Two Helpful Posts on Self-Publishing

by Anne Wayman

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of self-publishing books, provided you know what you’re getting into. Today I found two blog posts that illustrate well some of the problems, some of the successes and a whole bunch in betwee.

The first is TSTC Publishing’s post called: Print On Demand: Heartbreaking Effort on a Staggering Scale

As I read the post I found myself saying yes, page design can be a nightmare; yes, I know how difficult cover design can be, etc. etc. etc. Mark points out a whole bunch of potential problems in the self-publishing process.  It’s well worth a read and, if you think you ever might self-publish, bookmarking.

I’d add to his post the recommendation of Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living as a must read.

Note, however, the comments include one by the self-publisher Mark used as an example – that too is worth reading.

So POD Diary, the lengthy and detailed dairy of Shannon Yarbrough’s experience self-publishing with lulu.com. It too is illuminating and I wish Shannon could have read Mark’s post before… well, you get the idea.

Shannon is a pretty good example of what can happen with self-publishing if you work hard at it. He’s not made a ton of money; in fact, some would say he hasn’t made nearly enough. But he’s happy and my hunch is that he’ll do it again and learn to be ever-more successful.

Have you tried self-publishing yet? What’s been the result?

Write well and often,

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jorgekafkazar September 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Poetry is a tough sale. Powerfully Recovered, on the other hand, is related to life-and-death issues, considerably more useful than a few lines of dactyllic septameter or whatnot.
.-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

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jorgekafkazar September 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

I’ve been interested in self-publishing (s-p) since reading Pushcart Press’s fairly realistic early handbook on the subject. Basically, many books on s-p either oversell or undersell. I would never (haha) try s-p fiction. The market is too thin for most genres. Even a non-fiction book requires both (1) a market and (2) a medium of reaching that market. If I were, for example, a shrink who already was making speaking tours around the country, you can bet I’d create a line of self-help books to sell at each lecture. If there were a successful magazine called, say, “Timewasters Monthly,” I’d consider s-p a book of my time-tested hints on how to fritter away hours at a stretch. My sole s-p effort, so far, is printing and binding my little (150 page) poetry books. They cost me about $3 for materials and I sell them for $16. Do I make any money on them after deducting for my frittered time? No. Will I try web marketing? Maybe.
.-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

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Anne September 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

web marketing makes all the difference… not sure about poetry, but I make small royalties on Powerfully Recovered (www.powerfullyrecovered.com) every month and I haven’t done any promo in ages…

Back of the room sales is a good one if you’ve got an audience.

frittered time? nah, it’s all grist for the writers mill

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admin January 14, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Understood Mark, and appreciated… you and I beat the same drum in this case.

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Mark Long January 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Hi Anne,

Gosh, Shannon and I keep showing up together all over the Web!

The only thing I would add is that–as I said in the comments on my post–is that I certainly came off as being too hard on Shannon as opposed to my actual intent . . . which is the discrepancy between what POD “publishers” (in reality, “printers”) say in order to get folks to spend more money for add-one services under the guise of generating more sales when, in reality, that’s just not going to happen–at least not due to those particular services as opposed to the sweat equity of the author. Certainly kudos are due to Shannon for gleaning what he has on such a steep POD publishing curve in addition to the good work he is doing publicizing books through the Lulu Book Review.

Mark Long’s last blog post..Blogs About Publishing: Life on Avenue Z

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admin January 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Shannon, I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear… I knew you hadn’t been able to read Mark’s post… I got the timing… tomorrow when I’m less tired I’ll go back and edit what I said so it’s clearer… thanks.

Yes, my self-publishing ventures pay only because of their long tail… Powerfully Recovered (www.powerfullyrecovered.com) pays me a little bit every quarter… over time it’s worth it money wise… but the real value to me is the email from folks who like it.

Like you I write because I don’t know how to do anything else.

A

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Shannon Yarbrough January 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Hi Anne-
Thanks for reading my blog, POD Diary. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Mark’s blog was right on, but it was written in part because he came across the POD Diary 4 months after I started it, so there would have been no way for me to have read it first. Please know I don’t mean that in a rude way.

And it is very true, I haven’t made “enough” money on my self-publishing journey. Not many self-published authors probably have. But writing comes down to WHO you are writing for and WHY you want to write. Sure, I’d love to be published traditionally and make millions of dollars! Who wouldn’t? And what author out there doesn’t dream about that?

Well, let’s wake up and smell the No. 2 Pencils. We both know how realistic that is. And so, I could write and write and wait to be discovered and try my best at it, and still may never get published. Or, I can move on and accomplish the parts of that dream that I can achieve now. 1. Getting my book published. 2. Seeing my book on a shelf in a store. 3. Having my book read.

I’ve done all that, and those dreams coming true are enough for me. I write, like many, to fulfill that burning desire inside me to do so. That comes first, above all else. And if my diary about publishing shows someone right from wrong, or how NOT to do it, or how to accept the fact you probably won’t make millions doing this, then that’s good enough for me too.

Thank you for reading,
Shannon Yarbrough
http://www.shannonyarbrough.com
http://www.lulubookreview.com

Shannon Yarbrough’s last blog post..I ain’t lost, just wandering…

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