Posts Tagged ‘self publishing’

Profiles in Printing: Bryna Hellmann

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Profiles in Printing is a series of short interviews conducted by Espresso Book Machine operator María Minaya with people who have self-published their work with us.  Featured today is Bryna Hellmann, author of The Time Between, In the Children’s Country and This Is Me, Becca.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m 86 going on 95 – yes, really, I expect to live a little longer.

I was born in the United States, and I lived there until I was 29. I grew up on the East Coast, went to college there, and then I went out to California because someone told me there were a lot of eligible men in San Francisco.  This was in the 50s, and I did indeed meet an eligible man.  We went to Germany to meet his parents and decided to stay when he got a job in the aircraft business.  In 1970, he was transferred to Fokker Aircfraft, and we came to Amsterdam.  I’ve lived here longer than any place else, and I intend to die here.  My kids can dump my ashes in a “gracht”.

For twenty years, I taught English Writing at The New School for Information Services, which I started in 1987.  I retired aged 78.  I’m gone, the college is still there.

How long have you been writing?

I started when I was about 8, so it’s 78 years. As soon as I could write, I started with little stories and my dad loved that. He encouraged and helped me.

What is your writing routine like?

I don’t write before I’ve done all my daily chores.  Then I sit down and write until I’m absolutely exhausted and it’s time for dinner.  Sometimes I’m so busy writing that I look up at the time, realize it’s four in the afternoon and I haven’t had lunch.

When I’m working on a book I do research ahead of time, to make sure I get the details right.  Then I try to write every day, at least three hours at a stretch.  I like to finish the scene I’m working on if I can.  The next day I’ll go through it and make the necessary editing changes.  Which means I might throw the whole thing out!

Please tell us about your book, The Time Between: 1940-1945.

I began with the idea of three different kinds of Jewish girls during the German occupation in the Netherlands.  I gave them names and backgrounds.  Pam is an assimilated Jew; her mother is not Jewish. Jo’s parents are very orthodox and have to hide in an attic. Jo, however, has curly blond hair, so she lives downstairs as “niece” of the people they’re staying with. Because she can pass for not-Jewish she joins the Resistance.  Hannah and her sister come from Berlin to Utrecht to live with an uncle, leaving their parents behind. Hannah gets recruited by the Germans via an SS officer who becomes her lover.

I started writing and discovered what their lives were like. The book writes itself; once you start you have characters that you have to be true to. You can’t have them doing things that they wouldn’t do if they were real. In this way, the plot evolves, and gradually comes together, in this instance via Pam’s brother Adriaan.

For the research, I visited the NIOD, the Dutch war archives, the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum), the Jewish Historical Museum library and the city archives, and I spoke with 3 women who had been teenagers in the Netherlands at the time.  I know it sounds as if the book is more like history than fiction, but, honestly, 90% of what I found out was just to be sure that what I imagined was true to life.  It’s really a novel.

Why did you write it?

I taught English at a private Dutch high school in the 70s and 80s. I was amazed that the kids knew almost nothing about life in World War II other than Anne Frank, “the girl with red hair” and Soldier of Orange. My intention was to write The Time Between and get English teachers in the Netherlands to assign it or recommend it for the final exams. I want the book to be something students could identify with (girls particularly, of course), and that it be easy to read. There’s a lot of dialogue, but there’s also a lot of information woven into the story.  It is accessible to readers aged 14 and up, I think, and adult friends who’ve read it enjoyed it.

Another reason why writing this book was important to me is that my husband was German. He grew up in Nazi Germany and hated it. His brother wanted to join the SS, so he investigated the family tree as far back as 1732 to prove there were no Jews in the family.  My husband went to the United States in 1947, never intending to go back, and then we did after all.

How has the book been received?

I have given it to family and friends and people who’ve read it have loved it.  The best compliment about the book came from one of the three women I talked to as part of my research.  She asked me, “How did you know?”  She said it read as if I had lived through it.

I found 18 teachers here in Amsterdam who do final exams with their pupils and I sent each of them a copy of the book with a letter explaining why I had written it. Of the 18 teachers I got only one answer, from an Englishman! Not one Dutch teacher even bothered to say: “I got your book. Thank you, but we are not interested.”  I’d rather have a  “no” than no answer at all.

I also sent a copy to the Holocaust Archive in New York. The director wrote me back that the he was thrilled to get it, because they did not have anything about the Netherlands; not one single book.

How did you hear about self-publishing with ABC’s Espresso Book Machine?

I’m a long-time customer at the American Book Center. I saw the machine and I asked about it. I had already read about Jason Epstein, the man whose intellectual brain child the EBM was, and I was thrilled that Lynn had bought one. I’m a great believer in self-publishing.

Change in pricing for self-published books

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The pricing for self-publishing a book on our Espresso Book Machines has changed a bit. We have tied the price more directly to the number of pages your book consists of, plus the cover. In other words, the slimmer your book, the slimmer the price!

