Monday, December 3, 2007

Self-Publishing: How Important Is An ISBN Number?

You've weighed all your options and have determined that self-publishing makes the most sense for your foray into publishing. You understand that there is an increase in the need to self-market your title, but there is also a correlating increase in profit margin. Other risks have been assessed and youre comfortable moving forward in the direction you've chosen.

Have you applied for an ISBN number?

"What's that?" You might be asking yourself. Well, an ISBN (International Standard BookNumber) is a specific number that helps identify your book and has provided the standard of book identification since 1970.

Some brick and mortar stores as well as online retailers have policies that disqualify the sale of a book that does not contain an ISBN.

The cost to purchase an ISBN may seem prohibitive for many. Heres the basic cost structure...

Registration Fee: $24.95

Service Fee for 10 ISBN's: $225.00

Annual Fee: $25

Manual Processing Fee (if you file a print application): $50

Express Service (if required): $125

If you needed an ISBN number quickly you would spend close to $450 to get one. The truth is, you receive up to ten ISBNs for the price listed above, but the acquisition of an ISBN doe note provide a distinction between the need for one or ten separate numbers, ultimately you pay the same price. This can be a benefit I you have additional titles planned, but can be a hefty expense for a single book

The online web address for ISBN acquisition is

You should know that there are resellers of International Standard BookNumbers and you can purchase a single ISBN for around $50 through these services. Another alternate avenue for the purchase of an ISBN is through your book printer. These printing firms often provide this as a service to their printing customers simply because they realize that you may not need 10 ISBN numbers and you may not wish to pay $300-400 for the use of a single ISBN.

The task of self-publishing may seem daunting, but it can be successfully done. Just as you spent time researching the subject matter for your book, so too is the process for the publication process. Beyond the need for an ISBN you will also need to manage copyright issues as well as filing your work with the Library of Congress. Again in many cases a qualified book printer can address these issues although you may find a less expensive alternative with a little online comparison-shopping.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters ( and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers.

Article from:

Self Publish Serenade

A New Way To Self Publish

More and more good authors are turning to the Internet to self publish. There are several reasons for that. All of them are probably well known to every writer by now, so we'll not go into them here. What we'll talk about here is a new way to self publish.

Everyone has, by now, heard of ebooks. This is a wonderful way to publish on the net, but it requires special programs to empliment it. And there are web sites that will do all that for you for a fee. But what if you simply can't afford it or you don't want to pay anyone?

This idea I've come up with may be out there in left field, but out in left field is where you usually find some great ideas. Here is what I found.

Create a credit card account somewhere first. Pick any company you are comfortable with and doesn't cost a great deal. After that is all set, put your novel on your web site, create its own page, and use the ariel font. Use size 10 for the main text. Your title and chapter headings can be larger.

Write an intro page for your novel and create a separate page for it. Here is where you'll put any illustrations you may have. So people will have an example of your writing, copy and paste the first chapter of your novel and put it here, too. Also on this page will be the link to your credit card payment company.

The next step is to set up your credit card account to connect with the novel page after your customers have paid for it and then they can simply print out the novel or copy and paste it to their Word or Works program that is already on their computers.

This is a simple and yet effective way to self publish and it does not cost you anything, either. Out in left field, I know, but hey. Anything to survive, huh?

Anna Kathryn Bir is a published author of many sci fi short stories. One of them was a Star Trek story. You can find her sci fi novels on her web site

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Benefits of Print-On-Demand

Print-on-demand is being increasingly
mentioned nowadays, especially as an alternative to large print-runs
and expensive inventory-carrying costs. For first-time, amateur and
self-publishing authors, the benefits are fairly obvious. However,
companies too can benefit from print-on-demand and realize a
significant reduction in their administrative costs. Some of the
organizations that can benefit from print-on-demand are:

a. Schools and Educational Institutions: Students
now expect to be spoken to and print-on-demand allows that. By
tailoring college admission forms and prospectuses, students can be
made to feel that the college actually cares about them. Placement
brochures can also be developed according to the company being targeted
- having profiles of only the interested students. Back in the
classroom, professors have taken to compiling notes, that can be
updated each time advances in the particular field occur. Professors
may also choose to compile their lecture notes into a convenient text
book to be distributed only among students.

b. Small and Medium Enterprises: SMEs stand to
benefit for many reasons, particularly due to the fact that budgets are
small. Print-on-demand allows SMEs to target their marketing campaign
brochures and pamphlets, designing a different one for each customer.
It affords SMEs the professionalism of handsome looking financial
reports and user-manuals without the (financial) burden of large print
runs. Most print-on-demand companies, including CinnamonTeal Print
& Publishing Services, also offer delivery as part of their
services and this allows SMEs to outsource this mundane, yet
time-consuming, task. These benefits can be accrued by NGOs too.

c. Large Enterprises: Large enterprises can do well
to rid itself of the costs of having a small print shop within its four
walls by engaging the services of a print-on-demand provider. Such an
initiative allows corporations to have their many documents printed,
handsomely bound and dispatched without having to worry too much about
the logistical and administrative aspects of the tasks. Such
corporations can also endear themselves to new employees and their
families by developing material handed over during induction that is
more personalized than just “Hello Vinay”. Personalized literature may
include a photograph of the new employee along with his/her personal
information and benefits.

d. Publishing Houses: Print-on-demand can help make
available backlists, out-of-print, and “Long Tail” content. In a
country like India, this is especially significant as information can
be disseminated according to its relevance to a particular region.
Publishers can use print-on-demand to print copies of books when
individual or small batch orders are reported, or when it appears that
there is renewed interest in a title. The publisher can do this without
having to invest time and money in large print runs and expensive
storage, thereby betting against uncertain demand.

e. Libraries and Bookstores: Many libraries have
taken to print-on-demand to meet the need for books, especially those
out of copyright. Instead of ordering for copies of a book and, perhaps
losing a customer, print-on-demand seems a better option to instantly
gratify the customer. The same holds for bookstores too, legal issues

f. Marketing Agencies: Print-on-demand allows
marketing agencies to deliver very personalized messages to prospective
customers. These messages could have information tailored to ones
tastes and preferences as well as reflect regional conditions.
Marketing material such as brochures for an apparel firm could,
therefore, market a different set of clothes line for customers living
in Chennai and a different set for customers living in Jammu.

Print-on-demand is also about being responsible about your
investments and thinking strategically about areas where savings can be
realised. To see how print-on-demand can help your company, do write to
us at or visit our website at
CinnamonTeal Print & Publishing Services is a print-on-demand
service provider, the only one in India that publishes any number of
copies, from 1 to 1000.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Does Self-Publishing Wreck Poetry Careers?

Posted by Robert

Received this question via e-mail from poet Liesl Garner:

"Last year I performed a poetry show at our local Fringe Festival. I got wonderful reviews, and I am performing a Repeat Performance in October of this year. The Fringe Festival is every Spring, and I plan to participate each year. After my first show, I was asked if I had my poetry printed in a chapbook for sale. I didn't, but for the Repeat Performance I want to have that available for audience members. I'm actually thinking of doing a chapbook for each year's performance. Is it bad for my hopes and dreams of someday becoming a published poet to be doing my own publishing of chapbooks?

"Currently, I just don't have the time to be submitting with the numbers I would have to in order to get noticed by a publisher. However, on my local scene, I have a large fan base that wants to see my work in print.

"Thanks, Liesl Garner"

Before I get into my ramble, you should probably read Nancy's Published Is Published post about what self-publishing will do to those poems that are self-published in the eyes of editors. Then, come back here to read what I have to say.

(Tapping on desk as Liesl reads Nancy's post. Ba-ba-ba. Humming to self.)


Okay then.

So you now know that self-publishing any of your poems will have editors considering those specific poems already published, right? That doesn't mean your career is over, it just means these specific poems are now only available as reprints. This fact can hurt when submitting to poetry journals and magazines or even chapbook contests. But the publication of some of your poems does not affect what you do with other poems that are not self-published.

If you decide that for the current crop of poems you wish to self-publish that it is okay if they risk being only available in your self-published chapbook format, then you should go for it. More and more poets are doing this. However, if you wish to see any of these specific poems in some journal or future chapbook competition winning collection, you may not want to include in your self-publishing effort.

As far as actually self-publishing, I advise you to either go with a local printer that you can work with directly--or there are some online POD companies that allow you to print and publish only one book at a time, which dramatically lowers the investment you have to make in your self-publishing venture. I'm sure some very nice poets (hint, hint) could even give suggestions in the blog comments below. Even if not, that's why God created Google; just type "POD Publishers" into Google, and you will receive plenty of online resources of how and who to proceed with.

On another note, there's no shame in self-publishing. Through the ages, poets have been especially prone to self-publication. And that trend only seems to be expanding even more with online and POD technologies now available to poets.

Just remember: Self-publishing does equal publishing. So those specific poems that are self-published could pay the price with publishers in the short term. Of course, most poets would agree that you're not risking much financially by self-publishing over traditional publication. For many, the main goal is to just reach an engaged audience.




