As a young apprentice lithographer, I recall the first book I was entrusted to print. It was a book published through a small publisher in Perth Western Australia, The Fremantle Arts Society. The book was A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey. Hardly destined to be a bestseller as the first print run was 1000 copies. Just enough for the local Perth market.
Checking the entry in Wikipedia entry, I found that it skipped over the initial editions of the book. I recall very well printing at least five further short run editions of the book before it was finally picked up by a major publisher. I have fond memories of the time and meeting Bert Facey shortly before he died.
As I look back now, what is striking for me is how an ordinary man decided to write a book. Just as many of us are now doing but with more tools than were available to Bert. He wrote his book on his kitchen table; handwritten into exercise books. This by a man who had to teach himself how to read and write as he had no formal education.
With the help of editors at The Fremantle Arts Society, his story was polished into a book. This is the important point for me. Anyone can write a book and with the help of good editors it can be polished to an acceptable state ready for publishing. But the most important ingredient has to be there first – a damn good story.