A lesson on self-publishing

Self-publishing is fraught with terrors — first, you have to convince yourself you really have something worth saying; then, you have to get it down on the page, or in the computer; next, you have to cough up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to get the book designed and printed; and finally, you have to figure out some way to sell all those copies, or give them away, just to clear off the kitchen table so you can sit down and have a bowl of noodles.

Well, if it weren’t all precarious enough, Fred Cleveland adds a whole new wrinkle to the agonies of authordom. According to CBS Atlanta News, Cleveland has been taking bundles of money from would-be authors on the promise of producing their books — only to deliver nothing.

Cleveland’s company, Publishing Associates, has received as much as $15,000 from individual authors who never got their hands on their books, CBS Atlanta says. Some have sued Cleveland and gotten judgments against him but still haven’t seen their books, or their money, according to the report.

The lesson: head for Hollywood. I hear writing for the movies is much simpler.

Steven Levingston is the nonfiction editor of The Washington Post. He is author of “Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris” (Doubleday, 2014) and “The Kennedy Baby: The Loss that Transformed JFK” (Washington Post eBook, 2013).

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