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Self-Publishing and Print on Demand

Indie publishing, digital publishing, and POD resources
Printing is not publishing.
Publishers don't own printing presses.
• Self-publishing 101: Basics of self-publishing
Resources and advice on self-publishing
Publishing scams, bad deals, vanity/subsidy publishing and presses, and author mills
Secrets of success for indie authors
Self-publishing (a basic booklist)

Blogs about self-publishing
• Key submissions and self-publishing services
• Pros and cons of self-publishing
• Self-publishing success stories
• Hall of Fame of self-published authors
• A few books that were self-published

Hybrid publishing
(Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing)
• Hybrid authors
• Subsidy publishing
• Self-publishing and print-on-demand services

• Kickstarting your indie publication
• Printers and printing
• Self-publishing and print-on-demand services
The differences between Ingram Spark, AmazonKDP.
Draft2Digital, Apple Books, Lulu, etc.
The truth about print-on-demand (POD) publishing

• Ebooks and self-publishing (ins and outs, pros and cons)
• Self-publishing children's books

• Book design and production
• The essential parts of a book
Standard order of parts of a book
 • Acknowledgments page
Copyright page--what it should contain
The index
• Book printing and binding, explained and illustrated
• Why you should get your self-published book edited
• Editing, design, and production (overview of the process)
• Mastering InDesign (book design software)
• Books on how to design books
• Book formatting
• Footnotes and endnotes (InDesign)
• Fonts and typography--the basics

Book distribution and fulfillment
(Wholesalers and distributors)
• Firms that distribute self-published print and ebooks
• Getting reviews and promotion for self-published books
• Marketing and selling your self-published book
Selling your book to bookstores, schools, and libraries

center>• How, when, and where to register copyright
ISBNs, LCCNs, CIP, PCNs, BISAC, WorldCat, barcodes, and other product identifiers
Copyright, work for hire, and other rights issues

See also
Secrets of successful book covers and titles
Great covers sell books, but what makes for a great cover?
The rising star of audio books
For editors and publishing professionals
Style, grammar, and word choice

(for editors and copyeditors)
Editing and revising fiction
Want to self-publish eBooks? To read up on digital publishing (eBooks and the like), which the purchaser can read on an eReader, see sections on
eBook publishing Publishing and ePublishingeBook Basics and Beyond, Ebook devices and platforms, and E-book rights, developments, conflicts, pricing, and struggles for market.
• Ebook formatting vendors
"Quality is more important than quantity.
One home run is much better than two doubles." ~ Steve Jobs


Processes to understand if you self-publish

This world of "indie publishing" is full of new opportunities, new problems, and lots of effort, so do your homework, see the long-range picture, pay attention to what rights you want or are giving up, and do things right the first time to avoid expensive mistakes! I've created this page of links to save you the time it has taken me to learn what's what! Many of the processes explained on this page also apply in traditional book publishing; they're here because you should understand them if you are self-publishing, or you will make mistakes.

Again: Printing is not publishing. Self-publishing (a.k.a. "self publishing" with no hyphen) is NOT the same as "print-on-demand" (POD) publishing (printing is only one aspect of publishing). It is also not the same as subsidy publishing. It is important to understand the differences between them, even if you have money to burn, because there are issues of control and ownership, as well as economics. Do not, for the sake of temporary convenience, give up rights you may want in the longer term.

Print-on-demand is a digital printing process with which you can print as few books as you want--one at a time (as they are ordered and paid for). A traditional publisher like Random House can use POD technology. So can a self-publisher (someone who publishes independently). They can print one book at a time or a few at a time. But a self-publisher can also use the same offset printers the regular publishers use, if printing in sufficient quantity (typically 500 copies and above). There are pros and cons to POD, but it is rapidly becoming more popular.

Publishing is the broader process that includes printing as well as editing, typesetting, design, production, publicity, marketing, and distribution. A commercial publisher (say, Doubleday) handles all of these steps and publishes the book under its own imprint, "licensing" rights from an author (often through an agent), covering the costs of production, and paying the author a royalty. A subsidy publisher also publishes under its own imprint, but expects the author or organization to cover the costs of production.  (Mind you, sometimes commercial publishers effectively do the same thing, agreeing to publish a book, or a special edition of a book, if the author/organization promises to purchase a sizable number of copies, enough to cover basic costs.) The subsidy publisher owns rights to the book and authors receive royalties, but any author expecting sizable royalties in this set-up is probably delusional. A hybrid publisher would also expect the author to cover many of the costs, but in return the author would get a larger share of income than traditional royalties would provide. 

Self-publishing means paying for all the costs of publication yourself. Organizations often self-publish, typically creating an imprint just for that purpose. The biggest problem with self-publishing (apart from learning how to handle production) is distribution. The big advantage is that you have more control over the whole process, keep more of the revenues from sales, and can get copies of the physical book in your hands fast (as fast as you can handle all the processes yourself). What mades self-publishing more acceptable these days than vanity publishing used to be is partly that the major publishers are not buying as many books (with big advances) as they used to. Instead of spending moderate amounts on lots of authors they are putting big money behind a much smaller group of what they presumably hope will be blockbuster bestsellers. So some authors are deciding they are better off investing in themselves and turning out a book relatively quickly than they are taking a lot of time interesting a traditional publisher and then hoping that that publisher does a good job.

When you self-publish, these are some of the more mechanical but important things you must pay attention to: choosing a good printer, getting an ISBN number from Bowker, getting copyright forms and registering with the Library of Congress (and getting the Cataloging in Publication form from the Library of Congress so you list the right CIP data on the copyright page if you want your book in libraries), getting a bar code for the cover (for scanning price, etc., in bookstores), making sure all the right pages are in the right place and order (copyright page, preface, etc.), arranging for the book's cover design (one of your most important investments), arranging for endorsements and testimonials to go on that cover, developing a marketing plan, arranging for publicity (free coverage as opposed to paid-for advertisements, which are seldom worth the investment), arranging for radio and TV appearances, book signings and other public appearances, making sure you're listed in all the right online places, and so on. (Marketing a book can take almost as much effort as writing it. You're not done when the manuscript is completed! But this is also true when you are published by a regular publisher; you can't expect them to do much for you, and whether they want to publish you will depend partly on how good they think you are at marketing yourself.)

