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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Birth of a Book (updated 4/2003)

By Liz Miller

It's finally here!

In the summer of 2002, McGraw-Hill / Ragged Mountain Press decided that demand for Get Rolling, the Beginner's Guide to Inline Skating wasn't high enough to justify further printings. My reaction went from shocked disappointment, to dismay at the prospect of finding a new publisher to excitement over how much easier self-publishing is now than in the early 1990s. Authoring, illustrating and publishing one's own book is a months-long labor of love, much like a pregnancy. For a short time this year, the only edition of Get Rolling available for purchase was the "classic" first edition.

The great news is that the third and best edition of Get Rolling—published this time around by my own company, Get Rolling Books—is now available to beginning skaters across the globe, continuing to fulfill my mission! And this time, because I'm the publisher, it's also available at quantity discounts to skate schools, sports retailers and bookstores.

Below is a cover-by-cover history of Get Rolling, The Beginner's Guide to In-Line Skating, and how my other books fit within its lifespan.

1992: The first edition of Get Rolling came out a year after I bought my beloved Rollerblade TRS Lightenings. I self-published the book in 1992 under the name Pix & Points Publishing. An ICP instructor certification helped to beef up my nonexistent credentials.

1992: One summer day in 1992, I was contacted by The Five Mile Press, a publishing company in Australia. A staffer on holiday had picked up a copy of Get Rolling in San Francisco at Skates on Haight. This first edition was a copy of my own edition but without the Resources appendix and a few wording changes (fanny pack became "bum bag"). A few thousand Australian adult skaters purchased copies.

1992: The Five Mile Press also published a kid's edition of Get Rolling for distribution within their book club line. It was the best-selling edition ever, with about 15,000 copies sold! But with miniscule royalties, this didn't make much of an impact on my bank account.

Eventually, the copyright permission to The Five Mile Press lapsed, leaving that territory available to me.

1994: Looking for a way to expand my reach, I contacted Foghorn Press, a travel book publisher in San Francisco, to see if they would take over publication of Get Rolling. Instead, they convinced me to write California Inline Skating, The Complete Guide to the Best Places to Skate. Of course, I added the instructional content from Get Rolling into that book's front pages.

1998: The Get Rolling Web site opened for business in 1995, featuring a big image of the cover of Get Rolling Classic on our home page. About a year later, that attracted an acquisition editor from Ragged Mountain Press who was interested in publishing an updated edition of Get Rolling. This was the widespread publishing and distribution opportunity I'd always wanted for Get Rolling! The second edition was born in 1998.

2000: Selling 5,000 copies of Get Rolling's second edition in its first year gave my publisher confidence in the marketability of skating books. In the spring of 2000, Ragged Mountain Press published my most recent book, Advanced Inline Skating . Entering 2003, it was my only book remaining in print. For the record, a London reviewer who never saw a copy of Get Rolling thinks Advanced Inline Skating would be an excellent beginner's guide!

2003: The third edition of Get Rolling was started mid-2002 after Ragged Mountain Press confirmed they would discontinue it and return the copyright to Liz. A new publishing company named Get Rolling Books was born to get it listed in various book trade directories and work through required publishing processes. Now, small press runs directed by Liz means this edition can be updated and reprinted whenever needed.

Long live Get Rolling!