Self-Publishing 101

By (author) Debbie Elicksen
Categories: Business & Economics
Series: Reference Series
Publisher: Self-Counsel Press
Paperback : 9781551806396, 192 pages, September 2005

Table of contents

Foreword xi
Introduction xiii
1 So You Want to Be a Writer 1
Have Something to Say That Readers Want to Hear 4
Write What You Know — Or Do Your Research 4
Find a Niche 7
2 Charting Your Course 13
A Business Plan — Your Book’s Map and Timeline 13
An Outline — Your Book’s Résumé 15
3 Sculpting Your Book 25
Get Organized 25
How the Pros Do It 26
Take Your Idea for a Test Drive 29
To Be Taken Seriously as a Writer, Take Your
Writing Seriously 29
Editing — The “Seven Times” Rule 32
Finding a Ghostwriter or Editor 32
Ghostwriters 32
Editors 34
Writing Is 99 Percent Perspiration 36
4 Dispelling the Myths about Publishing 37
Why It’s Easier to Get an Audience with the Pope 40
Agents 45
Writer Beware — Agent Scams 46
The Role of an Agent 47
Book Packagers 48
Contracts and Advances 49
Rights and Copyright 52
Advances 53
The Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing 54
Design and Layout 55
Publicity and Marketing 56
5 Vanity, Print-on-Demand, and E-Publishing:
Not the Same as Self-Publishing 59
Vanity Publishing 59
What to Watch Out For 61
Benefits 63
If You Decide to Go with a Vanity Publisher 63
Print-on-Demand 65
What to Watch Out For 66
Benefits 68
If You Decide to Go with a Print-on-Demand
Publisher 68
E-Publishing 70
What to Watch Out For 71
Benefits 72
If You Decide to Go with an E-Publisher 72
iv Self-publishing 101
6 So You’ve Decided to Self-Publish 75
Steps to Self-Publishing 77
Working with Designers 79
Inside the Book 80
Covers That Jump Off the Shelf 81
Photographs and Other Images 83
There Is No Such Thing as Too Much Editing 85
Professional Touches: ISBNs, CIP Data, and Bar Codes 86
Set a Price 89
7 Working with a Printer to Create a
Professional-Looking Book 91
The Printing Process: Offset versus Digital 92
Offset Printing 92
Digital Printing 94
Soliciting Printer Quotes 94
A Note on Paper Stocks 95
A Note on Binding 97
When and How to Ask for Quotes 97
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions 97
Comparing Quotes and Choosing the
One for You 98
Timing Is Everything 99
Interview with a Printer 100
8 It’s All about Sales 107
It’s about the Reader 108
How Do You Find Your Readers? 110
Branding 110
It’s about Sales, Too 111
What Is a Bestseller, Anyway? 112
Sales 101 113
Contents v
Getting Your Book into Bookstores 114
The Distributor 114
Online Bookstores — Amazon and Others 119
Getting into Bookstores without a Distributor 120
Think Outside the (Big) Box or Independent 121
Wholesaling 121
Libraries 125
Trade Shows and Meetings 126
Partnerships 126
Advertising 126
Having a Web Presence 127
Direct Mail 129
Networking 133
Stay Ethical 135
The Bottom Line 136
9 Getting Noticed on a Larger Scale 137
Peer Reviews/Testimonials 137
Book Events 138
Book Signings 140
Speaking Engagements and Workshops 143
Press Conferences 145
Notifying the Media 147
The Press Release 147
The Media Advisory 149
Public Service Announcements 151
Media Coverage 152
Book Reviews 152
Getting Interviewed 153
Making a Pitch 154
When the Media Call 158
10 Conclusion 161
vi Self-publishing 101
1 Self-Publishing Resources 165
2 Test Your Editing Skills 171
1 Sample Permission Request Letter 6
2 Sample Business and Marketing Plan 16
3 Book Outline 23
4 Sample Pitch to Traditional Publisher 42
5 Sample Release/Consent Form 84
6 Sample Letter Requesting Printer Quotes 96
7 Sample E-Mail Flyer 131
8 Sample Letter Requesting Testimonials 139
9 Sample Press Release 150
1 Estimating Unit Costs per Book 99
2 Differences Between a Press Release,
a Media Advisory, and a PSA 151


In today’s book market self-publishing may well be your best option. Self-Publishing 101 explains the advantages and pitfalls of various options for getting your book into print and provides a step-by-step guide for writers who choose to self-publish. Whether you are considering tradition publishing, vanity publishing, print-on-demand, E-publishing, or self-publishing, the fundamentals of preparing a manuscript for publication are the same. But getting the book into print is just the beginning: the true challenges for most self-published authors are in marketing and selling their books. Drawing on her personal success as a self-published author, Debbie Elicksen shows you how to avoid costly mistakes and maximize your profits as you produce and market a professional-looking book. Self-publishing used to be equated with defeat; in today’s book market it may well be your best option. Let this timely book show you how to succeed in a tough market.