This is a world full of new opportunities, new problems, and lots of effort, so do your homework, see the long-range picture, pay attention to what rights you are giving up, do the work, and don't expect miracles.

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Key self-publishing, marketing, submissions, and support services

(Firms with listings, in alphabetical order)

The Best (and Worst) Self-Publishing Services.Rated by ALLi (Alliance of Independent Writers) Almost indispensable.  Five ratings (Excellent, Recommended, Mixed, Caution, and Watchdog Advisory) are shown by color, so you know which firms to try and which to avoid or be cautious about. See also ALLi's Self-Publishing Services Directory.
The Big, Big List of Indie Publishers and Small Presses (Nonconformist Magazine) 150+ proofs that indie is beautiful.
CLMP's Directory of Publishers (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses) Hundreds of small publishers creating print and digital books, magazines, online publications, chapbooks and zines. Formerly the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
Duotrope Many, many listings and set-ups that save you time submitting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art to publishers and agents. $50 a year.
Funds for Writers (C. Hope Clark's useful site) Info on grants, fellowships, contests, awards, markets, submissions, and newsletters.
Midwest Book Review (listings for a gazillion topics and a super search engine)
New Pages Calls for Submissions for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. News, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more
Poets & Writers A major nonprofit serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Extensive listings for literary agents, grants, awards, writing contests, small presses, literary
Publishers Lunch (free subscription from Publishers Marketplace) is read free by 40,000 industry insiders and considered "publishing's essential daily read.
Publishers Marketplace ($25 monthly, and no long-term commitment). Track deals, sales, reviews, agents, editors, news. This dedicated marketplace for publishing professionals, built on the foundation of the free Publishers Lunch, gives you access to a database of every editor, every agent, every merger, and (almost) every deal that occurs in the mainstream publishing world. Benefits of membership include access to sections on Deals & the Dealmakers; Who Represents (30k authors & their agents); Book Tracker (sales insights); Contacts (Agents, editors, publishers, more); The Automat (24/7 curated publishing news); Member Pages (Establish your presence).
Publishers Lunch Deluxe or Lunch Deluxe Weekly. Full access to searchable multi-year archive of industry news, a nightly email reporting 10 to 50 deal transactions, and database of industry contacts, scripts, and posting privileges.


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Self-Publishing 101: The Basics

Become part of the Creator Economy

"Writing is an art and a calling. Publishing is a business." ~ author Milton Trachtenburg

Scroll down to find explanations of the differences between self-publishing and print on demand and between vanity publishing, subsidy publishing, and self-publishing. Whichever avenue you pursue, you are well advised to have your book professionally edited and to have your book and book cover/jacket professionally designed.


What to know if you are self-publishing a book,

  (by Maggie Lynch)


Which Companies Are Wholesalers?

Ingram is one. They take 15% of retail.

Amazon is another one for those who go to Amazon direct via KDP print, in which case they take 40% of retail.

Gardners in the UK is another one. They distribute to smaller bookstores and to libraries.

These are just the major ones, but there are hundreds of smaller ones as well. Every one of them takes some percentage of retail, usually in the 10-15% range.


What Do Bookstores Actually Get the Book For When They Order from Ingram? Let me share a story of local bookstores in the Portland, Oregon area where I've done a number of events and know the owners.

What the bookstores get depends on where the book originates (Amazon, Ingram, another indie printer such as Lulu, Xlibris, BookBaby, etc.).


---Originates with Amazon and is printed by Ingram

You set discount at 60%, the only option with Amazon POD (print on demand).

Amazon takes 40%,

Ingram takes 15%

Bookstore orders book and has only a 10% discount, not including shipping.

NOTE: Most bookstores won't order from Amazon direct (a rare few do).


---Originates with Ingram Spark

You set discount at 55%, the recommended discount with Ingram POD

Ingram takes 15%

Bookstore orders book and gets a 40% discount.

Most bookstores have an agreement with Ingram to get free shipping if they order 10+ books (not necessarily all the same book).

NOTE: This discount is traditionally what bookstores expect and they have the room to discount the book in the store if they wish and still make a profit. Three small bookstore owners I've spoken with told me they traditionally discount a new release 20% in order to compete with Amazon. That leaves only 20% for them to cover their overhead costs and realize a profit.


---Three Notes on How I Handle Discounting and Pricing for POD

1. I always choose the 55% discount at Ingram Spark for the reasons above. I support small bookstores and libraries and I value what they do to serve the public.


2. I do upload to Amazon direct for print, but I DO NOT select expanded distribution because Ingram is handling that for me. That makes my print book available on all Amazon sites with a 60% royalty to me (minus the cost to print the book). I upload to Ingram for everyone except Amazon. I choose the 55% discount. Ingram makes my book available to wholesalers, retailers, small and large bookstores both online and in person, as well as libraries anywhere in the world they distribute.


3. I price both my Amazon book and my Ingram book exactly the same. If it is $14.99 at Ingram, it is also $14.99 at Amazon. Some people price the Amazon book lower because they are getting a higher royalty and they want to compete with traditional books. IMO this is a mistake because they are, in effect, negating the purchase of the book at any small bookshops and driving traffic to their book on Amazon. You might as well not load to Ingram if that is what you are going to do. I price the same for both. Sure, I make more if someone buys on Amazon than from some other online or local retailer. But I push local bookstores as much as I can because I actually have a higher reach with them.


Bookshop owners have told me how, in the past five years, they've watched a potential customer come in the store, look at the books on the shelf and then immediately call up Amazon to see if they can get it for less. If so, they leave the store and purchase it online. It makes me very sad that some people put no value in the services of their local bookstore.


~Maggie Lynch
Thanks, Maggie!


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*****The Key Book Publishing Paths (Jane Friedman) A brilliantly succinct and complete guide/chart to publishing options, from traditional publishing to self-published (fully assisted or do-it-yourself) to community approaches (e.g., serialization, fan fiction, blogs and websites, crowdfunding).