Friday, November 16, 2007

Self-Publishing The Hard Way: The Art Of Giving Birth

You know? When you publish a book and send it out into the world, it 's like giving birth to a baby. Everyone checks out your baby. Is it breath-taking? Does it have ten toes and ten fingers? Is it pink and sweet or does it look like an extra from "Alien?" We writers are baring our souls, our deepest thoughts, and our feelings lay open like a cavernous wound. We can't hide anymore. They know us inside and out. Now they see our baby, and they get to pick it to pieces, bit by bit, until the only thing left is a fuzzy blanket.

Oh, hell, we know that and go right on writing, don't we? It 's in our DNA. We can't help ourselves, we're masochists.

When I started this whole book-writing process, I had full intentions of finding an agent and/or a traditional publisher; they'd do all the work while I sat back and listened to "Ca-ching, Ca-ching." However my journey to that end has been long and stress-filled and I ended up doing just the opposite...I'd kept a daily journal while living in Thailand in the 90s. When I returned to the States, I copied my journal onto a floppy and had it printed, spiral-bound, and mailed it out to friends and family so they could read about all my trials and tribs while abroad. One of the friends who read it insisted that I make a book out of it.

"You know," she said, "like the book 'A Year in Provence.'" I immediately ran out and bought the book and was amazed at the problems that the author had endured in a short year. I just knew that if his book sold, then mine would also, however, life got in the way of living and I put it aside.

I joined some creative writing classes a few years later, and with encouragement from my peers I began the long road of putting the journal into book form. In 2003, when I finally thought I'd finished it, I entered it into the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego. While there, I read chapters from my story in the Read and Critique groups and the attendees laughed in all the right places and even clapped, (I'd hoped it wasn’t because they were happy I'd finished). At the end of the conference I was notified that I'd won the Best Nonfiction award for my story and an agent asked for my manuscript. Wow! That just doesn’t happen unless they love it! I knew I was ready for the Pulitzer.

Then I began to panic. What if it isn't perfect? I had talked to a "book doctor" at the conference who advised me that my story "…needed some conflict. Who really cares about a housewife who 's having a good time in Thailand? Give them a reason to turn the page." Okay, that 's what I'll do. There certainly was plenty of conflict in my life in Thailand, but I'd left it out; it was painful to relive and I wanted it to be a humorous book. I emailed the agent and told her I wasn't ready. Take your time, she’d said. It 's not time sensitive.

So began the journey of "weaving" the conflict into my story. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It was three years before I felt it was good enough to be a real book. But, those three years were not only spent rewriting. I took online writing classes and signed up at the local college for creative writing classes, I attended a critique group every week, putting my chapters up to their scrutiny as they tore it apart and helped put it back together. The rest of the time I was editing my life away. But as Stephen King says in his book On Writing: edit, edit and edit. And when you think it 's perfect, edit some more. My husband had a name for my constant editing: "Paralysis by analysis."

When I felt I had everything in place, I looked for professional editing. I first paid the book doctor $500 to tell me that it needed help. He didn't give me any, just told me it needed it. I found a line-editor in Canada, who did a great job, and then I hired a freelance editor; total for both $600; quite inexpensive in today 's editing market.

During those three years, I also did a lot of reading on the publishing world; agents, print-on-demand (PODs) and off-set printing companies. I attended conferences specifically on "How to get published." The more I heard and read, the more I thought: From all the conferences I'd attended, the agent panels were the most disillusioning. I learned that agents don't want you if you've not been published, and publishers don't want you if you've not been published, or don't have an agent, who doesn't want you either. Who needs 'em?

Publishers don't want you if you don't have a "platform!" A what? To my dismay I learned that I needed to have my own buying public. There was no publisher that was going to run out and sell my book for me, pay for my cross-country book signings and hotel rooms, unless of course I was a King or a Grisham or a Joyce Carol Oates. Then of course, there 's the eighteen month wait for the book to appear on the shelves after the publisher accepts it (if the publisher doesn't decide to pull the plug at the last minute), and don't forget the two years that it takes the agent to shop around for a publisher who might decide to pull the plug at the last minute. Who has that long? I don't even buy green bananas anymore.

Wow! I remember my table mates and I frowning as we listened to the dire answers of this panel of agents and publishers. So how do we get published? Well, we have two options so it seemed: 1) have an agent living next door who loves your home cooked brownies or has a crush on your husband, or 2) know a publisher whose kid mows your lawn or has a crush on you. Not living in New York was going to be a definite drawback. Should I move? Okay, how about a POD? I was fortunate to have a friend who is a small press publisher of railroad books. He offered to put my manuscript into a Quark Express PDF file (which is the format printers prefer). He did an incredible job putting it together for me. He felt that if I had the print setup taken care of, I could approach a POD and save some money.

I signed up for the POD classes at the conferences I attended, where they explained everything I needed to know about their business ─ except how they kept most of the author 's money while they got big and rich and the author got $3.09 per book. Okay, well, $3.09 a book is not that bad. Maybe I could make it. But, wait, I had to pay them to print my book, and then pay them to buy my book back from them; too many "thems" going on here. Something didn't compute. Maybe I should chuck the book and go into the POD business.

Well, I succumbed. I bought a book called The Fine Print of Self Publishing by Mark Levine, an attorney, then sat down to do some homework. After going over all the PODs he listed with a fine-tooth calculator, I realized that I could pay as much as $30,000 to one such POD group, but hey, my books would be free. How generous of them. Or, I could choose a POD group charging as low as $299, but I'd still have to buy my own books back at about $8.00 each.

I finally settled on a firm I'll call "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" (name changed to protect the guilty), and thought I'd finally get on with this damn book printing. They sent me a sample of their work that was done beautifully. I signed on the dotted line, waited three more weeks and then my author 's copy was delivered. And there it sat. On my desk. Opened to the first page, which I couldn't read. I started bawling. Where is my baby? The font was so garbled that it was illegible. There was a space after every capital letter and the other letters were so piled on each other you couldn't make out the words.

When I'd used all the Kleenex in my desk drawer, I called them. Of course, no one was on the other end, save for the automated voice of their mailboxes. But at least I got rid of my postpartum anger. I cried and said very imperiously, "HOLD THE PRESSES! I will not accept this book. I will call Visa (of course they already had my money) and stop payment and …" I felt like an inner tube impaled on a sharp rock. Then I called my friend, the publisher. "Of course you can do this on your own. You have the file, just find a good printing company."

I inquired around and found out that I could get my book printed overseas at half the cost of stateside. I began to get phone numbers and surfed websites. There were some good deals to be made overseas; however, the problem was I needed a broker. So after the broker took his cut, and the shipping charges were added, a stateside printer looked better. Plus, the thought of having a problem and not being able to connect at once with your printer was worrisome.

I searched the Internet and found many websites where you could input the details of your book, number of pages, size of book, print run, etc., and within a week I got a bid from ten printing companies. After picking one printer (not the cheapest), I felt we had a fit. I spoke to the owner, who offered to throw in a hundred free books, which might have had something to do with my decision. He checked out my website while we were speaking, loved the site and the look of my book and of course, he had me. He also offered storage and order fulfillment. Now, all I had to do was put our house on the market and clear out our 401K.

I know what you're thinking. Sure, maybe she has it, but not everyone can come up with that much money. Yes, you can if you want to. We took an equity line on our home and as the money comes rolling in, I'll be making payments on the equity line. We authors must be optimists. Really! If you don't believe in your book, who will?

I ran off my own bookmarks and saved a few hundred dollars. I used the cover of the book, wrote a short synopsis on the back, and had 500 printed. I have handed out those bookmarks on airplanes and in airports; Seattle, Palm Desert, San Diego, Portugal, New York, Australia, New England… well maybe not personally, but I've given them to people who live in those places and they were happy to have them and said they'd pass them on. I've handed them out in restaurants to women sitting around me; two of them bought my book right on the spot. My friends call me "A self-promoting slut."

I have to leave you now, as that 's where I am in this wonderful world of the written word, where the writing was easy… now comes the hard part ─ marketing!

About the Author

Dodie Cross is a freelance writer who has received numerous awards for her writing and poetry. Dodie has traveled the world, writing about her life in foreign countries. Learn more at:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

10 Easy Steps to Becoming a Best-Selling Christian Author

by: Scott Douglas

Step One – Degrees, degrees, and more degrees. No one can be a Christian author without having several degrees. This presents the false image that you are smart, and therefore are perfectly capable of writing a propaganda novel.

Several Christian institutes offer degrees for people who don’t actually attend college, or do any work—take full advantage of these. Stay away from institutes that offer BA’s and MA’s—go right for the PhD programs, then people will think you’re super smart.

