Group: So You Want To Self Publish?

Self Publishing facts

I think the biggest drawback that self publishers may find is that it cost a lot of money no matter which way you go, to publish your book. That creates a problem. Obviously you will have to sell it for a very low price to compete with bookstores. Hardly anyone will buy a Don Yarber book for $10.99 when they can buy a Michael Connelly book for $6.99. So to be competitive, your book will have to sell for $6.29. That means if your cost to print and ship is $5.20 you would make $1.09 per copy. By the time you spend $2.80 to mail your book to a buyer (media rate), you will go in the hole for $1.71. POD publishers, LULU, CREATESPACE, AUTHORS HOUSE, etc. will charge an up front cost. The least expensive one I've found is CREATESPACE and that was $299. If you want to design your own cover, format your own text, buy your own ISBN, then that may be the way to go. Keep in mind that NONE of the POD publishers will market your book for you. They have gimmicks that say they will publicize it, but most are just that, gimmicks. You will ultimately be responsible for selling it yourself. That's a job. I challenged a group of authors who have published using CREATESPACE to tell me how many books they have sold. I didn't get a single response. I am not ashamed to admit that I have sold very, very few. My sales have been through direct marketing on my own behalf

That leaves us another choice. Kindle. It doesn't cost a cent to publish your book electronically with Kindle. You just have to format it correctly. But again, Kindle will not publicize your book. It is still up to you to sell it. Then there is Smashwords and again your manuscript must be formatted correctly. They will place it in all of the right spots, but will not publicize. You are the seller. The cost to publish is reasonable, it's free.

Please feel free to add your 2Cents to this discussion. I will try to give you my best honest opinion if you want advice, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

Don Yarber

10th September 2011

Come on, folks. Let me hear from you. I don't have all the answers, far be it. If I don't know, I'll look it up instead of guessing.

Don Yarber

12th September 2011

Last year I self published my first book, which was only intended for my friends and family. It was dedicated to my newly born niece, It was a bitter sweet experience since I had little idea what I was getting into. I used LULU and CreateSpace and was pleased with the quality and control I had over the design of my book. They make your book available on iTunes, Amazon and the like.

Promoting your book is all up to you, I advice you to create a blog or Facebook page or any other social network out there to build a fan base before your book is released. This will help push sales and allow people to get to know you, This can be costly especially if you decide to buy say 50 of your books and sell them by hand.

An option is you can buy a batch and then sell for a higher price to cover the cost of your ordering. They usually give you a discount if you order over a certain amount at once.

The up side to Self-Publishing is all profit belongs to you that's considering you did the entire book yourself (illustrations,cover etc) You can also update your book at a moments notice.

I personally prefer this route because I believe only I can bring my books to life in the vision I have for them. So to create my books will cost me nothing but my time, Readers can buy my books online and as Don stated you make a profit of $1 - $3 depending on which POD you choose. Understand that this is long term journey if your books don't sell well within the first one or two years don't worry because they will be available "forever" (for lack of a better word).

Believe in what you do and put out your best product.

Robert Harris

12th September 2011

Robert is absolutely right when he said that your book is available for sale FOREVER. I personally prefer to buy my own ISBN and use my own IMPRINT (Airplane Books). Another point that Robert has hit right on the head is that all of the profit from sales is yours. It's not a matter of royalty when you purchase copies of your book for a small price and sell them at a greater price.

In addition to Robert's advice concerning marketing, I have contacted nearby libraries and arranged for book signing days. Most libraries will ask for a percent of sales to overcome rules against vendors using library facilities. I don't mind that and will gladly pay it as my object is to get my books into the hands of as many readers as possible even though the profit margin is low.

A few tips for booksigning: 1. Always take more books than you expect to sell. You can never tell, if you only take 5 books and there are 10 people who want them, you will have to sell them on the idea that you can "mail" them the book.
2. Take along a clean table cloth, preferably one of a single color, and put it over the table you will use for signing. It makes it look more professional. I use a dark blue solid color tablecloth.
3. Take some "giveaways" with you. I have bookmarks made up and printed (by my wife) that are neat and professional looking. I will always give a bookmark with a sale, and offer them to everyone who attends. Candy is sometimes a good idea if you are at a place where you have not been advertised in advance. Candy will draw people to your table.
4. Don't be afraid to talk to people. I will ask passersby: "Do you like mysteries?" or "Are you a mystery reader?" Sometimes that will crack the ice. Be prepared to pitch your book, but don't fail to talk about other good mysteries if the customer leads the conversation that way. Always try to steer them back to your book.
5. Be prepared to talk about plotting, outlining, character description, choice of character names, and any other topic that relates to your book specifically. If you clam up or are unsure of yourself when asked a question, you will probably lose a sale.
6. If you have written more than one book, take copies of all of your books with you, even though the signing has been advertised for a particular book.

More later regarding marketing. Thanks to Robert for his input.

Don Yarber

12th September 2011

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