      In an earlier version, 5 Key Book Publishing Paths, the paths are traditional, partnership, fully assisted, DIY + distributor, and DIY direct. In the one I am looking at now she distinguishes between "Traditional, advance-based" (Big 5 Houses and Other Traditional), "Not advance-based" (Small presses; Assisted & hybrid); and "Indie or Self-Publishing" (Indie/DIY and Social). She writes about each of these categories for each path: Who they are, How the money works, How they sell, Who they work with, Value for author, How to approach, and "What to watch for" (especially helpful). She has small boxes for two special cases that don't fit the other categories: Amazon Publishing (sold mostly on Amazon, as most bookstores refused to carry their titles) and Digital-only or Digital-first (often indistinguishable from self-publishing).
How to Self-Publish a Book (Jane Friedman, This Is Small Business podcast,) Every step you need to take to get your book in front of an audience - learn the process of publishing with Naibe Reynoso, a journalist and the founder of Con Todo Press. And Jane Friedman, a publishing industry expert, shares her secrets to ensuring your book is as discoverable as possible.
Boost Your Book Launch by Perfecting Distribution and Metadata (David Wogahn on Jane Friedman's blog, 5-2-23) Read this!

Distribution: The two big print-on-demand providers—Amazon KDP and IngramSpark—offer printing with distribution as a single offering. Compared to printing books in bulk and having to find a distributor, the process is simple to set up, assuming your book meets POD requirements. But make sure you avoid these three gotchas when using IngramSpark.
1. Do not enable distribution until the files are final. If you’ve uploaded a draft or advance reader copy, and distribution is enabled, that’s the version your buyer may receive.
2. While your book is available for pre-order, don’t make changes to the files close to the release date. This relates to #1.
3. Do allow for listing delays, especially with Amazon. 
Pricing. Price aggressively low from the outset. If you start high and later reduce the price, you may never recapture momentum.
Distribution. Never submit the metadata for your print book until you are 100 percent certain it is final.
1. "List your completely ready, no further changes needed on anything print book for pre-order on IngramSpark at least four weeks (preferably six) before the release date."
2. Assign the ISBN by completing all the required information and clicking the Submit button.
3. Order library cataloging from a service that also submits it to the WorldCat database (“the world’s largest library catalog.”)
The Language of Publishing: An A-to-Z Glossary of Book Publishing Terms (Independent Book Publishers Association). For example:
ARC: Advance reader (or readers or reading) copy, a prepublication version of a book for use by booksellers and reviewers. ARCs may lack images and final copyediting. Today they’re often available in digital form or via print-on-demand."

"Backlist: Older titles. Publishers that issue new titles twice annually may consider spring titles to be backlist when fall titles are issued. Other publishers consider titles frontlist for a year or longer, and some independent publishers prefer to keep all their titles evergreen."
"Bulking: The measurement of paper thickness expressed in terms of how many pages equal one inch, as in “360 ppi” (360 pages per inch). A lower PPI (high-bulk sheets) will create a thicker book; a higher PPI (low-bulk sheets) will create a thinner one. Book manufacturers use the PPI and the cover stock thickness to determine spine width, which determines what size type and image can be used on a book’s spine. Determining the bulk of a book is also done with a bulking dummy, made up of unprinted sheets of the specified paper folded in the signature size and signature number of the job."

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How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design? (Jane Friedman's Q&A with Joel Friedlander, 2-22-21) I quote below Joel's list of the most common mistakes self-published authors make when they design their own book interiors (but do read the whole article!):
---"Not using full justification for their text, so that both the right and left margin square up and create a rectangle on the page
---"Not hyphenating the text [at breaks in words at the end of a line], resulting in gaps and spaces on the page
---"Putting the odd-numbered pages on the left, when they should always be on the right
---"Leaving running heads on display pages like part or chapter openers
---"Margins that are either too small to allow the reader to easily hold the book, or that don’t take the printing and binding of the book into account
---"Publishing a book with no copyright page."
Cognosco Media's great set of links to resources for self-publishing (and publishing), Mark Herschberg has written and assembled a lot of the information you'll need to self-publish.

Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran. Comes highly recommended. (Read the comments)
20BooksTo50K Facebook group Focus: The business of being a self-published author.

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How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know (Jane Friedman, 2-6-17) The "most important thing any author needs to know about distribution is that more than half of all book sales (regardless of format) take place online. Self-published authors have the same access to online retail distribution as the major publishers. This access is also largely without upfront costs..." Essential reading for self-publishers.
Just Do It (Yourself): A History of Self-Publishing (Alan Scherstuhl, Publishers Weekly, 4-19-22--highlights here, but read the story for examples of self-publishing success) The history of self-publishing is a history of access. Who has the opportunity, skills, and resources to write, design, lay out, print, and distribute a book? And who has the means to alert an audience that a book exists, or the business savvy to make it profitable? Dan Poynter’s Parachute Press had over a million copies of its 12 titles in print in 1979. The secret to his success was hustle, a sure sense of his market and technology: desktop computers with word processing and layout software. Poynter and other ’70s self-publishers solved the problem of reaching potential audiences by targeting hobby shops, conventions, and publications around the country, often bypassing bookstores altogether.

      Upstart self-publishing print-on-demand businesses like Xlibris and AuthorHouse (both founded in 1997) and iUniverse (founded in 1999) weren’t in the business of selling books; instead, they sold publishing, offering authors an easy way to get a book (technically) into print. Selling the book was up to the authors.

      Amazon (which sells lots of books) launched its first Kindle in 2007, started with a somewhat traditional print-on-demand service through its CreateSpace e-store, offering authors print copies through its Books on Demand service, marketing and design help from its BookSurge service, and a promise to take only 30% commission on net receipts. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allowed authors to upload e-books into the Amazon ecosystem to be purchased for Kindle devices (and Kindle apps). E-books in general (and KDP in particular) liberated authors from the expense of printing, upending a self-publishing business model that had only been around since the late ‘90s. KDP didn’t sell authors the opportunity to have a book in print; instead, it takes a cut when an author’s e-book is actually purchased.

      The number of self-published books published in the U.S. had risen by 287% since 2006, Bowker reported in late 2012. New self-publishing companies and platforms dominated: Lulu debuted in 2002, followed by Scribd, Authors Solutions, Amazon’s KDP, Smashwords, Ingram and Lightning Source’s IngramSpark, which formed its current iteration in 2013, and the now-defunct Apple Books.