Step Two – Start up non-profit organizations. This will give the false image that you are a good person, and therefore are perfectly capable of writing a propaganda novel. There’s really no need to spend anytime running these organizations—it’s the name that’s important, so spend all of your time coming up with a really catchy name. Keep in mind that no one is going to actually research that this is a legitimate non-profit organization, so don’t stress out when you start feeling guilty for not actually doing anything. Christian’s never actually do research, so you’re in the clear on this one.

Step Three – Research. If people are going to take you seriously, then you have to pretend you have spent researching your book. How do you research a topic that you haven’t even thought up yet? Easy, you don’t. You don’t actually research during this step—you just have to make people think you did. Spend time in the library reading comics; this will help you while trying to think up funny antidotes for your yet to be written story.

Step Four – Think up what you’re going to write about. Don’t worry about knowing anything about your topic—you can get this experience after you complete the book. Think up something controversial and catchy. Don’t worry about creating a factual story in this step—you can make truth later. Writing about a group of liberal scientist using stem cell research to create cloned homosexual monkeys, for example, would be a perfect topic—it’s timely, controversial, and catchy.

Step Five – Attend Christian writing conferences. This will give you time to relax, while making your family believe you are working on something important. Talk to agents, editors, and other writers about what you are currently working on. Make sure you emphasize your achievements running non-profit organizations, and your multiple degrees—this will really impress them.

Step Six – Write. You will learn quickly about procrastination, so set goals. Spend no more then two weeks writing your book; this time span will prevent you from being tempted into conducting research and interviews. It’s important to write whatever pops into your mind. This will give the book lots of energy.

Step Seven – Create truth. If you have written about something that doesn’t really exist, then make it exist. For example, if you were writing about liberal scientist using stem cell research to create cloned homosexual monkeys, take the time now to fund such research.

Step Eight – Give yourself creditability. This step is especially important if you have written about something you do not know about. Don’t spend time learning factual information about the topic, there really is no need, and you want to get the book publish ASAP so you can write several more just like it.

Step Nine – Publish your book. If no respectable publisher takes you seriously, then self-publish. Publishers will be begging to sign your next book once they see you racking in the dough.

Step Ten – Travel the lecture circuit. This step is important if you want people to actually buy your book. Remember that when lecturing, the angrier you sound, the more people will take you seriously and buy your book. Also, remember to spend at least ten to twenty minutes boasting about your multiple PhDs and how you single-handedly started several non-profit organizations that the world has greatly benefited from.

Visit for more articles from the author.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Children’s Books with POD Self-Publishing

Several posts ago I mentioned that POD is least effective for children's book publishing. I'll explain why I believe that. There are a couple of reasons, but they are all related to production cost. Of course, when I say "children's book" I mean a book with full color images or illustrations inside. Here's a shocker: it is more expensive to print a book that has full color pages than to print a book that only has black and white pages. Here's another shocker: most children's book are shorter than normal books.

Most POD production costs are based upon the page count of the book. From what I can tell, those PODs who offer full-color printing do so at prices that range from 12 cents to 40 cents per color page. Blurb and CafePress and Lulu are at the upper end (no surprise there, they don't have up-front fees and make up for it by up-charging on a per-page basis). Xlibris, Outskirts Press, Trafford, and AuthorHouse are fee-based POD services that also offer full-color printing. Their per-page printing seems to be toward the lower end of that scale. Let's say 20 cents per page for a mathematical example.

Let's assume the children's book is a typical 32 page book. That's $6.4 just for the interior of the book. All these publishers (even the free ones) add on a "binding fee" to the production cost of the book (which is either a base production fee on top of which the page count fee is added, or an "up charge" that is basically ensures their profit). Since most of these places use Lightning Source for their printing, and LSI charges 90 cents for a paperback binding, let's go with that number. Hell, let's give each of these places 10 cents per book (because they are businesses and have to make some money, somewhere -- it's only fair, right?). So, that's $6.4 for the interior printing and $1 for the paperback cover. That's $7.4 for the production cost of the book, minimum.

There are various schools of thought on what a retail price should be for a book. Some "experts" say you should multiply your production cost by 2.5 (giving you a retail price of $18.50 for our example). Others say you should multiply it by 8 (giving you a retail price of $59.2). Of course, those who say you should multiply it by 8 are printing 10,000 copies in China for $1 a book. That's about as far from the POD business model as you can get.

So, we'll stick with the 2.5 x philosophy to make it easy. That provides a retail price of $18.50 for a 32 page children's book. Does that sound high to you? In relation to the other children's books you have seen on the shelf? Of course it is.

It gets worse. Most commercial children's books are in hardcover. The minute you add hardcover binding to the POD production process, that $1 "binding fee" from above turns into $5. Now you're looking at a 32 page book over $20.

Lightning Source, Inc. currently doesn't offer hardback books for their full color printing. Therefore, some publishers engage in a bait and switch. Xlibris, for example, offers hardback full color books in their marketing materials, but if you carefully read the fine print, you discover that a paperback edition will be the one that is distributed through Ingram (due to the LSI shortcomings above). Xlibris isn't the only one who does this. Lulu uses Color Centric out of New York to print the books their authors buy direct, but they use Lightning Source to print the distributed versions. Same as Xlibris, they also clarify in small print that a paperback edition of the full-color book is what is distributed. I wonder how many of their "1 million registered users" are blissfully unaware of this. Well, since Lulu books sell an average of 1.8 copies each, and 1 copy is required to be purchased by the author herself, that leaves .8 copies that are purchased from either the Lulu website, or through distribution online. So, in other words, no one is buying the LSI versions of Lulu's books. Their secret is safe. I wonder if the same holds true for Xlibris...


Is Self Publishing the Right Choice for You and Your Book?

Copyright (c) 2007 Gail Richards

Self-publishing, although not a new phenomenon, is now a legitimate acceptable route to a published book for an author. In the self-publishing model, the author keeps the rights to his or her book but pays all the costs for producing, printing, and marketing the book and other ancillary products.

Self-publishing is a better option than it once was because technological advances have made it easier for an author to write, design, and create her own book. In addition, it is now more cost-effective to print in smaller quantities, meaning that the initial investment in printing and inventory is now more feasible for the average person.

To self-publish, an author must have enough capital to produce the book and enough time to write, produce, market, and ship the product. In essence, he or she starts a new business around his or her book.

One of the important choices to be made by self-publishers is to select a printer. Today, a number of printers specialize in books, particularly in printing small quantities. These are known as print-on-demand (POD) publishers. They are primarily printers, but they may add editorial or marketing services.

Most authors think of the difficulty of self-publishing as the logistics of knowing how to get a book designed and typeset and how much to spend to get a book printed. But this is the easy part. What is much more difficult is getting your book marketed appropriately and distributed in some way. It is still a reality that self-published books rarely find their way to bookstore shelves on a national level, and it is equally hard to find a distributor for them.

The other drawback of self-publishing is that the printer will print whatever you send. If you send a book that hasn't been edited or proofread or that isn't commercially viable (meaning there really isn't an audience), the printer will do just as beautiful a job as if the book were an award-winner. In other words, no one will stop you from spending money on a book that isn't ready for publication.

Another approach is for the author to choose self-publishing first, establishing the book as viable in the market and then shopping for a traditional publisher. This accomplishes several objectives, one of which is to allow you to have a product to sell much more quickly since the typical traditional publisher will take twelve to eighteen months to get your book on the market after you sign the contract.

If you self-publish initially, you are likely to be more patient and find just the right publisher because you won't be in a hurry to get your book out. In addition, a traditional publisher will continue to allow you to sell your book while they are preparing your book with them. You will have a product to sell during a little over a year's preparation. The traditionally published book, in essence, becomes the second edition of your book.

About the Author

Gail Richards
is founder of a dynamic website connecting aspiring authors with the classes, audio library, tools, information and resources needed to make smart, informed decisions at each step in the nonfiction book publishing journey. Jan King is the founder of a membership organization devoted to supporting and coaching women who become successfully published nonfiction authors.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What you Dont Know About Book Publishing Can Cost You

Dream that your book can be a number one best seller? Read books or visit Web sites that say they have your answers? -- All you need to do is get their program, follow their advice, and the world is yours. Or, you think I'll write it, but someone else can market and promote it. And that would be who? Publishers certainly don't promote unknown authors.

Which author are you?

1. Individual dreamer. Naive, you don't know what makes a saleable book, nor want to promote it. You often contact the Print on Demand companies who charge little on the front end, but over price your book and overcharge for your wholesale copies too. They make money. The author doesn't.

2. An unknown seeking prestige writer. You know your book can beat the odds. You write a longer book like winners in your field, chase the traditional publishing dream so you will be respected, get on Oprah, and get a big agent/publisher deal.

Think again. These businesses accept 1-2% of the top submissions. Unless you are famous, you will miss out and spend a lot of time and money trying to get their attention. Check with other authors whose publishing adventure went south. Know that even if you get on the shows, you don't get a guarantee of selling books. In two years, one client went broke getting ready for Dr. Phil's show (printed 20,000 books) and when he got on, he didn't have enough money to write a good sales page for Phil's Web site that was only up two weeks.

