Word Dust Press

April 30, 2007 18:22 ET

Is Self-Publishing An Hereditary Madness?

Multiple award-winning author Max Burns says “Can I get back to you on that? I just got this great idea for another book and I need to get it down on paper.”

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Books Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Media Editor ASTORVILLE, ON, THE REALITY OF SELF-PUBLISHING--(CCNMatthews - April 30, 2007) - For over a quarter of a century, Max Burns enjoyed a successful, relatively normal career as an author, journalist, and editor. Printed in seven countries and five languages in countless magazines and three books, his words covered a wide range of topics and reached tens of thousands of readers, all through established publishers. Then in 2001, he abandoned this safe and proven path, leaping into the unknown to start his own publishing company, Word Dust Press. One year later, Word Dust Press introduced its first book, "On Any Wednesday." For Burns, it was a natural progression, the do-it-yourself inclination in his blood.

"My dad did it all himself--car and house repairs, renovations, landscaping, everything," Burns says. "It was a given that I would follow suit." So Burns also worked on his own vehicles and houses, and even wrote articles and books specifically for the do-it-yourself afficionado, including the best-selling "Cottage Water Systems" and "The Dock Manual." When building their passive-solar house, he and his wife, Jackie, did basically everything except pour the concrete for the foundation. Yet Burns freely admits that he no longer works on his own vehicles. And with the house nearly finished (for owner-built homes are never truly completed until the for-sale sign goes up) he definitely doesn't have an interest in doing that again.

Yet his do-it-yourself madness is not in remission, it has simply evolved into self-publishing. After "On Any Wednesday" hit the market and sold well, Word Dust Press published another book, "Around the Bend (again)," and then another, "These are a few of my favourite roads." With each selling better than Burns' cautious expectations, it was obvious that others were appreciating the fruits of his madness, which only encouraged him to do more.

"It's the pleasure of doing it all that drives me, not some twisted notion that no one can do the job better than me, whatever the job may be," says Burns, "I simply crave the satisfaction of creating, and of making all the decisions." In the case of book publishing, this means choosing the topic, title, book size and design, paper quality, the promotional and marketing style, everything being his to select or create. Or almost everything. "I don't do the printing of my books because of the immensity of the task, and I hire editors because a good editing job is sort of like the house foundation--it holds all the other stuff up. If the foundation is no good, everything else eventually collapses, no matter how well it's done. But I get to choose who builds the foundation, or the editors in this case.

"Of course, the responsibility that comes with making those decisions is also mine, no excuses, no shared blame," Burns cautions, adding "But it's a serious kick, no doubt about it." And now, with the release of "Unresolved Connections," Word Dust Press publishes Burns' first book of fiction, its six stories accompanied by five poems and 28 drawings, each of his creation. "Unresolved Connections" is a book of lost poetry, suspense, humour, and mystery, all of it imagined yet all of it very believable. "This is my scariest and most fun venture to date," says Burns. "It's me, exposed on the firing line."

What's next for Word Dust Press? "Who knows," says Burns. And that may be the best part about self-publishing--it's not just the books that are all his, but so to is the schedule. "Maybe I'll even take a break and work on the house for a while."

Which points out the real tragedy of this hereditary madness; there's no known cure for do-it-yourself mania except to do it. For more details on Burns' plight, go to www.worddust.ca or visit your local independent bookstore and ask for one of Burns' Word Dust Press books. Even if you are not a victim of the madness, it's still okay to take advantage of those who are. /For further information: www.worddust.ca/ IN: ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Max Burns, Word Dust Press
    Primary Phone: 705-752-1020