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Beyond the Bookshop - the Creator Economy for Authors Michael Anderlé, Joanna Penn and Orna Ross explain the creator economy for authors, outline the opportunities it presents, and show how authors and poets can set themselves up for success beyond the bookshop. Instead of relying on a third-party retailer, you can sell your books yourself through your website directly to readers. For example, Joanna Penn’s latest release, How to Write a Novel, is only available for purchase through her website as the book is first published. The advantages of direct sales: You own the customer data.You own the retail interface. You own the tracking.
7 Common Questions About Self-Publishing on Amazon (Matthew McCreary, Entrepreneur, 10-31-19) Does self-publishing on Amazon mean I can only make digital copies? How much does it cost? What is my cut of the profits? Do I need to know coding to produce an eBook? Will Amazon help me promote the book? Should I self-publish my book on Amazon?
---Self-publish eBooks and paperbacks for free with Kindle Direct Publishing, and reach millions of readers on Amazon. Amazon’s KDP platform is the place to publish your new paperback books, not Createspace (the company merged with KDP in 2018).
Rick Monro's disappearing ebooks (Mastodon, via Jane Friedman, 2-15-23) Monro shares "his long, frustrating process of trying to regain access to dozens of Kinde ebooks he purchased as far back as 2013. He only discovered recently that he was unable to access these older purchases, and he was told his orders were “too old”—that he would need to purchase again and request a refund for the older purchases. Whether this is an anomaly is hard to say (this reader can still access Kindle ebooks purchased as far back as 2009), but it demonstrates a key problem in buying ebooks that you don’t really own: they can be taken away at any time." H/T Jane Friedman
How to Self Publish a Hardcover Book on Amazon (Jason Hamilton, Kindlepreneur, 10-6-21) Why to consider publishing a hardcover book, which platform to use (IngramSpark, Lulu, or KDP Print), and step-by-step instructions for KDP Print).
Turn your book into an audiobook (ACX) sold through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. When using ACX, Amazon’s recommended audiobook production website, you will not be able to sell or create other versions of the book elsewhere.

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Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi, Alliance of Independent Authors) See also Choosing A Self-Publishing Service. The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Guide. ALLi's Watchdog Desk maintains this extremely useful multi-page list of ratings. (Report your good and bad experiences to them. Not entirely up-to-date.)

• ALLi also offers a free three-day pass to its online conference: SelfPubCon, The Self-Publishing Advice Conference.
• See also attorney-author Helen Sedwick's Welcome to the Hotel Author Solutions, explaining how and why to read the fine print before hitting "accept' on any publishers or publishing service contract. Sedwick also advises on contract basics for hiring freelancers (e.g., an editor, book-cover designer, interior designer, photographer, illustrator, audio book narrator) in your self-publishing ventures.

                                     Use a professional book designer!
20booksto50k Facebook group This group for 50k+ authors that mostly self-publish is a great source of information. It also had a helpful online conference.
Self-Publishing Resources (Authors Guild series)
Calculating shipping costs for a book (Ingram Spark)
How much does it cost to self-publish a book (Joanna Penn, Creative Penn) Penn also wrote Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book, which has a lot of happy customers.
The Cost of Self-Publishing (Reedsy, 7-27-18) How much does it cost to professionally edit and design a book? The average cost of developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design and typesetting for an 80,000-word book of various types. How much does cover design cost? What is the cost of book formatting? Also read the comments.
Self-Publishing Essentials: IngramSpark Academy Free Ingram/Spark class on preparing a book for self-publishing. A 45-minute course that you can start anytime.

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Top 10 Self-Publishing Companies: A 2018 Guide for First-Time Authors (editage) An excellent overview, with some good publishing tips.
• Self-publishing platforms include Amazon's Kindle Direct*** and IngramSpark, in particular, the latter especially good for print books. Others (especially good for ebooks) include BookBaby, Draft2Digital, Smashwords. Publishing with them is not like publishing with a regular publishing house like Random House, which would tell you if your manuscript is not yet in the best possible shape. Don't count on yourself to be the best judge of that: You are not your own best critic. Get a pro or a lot of smart readers to take a look at it and suggest where it might need work
Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book (Jane Friedman) An introductory guide on how to self-publish and choose the right services or approach based on your needs and budget (updated regularly). A quick history of self-publishing; the most common ways to S-P today; the DIY approach she recommends; how ebook SP services work; creating ebook files; how to SP a print book; investing in a print run: yes or no? POD recommendations; maximizing yr book sales.
The Book Publishing Service Landscape (Authors Guild) Am excellent overview, especially for the novice at self-publishing, with frank descriptions of specific services (Google Play, Author Solutions, Lulu, Argo Navis)
One big change in book publishing is that it does not require you to have much of an organization to play anymore (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 9-30-19) "What publishers do, over and over again, is the business of “content” and “markets.” Each book is unique content and is individually delivered to its own unique market. So publishers need to stick to content and markets that they understand in a contextual way. That is usually done by sticking to genres in fiction and topics or “audiences” for non-fiction. But people who live in any of many non-fiction “worlds” could well be as well-equipped as any publisher to grasp the content-and-market equations in those environments."

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Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: What You Need To Know (Valerie Peterson, The Balance, 4-24-17) Frank facts and advice from book marketing expert Bridget Marmion (who I remember from my days in book publishing). An excellent explanation of authors' rights under the two entirely different forms of book publishing.
The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing (both print and ebooks). For members only.
Why Self-Publishing Authors Should Consider Establishing Their Own Imprint (David Wogahn (@wogahn) on Jane Friedman's blog, 7-22-19) Imprints aren't just for big publishers; any self-publishing author can invent an imprint under which to operate. Consultant David Wogahn explains the many ways an imprint can help your branding and marketing. One of your earliest decisions will be to choose a name under which to buy an ISBN, short for International Standard Book Number, a unique number assigned to every published book. Understand the implications of that name choice and other decisions to make early in the game. By the author of Register Your Book: The Essential Guide to ISBNs, Barcodes, Copyright, and LCCNs Read the comments, which get into the practical nitty-gritty!
How Authors Budget for Their Books (Net Galley Insights, 7-10-19) Results from a NetGalley & Independent Book Publishers Association joint survey. "These authors understand that they need to invest in their book, and that the biggest and most valuable expenses will be editing, design, and advertising & marketing in order to give their books the most professional launch possible." How they allocate costs depends on how much they can afford to spend (various budgets shown). Further resources include Net Galley author tips/ and Net Galley case studies.
The 13 Most Common Self-Publishing Mistakes to Avoid (Lauren Bailey, on Jane Friedman's blog, 7-31-18) Essential, excellent advice, with lots of useful links as well.
The Big, Big List of Indie Publishers and Small Presses (The Nonconformist Magazine, Medium, 9-14-19)
Print-On-Demand vs Offset Printing: Which Wins? (Jessica Ruscello, Reedsy) A little oversimplified, but you can get the basic idea.

