Sunday, November 18, 2007

Five Profitable Ways To Self Publish Books

by: Hal Gieseking

15th book edition manual own print publishing self sell write

"Build your advertising campaign around a BIG IDEA or it will fail."

David Ogilvy, certainly one of the five greatest advertising people who ever lived, constantly preached that advice to his staff. I was a creative supervisor for his agency, Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. in New York for eight years, creating print and TV ads for clients that included American Express, IBM, KLM Airlines, United States Travel Services and others. I tried very hard to find the "big idea," not always successfully. I hit more "doubles" than "home runs" but D.O., as Ogilvy was referred to in interoffice memos, always stressed swinging hard at every advertising pitch.

I often learned more from my strike outs than my occasional home runs, and I later applied what I learned when I started my own book publishing firm. Look for a "big idea" for the book. Decide who can most benefit from the book and write it for that audience. Consider how you can test the waters for a book and presell it to reduce the costs of failure (which are common and high in the book publishing field).

Here are five things I have learned about reducing the risks and increasing the rewards of self publishing books. I hope some of these may help you.

1. Build a reputation in the field that you know by writing about what you know.

I knew a great deal about travel advertising and marketing. I wrote to Gordon Greer who was then travel editor of Better Homes & Gardens and proposed a series of consumer-oriented articles about how to read travel brochures and ads, how to reduce the costs of trips, and how to avoid the growing number of travel scams. I wrote three articles for BH&G and had my first journalist credits in a national magazine.

2. Earn money as you write your book by creating a subscription newsletter

Everything in life can be a stepping stone. Based on my experience in travel advertising and travel journalism, I interested a large corporation in sponsoring the Travel Advisor - a monthly consumer newsletter with an annual subscription price of $35. Because of the direct mail marketing expertise of the corporation, we had more than 30,000 subscribers. I researched the articles carefully, e.g., "Why you may pay twice as much as the person sitting next to you on the airline," and "Why hotels overbook." I then selected the best of these articles and combined them into a book that was published by Simon & Schuster, CONSUMER HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELERS. Several years later I developed a newsletter of job hunting techniques. The newsletter never sold well, but I had all the chapters for a new book, 30 DAYS TO A GOOD JOB. sold in a record 48 hours to Simon & Schuster.

3. "Package" books for publishers.

I looked for Big Ideas that might interest publishers. A simple way to look for trends is to type key words into google search. Then check how many pages are listed for Bed & Breakfast, Home Exchanges, Time sharing, etc. A semi-annual check of the increase in pages indicates the subject is getting "hotter" in the minds of the public. I have brought together writers, photographers and artists to create new books for major publishers on bed & breakfasts, travel and nature guides, etc. You can check some of these books under my name in

4. Learn through trial and error how to self publish books"

I never met a vanity publishing company that I liked. Some companies that promise great rewards for unknown authors have turned out to be more scamsters than publishers, charging outrageous fees and providing few marketing services for writers. My first self published book, CARING FOR PETS, turned out to be a dog. I got good publicity but sold only about a hundred copies. Then I had to pay warehouse storage fees on the unsold books. Finally I offered the lot to Doris Day to use as premiums for donors to her pet foundation. Got a nice letter from Doris and a decent tax deduction. But now print on demand has become a godsend for writers. There are a growning number of these publishers, but my favorite is lulu at They don't charge for prep work and guide you with online help. They also help sell your book on their website and send you royalty checks.

Customize self published books for higher profits

Print on demand and fast turnaround (a printed book within a week) allows me to create books that are as current as weekly magazines and to create special editions of books for "sponsors." For example, I put the ReMax logo on the cover of the WILLIAMSBURG ONE-DAY TRIP BOOK and some of a ReMax agency's property listings in the back of the book. I sold 5,000 copies to a large timeshare comany that gave them to prospects. I am working with a leader of the Lutheran Church who has written a wonderful book, LAUGHTER - using good humor to raise your spirits and celebrate the risen Christ. Individual churches can add their own messages to this book. My current nonfiction book, REINVENT YOURSELF. features advice from 40 successful Americans that I interviewed. CEOs and individuals can customize this book with their own messages of advice. Best selling self published books are internet marketing, web design, travel guides, other self-help guides. Novels, in general, do not sell well either as self published books or on the Internet.

About The Author

Hal Gieseking is a past president of the Society of American Travel Writers and former Consumer Editor of Travel Holiday magazine. He is currently CEO of the Business Scribe, Inc. and can be reached at Much of his material is published on his internet site

15th book edition manual own print publishing self sell write

1 comment:

john said...

Digital revaluation in print media is worked well. Online readership is increased dramatically from the past three years. All the publishers are presenting their publications through online to attract the advertisers, increase the readers and generate the revenues. There are some companies like providing the e-publishing solution for all print editions and distributing them through various new technology mediums.

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