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FastPencil Self Publishing

Posted by on 6th Oct 2009 | 1 comment

fastpencil_logo_oIf you have thought about going beyond just a blog and self publishing, then you should consider the new social tools features that allow FastPencil to help make the book-writing process collaborative and affordable – with an end-to-end solution for aspiring authors, guiding them through the writing, editing, design and printing process.

The space for self-publishing is getting lots of investment right now with a handful of other companies trying to change the world of self-publishing. You have WattPad an e-book sharing company, Vook, which tries to blend books and video and Lulu which is the most similar to FastPencil.  If you get serious about self publishing each is worth a look, even if it is just to gather ideas.

connectFastPencil sports a 4 step process and it is the 1st step, connect that is the most unique.  FastPencil is integrated with both Facebook Connect and Twitter to provide for communication and collaboration. The “scribble, tweet or share” feature automatically updates Twitter making it easier to share your thoughts and activities with your community.  At any time during the creative process writers can invite their social network, fellow authors and FastPencil experts to review and provide comments on the book.

writeUsing FastPencil you can write, you can format text, you can add images, and you can track revisions and word count.  There are links to handy references like a a dictionary and even Wikipedia.  The interface is easy to use and matches their goal which co-founder Michael Ashley notes as “We’re building the tool simple enough so that someone like my mom could use it, but complicated enough that a professional really could author books and publish, distribute and promote them.”  The Blog to Book import feature is one that could be attractive if you have lots of content on you existing blog.

publishWhen you’re finally ready to publish, FastPencil walks you through a long list of features and settings you can control, including legal considerations, your ISBN, the covers, the size and templates, the spine, and even the price.  FastPencil eliminates traditional barriers to publishing and enables authors to sell their work directly to their particular audience.  Additional publishing packages include consulting, author and editorial services, custom formatting and distribution.

sellThere is no minimum run-rate, so you can publish one copy or 1,000 copies, and you’re free to sell the books on Amazon.com — although FastPencil will take a revenue share.  The company even publishes to Kindle if you think that an e-book is your marketplace.  So, if you are considering self-publishing and want a good place to start, then FastPencil can help turn that book idea into a reality. I am only dabbling in the writing phase of FastPencil, but so far I have liked everything I have seen – but no publications … yet!


David Silversmith is an Internet and Web analytics consultant with more than 20 years' experience managing both technology and customer service for information businesses. He is the former CTO at Carfax.com where he spent 12 years implementing and managing IT strategy. While there, he led the adoption of hosted Web analytics and implemented some of the earliest A/B testing applications to optimize visitor traffic. Silversmith also spent seven years at Nielson Claritas, a leading supplier of demographic information, establishing its technical support and training departments. He's also managed call centers supporting products such as Canon printers, and the Sony Magic Link - one of the first hand held PDAs.

1 comment - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Barbara on 16th May 2011

    I have used FastPencil and it has been a real nightmare. I created a 100 page book using their photo book editor only to find that to add or move a page required such a complex routine to add pages to the end that you then moved where you wanted the new page which then overwrites the existing page, which is then placed at the end… which you then move which then overwrites… on and on.

    After four attempts I had to revise my content rather than endure the ridiculous, non-functionality to just add a page.

    So, onto spell-check. Guess what? No spell-check whatsoever. Had to do that manually by copy and paste each individual text block into another program to spell-check.

    Next, preview and final review PDF, the step prior to publishing. Guess What? What you see in the create book editor and the preview is NOT at all what you get in the PDF, which may, or may not match what you get when you print! Like publishing roulette.

    The support, after you go to the top and complain of no support is mostly apologies for things not working.

    My opinion is STAY AWAY from FastPencil.