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Why I won’t buy your self-published book (Sandra Beckwith, Building Book Buzz, 5-1-19) You must read this, and avoid obvious mistakes.
Why Should I Discount My Book? (IngramSpark, 2-21-19) "After you've spent the time and money to edit, design, and market your book, the thought of selling it at a discounted price may seem counterintuitive. However, offering a discount is an excellent way to expand your reach in the book distribution channels. Discounting your book can help get it picked up by retailers. Here's how."
What discounts to offer for self-published POD books (by Maggie Lynch) And how to work with wholesalers.
Understanding Book Returns with IngramSpark (IngramSpark, 1-29-19) Making your book returnable.
Self-Publishing & Vanity Publishing: Confuse Them and Pay the Price (Dave Bricker, WGB, 2-4-13). An excellent analysis of the difference (to authors) between subsidy publishing ("vanity presses"), traditional publishing, POD (print-on-demand, which is a way of delivering the book available to both traditional and self-publishers), and true self-publishing. See also Reality Checklist for Self-Publishers (by all means read this straight-talking advice from Dave Bricker, 1-23-13, author of The One Hour Guide to Self-Publishing: Straight Talk For Fiction & Nonfiction Writers About Producing & Marketing Your Own Books
The Independent Publishing Magazine Editor Mick Rooney provides comprehensive reviews of service providers, including a ranked index of service providers.

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Richard Nash on the Democratization of Publishing (Chip Rossetti, Publishing Perspectives, 5-20-15) "Booksellers were the first retailers — in the sense that items on the shelves were available to be browsed, rather than something you had to go in and ask for... One of the key attributes of the new world of publishing will be a network rather than a supply chain, and as the marginal costs of reproduction drops to zero, “that means a massive democratization in publishing.” In Nash’s view, the PDF revolution is often not given enough credit for its impact on how we reproduce and disseminate books:...“With desktop publishing, publishing became something you do with the touch of a finger.”...“publishing is shifting back to a pre-modern — or, really, a postindustrial — state. It’s a model where anyone can create" and "The emotional connection between an experience and a consumer gains in importance..."
How Traditionally Published Authors Can Repackage and Self-Publish Their Backlist (Jess Lourey, on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-2-18) "When my publisher offered me a contract for the eleventh book in the series, I took a cut in my normal advance in exchange for updating the rights reversion language in my older contracts. Happily, my publisher agreed. The new language gave me back my rights after the books sold fewer than 300 copies a period over two sales periods (a year total)."
How Self-Publishing Made Today’s Small Independent Presses Possible (Emmanuel Nataf, Electric Lit, 4-5-18) "Self-publishing brought the ability to print, market, and sell books to the masses.... Between February 2014 and May 2016, the percentage of eBook sales attributed to the Big Five publishers fell from just under 40% to below 25% In that same window of time, indie publishers went from producing under 25% of eBook sales to being responsible for just below 45%....To understand all of this, you need to know what makes modern self-publishing different than the self-publishing of 10 years ago."
Why Self-Published Books Look Self-Published (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 8-15-12)
Why Some Indie Authors Fail (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 2-11-13) "Some indie authors fail because they do not provide a means to notify readers of future writing; some because they disrespect the language of writing; some because they view their editor as their enemy and not their friend. Each of these failing ways is correctable; it just takes effort and determination."
The Self-Publisher's Quick and Easy Guides (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer) Brief guides on copyright, print on demand, distribution and discounts ISBNs and barcodes, article marketing for authors. And step-by-step upload guides for Create Space IngramSpark, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), and Amazon Author Central.

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Working with Offset Printers (book designer Robin Brooks)
Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors (explore this site--for a wealth of advice)
Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Essentials of self-publishing (passages from and links to four enlightening pieces on self-publishing in a special issue of Pasamiento, the literary magazine of the Santa Fe New Mexican)
Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published (Jane Friedman, 1-28-12) A great overview, to bring reality to your fantasies. And if that is not enough, buy her book: Publishing 101: A First-Time Author's Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career
Publishing Basics (Ron Pramschufer, Self-Publishing, free download). Tons more practical information here. Get instant quotes for different page counts and trim sizes, and sign up for his newsletter. Or hear all your questions answered on video: Publishing Basics: Navigating the Self-Publishing Minefield (Ron Pramschufer).
Self-Publishing. Ron Pramschufer's site, helping authors become publishers -- get a copy of free e-book Publishing Basics). Scroll to bottom for links to specific categories.
Frequently Asked Questions About Children's Books (Ron Pramschufer) Excellent explanations.
How much does it cost to publish an illustrated children's book? (Ron Pramschufer explains the process)
How to Self-Publish in France (Laure Valentin, Jane Friedman's site, 11-17-17)

