The Self-Publisher’s FAQ
Author: Jacqueline Church Simonds
You’ve written your first book. Whether it is a novel, self-help, non-fiction or children’s book there are many decisions that need to made before that book appears on Amazon.com or any other online bookseller’s site. Where do you start? How do you begin? The answer is really simple: By reading The Self-Publisher’s FAQ and deciding what type of self-publisher you want to be, how much effort you are willing to put into getting a first rate book out there and learning just what it takes to publish a book.
There are many FAQ’s that people ask but the first are related to some basic decisions that need to be asked: Basic questions such as: “Is this book going to be for friends, family and/or a small market? If you think you have written the Great American novel, understand that fiction is hard to sell. If you have written non-fiction you might have a slightly better chance but you need to know the market for which you want to write and whether the subject matter has been done or over done or this book will go nowhere. The author continues by defining the following types of publishing, their advantages and disadvantages: What is Traditional Publishing, What are the disadvantages and advantages are shared in the first chapter. Added in she defines a term that many authors even seasoned ones might not know: Subsidy Publishing, the advantages and disadvantages. Next that all important area of Self-publishing is defined including the pros and cons.
Even with understanding the basics you need to know how to set up a publishing company, how a self-publisher incorporates, how to form a corporation and what a limited liability company is by including both the pros and cons. Next she discusses how to name your company and understanding what start up capital you will need to begin.
Chapter two includes the nuts and bolts of how to get your book properly published: ISBN numbers, why you need to purchase a block of ten, where these numbers go, getting an LCCN or Library of Congress Catalog Number, how to get one and other basics that you need even before your book is out in print. Chapter Three focuses on the interior of your book, defining typesetting, fonts, kerning and leading followed by how to assemble your manuscript. Reading pages 32-37 will explain how and take you through the process.
As an author I have learned that the front cover is vital and critical to getting people to want to read your book. Explaining in detail which everyone should write, take notes on and keep a log of the sequence she relates when creating your front cover, plus any questions you might need answered if you decide to hire a professional cover designer this section is invaluable. Why you should not use clip art or do it yourself? How the title should be designed, what to include on the back cover? Description or synopsis, author picture, author bio, endorsements, category line and EAN Bookland Bar code are just some of what belongs on the back cover. Don’t forget the price!
The author explains how to get endorsements, how to get a logo, how to create your title plus the do’s and don’ts of creating the right title for your book. Read pages 44-47 to learn more. Chapter 5 will explain whether you need and or if you should hire professionals to finish your book. She does an excellent job of explaining the role of an editor and the different types of editors that you might need to create a perfect manuscript. Remember anything worth doing just might cost some money and she explains editing costs too.
Marketing and having a marketing plan is vital to the success of your title and getting it out there. Within Chapter 6 the author includes how to write a marketing plan, what social media is needed, what is an author platform, EBooks and the role of a publicist. Chapter 7 focuses on how to get your book in print and the many ways to do that including what are galleys, arcs and F G’s plus what goes on the cover, back cover, spine and how to create a book the right way. Everything you want to know about EBooks is covered in Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 gets down to the nitty griity of self-publishing. Answering questions such as What should I price my book? Why do I Have to Discount My Book, returns and other unpleasant facts are included. This chapter is chock filled with information to help you get started. It even explains the difference between distributors and wholesalers as well as how to get your books shipped and much more. The next chapter focuses on Accounting for Publishing or the money chapter. Being a reviewer I would be remiss if I did not elaborate on Chapter 11: Getting reviews and Publicity. Questions as to where to send your book for prepublication reviews, why you should never pay for a review, where to get a review if you are going to send it out before the release date and using pages 123-127 as your guideline for making sure you have the write letters, information on your book, a great summary, price and much more before sending it out for review. The remainder of the chapter deals with how to get reviews after the book is published. What you do with reviews, can you edit them, what happens if you get a negative review and what are blog tours as well as sending out your books to bloggers to review. There is much more in this chapter dealing with what goes into creating a press kit, what is a press/media release and what social media will help get your title out there. She includes information about Create Space, Lulu and Lightning Source, how to interact with your audience and creating a website. Chapter 15 focuses on miscellaneous questions and the real bonus is the bonus or extra materials that follow which include: a short handbook called: The Self Publisher’s FAQ Book Countdown which will guide you step by step from the minute you write your first word until you are ready to launch that book. Next she includes how to write a marketing plan taking you through each step and providing a template that you can use to write your own. There are two more valuable resources but like a mystery, you the reader will have to discover the treasures in these two sections when you read the book.
Whether you decide to self-publish on your own, put out an eBook or hire someone to do it for you this invaluable resource will lead you on the path to publishing success. This book is a serious must have for all authors new or experienced. Author Jacqueline Church Simonds as she writes on her back cover has been a publisher for 13 years and produced over 20 books, she has worked on over 35 publishing projects and was a book distributor handling at one point over 40 titles.
Fran Lewis: reviewer