Saturday, July 30, 2011

Resources for self-publishing

Courtesy of Angela Breidenbach.

I meant to post this last week, and then... I don't really know what happened. Busyness + busyness + more busyness, I suppose.

So when Angela sent me her guest post (which is a must-read if you're considering self-publishing. If you missed it, you can click here.) she also sent me a list of books she recommends and a hand out for a class she teaches on publishing.

Angela Breidenbach teaches at writers conferences, is published on Kindle with Creative Cooking for Colitis, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance from Westbow Press, and traditionally published in Gems of Wisdom: For A Treasure-Filled Life from Journey Press: An imprint of Sheaf House. All her books are available on Amazon and autographed copies of the print versions are available directly from Angie’s website:

Education and Promotion Tools for Self and Traditionally Published

~In his book The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, Peter Bowerman gives advice to self-published authors on how to promote their books to make money.

~Getting Your Book Published for Dummies by Sarah Parsons Zackheim and Adrian Zackheim. This book has the entire process for any type of publishing process.

~The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson teaches publicity to all authors.

~Get Organized, Get Published! By Don Aslett and Carol Cartaino has both great organizing tips for writers, but also awesome business and marketing education.

Questions to ask yourself and use as a checklist toward your achievement of either self-publishing or traditionally publishing your books.

What’s your purpose?
-Family stories
-Message that’s highly sought after (such as a health solution, hope in dark times, etc.)

Do you have a platform?
-Do you speak publicly?
-Do you have thousands of followers on twitter, facebook, or your website?
-Do you hold a job or position or achieved something that makes you a household name?
-Online presence?

Do you have the ability to market via time and skill as well as financially all on your own?
Marketing is required by the author regardless of the publishing choice, but the author takes on a couple of heavy responsibilities by self-publishing.
-Do you know how? Can you find a mentor?
-Do you understand distribution into bookstores? (Crucial to find someone that does.)
-Do you have a means to mass market?
-Do you have media connections? Can you hire a publicist for up to $2,000/month.
-Do you have financial management skills and an understanding of the complete publishing business or someone who does?
-Can you afford the financial risk?
-Do you have the time to run your book sales as a business and as an entrepeneur?

What type of company do you need?
A Printer:
-Prints what you give in the format you give
-Does no editing (scary unless you’ve had your book professionally edited!)
-Prices go down based on volume
-You own the books, store them, sell them
-No distribution connections (must hire a distributor.)

POD: Print On Demand
-Prints in specific format (often pdf) more like a copier
-Books can be run in 1 or thousands
-Entire process usually in one machine
-Higher production cost
-May or may not help with distribution (getting your book on the shelf is important. The publisher must have a distributor they can prove actually puts books on shelves.)

An Offset Printer
-Prints en masse
-Prints in layers, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)
-Cannot print short runs
-Usually causes costs 10% over-run
-Creates storage needs
-May or may not have distribution connections (this is a big deal if you can’t get into bookstores.)

Digital Publisher format:
-Ebook, color or black/white
-Traditional style like Desert Breeze, Marcher Lord Press, etc., or a supporting ebook by traditional publisher for the print version.

Turn-key Self Publishing Examples for both digital and paper versions:
-Proposal to live paper book in retail stores: entire processed managed by publisher
-Deadline requirements
-Cookie cutter process
-Royalty program
-Sell through requirements
-Distribution channel tried/proven
-Hard to get in the door
-Financial management handled by the publisher
-Risk belongs to the publisher
-More of the marketing is falling more on the author now days

What if you decide to self-pub?
What to avoid:
-Sloppy product: poor covers, poor interior design, poor quality of actual print ink/paper.
-No editing or minimal editing.
-Extra high book prices that won’t move in the stores.
-High Pressure tactics/Amazing promises.
-No networking or infrastructure unless you already have it.
Questions to ask before self-publishing:
-Do they distribute the book?
-Who is the distributor and where do they actually have books distributed?
-What is a comparable cover price to your book project?
-Do they edit, charge for edit?
-Their definition of editing the manuscript
a. Spell check
b. Substantive edit-logic, comprehension, tightening wordiness, etc.
c. Copy edit-punctuation, spelling, spacing, etc.
d. Visual/interior design-visually appealing, logic of page flow, industry standards
-Cover design quality/pricing
-What’s the charge for the cover file and the interior design file should you choose to leave that company in the future?
-Length of contract and proper exit from contract
-What books have they published that are similar?
-What marketing do they provide?
-What other services do they provide?
a. Storage
b. Shipping/handling/fulfillment
c. Inventory
- Press Release? To who?
-Book Trailer, Website, Promo Items? Beware!

Questions to ask before signing the contract:
-Your purchase price as the author
-Retail purchasers discount: Must be enough that they want to buy the book to sell in their stores.
-Store Returnability: Have not? Kiss sale goodbye.
-Publicity options
a. What are they?
b. What input do you have?
-Final cost with all details
-Will your agent look at it for you if it’s a self-pub? It’s worth asking. Since your agent isn’t earning anything on this contract deal, you could offer to pay a fee for the advice. Think what they would earn if you were traditionally publishing. Honor the work they would do for you by protecting your interests and you’ll be protecting your relationship.
-Can retailers order from the publisher? Is there a track record of this happening?
-How many books will you get?
Project Awareness:
-Know all the process including paper and color on paper.
-Have a timeline for the project and know where it is in the timeline and who is on it.
-Marketing timing to release date.
-Follow up, all the time.
-Check on website links such as books due up on Amazon, websites, etc.
-Be timely in response.
-If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t understand, research until you do.
-Understand the printing process of 4 up pagination
-Create marketing inside your book with front and back matter.
-What promotional tools will draw attention to your project?
-Know when to start pre-orders
-Set up your website and store well in advance.


  1. Lots of information! Thanks!

  2. :) Thanks for the info, it been really helpful about what I need to keep in mind :)