Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Re: New book

From: Chris Dale < >
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:55:13 +0100

To enlarge on Felix's email, and respond to something in Les's:

The proceedings of the 2013 Safety-critical Systems Symposium retail on Amazon for about one-third of the price charged by Springer for the 2012 volume, and the Safety-Critical Systems Club gets the same royalty per volume sold. Using Amazon's CreateSpace service to self-publish was an altogether better experience, in terms of cost, timescale, service and general lack of hassle, than dealing with Springer. We were also able to respond to delegate feedback from previous years by enabling individual papers to be purchased from our website at a nominal price.

Should you be interested, links to buy the 2013 book or individual papers can be found at


Chris Dale
Safety-Critical Systems Club Meetings Co-ordinator


-----Original Message-----
From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx [mailto:systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx Chambers
Sent: 15 April 2013 20:53
To: 'nfr'; 'SPRIGGS, John J'
Cc: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Re: New book

Hi All
Couldn't agree more Felix. Over the past year I've had a marvellous time direct publishing. The book, How Lucky I Was, will probably sell around 500 copies in the author's lifetime (he is now 90 years old). This is not bad given Rex Kimlin's manuscript would never have seen the light of day if submitted to publishers. He has received four five-star reviews on Amazon, reconnected with old airmen who flew the same bomber command missions and even recovered a letter written to him by his sister while he was on active service.
No doubt publishers have a role but even they admit to incompetence in curating quality. We are currently celebrating the 30 year anniversary of Australia's most popular children's book - Possum Magic. Mem Fox was rejected by nine publishers before her 512 words and illustrations found their way into print. Possum Magic has sold 3 million copies and is the only Australian book ever to last that long in hardback. If you took a systems engineering view of publishers this would be a 90% failure rate. Translate that to a safety critical system and we'd all be dead. I am so excited about the publishing facilities now available to the average bear that I am currently writing an essay on the subject. The introductory paragraph:

As a serious novelist you struggle for 6,000 hours to write something popular and good. It sells 35,000 copies and you get to keep most of the money. This is the first-time author's wet dream. More likely, when you wake up, you'll find your manuscript has missed the cut, the 2% accepted for publication. But what if you are published? Reaching for your chips you'll find less than ten percent of the gross revenue still on the table, the rest enhaled by the ponderous monster that is traditional publishing. But what if you could opt out, go around, and publish direct to your audience? Fate recently handed me the opportunity. I published Rex Kimlin's WW II Memoir, How Lucky I Was with's eBook authoring tool. Doing the digital work I saw the death of traditional publishing and the rise of the creative! The Web sets authors free; publishers no longer hold them hostage to their need to be read. To publish with a web service is to hand your book directly to the reader, unobstructed by curators. The web publishing process is free, there are no costly print runs, your book is forever on the shelf, and lastly -an outcome most sublime- your royalty on each sale is three to seven times that paid by old world publishers. We have arrived at the age of the creative, where the wealth is vested more in the originator of the idea and less in the machinery that reduces it to practice.

So what of publishers? Are they become an app?

... and on publishers:

The term "curator" has a 2000 year history. The ancient Romans applied it to the civil servants responsible for aqueducts, bathhouses and sewers. It later denoted ecclesiastics entrusted with the cure of souls; later still it referred to a guardian of a minor lunatic or other incompetent; today curators are paid selectors of stuff for sale. You find them in rock concert promotions, women's clothing, art galleries, dog breeders, literary agencies and publishing houses.
The curator in publishing has a single goal: to select the two percent of the 5000 manuscripts submitted to her company each year that may make a profit. Fillial love has little to do with it. Many publishers solve the problem of manuscript overload by only dealing with established authors. All unsolicited tomes without return envelopes (and stamps) hit the shredder by default. In other contexts a professionally presented manuscript may have its first page, or first chapter, scanned by a sentient being before rejection. From the publisher's point of view it's a negative side to the business that you accept and move on, much like a breeder of cattle dogs who can't afford to feed the animals that won't take direction. But from the author's perspective, if you want that puppy you infused with all the heart and soul you could give for the past 5 years, drowned, submit it to a publisher.


-----Original Message-----
From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx [mailto:systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 11:59 PM
Cc: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Re: New book

Self-publish. It seems the only way - in the UK - to achieve a reasonable price. The Club has had a good experience in publishing its Symposium '13 Proceedings.

On 15 Apr 2013, at 14:22, SPRIGGS, John J wrote:

> My publisher offers softback print-on-demand textbooks at a lower
> price to

students (under certain conditions); unfortunately my intended main audience is engineers, who are not eligible for the offer and who cannot afford the hardback...
> Self-publish next time?
> John

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