FAQs on Self-Publishing

If you have decided to self-publish, I’ve provided some older podcasts I recorded on how to do it, but since they are older I will answer a few questions here as well:

Q: Is self-publishing cheaper than traditional publishing?
A: The short answer is no, but it depends on what it is you are self-publishing. Even if you want your book to be a simple PDF uploaded to amazon it will still cost you something. For instance, if you want to offer paperback and PDFs you will have to have the book cover designed as if it were going to sit on a shelf at a store. That can get expensive because if you are going to do it right – meaning compete with trad books, you must do the following:

  • Hire someone to block the book – this means using Adobe InDesign or something similar to layout the interior and exterior of the book. This is no small feat and is not cheap. If you have images it’s even trickier. get someone who knows what they are doing. I went to ifreelance.com and found someone. Ask for examples of other books they’ve done.
  • Hire a book cover designer. Do not rely on some art student, get a professional to do this. That is also costly depending on who does it. Ask for samples too.
  • Buy an ISBN number – this is the catalog number the library of congress uses to categorize your book. Some sites do not require them anymore, but if you want to sell your book thru a distributor you will need one. It is a unique number and you can buy it at myidentifiers.com. If you plan to pub more than one book it’s cheaper to buy a group of these for future use.
  • Buy the bar code for your book – this is the code that contains the price and is required if you sell you book thru a wholesaler. You can get this at the site above and it’s usually about $25.
  • Marketing – this you will do regardless of which route you take but as an indie, this is all you. You can hire someone or you can do it yourself by sending out flyers, calling college bookstores and setting up book signings, or some small bookstores. Usually, the big guys like B& N will not allow indies to have book signings so call first. Call the local radio station and see if they might be interested in interviewing you as the hometown author, etc. Be creative before you shell out buck for a PR person.
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