3. A businessperson who wants their book to brand their business and attract higher paying clients. You may want a publisher for prestige, but some of you will opt for a self-publishing approach where you will make all the profits. You know no one else will do it for you, so you spend time and money on learning how to write a saleable book as well as promoting it--especially Online.

4. An open-minded savvy person who knows there are multiple ways to write and publish a saleable book. You can leverage your success writing a print and eBook, and learn how to connect with the huge, Online audience, ready to buy books conveniently and fast on many topics.

You don't have to publish the slow, hard, alone way. Educate yourself on self-publishing and its rewards that give many an author/business person like myself a healthy income.

Article Source:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Best P.R.: Self-Publishing

Nothing establishes credibility and provides you with a better launchpad for self-promotion (and extra revenue!) than publishing your own book.

You don't have to be the greatest writer in the world - you can always hire a ghost-writer, co-author, or editor - as long as you possess specific expertise and/or knowledge that others may find valuable enough to want to read about.

With the advent of Print on Demand (POD) technology, it's also relatively simple and easy to create books that look as professional as any you'd find on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

How It Works
You send your text (or "copy") to an online POD company; they design the book and print as many copies as you want, as often as you want. The cost for design and getting your copy printer-ready can be as low as $199, with each copy costing another $5 to $12. For more, you can publish a full-color picture book or comic book, photo album or art portfolio. ( offers complete packages that start at $999.)

Buyer Beware
Less-reputable firms may skimp on paper quality and production values, so request a sample before you sign the contract. And be wary of add-ons: Most companies try to sell you extra services, such as proofreading and marketing, that may not be very effective...they're printers, not editorial or marketing firms, after all.

Seller Beware
To sell your books online, select a POD company with e-commerce capabilities that will list you on and Barnes & Noble's website; and invest in a book or course on Internet marketing. A few writers have sold as many as 5,000 copies this way, but they tend to be the exception. To become a best-selling or prize-winning author, you'll probably need a traditional agent and publisher.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Celebrate Your Independence - Publish in July!!!

Looking for the right Self-Publisher? Below is the TOP two Self Publishing Companies and what they are offering to you this month.

Xlibris - Xlibris is celebrating Independence Day. Join the festivities and publish your book with a bang this July. We are making your publishing experience even better with huge savings on the publishing package that is perfect for you. Call before July 16 to take part in this celebration and take up to $1,650 off your selected publishing service.

iUniverse - Publish your book now to SAVE money and get more FREE books!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

POD is not Vanity is not Self Publish

POD is a technology. It's a way to print books. It's quite useful for printing small quantities, particularly if there is intermittent demand. LOTS of publishers who are not vanity houses or scam mills use POD technology. University presses spring to mind, as do very small limited runs of very tightly focused books. POD is not evil.

Vanity presses can use POD technology OR they can use webfeed technology. Vanity presses are essentially printers with some support staff. They'll help you print up nice editions of whatever you want. You pay for this. It's called vanity because they don't acquire the book. Acquire means there is an editorial staff choosing particular books to publish. Vanity houses do not maintain lists, issue catalogs or sell books in bookstores. Vanity presses are not evil

Self publishers can use POD technology or webfeed technology. Self publishers are not vanity presses in the everyday sense of the word. They are "vanity" in the sense that there isn't an acquisition but the two phrases are used to mean different things in publishing. Lots of people self publish for a lot of reasons. Self publishing is not evil.

POD/scam mills are companies set up to persuade you, the author, that printing your book with their company is the equivalent to having it acquired by a publisher. They charge you money. Unlike a respectable vanity press, they don't copy edit or produce high quality products. They are out to make money on volume. They prey on author's insecurities and lack of knowledge. POD/scam mills are the scum of the earth.

Whether a company is the scum of the earth depends on how they run their business, not how they print their books.

There are several POD companies that do not try to persuade you that you have but to print up books with them to be on your way to fame and glory. Lulu and CafePress come to mind. There are others I'm sure.

There will be a quiz.

posted by Miss Snark at

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Self Publishing At Speed Of Thought

Publishing, both electronic and hard copy, from articles to books, has come a long way in recent years. I used to be fascinated by anyone who had become a "real" author of a book. For that matter, anyone who had been published in a magazine or newspaper!

The whole thing seemed so validating for authors, yet getting published, so cryptic. How do you become "published?" How did you get someone to take your subject so seriously that they gave you a retainer to finish your project and then published and sold your books for you?

These and many other questions always flew around my head in the years that it took me to figure out how publishing, the traditional kind, worked. Then came the internet. Then everything changed.

And the changes today are more radical than ever before. You can completely publish your own work from the first sentence you write to the first time you flip through the pages of your book, all through the internet.

In fact, self publishing your own book is verging on common place these days. And publishing your work entirely on the web, with blogs or through a regular website is almost old hat to many people.

Some very famous people today are "bloggers." People who have a site that they constantly and instantly update with their articles and blurbs on politics and trillions of other subjects. If you don't have a blog in some circles, you are not even considered worth talking to.

If you are an aspiring writer and are mystified by traditional publishing "rules" fear not! You can take the bull by the horns and publish on the web by choosing from all kinds of software and services that suit you best.

If you want a book you wrote to be published, to hold in your hands and give to friends and family and even stock in Barnes and Noble or sell at Amazon, nothing is holding you back anymore! You can literally control the whole publishing process from start to finish yourself.

There are print on demand services that cater solely to self publishers these days. You can have a batch of books printed in runs as small as 50 books at very reasonable prices. Here is just one source of valuable self publishing information I found with a quick search engine query:

There are myriad free sources of information on the web that teach you how to get your own ISBN and UPC codes so you can sell your book in major and minor bookstores anywhere in the world.

I know people who have taken their self published books and gone to #1 on Amazon with them through savvy, guerilla-style marketing campaigns that really aren't that hard to learn and master.

If you aren't into paper it is even easier to get published and become known through the internet. You no longer have to be a geek to figure it out and there and tons of resources out there to help you figure out which method of online publishing is right for you.

If you are an article writer you can become an almost overnight success just by learning how to get syndicated all over the web, possibly being picked up by a very major online or offline publisher. I know people who's entire lives have changed over night, literally, after syndicating their articles to choice publishing "clearinghouses" on the net.

Below are just a few of the hundreds of sites that can help you get started learning about publishing online and offline.

Tale Chaser Publishing is a self publishing directory and information library on various self publishing topics for people looking into getting published online or off. is an online promoter's Valhalla. Although there are many specialized marketing resources there for people to learn about marketing their websites, there are a few gems of information for self publishers including links to places that can have your work in front of every major online publisher you can imagine.

You can also find some syndication and promotion tools at Webmaster Traffic Tools.

Want to write the perfect press release for your website, blog, or book? Then take a free press release writing course at

Bottom line is: There are no more excuses for not getting your work published. With some work and research into the new technology and avenues for publishing that are available to anyone these days, you can become known in a very big way without having to pitch to major labels.

In fact, if you really do your homework, you can learn how to have the big publishers pitching YOU for deals!

About the Author
Jack Humphrey is an author and marketing consultant. More information at


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How to Self Publish Your Book

It doesn’t matter if you’ve written the great American novel or just want to publish a coffee table book filled with pictures of your cats, you can easily, and affordably self publish your book thanks to the wonders of POD printing.

What is POD mean?

Print. On. Demand.

POD printing is actually making its way through several markets, from t-shirt printing to DVDs, and yes, Books. In all honesty, I imagine POD will be the ONLY way to publish or print small runs of books, dvds, t-shirts, and calendars in the near future.

Just because it is designed for small print runs, though, doesn’t mean that you have to give up on having a high quality product. In the early days of POD printing (you know, a few years go) sometimes the publications looked muddy or cheap, but with the rapid advancement of this technology, you can print ONE COPY of your book that looks as good as anything you’ll find in Barnes and Noble.

Here are some steps to help you get started publishing that masterpiece we already told you how to write.

1. Write the book
I know we already covered that, but seriously, you’d be surprised how many people try and skip this step.

2. Find a Printer
Ok, there are a few choices out there, but the first thing you need to do is read the fine print when dealing with these POD printers. A lot of them will call themselves PUBLISHERS. They ARE NOT publishers. If you’re marketing your book, you’re writing your book, you’re editing your book, and you’re selling your book…they are nothing but printers, and don’t do business with any of them that say otherwise.

3. Format and Edit the Book
If you were intending to self publish from the start, you may have already formatted as you went, but if you were originally writing a manuscript, you need to make several changes from your manuscript format to your final printed format.

For example, your book should not be double spaced. Single space the book, and choose an easy to read font. Some people will tell you a Times font, others and Arial, or still others will swear by Courier fonts. Just make sure it’s easy to read, and that it looks good, and is legible at the final size of your printed material.

You will also need to fit all of this within the template for the size of book you have chosen to publish. is very helpful with templates, and it is not as daunting as it sounds. You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to pull this off.