Effective immediately, this is the new price scheme (all you literature, arts and language majors, look away now or risk eye-glazing ;-) ):

  • 40 – 179 pages: €3,50 (cover) + €0,05 per page
  • 180 – 200 pages: €12,50
  • 200+ pages: €12,50 + €0,05 per page over 200

For example, if your book has 120 pages, it now costs €3,50 + €0,05×120 = €9,50 per copy (minus 10% if you have a discount card). Compared to the standard €12,50 fee we had before for all books up to 200 pages, that’s a whopping €3 saved on every copy!

The €12,50 handling fee for your initial copy remains the same. Click here for more pricing info.

ABC’s Gift Ideas: Science, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Self-Published Books, Spanish Fiction

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

The gift-giving season is upon us – hooray!

The ABC Staff has rummaged through their sections and order lists, and come up with another year’s worth of wonderful gift ideas for you: from fiction to history to cookbooks to children’s books to travel to non-books and onwards.

In a series of blog posts and recommendation lists throughout the coming month, you will find what we think will make great gifts, whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Christmas or just like giving books to people. And since we’re a bookstore, these posts will be alphabetical by subject. :-)

Today you’ll find gift ideas for Science, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Self-Published Books (on ABC’s Espresso Book Machine) and Spanish Fiction, as picked out by section buyers Tom, Tiemen, JeroenW, Joe and Steven. Bear in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg – come to either one of our stores to browse many, many more titles in any of these subjects.

We are ready as ever to be your personal shoppers again this year, and hope you will find our selections useful and inspiring!

You can find our gift ideas from previous years here (scroll down a bit pas 2013), and be sure to have a look at our ABC Favorites, too.


Writers on Demand: Linda Radwan

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

By Linda Radwan

Almost one year ago I was in my favorite bookstore, as usual, in the Hague. Suddenly, at the counter I spotted a card revealing the following information: ‘Can you imagine a machine that prints, binds and trims titles from a large and ever-growing database of books while you wait? One that even prints your own book?’ I was interested in that last part. This Espresso Book Machine could help me publish my book and I certainly had a book to publish.

I had been searching for a publisher for my book The Beastslayer for a while but I had not found the perfect match… until that day. I quickly sent an e-mail and almost immediately received a reaction from EBM operator Joe Neesan. He told me I could stop by any time and see the Espresso Book Machine.

One year later, after countless covers (well… four, to be specific), several content changes and hundreds of email exchanges with Joe, it all brought me to what you see today.

Writing a book is work, but to truly create it, that’s a lot of blood and sweat. It’s the first step into actually showing the world what you’ve created, to let everyone in your own fantasy world. I changed the content so many times, I changed the lay-out, the cover, all of it because I wanted to be 100% happy with it. Luckily Joe’s perfectionism and patience were there to support my goal. This why I recommend the Espresso Book Machine and Joe’s services to everyone who is seriously considering publishing their work (oh no, Joe, you are going to be even more busy from now on!).

I started writing when I was 11 years old. I have been writing stories, books, you name it but it took years to actually make this first step. I love it! Remember, you must do it all by yourself, read your work a hundred times, make your cover from scratch and deliver the lay-out exactly the way you want it. But in the end you can truly say the book is yours! Believe in yourself, see it come to life before your eyes and well, for the book part, let Joe and the Magic Espresso Book Machine do the rest. Good luck!

Writers on Demand: Amsterdam Quarterly Publication Party

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Amsterdam Quarterly (AQ), a new, literary magazine, will hold a party to celebrate the publication of its 2011 yearbook on Friday, 27 January, at 6 PM at the American Book Center in Amsterdam.

Novelist Philibert Schogt, poet and essayist Iclal Akcay, and publisher Bryan Monte will be present to mingle with well-wishers and sign books hot off the Espresso Book Machine press.

Drinks and refreshments will be provided. Copies of the Amsterdam Quarterly 2011 Yearbook will be printed during the party to demonstrate the ABC’s Espresso Book Machine (EBM). An ABC staffperson will also be on hand to answer questions about using the EBM for printing your own books. Come to the party and meet Amsterdam Quarterly’s writers, editors and publisher.

  • Date: Friday, 27 January
  • Time: 6pm
  • Place: 2nd floor, American Book Center, Spui 12, Amsterdam.
  • More information:

About Amsterdam Quarterly

Amsterdam Quarterly is an online tri-quarterly with an annual, print-on-demand yearbook.

AQ publishes poetry, short stories, memoirs, photography and interviews with writers and artists living in Amsterdam, and the rest of the world.

AQ1 featured poetry by Ron Linder and Edward Mycue, short stories by Alison Brown and Philibert Schogt and an interview with Philibert Schogt. AQ2 featured poetry by Iclal Akcay, Daniel Bachhuber, Megan Garr and Eleonore Schönmaier, memoirs by Dan Gustafson and Joan Shore, and an interview with Moira Egan.

Submissions for the next edition of Amsterdam Quarterly

AQ3 is scheduled for publication in April 2012. Its general themes are psychology, parapsychology, and the paranormal, and it will feature poetry by Charles Jensen, fiction by Ron Linder, and non-fiction by Iclal Akcay. The reading period for AQ3 closes on 31 January 2012. Poems should be more no more than two, A4 pages in length, short stories/memoirs, no longer than 7,500 words. Enquiries about publishing photographs or other artwork are also welcome. Email submissions or enquiries to: