either."