About ePub Tech Reviews

Welcome to my "About ePub Tech Reviews" page. It is a culmination of forty years of publishing experience which ultimately led to the creation of this website.

All About ePub Tech Reviews' Beginning 40 Years Ago

Susan Gast, ePubTechReviewsSusan Gast, owner ePubTechReviews.com

It all began with my father, Ken.

Back in the early 80s, Dad decided to write a book about recycling scrap... after all, back in the UK, he'd spent decades in the industry demolishing factories and taking up old railroads.

The book started out with handwritten notes, which he then typeset himself using a boxy-shaped Apple Macintosh with true WYSIWYG technology.

(Scroll down a little to see the type of "boxy Mac" he used!)

Pre Amazon Times

A Fortune in Scrap - coverA Fortune in Scrap

Remember, back then, Amazon wasn't around. You had to print the book yourself or land a deal with one of the big publishing houses.

Dad did it himself. (Boy, oh boy, do I ever take after my dad!)

And DKS Publishing was born. What did DKS stand for? "D" for my mom Doreen; "K" for my dad Ken; and "S" for little old me, Susan.

My dad taught himself how to run a printing press.

He housed the small press in a lean-to shed and created his first copy of "A Fortune in Scrap."

A Fortune in Scrap - old interior

A decade later, we had a hurricane blow through and that lean-to shed blew apart. For weeks after that hurricane, we found many printing press plates scattered in the surrounding bushes.

I kept some of those printing plates for posterity.

Click on the image to see it larger. Exit the gallery by clicking the 'x' in the lower RH corner.

Fast Forward Thirty Years...

A Fortune in Scrap paperback coverA Fortune In Scrap by Ken Burtwell

Fast-forward thirty years: I took it upon myself (with hubby's help) to improve my father's effort.

(No offense, dad).

Amazon "CreateSpace" came to the rescue.

CreateSpace - now known as Amazon KDP - is where you self-publish eBooks and paperbacks, along with hardcover books, too.

Together, hubby and I created an eBook and paperback version of Dad's book.

Dad's A Fortune in Scrap still sells well to this day.

Working For a Weekly Tabloid

My foray into printing and publishing in the USA started when I landed a job at a local weekly tabloid. I then moved to a different job, working for a local printing company.

Compugraphic EditWriter 7500Compugraphic EditWriter 7500,
courtesy Trish Schaefer,
Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

I created business cards, letterheads, and forms - and even made rubber stamps!

To this day, I fondly remember sitting in front of a "cutting-edge" phototypesetting Compugraphic EditWriter 7500 typesetting machine. The copy you typed (i.e. "file") was stored on a big floppy disc.

A strobe light shone its beam through a pair of font film strips attached to a revolving wheel. This enabled the light to be sent directly through the 'character' on the font film strip onto the photographic paper.

Photographic Paper, Developer, and Fixer

When the typeset "project" was ready to be developed, I fed the roll of photographic paper to a light-proof cassette housed in the blue boxy area on the left in the above image. I had to make sure to push the button a few times to feed enough paper into the cassette so my work would be completely safe inside the cassette.

Simply raise the lid, slide the cutter to separate the paper in the cassette from the hidden, unused roll, and take it from the EditWriter to run it through a machine that containes developer and fixer. This way, I didn't need to use the print shop's darkroom to develop the paper output.

After processing the paper and giving it a quick water bath, I pegged the paper strips on a line to dry. It didn't take long.

The Origin of the "Cut and Paste" Phrase

I then used a hot-wax coating machine to coat the backside of the paper and literally "cut and paste" my stuff onto my layout graph sheet, which was taped to an illuminated tilt-able drafting table.

After a quick roll with a rubber roller to make sure all the pieces lay flat, it was ready to be photocopied and proofread. It would then have to be OK'd by the customer. After approval, the artwork was taken to the darkroom and a "negative" was made, which was then used to burn its imprint onto a plate, and finally printed.

Those were the days!

Today, I am Blessed to be Writing About ePub Tech Reviews on Modern Equipment...