Finally, in formatting, don’t forget to include a copyright page. Take a look at the formatting of the books that you own for reference…but also remember, this is YOUR book. You don’t have to go by the rules here. Just make sure people can read it.

4. What About the Cover?
You have options here. Most of the printers will have template designs for those of you that aren’t artistically inclinded, but don’t want to seek out an artist. If you’d like to try and find an artist, you can do so by looking at Devianart (a collection of AMAZING artists of all skill levels…not always Safe for Work, though. You have been warned) or (same about the NSFW here too…artists…gotta love ‘em). Most of these artists are struggling artists like you’re a struggling writer, so you can get some good work pretty cheap…just remember, they gotta eat too.

5. Upload Your Book and Order one!
After you have your formatting finished, simply upload your book to the site of the printer you have selected, and order a copy of it! You’ll get a fresh, crisp production copy of your book in the mail very soon. After you have checked everything over, made sure their were no spelling errors or pages that printed funny, you’re ready to market!

…but marketing is a whole different article.

Article from

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Self-Publishing - Ten Great Tips to Make Your Book Shine

We self-publishers fight a lonely battle, finding readers for our wit and wisdom. We write alone, and now we sell alone and search for ways to market our work. How do we entice readers to open their wallets?

Those questions are often premature. Before asking how you’re going to cope with all those book orders, you need to make sure you have a quality product. So here are ten tips to make your book, fiction or non-fiction, the best it can be.

#1 Use a spell-checker, but only as a first line of defense. Then you look for misspellings the spell-checker won’t catch, such as then/than, to/too/two, tail/tale, or its/it’s.

#2 Read your manuscript critically, as though you weren’t the author. Some things to check include complete chapters, well-organized paragraphs, complete sentences, and accurate punctuation.

#3 Be consistent. If you capitalize a word once in the text, chances are you always want to capitalize it. Decide whether you want one space or two at the end of a sentence, and stick with it. Never change your font or type size without good reason. If your work consists of more than one file, be sure that every file is formatted identically.

#4 Get honest, competent critiques. Leave your mother and spouse alone; your family has better things to do than fawn over your work. Avoid critiques from anyone who has an emotional stake in making you happy, because that isn’t what you need. The Internet Writing Workshop ( is an excellent source of constructive, informed criticism.

#5 Use your judgment. Even good critiquers may give you conflicting advice. Remember that it’s your project, so the final decision is always yours.

#6 Refer to a style manual such as the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the most widely accepted guide for standard writing.

#7 Make a style sheet. A novel or other large manuscript can involve lots of small stylistic decisions by the author. Keep a pad of paper with a running list things you don’t want to have to keep looking up. For example, a cartoon I liked showed a bank robber writing a note and asking the teller, “Is holdup one word or two?” Think of words you often misspell or don’t know how to capitalize, and write them correctly on the list.

#8 Follow your publisher’s guidelines religiously even if they don’t insist.

#9 Repeat tip #2.

#10 Review the publisher’s proof carefully. When you receive the publisher’s proof isn’t the time to look for typos; you should have done that already. At this stage, the publisher may even charge you if you fix many of your own mistakes at this stage. Instead, look for their errors. Are illustrations in their proper places? Are pages and chapters numbered properly? Look at every page’s overall appearance. Is each one properly aligned? Is any text missing?

If you follow these simple (but not always easy) tips, I can’t guarantee best-sellerdom for your book, but I can promise you this: Your book will be far superior to the vast majority of self-published books. You will have a quality product.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

When to Self Publish Your Book

There Are Some Very Good Reasons to Self-publish Your Book

by Melanie Schwear

Self-publishing or print on demand (POD) publishing is becoming a very popular topic on the internet. Many people have the dream of becoming a published writer, and self-publishing gives them the satisfaction of holding an actual bound book with their name on it without having to go through all the submission and rejection with a traditional publisher.

With traditional publishing routes, the publisher makes sure to get your book onto store shelves and publicizes it well. After all, it is in their interest to do so. They make money off each book that is sold. With self-publishing, however, all of the promotion depends on you. Most self-published books never sell more than five hundred copies.

You Already Have a Fan-Base

If you are an already published writer, and you want to give your fans a little treat, self-publishing might be a great idea for you. You can quickly have any number of books printed that you can offer exclusively to website visitors or members of your fan club.

Having a pre-made fan-base is very helpful to a self-published author, because it is not easy to get people who do not know you to find and purchase your book otherwise.

You Write Very Specific Niche Non-Fiction

Self-publishing and print on demand publishing was made for specific niche non-fiction. You might be hard pressed to find a traditional publisher that will touch “The Effects of Symphonic Orchestral Music on Woodworm,” or “Five Hundred Things to Carve Out of Cheese.” However, if your niche has an audience, self-publishing a book is a great idea. It is much easier to market a book to a very specific segment of the population who are already interested in your topic.

You are Writing a Personal Memoir or Family History

These kinds of books are great for self-publishing, or especially print on demand books. That is because you would not intend to sell them at all. Having attractively bound books to present to your family at the next reunion is a great way of showing your familial pride. No one would want to publish these books professionally, and you probably would not want them to.

You are an Expert Marketer

If you are an expert book marketer or publicist and want to stretch your advertising muscles, self-publishing is a great idea. Many self-published authors cannot get their books into mainstream bookstores so all potential sales must be done online. And no one will market the book for you, unless you pay him or her to do it.

Your Book is Horrible

This last reason to self-publish your book is painful, yet valid. Anyone can get his or her book bound and printed by a print on demand or self-publishing company. It doesn’t matter if you can spell, use proper punctuation, or craft a decent story. Either a massive lack of confidence, or a major dose of realism can lead you to self-publish your book.

Self-publishing your fiction or non-fiction book has its drawbacks. You must market your own book and it may not be stocked in regular books stores. However, self-publishing or print on demand publishing, can be a good idea for people in several groups. If you are in one of these groups, I wish you the very best of luck.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

by: Ron Pramschufer

How much does it cost to self-publish a book? This seems like a simple enough question but there is no simple answer. There are three basic types of self-publishers. I’ll call them the casual hobbyist, the serious hobbyist and the professional. Before I can answer “How much?” you need to determine which type fits you best.

Today I am going concentrate on the casual hobbyist type of self-publisher. This category probably covers the majority of all the authors currently considering self-publishing their first book. This group covers a broad range of both subject matter and personal author profiles. As a member of this group you have written a story of some sort or the other, and a friend or family member, most likely, has talked you into considering turning this story into a book. Maybe your story is an autobiography. Maybe it’s a collection of poems or short stories or your political views. Maybe it’s the memoirs of your days in the War or in the Peace Corp or your days as a hippie, an Anarchist or … whatever. Maybe it’s even a children’s story. No matter what the subject matter is, the primary audience for this book is your immediate family and friends.

As a casual hobbyist, you probably do not have any formal writing experience. You are most likely over fifty with your kids pretty much off on their own. If you aren’t already retired, you are probably getting close, at least mentally if not physically. Chances are you have been telling your story, in parts, to your family or buddies at the bar over the course of years, embellishing it as time goes on. Maybe you even listened to President Bill Clinton when he said that anyone over fifty owed it to their family to write down their life experiences (and publish it as a book).

As a casual hobbyist you do not want to invest a lot of time or money in bringing this manuscript to publication. You may have a passing thought about getting a call from Oprah or Dr. Phil, to discuss your book, but know that your main motivation is much more personal. In the end, if see your name in print and receive a bit of praise from family and friends you have met your goal.

Chances are, if you are the casual hobbyist, you may not even be reading newsletters like the Publishing Basics Newsletter because you don’t really care about publishing as a business. You are happy to give your money to the first company that makes it look easy and doesn’t charge “too much”. It’s just a hobby, and a casual one at that. If you are not the one reading this, perhaps your son or daughter or friend, is in an effort to keep you from being taken advantage of, by any of the “too good to be true” advertising of companies who prey on the casual hobbyist. Unfortunately, the Internet is full of these places.

The one thing that the casual hobbyist rarely realizes is that they are only a phone call or experience away from becoming a serious hobbyist or even a professional. This is why it is important to follow a few basic tips no matter how serious you are about publishing when you initially enter the market.

The primary rule is to never grant a company exclusive rights to your book for any amount of time to unless that company is paying you an awful lot of money. One of the slimier publishers claim to be a traditional publisher because they pay the author a one dollar advance royalty. For this one dollar, the author signs over the rights to their book for seven years. This might be fine if your book never goes beyond the dozen copies you buy to hand out to your friends but there is no reason to do it. Remember, your self-publishing status can change at a moments notice.

The other basic rule, which runs along the same line as the first is, you want to make sure that you own everything used to produce your book. What I am talking about here is the ownership of the digital files used to print your book. Again, it doesn’t matter who owns your printing file if you are only printing a few books but things change and you want to be able to react to these changes.

Once you have established that you are not giving up any rights to your book and you own the digital files used to print the books (or at least know what owning the files will cost), you can start to shop and compare pricing for the actual production of your book.

