Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tips and Books on Self Publishing

It still surprises me how many writers don't do their homework and read before writing the "next best seller" - before in you invest the time, energy and effort, read this post and go to and take to the quiz to make sure you are ready to be a published author!


Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual

The Fine Print of Self Publishing by Mark Levine

Self Publishing for Dummies by Jason R. Rich

Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book by Tom Ross and Marilyn Ross


Dan Poynter’s Para Publishing

Book Wire

The Author’s Guild

Author House Self Publishing

Write and Publish your Book

Publishing Central

Common Mistakes Made in Do-It-Yourself Publishing (and How to Avoid Them)

Settling for Less. This is your art. It deserves the best. Don't settle for less. You can swing deals—and should swing deals because, let's face it, you're on a do-it-yourself (DIY) budget—but make darn sure you’re getting the most for your money and time. Invest in the best and you'll never be disappointed. Disappointments are unavoidable but you'll be a lot less disappointed when you deal with competent, experienced beings (A.K.A. "professionals") from the beginning.

Trying to Impress Your Friends. Don't waste your time doing this. Other writers can't help you. Most are struggling to help themselves. Limit mailings of your first draft to individuals who will do a swift, stern, kick-in-the-pants copy editing of the work. Revise your manuscript and get on with it. Ask professionals - not friends.

Not Querying Potential Publishers Before You Do-It-Yourself. A proper publishing deal would save you a lot of money. Not necessarily grief, beefs, sleeplessness and high anxiety, but it would save you a lot of money. And time. It would also free you up to focus more on promoting the release. You can do both (publish + promote), but first try to interest an established press to invest in you and your work.

Assuming All Designers Read. Under no circumstances should your book be designed by someone who hasn’t read your manuscript. Every. Single. Word. Of your manuscript. Most designers don’t read what they are contracted to design. They may "skim" or "read parts" but reading something in its entirety is a different kettle o’ fish. If you feel you would have to pay extra to ensure that the designer will thoroughly read your work, find someone else for the job. Straight-up. Find someone who wants to know exactly what—and whom—she or he is dealing with. That is: your book, and YOU.

Not Setting Deadlines. Let's say you find a suitable designer for your book. You've seen their portfolio. They actually have a portfolio. They have up-to-date design programs and they know how to use them. They have a scanner. Hot damn. You're in business. But if you don't set a deadline for all of the design work and corrections to be completed, you're in trouble. All designers know how to read a calendar. And count money. Put it in writing. Get it done on time.

Choosing the Most Inexpensive Printer You Can Find. I wanted ALARM to be regarded first and foremost as a book. That's why I insisted on a perfect-bound format with CD pockets neatly folded-up and glued on the inside front and back covers. Nice. But my choice in printers was foolishly based on price rather than on the company’s practical experience with book-publishing. I had to deal with innumerable printer errors—some of them utterly preposterous—and I was unable to get enough advance copies on time for potential reviewers. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure the printer you choose has the chops it will take to produce your vision in a timely, professional manner.

Getting Sidetracked By Art-Talk. If you find yourself getting balled up in art-talk banter with the girl processing your print order—books, CDs, business cards, flyers, stickers, whatever—you’re losing it. Skip the art-talk, bub, this is business. Tighten it up. This is your craft, remember? Your baby. It deserves strict attention to detail. Always insist on seeing the printer’s proofs. What you “sign off on” and pay for is what you should get as the finished product. Don’t settle for less. I repeat myself sometimes. I repeat myself sometimes.

Not Giving Yourself Enough Lead-Time.
Forward-thinking is imperative. Absolutely imperative. Get bar codes, ISBN numbers, blurbs for the back cover, a post office box, etc., as soon as possible. Set up business accounts with online mail-order companies such as Amazon and CDBaby. All that stuff. It takes time. Magazines and newspapers need to receive press releases and review copies at least three months prior to your release date. Three months! Plan accordingly.

Not Being Prepared For The End-Of-The-Novel Blues That Will Hit You—And Hit You Hard. After your book is out, you'll get post-partum. :) Some get depressed. Be prepared for it. A friend knew exactly how I was feeling. It’s the same post-release depression that hit him after every book he’s ever put out. It comes from exhaustion, he wrote, from the exhilaration of release wearing off. The best thing to do is to just crash. The work you are doing cannot be done by anyone else. Crash. Have some bacon and eggs for breakfast...


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