Published by: ESC Publishing, Oxford
Author: Anne Staines
Price: £6.75 (plus 80p Postage if you buy mail order)

The days of the backroom software house are not yet over — we seem to get a constant stream of letters and phone calls from people who have just written, or are about to write their mega-game, the ultimate adventure or a super-dooper simulation. ‘Can you recommend a software house I could sell it to’, ‘How do I avoid being ripped off’ and ‘Should I publish it on my own’ are probably the three main questions asked by budding Matthew Smiths and Mike Singletons.

And some of these questions are difficult to answer during a five minute telephone conversation — the commercial world is a jungle at the best of times, and even the most experienced business types can fall foul of the traps and pitfalls that exist. Apart from having a worthwhile product, it’s wise to be equipped with a fair understanding of topics such as copyright, marketing, the law of contract, finance and taxation before embarking on the quest for your fortune. Apart from the sharks, there’s a whole host of legal requirements, rules and regulations waiting to confuse and confound the entrepreneur.

We have been advising people who’ve asked us how to go about making money from their programs to get hold of a copy of Anne Staines’ book. For £6.95 it’s probably one of the most cost-effective investments anyone contemplating selling their software could make. Ms Staines is a barrister — they normally come very expensive — and she has drawn on her professional knowledge and experience to provide a readable introduction to a whole host of topics, including basic details on setting up a limited company, protecting and defending your copyright, contracts, raising finance and marketing. All in one book, which costs about as much as ten minutes with a member of the legal profession, face to face. A good deal indeed.