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Self-Publishing, Author Services Open Floodgates for Writers (Carla King, PBS MediaShift, 3-1-10). A group of 12 adventure travel authors pitch in $500 apiece, self-publish an anthology, earn back their investment--then go with a traditional publisher for future printings (so far, no royalties). Self-publishing authors often use Lulu and CreateSpace to experiment and check out formats, but go to Lightning Source when they "step up to the big leagues." Other pieces in this excellent PBS MediaShift series:
---The Pitfalls of Using Self-Publishing Book Packagers (Carla King, 3-25-10)
---How to Pair Smashwords and Scribd for Ideal E-Book Strategy (Carla King, BookShift, 5-3-10)
---Want Your Self-Published Book in Stores? Weigh the Options (Carla King, 6-10-10)
---2010: The Year Self-Publishing Lost Its Stigma (Carla King, 12-29-10)
---The Advantages of Middleman Services for Self-Published e-Books (Carla King, 3-18-11)
---The Easiest, Cheapest, Fastest Way to Self-Publish Your Book (Carla King on using Smashwords to create your own eBook and CreateSpace to self-publish your own print book, 4-7-11).
How to Self-Publish Your Book: A practical guide to creating and distributing your e-book or print book by Carla King.
Everything I did wrong — Self-Publishing (Erica Verrillo, The Writing Cooperative,4-19-18)

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• In 2010, the Commonwealth Club of California in 2010 hosted Self-Publishing: Tutorials from the Trenches (program 1). You can listen to a podcast online (click on "play now").
---1. Options, Directions and Resources. (Lisa Alpine, Peter Beren, Carla King, and Paula Hendricks) The audio is a little weak on this one.
---2. The Nuts and Bolts of Making Books. (Joel Friedlander, Lee Foster, V. Vale, Paula Hendricks)
---3. Book Sales and Marketing. (Scott James, Elizabeth Block, Teresa LeYung Ryan, and Paula Hendricks)
(Click on"play now" to listen online; right click and save the mp3 file to your computer; or go to Joel Friedlander's site both to listen and to see the names and affiliations of those speaking.
Book Construction Blueprint (Book Design Templates from Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com)
Caveat Venditor—Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors (Kristen Lamb) Mistake 1 is important but Mistake 5 is too: "Even in traditional publishing, it usually takes about three books to gain traction. In traditional publishing, this takes three years because we are dealing with a publisher’s schedule. In self-publishing, we can make our own schedule, but it still takes THREE BOOKS MINIMUM." (She's talking mostly about novels.)
Book1Blog. Various experts on book self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) technology. See for example, its 21 point self-publishing checklist. Start with that and add more as you learn more.
Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro

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Ethical Author Code (Alliance of Independent Authors, or ALLi) Guiding principle: Putting the reader first
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, E-Books, and Marketing by Mark Levine (5th edition). I bought an early edition to learn which POD publishers were good and which not so hot. It has expanded since then to cover more bases.
The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book (Miral Sattar, Media Shift, 5-15-13). Factor in developmental editing, copyediting, cover design, formatting for print and digital converstion, getting an ISBN, distribution, getting your book printed, getting pre-publication reviews, marketing and PR. She gives estimated costs (a range) for each. Follow Miral and her firm Bibliocrunch and more broadly #indiechat on Twitter.
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch (Kindle edition). Also in paperback."APE is easily the most comprehensive, best organized, nuts-and-bolts-useful work on self-publishing I've seen to date. I think Guy has written the bible on self-publishing, and I expect it will be recognized--and widely used--as such." ~Barry Eisler
The True Costs of Self-Publishing (The Cadence Group) and When Self-Publishing Makes Sense. Not everyone agrees with this advice about the book cover. Many believe the cover is the main sales device.
What Every Self-Published Author Needs to Know About Taxes (California attorney Helen Sedwick's very practical guest post on Jane Friedman's site, 6-18-14). Sedwick is author of Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing
Graphic Tools for Indie Authors (Brad Forseng, in a series about graphics tools that can be used to promote novels, blogs, social media campaigns, and more)

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My Advice to Aspiring Authors (Hugh C. Howie, The Wayfinder, 3-14-13). Howie speaks from experience as a self-published bestselling author. One of his main points (of many) in this piece is that with traditional publishing your book may sit in a bookstore for six months and go out of print if it doesn't take off immediately (except for print-on-demand--another issue!). "That’s a narrow window in which to be discovered. If you self-publish, you will have the rest of your life (and your heirs’ lives) to make it. Your print-on-demand books will always be available. Your e-books will always be available. You can keep writing and promote later. You are building your backlist. Think about this for a moment: The self-pubbing revolution is in its infancy. The people writing and publishing today have had no time to be discovered." With a traditional publisher you earn 12.5% royalties, at best. Self-publish an e-book and you get 70%. "Remember, the chances are that you’ll never have a mega-hit. Traditional publishing will not increase those odds. With the 6-month window, I’d say the odds are 1/100th what your work might do in 50 years self-published."
When an author should self-publish and how that might change (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 4-17-14). Mike writes from the industry viewpoint. See also Comparing self-publishing to being published is tricky and most of the data you need to do it right is not available (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 2-13-14)
• Debra W. Englander has put together some Savvy Self-Publisher pieces on Poets & Writers, including Jonathan R. Miller’s The Two Levels (8-17-16), in which Miller writes about his novel and on page 2 consultant P.J. Campbell says what she thinks Miller needs to do to advance his career. In Vinnie Mirchandani's The Last Polymath, a self-published author (the president of a technology advisory firm) tries to answer the question Can the publishing industry’s traditional business model compete with today’s marketplace? Literary agent Cynthia Zigmund and publicist Rob Nissen weigh in.
Interviews on Self-Publishing (Writer&Artists site). Some of these many interviews with (mostly genre fiction) writers are full of practical tips and insights.
Print-on-Demand Self-Publishing Resources (excellent frank overview by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, including pros and cons of POD service, and links to good blogs about POD self-publishing, etc.)
Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (David Carnoy, CNET Reviews 7-27-10)
11 Signs You’re Ready to Self-Publish (Kim Catanzarite on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-2-21) 1. The agents, by and large, are not responding with feedback or questions. 2. You’ve taken your manuscript through the whole nine yards of the editing process 10. You're a self-starter.
Publishing Resources for Editors & Book Shepherds (PDF, annotated and compiled by Bonnie Britt for the Bay Area Editors' Forum, 11-15-11)
Getting Ready to Publish (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, with links to a LOT of good basic explanations for anyone just thinking of trying to self-publish -- or become a self-publisher)