The casual hobbyist self publisher does not really need an ISBN. At this stage, this book is going no where near a bookstore, where an ISBN is required. Your primary market is your family and friends. An ISBN is not necessary to hand out books to your buddies at the VFW or your friends in your sewing circle. Having an ISBN is only necessary if you plan to sell your book in bookstores, including Amazon. You can always buy ISBN’s later, should you become more serious about your publishing but, for now, save your money.

To the casual hobbyist, hiring an editor is a luxury. Your family and friends are going to love your book, just the way you’ve written it. Between the spell checker in MS Word, a few re-reads and possibly your 10th grade English teacher, you’ll be fine. This, of course, changes if you shift from casual hobbyist to serious hobbyist or professional but it’s something that is easy enough to go back and do later.

The casual hobbyist most likely has the ability to do an acceptable job laying out the text in MS Word. The trick is to set up the page size correctly. The easiest way to accomplish this is to download a free text template from Look at a few books in your library to get an idea of what your text should look like. The free template is already set up with page numbers and page headers. All you need to do is “select all”, “copy” and “paste” your word document into the template and move the type around until it looks right. Remember, the first page should be a title page and the second should be your copyright page. Copyright can be as simple as “copyright, your name, year or copyright © your name and year. You can find the symbol © by going to the Insert dropdown in word, select “symbol” and “insert” the correct symbol. If you want to get fancy, you can copy the whole paragraph of legalese printed on the copyright page of most books, but it’s not necessary. You’re covered. The rest of your text should pretty much flow. Try to stay away from using too many typefaces. Just because MS Word has 100 typefaces available, it doesn’t mean you have to use them all.

Up to this point, the casual hobbyist self-publisher hasn’t spent a nickel. The first money that will most likely need to be spent is in converting your MS word text into PDF format and designing and laying out a book cover. The converting to PDF is easy if you have the software. Laying out the cover in MS word and converting to PDF is much more difficult and probably not worth the time it would take the casual hobbyist to learn how to do it. Having a nice looking cover is important, even to the casual hobbyist. People do judge a book by its cover… even family and friends. There is no reason to spend a fortune on a high end graphic designer although you do need to spend a couple bucks to get this part done correctly. has a program they call their “Hybrid Design” program. This program takes the author’s supplied, laid out word document and converts it to a press ready PDF file. The author then has a choice of 30 or so basic cover designs as well as thousands of cover pictures and illustrations to choose from. The final cover will be assembled and converted to a print ready PDF by a qualified designer. The cost is only $149, as long as the author prints with or $199 if the author wants to print with someone else. Remember when I said you want to own the digital printing file? For $199 you own the file with no strings attached. Most of the POD publishers, like Iuniverse, Author House and Xlibris have starter programs which include basic layout but their prices are higher and you do not own the digital printing file when you are done.

Now that you have a digital file ready for printing, you need to find a printer. This again is pretty easy. There are only two choices that I will mention in this article because they are clearly the best two choices. If you are truly only going to print 5-10 copies, I would use There is no setup cost with Lulu. All you need to do is supply a print ready PDF file, which we just talked about above. The cost per copy is fairly high but the total number of dollars needed for a small quantity is quite low. If you think your circle of friends may extend beyond that and you think you might want to print 100 or 200 copies, would be a more cost effective alternative. With either of these services you are not tied down with any exclusives. You can always start with Lulu, buying a few copies, and do a larger press run with later on. Or, the other way around, you can print 100 or so with and order a couple at a time, as needed, after your original printing runs out from One way or the other, your total investment in prepress and printing is minimal… under $1000 for 100 copies.

The total number of dollars needed to be spent on sales and marketing for the casual hobbyist is the cost a few phone calls to friends and perhaps a little postage. These costs will be more than recovered with the free beers your friends buy you after seeing your book. When you are done, you will be the proud owner of a nice, professional looking book. Depending on whether you buy 10 or 100, you will have presents for at least the next holiday or two. Once you run out of friends, you will always have your book close by in case you run into a stranger who shows an interest. Who knows, maybe you’ll be stuck in an airport delay one day and be sitting next to Oprah and she will take an interest in you and your book. Stranger things have happened. Like I said earlier, if you set yourself up correctly in the beginning and you didn’t sign away any of your rights and own your printing file you can shift from Casual Hobbyist to Serious Hobbyist or even Self-Publishing Professional, in a hurry. Next month we’ll talk about the self-publishing costs involved for the serious hobbyist type of self-publisher.

Article Source:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How to Decide Between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing

By: Bruno Somerset

In years past, the only way to get a novel published was through what we now refer to as "traditional publishers". Today, however, technology has made self-publishing a viable alternative for many authors. To properly assess traditional publishing vs. self-publishing as a means of getting your novel to readers, you must first understand the realities of each method. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and in the end, it is up to each individual writer to decide which choice's pros outweigh its cons.

Being published by a major (or even minor) "traditional" publishing house is the goal of nearly everyone who has completed a novel. We envision huge advances, even bigger royalty checks, movie deals, and no more 9 to 5 job. It rarely happens that way. Most of the time you need an agent first, because publishers usually won't accept manuscripts from anyone but agents. Agents often only accept query letters, not full manuscripts or even sample chapters, and you need to be prepared for a deluge of form rejection letters that may not even spell your name right. If you do get an agent, there is no guarantee he will be able to sell your novel to a publisher, and if he does, he will gladly take 15% of everything you earn for his trouble.

After acceptance by a publisher, it will be at least a year or more of editors changing your novel in a seemingly arbitrary way. This will be followed by more delays because it wasn't finished in time for the most current catalogue they are sending to booksellers. And while you weren't looking, they slipped a clause into your contract that requires you to pay back part of the advance if the book doesn't sell enough copies for royalties to cover it. They will handle the cover art, and you may even have some input. But be ready to do all the publicity yourself, because unless your name is Grisham or King, they're not going to do it for you.

Self-publishing has just as many difficulties, but in my opinion, the pros here do outweigh the cons. To clarify, vanity publishing and subsidy publishing are not what I consider self-publishing. More often than not, they are simply scams. True self-publishing companies include Xlibris, iUniverse, Cold Tree Press, and Lulu. Of these only Lulu ( charges no fees for their service; they only make money on copies of your book that actually sell.

With self-publishing, you have to hire a freelance editor; do not trust your best friend who was an English major to do this for you. You will do most of the work yourself, or pay a hefty fee for a publishing package to do it for you: cover design, layout, reviews, and many other things. You will have to market yourself, but as mentioned earlier, this is true for traditional publishing as well.

The most difficult aspect of self-publishing is getting placement in brick-and-mortar bookstores. An ISBN will get you listed in Books in Print, which nearly always leads to listing on,, and other retailer's websites. But because most self-published books are published using Print On Demand (POD)Technology, and POD companies do not accept returns, most bookstores are hesitant to carry them. Bookselling is one of the few industries left that still expect not only a huge discount from wholesalers, but the ability to return for full credit anything they don't sell.

Your best hope of getting into stores is to sell enough online that they can't ignore you. Advertise it on your website, your blog, and every other online presence you have. Utilize your e-mail distribution list, as well as those of your friends and family. But even if this doesn't make the bookstores take notice, enough books are sold online every year for you to attract a wide audience through aggressive marketing and positive word of mouth. And you don't have to give 15% to an agent in the process.

In the end, while you may want to keep sending queries in the hope that someday a publisher will actually read your manuscript, you might want to give self-publishing a try. It sure beats waiting on rejection letters.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

SELF-PUBLISHING PART 2: Self-Publishing Tips For Artists

by JessicaDelfino under Hacks & DIYs

Say you are making a comic book, a coloring book or a comic strip. In some ways, these are easier to reproduce than a manuscript. However, there is often post-production, which is why Staples Superstore can be so handy. They have a paper slicer that they will let you borrow, glue sticks, scissors and staplers - all important tools of the old-fashioned, yet not-to-be-underestimated cut-and-paste trade. Recently, I went to Staples and asked to borrow the big paper cutter, but they said no. They said someone sliced themselves, and now no one can use it. One clumbsy dumb ass ruined my slicing recources. But I kept showing up and asking nicely, and promised I wouldn't sue, and finally, they will let me use it again. If your hometown Staples won't let you use the slicer, just buy your own. They are about $20 brand new, for a half-assed but workable cutter.

I have considered purchasing my own or some time now. I found an old one for sale at my local pizza joint. The guy who runs the place also sells odds and ends now and then, and one night when I went in for a cheesier kind of slice, he had a big old art class style slicer for sale. You know, the one with the big arm that comes down and would just chop the head off a barbie doll in one swoop. If I didn't live in a refrigerator sized NYC apartment, I would have bought it. It was $5. I still think that I should have just bought it, but I really do not have any place to put it. I would have had to use it as a door mat or something. So until I live in a barn in Sweden with all the room in the world, I just go to Staples to do my slicing. I can't think of one city in the whole world where there is not yet a Staples. Normally, big business kind of makes me lurch, but call me a hypocrite, I love me some Staples Superstore.

