In a small, cozy upstairs office on 4th and Charnelton, Luminare Press works to help authors, local and not, self-publish their books.
The idea for Luminare came to owner and editor Patricia Marshall around 12 years ago, when she noticed many of her writer friends talking about self-publishing their work “as if it were a Saturday afternoon craft project.” Marshall, who at the time was the editor of the local environmental-focused Forest Magazine in Eugene that ceased printing around 2010, knew from her experience in publishing that this was not the case.
Around that time Marshall sat with a group of friends looking over her 89-year-old mother’s first self-published book. She says that while her mom was a talented writer, she and her friends knew they could do it better. Marshall says her mom’s book, combined with the other discussions on self-publishing, led her to realize that many skilled writers don’t understand what goes into making the book as a product from a finished manuscript. This inspired Luminare Press.
“Writing and publishing are two different skill sets,” Marshall says. Publishing involves a lot of design, she says, including the cover, but also the inside page design — something many people have seen countless times, but don’t consider the work that goes into it. The design also doesn’t include the editing of the manuscript and the distribution of the final product.
That process extends to e-books as well, Marshall says. Even though e-books aren’t physical copies, they do need to be designed, edited and distributed, as well as ensuring the HTML code is correct. She says she has read e-books where there was an italicized word or phrase that didn’t have the coding to end the font style, meaning the italics started and unintentionally continued for a page or so. Luminare offers services in editing, design and distribution, although Marshall says editing is an add-on service.
As a publisher Luminare has a personal, hands-on approach to the process. With only 10 employees, the staff is able to work closely with clients, Marshall says. A key part of their process is giving the author a chance to review and check in at each stage of publishing, from designing the cover to interior layout. This is both so the author can have a say in the design, and also to allow them more opportunities to review their work and catch mistakes, she says.
“We’re not the only company doing this,” Marshall says about the services that Luminare offers. “But we do really try to educate our clients if they work with us.”
The educational aspect is one thing Marshall says is unique about Luminare. She says the staff teaches authors about the publishing process, to help them better understand for the future. While teaching and guidance are available in all publishing packages it offers, the new Essentials package, which starts at $1,599, takes it a step further.
“We’ve recorded a bunch of videos to enable authors to do some of this work themselves, and save on cost,” says Claire Flint Last, Luminare’s head graphic designer. Marshall says the Essentials package is geared towards people who are comfortable online, as the designed book will be sent to clients in a digital file. The videos teach the clients how Luminare publishes ebooks to distributors like Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark.
Flint Last was a part of the group Marshall discussed her mom’s book with, and was Luminare’s first employee as a graphic designer. It started as a freelance side gig for Flint Last, and as the business grew, it became her full time job. But she has not only worked for the company, she used its services to publish her dad’s book as well.
The book, How the World Got Better, is about an elderly couple telling their great granddaughter stories about the world. Flint Last has spent the last 10 years illustrating it, and through Luminare she published the book this year.
Flint Last says working at Luminare showed her that the process is less daunting than it seems. She says the hardest part of publishing was just the pressure to uphold her father’s legacy.
“Others experience that pressure all the time,” Flint Last says, “and they’re the only thing standing in their own way most of the time.” ν
To learn more about Luminare Press’s publishing packages visit LuminarePress.com. Walk-ins are discouraged; a free consultation can be scheduled through the website.