Fastpencil has the typical, barebones look of a Silicon Valley start-up. With lots of computers and only a handful of employees, it is part of a fast-growing movement to allow anyone to write a book.
"Over 80 percent of the individuals interviewed in a survey say they have a book in them," says Steve Wilson, Fastpencil.com's president.
Its website provides the tools and the connections to let novice writers a platform to print their own book, bypassing the traditional path of pitching a publisher and facing a rejection letter. Rick Rieser is an attorney in Ohio, who just published a children's book.
"You wouldn't think that a children's book of 30 or 35 pages would be that hard to do, but it's actually a very difficult task. I did an initial draft, submitted it to the editors at FastPencil. They provided a lot of very valuable feedback and from that, it was turned into the quality book that it is today," says Rieser.
Fastpencil takes a 20 percent commission, it can also help with artwork and marketing, and you don't need to print hundreds of copies.
"If you just want to write something that's going to be special to a few people and do kind of a personal publishing situation, that is very available through FastPencil," says Wilson.
First-time authors can also format their books for the iPhone or devices like the Kindle or Sony Reader.
Sunnyvale author Rajesh Setty points to blogging as the genesis for this new wave publishing. He prints his books through another self-publisher HappyAbout.info.
"Now they can publish whenever they want without having to go through hoops to get their thoughts published," says Setty.
Suddenly almost anyone can become a published author, maybe even selling them through a major bookseller, without the pressure of producing a best-seller.