What with Photoshop now, anyone can make their own artwork and simply print it out. If you can't print at home because your parents will beat you if you use their printer, you can't afford the ungodly cost of ink or your printer is broken, try going to the public library to print out your work. Most libraries will let you print at least a few pages for free or very cheap. Once you have printed what you need, you can copy them at Staples or at your day job. If you don't have Photoshop and can't afford to pay a grand for a copy of it, though it is worth every penny, for the love of man, get a copy from your friend who is in art school. If you can afford to pay for Photoshop, you shouldn't be reading this column.

If you can't afford ink for your printer, try using those ink replacement kits, for example, the Polaroid Ink Jet Refill System. This is a kit that comes with ink in a tube, a needle and some rubber gloves so you don't get ink all over your brand new suede jumpsuit. You take an old, used up cartridge out of the printer and basically fill the needle with ink and squirt it back into the cartridge. Be sure to read the instructions carefully, some printers don't use them, or you have to somehow trick the printers into taking them, now with the damn sensor chips on the cartridges. Who the hell does Epson think they are, anyway?

If you want to save a few bucks on your ink, don't forget to recycle your old cartridges if you buy your ink at Staples. They give you three bucks off your new cartridge. That is how you know replacing the ink yourself is legit. Because Epson themselves do it. That's right. For all I know, I'm using Madonna's old ink cartridges in my printer as we speak. So, if the printer companies can do it, why shouldn't we be able to do it, too?

A good program to use if you don't have Photoshop for very basic layout and cut and paste work is IrfanView. It is free to download off of the internet and you can do a plethora of crafty photo or scan work using it, including resizing, etc. The Paint Program of old is a piece of crap, but you can also use that do make some funky little pieces of art.

I personally made my own CD inserts, and I'm very glad with the way they came out. I first took a few dozen photographs of myself and other objects using my digital camera, which I uploaded into Photoshop and manipulated. I then laid out my two sided, 6 paneled insert using Photoshop. I typed in little witty Delfino-isms, pasted various images of my own face, put contact information and on the last panel, chopped up and glued my face back together in a brady-bunch styled 9 panel face-off with myself. The trippiness of it inspired a caption that reads, "Smoke pot and stare at me." I put my art on a disc and also sent a back-up e-mail of the work to myself, making sure it was saved in a high resolution of 300 dpi. At my day job, I printed it out using their nice color printer and then copied it 100 times on their very fancy color copier. It was glorious. I have since photocopied the magnificent color version to make a black and white copy that I can afford to copy myself, as I am no longer employed at that place of business.

I'm too busy making great art to work at some hovel in midtown, slinging antiques all day. I mean, who the hell is Christie, anyway?

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by JessicaDelfino under Hacks & DIYs

There are many resources out there to help people who want to make their own works en masse, but don't want to have to wait around to be discovered at a writer's convention, do an expensive and ill-reputed vanity press (though I have mixed feelings about that repute), pay some lame corporation to publish their poems in a book that they will then have to pay $50 per copy for, or "accidentally" meet their mentor in the crapper. Sure, you can send your uncopyrighted manuscript into Random House or Doubleday Books, and most likely, the idea won't get stolen. Yes, most likely, the idea won't get used at all. If you haven't figured out yet that artists are rarely judged on merit anymore, you are living in a time long passed. This is a generation of pay for play, and it really is very much so about who you know and who you blow. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is very lucky, very resourceful, or very full of shit.

Of course, you can spend a lifetime trying. Why not? You can work your day job from 9-5, and in any spare moments you have, I encourage you to stick your outline, your half-hashed ideas, or if you've got your shit together, a completed copy of your manuscript or what have you into an envelope and send it to John or Jane whats-his-face over at that place your friend suggested. It couldn't hurt...could it? I believe the answer is no.

But in the mean time, get to work making your own thing. You are, in my own humble opinion, 1000% more likely to sell something that the person who you would like to sell it to can hold in their hands, smell in their nostrils, and see with their eyes. I mean, think about it. If you were considering spending $10,000 on something, wouldn't you want to see it first?

You will need as many copies as possible. 50 is a good starting point, but as many as you can get is the amount that will have to do. This is your prototype, so try to make it look good. If you have made enough copies, you can sell a few and make your money back.

I can't tell you enough what a great resource a crappy day job is when it comes to making your dreams come true. Sure, you have to get up at 8 or 9 am and sit in a wretched cubicle, painted some kind of egg shell flavor of white or hospital blue. Yes, you question your existence on an hourly basis. Fine, the fluorescent lighting sucks your brain clean of inspiration, and probably gives you at least three kinds of cancer. But that photocopy access almost makes it all worth while. Every day job I've ever had has served as my "office" for my own projects. And each day job hath served me quite well. It is best not to make a spectacle of your photocopy usage. Just make some copies here and there, while you're making other copies anyway. Or stay late and use the shit out of it after most of the other employees have left for the day to go live their regular lives out as moms, dads, or people who go do things. They probably aren't writing the next best selling novel. Losers. Also do not forget to not underestimate the near limitless supply of black pens, business-y looking clasp envelopes, and if you have access to it - postage. These are important tools in the battle of self-publishing.

If you are one of those people who has some kind of "problem" "stealing" "office supplies", get a hold of your self. First of all, you are not "stealing". You are getting paid $8 per hour for every $1000 your company is making. Consider it a bonus, or a percentage of their profit. Second, they aren't office supplies. Most offices have an understanding. You work for $8 per hour while the people on top drive Mercedes and eat abused duck livers, and they don't mind if you help yourself to the envelopes and ink-jet printer usage. It's what we call a business agreement.

If you do not have a day job, chances are most of your friends do. If you ask 10 friends to make 2 copies each of your script, you have 20 right there - enough to send off to 15 "important people" and a few left over to keep as a reserve for emergencies. Say for example, you are planning to "accidentally" meet your mentor in the shitter at his favorite restaurant - not something I would recommend, by the way, though it seems to have worked for some.

If you refuse to utilize your office stash, or you want to mix it up a bit, another of my favorite resources is Staples. Staples is great in that you can go in and use their photocopiers with no hassle, using your debit or credit card. Their copies used to be 5 cents each, just a few months ago, but the price has raised, at least in NYC, to 9 cents per copy. Strangely, the copies cost 8 cents per copy at another location uptown. When you are a struggling artist making multiple copies of a publication, those pennies count. If you live in a smaller city, Staples copies are probably still 5 cents. They were 9 cents at Staples here, but when I went out of town, they were still 5 cents in North Carolina and elsewhere. You can also find a little neighborhood copy shop where they are still 5 cents each. Most of the places where there is the yellow sign hanging in the window offer 5 cent copies. Making pals with people who work at Staples, encouraging a friend to get a job at Staples, or getting a job at Staples yourself is never a bad idea. You only have to work there until you get rich and famous, and that is just around the corner, right?

Another favorite self-publishing trick I know and love is the trick of the trade. What do you have to trade with someone who owns, runs or works at a copy shop? Maybe you make great baked goods. Maybe you give a terrific back rub. Perhaps you are a computer whiz, or a Mr. Fix-It. Whatever you know how to do, pimp that skill out to get what you need.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Should You Self Publish Your Book?

Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Publishing Company
© Barbara Doyen

Help for self-publishing a book. A publishing professional offers a checklist to determine if entering book publishing might be a good business decision for you.
You’ve written a great manuscript all ready for a book publishing company. You’ve heard that some authors are self-publishing their own books and you’re wondering if you should try it yourself. What elements should be present to indicate your book could be successfully self-published?

Check off all the following that apply to you and your book:

1. ___Your book will be nonfiction.

Fiction makes up only a small portion of the self-published book market because it’s so tough to sell self-published novels. Nonfiction is much easier.

2. ___Your book topic is needed and something people will pay money to read.
Hopefully you are an expert in the topic and you have a thorough understanding of what information is useful in your subject area.

3. ___You've identified your target book-buying audience niche.
This should be written up in detail, including actual numbers.

4. ___You know how to reach your target book-buying audience.
This is perhaps the most essential element for self-published authors. Not only must you be able to make your audience aware of your book, you must also provide them with convenient buying opportunities.

At the outset, assume that you will be selling the books yourself. Don’t count on getting a self-published book on bookstore shelves, because it is tough to do. Marketing and sales will be your responsibility.

5. ___You are committed to creating a high-quality book.
You will provide all the elements of book publishing, hiring professionals where needed to insure a fine product. Amateur efforts are not good enough.

6. ___You understand that you are creating your own company to self-publish your book.
You are not paying another so-called publishing company to publish your book—the latter indicates a vanity or book publishing scam.

7. ___You will invest a great deal of time to your book publishing company.
First, by educating yourself thoroughly about the self-publishing book business. Then, by taking the time necessary to create a quality product. Finally, by regularly and diligently dedicating time to marketing and sales.