My two iMacsSusan's twin 27" iMacs

I am blessed to be sitting here typing all this on the left-hand 27" iMac with 64 GB of memory.

The one on the right is a little older.

But, since I first wrote this, I donated the older Mac to a very happy hubby, and invested in a 32" curved Dell monitor.

One computer.

Two screens. Love. It.

Macs: Now, and Back Then

My very first Mac (the one shaped like a cube!) had just one-half of a megabyte of memory (512k!)... and I upgraded to 1.5 MB ... read more about those Macs here at PC Magazine.

It was the "bee's knees" back then. I must have had a ton of patience back then to have to scroll all over the place. Today we are truly spoiled rotten...

Embrace Technology, Use it to Your Advantage!

This is why we should embrace technology and not be afraid of it. Use AI to your advantage, and not for nefarious reasons. Such as? Putting out pap just to have pages filled with annoying AdSense ads.

It's the same reason for TV shows: to fill in the gaps between commercials. ;-)

The Exciting Field of Forex!

After my printing days in the US ended (my decision), I moved into the exciting field of Forex. Caveat: You have to know what kind of trader you are. If you cannot adhere to using "stops," then you shouldn't trade.

After losing $7k on a GBP/USD short trade where I kept MOVING my stop, my hubby was elated when I finally "let it go," albeit after losing a wad of cash, and declared my trading days were over.

If you want to learn how to trade properly, check out Forexmentor.com run by Peter Bain. Vic Noble is a valuable asset there and I consider him a friend to this day.

Junior Mechanical Engineer

For the following decade, I was a "junior" mechanical engineer. Without my bro, I would never have been able to achieve that. He's a senior mechanical engineer, whose brains still astound me with his vast knowledge. He makes engineering look simple. It isn't.

My forté was creating "nests" that sit atop indexing dials for parts assembly machines. I worked on creating and detailing parts for K-Rain, Goody Hair Products, Ford/GM projects, and more.

The (Florida) company I worked for sold up to a California company, so I was out of a job.

Then Along Came Solo Build It!

Solo Build It! - see Proof of Success!

I Became Obsessed with Website-Building!

My website-building passion began after watching a Glenn Beck show on TV back in 2010. He was talking about the need to store food - for long-term storage in case of a food shortage. (Yeah, he was well ahead of his time!). That led me to get a dehydrator for dehydrating food to store for long-term storage!

I became so involved that I decided I needed to start a website about dehydrating food. But where to start? I had no idea how to start a website. So I did what anyone would do; I Googled "free website builders."

Yep. You get what you pay for.

Thankfully, I came across a company called "SiteSell," which is now "Solo Build It!" Their business approach to creating a website sold me. I couldn't wait to get going. That was back on December 23, 2010. I've never stopped creating since.

But What About ePub Tech Reviews?

Its goal is to provide you, the reader, with information on publishing trends, apps, and how-to advice.

I've been fortunate to create an abundance of stuff. Such as?

And I want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with you so you can learn from my experience(s).

Click on the images to see them larger. Exit the gallery by clicking the 'x' in the lower RH corner.

After having forty years of publishing experience under my belt, I thought it was high time to share my knowledge with you all about ePub Tech Reviews and share how the publishing industry has evolved over the decades!

That's why I created this site.

Thank you for taking the time to read all about ePub Tech Reviews!

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Susan Gast Author and Marketer

Susan Gast created ePubTechReviews.com to provide insight and inspiration (and product reviews!) to indie publishers and video creators. Having been in this industry since 1980 in one form or another, Susan has lots of wisdom to impart from her own trials and tribulations over the decades.

She is featured in the Mother Earth News blog, and on Solo Build It! (SBI!) who hosts this site. Read her first SBI! interview and her second SBI! interview. Susan runs an additional SBI! website: Easy Food Dehydrating. She also runs her namesake site SusanGast.com on Solo Build It! which showcases the books she has written since 2012.

Want to send Susan a quick message? Visit her contact page here. She'd love to hear from you!