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How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (an ebook by literary agent Rachelle Gardner)
Guide to Self-Publishing (free download from the excellent FriesenPress, which has published a couple of the books I've worked on--beautifully)
Vanity Publishing or Self-Publishing, a good chart showing the basic differences between them (Self-Publishing, a very helpful illustration of why not to go with a vanity press--and how to spot one.
Great reasons to self-publish: 7 case histories (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal, 10-8-12)
New Publisher Authors Trust: Themselves (Leslie Kaufman, NY Times, 4-16-13). Taking advantage of a new service offered by his literary agency, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet will self-publish his next book. Publishers don't deliver the marketing they promise, but money is also an issue. "While self-published authors get no advance, they typically receive 70 percent of sales. A standard contract with a traditional house gives an author an advance, and only pays royalties — the standard is 25 percent of digital sales and 7 to 12 percent of the list price for bound books — after the advance is earned back in sales."
Lazy Literary Agents In Self-Publishing Money Grab via Argo Navis (David Gaughran, Let's Get Digital, 4-22-13). As Paul Lima sums up so nicely. Agents, as middlemen, re-insert themselves into the world of self-publishing, adding little but taking a cut and creating opportunities for other middlemen. Read the comments, too.
Who gets the ISBN for your self-published book and why? (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog, 7-16-13) "The ISBN is a product identifier, which helps booksellers (in stores or online) identify the product they want to order or sell, and also identifies the publisher of record. "
Advice for Authors, 1 (Seth Godin, July 2005). Samples: "Please understand that book publishing is an organized hobby, not a business." "Publishing is like venture capital, not like printing." "There is no such thing as effective book promotion by a book publisher." And Advice for Authors, 2 (Seth Godin, August 2006). Example: "Understand that a non-fiction book is a souvenir, just a vessel for the ideas themselves."
Find a Literary Agent or Self Publish: How to Decide (Fern Reiss, PublishingGame.com)
The Advantages of Print-on-Demand Book Printing (Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, 3-29-10)
Decisions, Decisions: Three Different Paths to Publication by Alethea Black, Céline Keating, Michelle Toth (The Practical Writer, Poets & Writers, 5-03-11). Alethea’s agent sold her collection of short stories to a commercial publisher, Céline signed a contract for a novel with an independent press, and Michelle launched her own press to self-publish her novel. They compare notes.

Dick Margulis's series on self-publishing (words/myth/ampers & virgul3). Dick helps produce other people's books, and, in the guise of a curmudgeon, writes helpful advice too:
~Do it yourself? Not so much. On not doing it all yourself."... it is the quality of the finished product, together with the energy and skill used to market it, that determines its ultimate success. Can you execute all the steps yourself, well enough to turn out a good book?"
~Gardening, garage software, and garage books , built around this metaphor: "The capacity of a barrel is defined by the height of its shortest stave."
~Rolling your own
~There's no crying in baseball on the difference between authors and writers.

The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use by April Hamilton.
The Ins and Outs of an Author/Publisher: One Writer’s Experience (Diane Kessler, Acts of Revision, 6-11-21) How she did it, coached by Leah Abrahams of MixedMediaMemoirs.com.
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA, formerly PMA). I belong so I can read the articles, and for other benefits. Worth joining if you're seriously trying to publish your own books.
Go Publish Yourself (another good guide to the basics)
Self-Publishing Review (SPR) (a central site devoted to self-publishing news and reviews)

The Business End of (Self-)Publishing FAQ, Creative Minds Press for SPANnet.org). How do I decide on a book price? and other essential questions
Where Publishing Gets Practical (Aeonix Publishing Group's practical articles)
Publishing Poynter archives (Dan Poynter's newsletter)
Eight Reasons Why Self-Publishers Fail (And How to Easily Avoid Them!) Peter Bowerman, Publishing Basics
Ten Home Truths About Starting In Self-publishing (Patty Jansen on SF Writing, Must Use Bigger Elephants, 1-19-12)
Frequently asked questions about self-publishing (answered by Ron Pramschufer)
Frequently asked questions about book printing (Gorham Printing)

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Independent Publisher "The Voice of the Independent Publishing Industry" (many helpful articles)
10 Things I Learned Self-Publishing My First Book (JoAnn Collins, Publishing Basics 2-13-12)
Self-Publishing: Tips, Tricks & Techniques (James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review)
The Creative Penn (an excellent blog on writing, self-publishing, print-on-demand, Internet sales and marketing for your book)
Why to Publish a Large Print Edition of Your Book, Plus Tips On How To Do It (Joanna Penn)
Digital Printing: What It Is, What It's For, and Why It Isn't Just "POD" (by Robert Goodman, Independent Book Publishers Association--for members only and it's probably worth subscribing, if you're investing $$ in self-publishing)
Common Typographical Errors (Aeonix's signs of a nonprofessional product)
How to Be Happily Published (or Self-Published) (Judith Applebaum, Sensible Solutions)
iPad Could Help Self-Publishers Kick Open Doors (Laura Sydell, NPR Weekend Edition, 4-3-10)
Self-Publishing Resources (Marilyn Ross)
Dan Poynter's ParaPublishing tips on publishing (clock on the links for more info -- by the author of Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Volume 1) and the sequel, same name, Volume 2 (how to use new techniques to write your book even faster, use new technology to publish it for less, and how to use social media for promotion).
To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish (Mick Rooney's Dublin-based site, good for researching various POD printers and "publishers"). Also available as a book. Rooney periodically publishes a publishing services index, rating available self-publishing and POD services.
The Profitable Publisher (Marion Gropen's blog for independent publishers, including self-publishers and micro-publishers)
Reference Desk for Publishers, on site of The Profitable Publisher (Marion Gropen's blog for independent publishing community)
Print on demand: Self-publishing getting started primer (Paul Lima, The Six-Figure Freelancer 4-20-09)
Should I Start My Own Publishing Company? (Jillian Bergsma Manning, Independent Publisher)