8. ___You’ve researched the other similar books in print.
Your book should be comparable, if not superior to others.

The mere presence of competing books should not be a deterrent. Being able to identify, reach and provide sales opportunities to your target audience is more important.

* * * * * *

How did you rate?
The results of this checklist will help you know if you should consider self-publishing a book.

Obviously, you should have checked every item, above. Even so, starting your own book publishing company to self-publish your book should be considered carefully. Like any other business decision, you should not go into it without having strong indicators that your investment of time and money will be worthwhile.

Copyright 2007 by Barbara Doyen. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Assessing Your Future in Self-Publishing

Publishing is not for the faint of heart, the short-sighted or the introvert. It’s a commitment that demands courage, risk-taking, planning, energy, creativity and assertiveness.

Note: I’m speaking here of true self-publishing—establishing your own publishing company.

Before entering into the realm of self-publishing, consider the following:

Is there an audience for your book?

Are you willing to take the steps necessary to establish and operate a publishing business?

Do you have the funds available to pour into your publishing project?

Do you have room to store boxes and boxes of books?

Do you have the time and inclination to promote your book(s)?

I know hundreds of authors who have self-published their books. Some have a book or a series of books they produce while working full-time jobs, others have one book that they self-published and marketed until their stock ran out. But most of them are like me: They set up a publishing company in order to produce numerous books. To date, I’ve self-published about a dozen and a half books and I have five with traditional publishers.

I’m often asked during a workshop or other presentation which I prefer—going with a traditional publisher or self-publishing. Truth? I like the ease of having a traditional publisher who handles the business end of the project and pays quarterly royalties. I like not being responsible for storing the books. Since I’m still involved in promoting the books, however, I actually prefer self-publishing. I like being in control of the project. When I self-publish, I choose the title and the cover design. I decide what chapters stay and which ones go. But this also means that I have total responsibility for promoting the book.

Certainly self-publishing is not for everyone. I respond to writers’ questions for writing/publishing-related newsletters for Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network ( I got a question last week from someone who yearns to be published, but doesn’t want any kind of paper trail leading to her. She doesn’t want to do anything involving public interaction. She probably would not be a good candidate for self-publishing.

Elderly people may want their memoirs published, but may not relish the hassle of self-publishing—setting up a distribution company, finding a cover designer and printer, promoting the book, taking orders and shipping books, etc.

Someone with a full-time career and who writes a book as a sideline, probably doesn’t want to get involved in operating a publishing business.

Anyone on a small income will find it difficult to finance a self-publishing venture.

I often coach authors who want to start their own publishing company and have observed about a fifty-percent success ratio. Those who succeed have built a business around their project and they take that business seriously. They have goals and they evaluate their goals regularly. They give their project their full attention. If they lack skills in a particular area, they hire someone to take up the slack.

I know one author, for example, who spent two years operating quite a successful campaign on behalf of her book. Her book was reviewed in major newspapers all over the country. She traveled far and wide giving demonstrations and selling books. When she ran out of steam, energy and ideas, she hired a publicist and book sales absolutely soared.

I don’t do page layout and design, so I hire someone to perform that task for me. I find shipping and handling large mailings rather mundane and time-consuming. So I hire my grandchildren or neighborhood children to help with these projects and we do them outside of regular business hours.

You get interesting responses when you tell people that you have a publishing company. Some ask you where you keep the printing presses, “In the garage?” Others want to discuss having you publish their grandmother’s memoirs. Still others call or stop you on the street to say, “I’m thinking about writing a book, how do I go about publishing it?” It was this question multiplied by dozens that prompted me to hang out my shingle. I now charge for consultations.

The discouraging thing is that most people are looking for a shortcut to publishing success. It’s after I map out the well-traveled course that the serious authors are culled from the wannabes.

Are you serious about self-publishing? Do you believe in your project enough to put in the effort and time? Or are you looking for a get-rich-quick scheme?

Enter into the world of self-publishing with a viable project, an open mind, creative ideas and a willingness to learn. You will experience success in equal measure to what you ultimately have to give.

Patricia Fry is a freelance writer and the author of 25 books, including, “The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book” (Matilija Press, January, 2006) and “How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less,” (Matilija Press, 2005). (for details). Or contact Patricia at Visit Patricia Fry’s informative blog often:

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Top Ten Reasons to Self Publish!

1. Self publishing may be the only way to get published. You may not be able to get anyone to professional look at your idea.2. As a self-publisher you get to keep all of the profits from your sales. You only get 4 - 6% in royalties from a publishing company.

3. You have absolute marketing and editing control when you self publish. 60% of the big publishers do the final editing, 23% select the final title, 37% do not involve the author in promoting their own material.

4. Major publishers may receive up to several hundred manuscripts a week. Unless you’ve published before, the odds are they won’t even look at your material.

5. When you self-publish you are in control every step of the way. By depending on a publisher, you take the chance of never getting anywhere.

6. By self-publishing you gain a different perspective. You handle the complete marketing package.

7. Self publishing saves you valuable time. Using a publisher it takes up to 18 months before the first copy reaches the market.

8. Self-publishing eliminates the waiting and wondering. Waiting for a letter from a publisher that might never come is frustrating and embarrassing.

9. You get more directly involved in the entire process. You develop greater skills and obtain a bigger picture of the world of publishing.

10. As a self-publisher you will receive greater business tax advantages. This can be important as a means of off setting some of the income received from the sale of your work.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writers Turn to Self-Publishing

Marvin Kimble
Self-publishing has become more of an attraction for authors, such as those that wrote the above books. Some authors are finding it's easier to get published when they do it themselves.

The road from the initial brainstorming stages of a book to the finished product in a bookstore is a long journey with many twists and turns. Self-publishing is an avenue attracting more authors, despite its challenges.

"With new technology, print on demand, anybody could start a publishing company," said Martin Naparsteck, author and former professor at Utah State University.

A current New York resident, Naparsteck has published four books and more than 400 book reviews for the Salt Lake Tribune. He has now opted for his books "War Song" and "Hero's Welcome," novels about the Vietnam War, to be published through print-on-demand on the Internet.

Print-on-demand publishing is an option for authors who wish to self-publish, allowing them to hire a printer to manufacture the books as people order them online, cutting excess inventory.

"Clearly, it would save publishers a lot of money," Naparsteck said. "Some people estimate that more than 50 percent of books that are printed are never sold ... [and] nobody makes money with something that just sits on the shelf."

Naparsteck recommended IUniverse, a self-publishing support Web site offering the "new face of publishing" for budding authors who want to publish without the risks of an over excess of books or the headaches of marketing to bookstores.

"Normally, if you get published by a publisher they take care of the selling, and that's one of the problems with any small publisher," Naparsteck said. "They don't have a team of salesmen."

Salesmen visit bookstores and pitch books for the store to include on their shelves. Authors who do not promote their books through the venue of a publisher or distributor have to do the sales job themselves.

The process of publishing incorporates the stages between writing and printing: editing, revising, proofreading, layout process for printing and marketing. The difficulty with self-publishing is it puts the bulk of the weight of responsibility on the writer.

"When people self-publish, they have to do all of the steps themselves," said Linda Brummett, manager in the BYU Bookstore book department.

Brummett has seen thousands of books come through the Bookstore in her 33 years there, and she said she's seen an increase in self-publishing due to higher quality printing sources.

"Self-publishing looks every bit as professional as commercial," Brummett said. Desktop Publishing and new technology help in the process.

Brummett cautions those looking to self-publish, however, warning that it's a time-consuming path, and costly both in time and money.

"[Self-publishers] have money tied up in books that are in their basement, garage or closets," she said.

Anita Charles, BYU Bookstore sales floor supervisor, buys the books used for special promotions and book signings. She recommended new authors go through a publishing company and use the inclusive "Writer's Market" book to find the publisher that best fits the author's needs.

"Big publishers do so much work that an author can't do themselves," Charles said.

Currently the Bookstore carries a number of self-published books, including "Emergency Food in a Nutshell" by local author Leslie Probert. The book has done really well in the Bookstore, according to Brummett, selling hundreds of copies, and is even in its second edition.

Local publishing companies include Springville-based Cedar Fort, Brigham Publishing, Deseret Book and Eagle Gate.

For those set on self-publishing, there is the option of finding a local printer to create the finished product.

Doug Maxwell, administrator in the BYU Print and Mail Production Center, said self-publishers can digitally submit their work to be printed. The majority of printing projects at the BYU Print and Mail Production Center are for the university, including packets, mail distributions and textbooks. He said that the Print and Production Center completes 50 to 100 self-publishing projects a month.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

* Control over the finished product
* Nobody makes changes without your consent
* No middleman

* Have to do it all yourself
* Big investment of time and money

Different routes to go with publishing
-Self publish and hire printer
-Print on demand
-Online e-book
-Hire a distributor

Article by: Crystalee Webb - 12 Apr 2007