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How To Self Publish Your Book
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How to Self Publish Your Book

As most aspiring authors know, it is virtually impossible to get a publisher to read your book, let alone consider it for publication. They all want to know your experience, how many books you already have published, etc. It is sort of the old “You can’t get the job unless you are in the union and you can’t get in the union until you’ve got the job.” It is time consuming, expensive and frustrating. That does not mean you have to give up. It also does not mean you cannot publish your book yourself and it also does not mean you cannot publish it as an E-book and have it sold on Amazon. I will be doing a separate article on publishing your Ebook on Amazon-Kindle.

While you continue the standard search for a regular publisher, I suggest you consider self-publishing. You may not realize it but probably many of the books you have read have been self-published. There are many so-called “vanity presses” who will publish your book for you for a fee. Do a Google search and the majority of publishers that pop up are probably self-publishing companies. You really may not know this at first. With some, you submit your manuscript and are delighted to find that it has been accepted. Here is the crunch. A publisher will never ask you for money up front. In fact, they will probably offer you an advance “because they believe your book will sell and make them money.” If a publisher wants to charge you in any way, you are dealing with a “vanity press.”

Dealing with a self-publisher or vanity press is not a bad thing at all but I suspect people who are not upfront from the get-go. With a self-publishing company, you can get the same coverage for your book and make more money at the same time. You do not (or should not) sign over your rights if you self-publish which means you have full rights to your work and can sell it to a real publisher if the opportunity comes up. You also normally make a much higher percentage per book. When you do a search for self-publishers, use that for your search or you will end up finding outfits like Publish America who pretend to be real publishers. Use them if you want but beware.

Important points to consider:

1. Customer access – Will your book be available on the larger on-line retail giants such as Amazon or Indigo-Chapters? Will you book also be available there as an Ebook?

2. Control of your work – Do not release your control over your work.

3. Pricing – That will vary all over the place and depends on how much of the work you can do yourself. Not all of us are techy and have a hard time producing more than the book in Word or something similar. That could cost you dearly as each stage of the process is charged for. If you do not shop around, your book could cost you many thousands of dollars to get into print and you may never recoup your costs. If you cannot do your own graphics and layouts, this is when you really have to shop.

For myself, I was able to produce my own covers which include three elements – front and back cover plus the spine. I was also able to format the book into the required size with page numbers, headers, footers, etc. In other words, I was able to produce the entire book. I just needed someone to print it and make it available to the customers.

My first book cost me $99 to become a published book on Amazon and included the ISBN number. That company, Booksurge, was bought by a larger company, CreateSpace, and they charge about $250 for the same service. Still, a pretty good deal. They have been good to deal with. On their site, they have all the templates you will need to create your cover and book interior. You then pay them, they make your book available on Amazon and then send you your monthly cheques as your books sell. These types of self-publishers are “on-demand” publishers which means your book sits with them as a file until they have a book order. They print off the book and mail it to the customer. You may find another company who are better.

As I can do it all myself, I also had my book printed by a local printer "Island Blue" who produced a great looking novel complete with a plastic coating for the cover. If you are personally selling your own books, this is a great way to go. Otherwise, you would have to purchase copies from your self-publishing company and they would be costly. Print them yourself, sell them yourself and you get all the profit.

So, try to do as much as you can yourself or be ready to shell out for someone to do it for you. Spend some time comparing and always make sure they know that you know you are self-publishing. Get out there, start writing and start publishing. It is not that expensive if you do your homework.

The image for this article is that of my latest book and you can see example of self-publishing and self-marketing on my site.

Lastly, “don’t get ripped off!” “Caveat emptor”

Street Talk

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