Page, Susan. The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book. New York, NY: Broadway Books, c1997.
Reference type: Ready Reference
Authority: Susan Page is the author of three published books and uses her experiences as a writer for source material. This book is written in first person point of view, and consistently reminds the reader that this is her viewpoint alone.
Audience Relation: Once a science fiction writer has committed some or all of the project to paper or disk, something that comes naturally to many is the desire to publish. For first time authors, or even authors with some experience, this can be a confusing process at best and a difficult one always. A good source offering practical advice on this subject is a necessity for a writer's reference collection.
Scope: This book is written mainly with the first time author in mind. It discusses all aspects of the publishing process to a medium depth with suggestions for more research where applicable. Although her experience is in non-fiction publishing, Page possesses a knowledge of non-fiction publishing as well.
Content Evaluation: This book offers a wealth of information on the publishing process. The tone is that of a self help book, although it does not get as "chatty" as some. The information comes across in layperson's language with a bit of humor, all of which makes it easy to learn and retain. The learning activities presented are actually very useful for writers, even if they are experienced. For example, the one on title selection would be useful for any author who is having trouble naming a work.
The book itself is a slightly oversized paperback with cream colored paper and a not too small black font. The work is broken up into easily digestible chunks within the chapters, and finding information within the book is never a problem, especially with the well-done index. Further reading is suggested in a section at the back.
The book's strength is largely in the practicality of its advice. This is definitely dealing with real world issues and is not afraid to talk about the ups and downs of contract negotiation. Page addresses the life of the author both with and without an agent and describes the strengths and weaknesses of each position. Her concrete writing and focused approach make this book easy to read and very informative, though at times not as in-depth as it could be.