Maybe you’ve tried the traditional agent-query letter route and had nibbles but no success in landing a book deal. Or you’ve discovered a shoebox of your mother’s poetry and would like to publish them for friends and family. You believe in your story or topic and passion moves you to look into self publishing.
To be an independent publisher takes more knowledge and understanding of how a book is made and to how to reach your audience than you might think. There are a number of popular books available on the business of self publishing by Dan Poynter, Peter Bowerman or Fern Reiss. These books will lead you through the mechanics of publishing such as what an ISBN is and do you need one.
Why do you need to learn how to self publish? It’s like gardening, anyone can buy a packet of pumpkin seeds and plant them in dirt. But will you have a fat, round pumpkin by October? People with yards of flowers and green shrubs didn’t start out randomly throwing seeds. The colorful yard took months of work and planning, plus more hours to maintain it. They’ve read articles and books on how to grow a successful garden. So should you about self publishing.
Yes, there are print-on-demand companies who offer to do most of the work as a publisher for you, but at what high cost? You can publish your book yourself and save that money for marketing, another major topic for another time. No one understands the dynamics of your book better than you do. How much control do you want to give away to get it out into the world?
As a publisher you have decisions to make. How do you envision your book? What trim size will it be, approximately how many pages, and what quantity do you want to start with? Do you need a short-run book printer? These are important factors that will affect the production costs.
Congratulations on writing your book, you’ve already accomplished more than most. The adventure of self publishing can be a rewarding avenue for your book as you go through the process from creating back cover text to deciding the price on the barcode or whether you need a barcode.
Anyone can self publish, not everyone will fulfill their dreams by self publishing.