Monday, November 19, 2007

Self-Publishing - Pros and Cons (book printing)

By Michael Russell

15th book edition manual own print publishing self sell write

Self-publishing is not a topic that requires a definition. If you are already an experienced author and you used such tools for your writing, you know what you are dealing with. You probably have a blog or a website where you showcase your skills.

If you monetize your blog, you are even one of the self-published authors who makes money from his/her work. Many bloggers refuse to display AdSense ads or other such distracting features. They fear that displaying moneymaking widgets lowers the credibility of the blog and their own credibility. If we analyze the Web and the online self-publishing channels we find even more controversial opinions. But no matter how we look at it, self-publishing is more than a trend: it is a way of publicizing content quickly and freely.

The debate begins when the readers start doubting the quality of self-publicized content (particularly when we speak about self-publicized books). Ebooks don’t trigger so many controversies as printed books. The problems appear because of free self-publishing services where no proofreading is ensured and the books come from print without a proper quality check, hence many spelling and grammar errors.

Any professional writer knows that it is human to err, no matter how great the skills. Even academics use proofreaders prior to publishing their essays and treatises. But some young authors are not so careful. Many dream and pray for overnight success. They forget that sudden fame has the same value as a shooting star: it’s pretty as it glows, but soon forgotten. Real success is a marathon, not a sprint.

Considering these facts, should we vote against free self-publishing providers? Not really.

The ones who should care about the quality of their work are the authors. They should understand that “free” is not always the best choice.

For example, many foreign authors choose to write in English, because, let’s face it, the English speaking public segment is broader – hence the chances to make an author known are higher. Some of these authors are confident in their skills (and generally they have no reasons to doubt themselves), but they still choose to hire a proofreader prior to publishing their work.

Others are too confident and they forget that any language has subtleties mastered solely by natives. These “too confident” authors go on publishing their works without proofreading. Sometimes the results are not bad, but in most of the cases the readers will find enough reasons to complain.

The readers don’t really care where the books are coming from. They don’t really want to know who published the book (unless we talk about famous publishing houses or collectible books). But they do have the tendency to blame the printing house if they find spelling and grammar errors.

The readers don’t know that the modern authors tend to skip the proofreading process just to save a few bucks. However, even if your “name” as an author will not have too much to suffer, do you really want to deliver a poor quality book on the shelves of your readers? Do you really want the libraries to store something that later, when you are a famous writer, will come back to you like a boomerang? Think about it!

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Publishing

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15th book edition manual own print publishing self sell write

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
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