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How to Create, Register and List Your New Publishing Company (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 12-28-09)
Secrets of successful book covers and titles (filed under Marketing, publicity, and promotion)
Clearing permissions (principles as well as permissions and release forms)
Writing the Book on Self-Help: A Publisher's Cautionary Tale (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, NY Times 11-13-07)
So You're Writing a Book, Eh? (Larry James's useful page of tips on where to get things done, such as finding a bar code)
Self Publishing a Co-Authored Book: What You Need to Know (Heidi Thorne, Tough Nickel, 9-1-20) Who's the boss? How self-publishing can go awry, how to handle money (and money problems), etc. She's written many more articles about self-publishing
The Money Question: How do Self-Published Co-authors Split Royalties? (Jacquelyn Lynn, Publishing Well, 11-19-20) Draft2Digital now offers payment splitting
Self-Publishing in the United States, 2011-2016: Print vs. Ebook) (Bowker, 2017) A year-by-year comparison of the number of titles registered in the Bowker Books in Print database.
Book Awards for Self-Published Authors (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer)
What’s the Worst Mistake an Author Can Make? (Helen Sedwick) It’s losing his or her copyright....Yet everyday, authors click ACCEPT to contracts with so-called self-publishing service companies which engage in THEFT BY CONTRACT.... CreateSpace’s Services Agreement and Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions are so tangled with therein’s and subject to’s that I have to draw arrows in the margins to connect the dots. And some companies have contracts which are virtually licenses to steal." Sedwick's advice is good enough it might be worth getting her Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook


Ebook formatting
Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing

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Pros and cons of self-publishing
(Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing)

"You shouldn't expect to make any money as an author. It's pretty rare."
~ Authors Publish

Traditional vs Self-Publishing, How Much Money Can You Really Make? (Federico Pistono, Medium, 1-28-17) Pros, cons, and lessons learned from someone who experienced quick success and then a slowdown. Some realistic looks at numbers.
Self-publishing vs. Traditional: Some Straight Talk (Natalie Whipple on Nathan Bransford blog, 4-15-14)
Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing: Pros and Cons (Reedsy, 5-16-22) Which kind of publishing is right for you:
---Benefits of self-publishing: You bypass industry gatekeepers, shorten the publishing timeline, keep more of the royalties, hold on to your rights, and maintain complete creative control.
---Benefits of traditional publishing: You’re off the hook, financially, you get greater mainstream exposure, and you have access to prestigious awards
Passing judgment on other people's creative work (An American Editor, 3-9-22) Fiction editor Carolyn Haley was asked to judge independently published novels (self-published fiction) for a writing contest and was shocked at the poor quality of production on almost all of the books she was asked to judge. Writing about the experience, and The importance of interior design, she wrote: "I hadn’t thought much about typography and margins and such before this contest, but after seeing so many bad layouts, I came to understand why interior design matters. Some books are physically hard to read. Skinny gutters in fat paperbacks motivate you to break the spine because the book is springing back at you all the time and curving the lines into the crease. Bad vertical spacing and long line length can lead to pages so densely packed you keep losing your place as you read. Small type size requires magnifying lenses even for people under 40. And relying on the automatic spacing of a word processing program can lead to gappy, hard-to-read text that a professional typographer would never let out the door."

     Haley "could almost calculate each author's budget by where the money obviously did or did not go. Likewise, the authors' knowledge of the publishing process (or lack thereof) was transparent. The winner in my category was evident the moment I pulled it from the box. Everything about the book was outstanding — writing, editing, cover, blurb, binding, interior all reflected author payment for professional services. No other entrant came close. Some made me cringe in embarrassment for the author because the books were so poorly done."
Traditional Versus Self-Publishing: What’s Best for Your Book? (Barbara Goodheart and Clyde Goodheart, AMWA Journal, 2019) "The traditional route can be frustrating: being bogged down, querying agents and publishers, drafting a lengthy book proposal, writing sample chapters, revising, and waiting, rewriting, and waiting again.
How to Go From Traditional to Self-Published: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Message (Susan Friedmann interviews Helene Osborne on Book Marketing Mentors, BM135) A frank and interesting discussion of the limits of both traditional publishing and some self-publishing services. Helen is founder of the worldwide initiative Health Literacy Month; producer and host of the podcast interview series Health Literacy Out Loud ; and author of several books, including Health Literacy from A to A; Practical Ways to Communicate Your Message
Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish? (Jane Friedman, 6-21-16) She asks several questions to ask yourself. Do your expectations reflect reality? Do you expect or want to see your book stocked in bookstores across the country? Do you want the validation, guidance, and support of a publisher? Do you want to hit the New York Times bestseller list or get major media attention? Does your book appeal to a specific audience that you can (or already) reach on your own? What are the qualities of the audience or the market you are targeting? How much of an entrepreneur are you? "If you know your target market, and have a clear set of goals for your book, you should be able to figure out the right publishing strategy for you."
Six Takeaways from the Authors Guild 2018 Author Income Survey (AG, 1-5-19) "Note that the median 2017 author-related income of $10,050 for self-published romance and romantic suspense writers is almost five times higher than the $1,900 median author-related income for the next highest-earning self-published genre category of mysteries and thrillers. Moreover, the median author-related income for self-published romance and romantic suspense writers was only $50 more in 2017 than in 2013, which may indicate that self-published romance writers as a group have reached a plateau for earnings under current business models."
Why Authors Are Earning Less Even As Book Sales Rise (Adam Rowe, Forbes, 8-11-18) "Overall, revenues appear to be holding steady, as traditional publishers double down on the latest trend or format (which are political tell-alls and digital audiobooks, respectively, if anyone's wondering)....In the famously murky world of book statistics, there's little data available on self-published authors and their sales. As much as 80% of online dollars spent on ebooks likely go to Amazon, by one data watchdog's 2017 report. A small group of self-published Amazon authors are doing quite well and going uncounted. Over a thousand indie Amazon authors earned more than $100,000 in royalties in 2017, and over 2,000 earned $50,000 that year....But thanks to the effects of price points set by the largest publishers in response to Amazon, industry corner-cutting, and book piracy, those authors behind the stories that power the publishing industry are earning increasingly less for their efforts.
Traditional publishing or self-publishing? (Sandra Beckwith, Building Book Buzz, 9-5-18) Let's get real.
Key Publishing Paths infographic (Jane Friedman's invaluable information-packed explanation of traditional publishing (the big five, mid-size and large publishers, small presses) and alternatives to traditional publishing (self-publishing and assisted publishing, and social). Social includes serialization, fan fiction, social media and blogs to share work and establish a readership.
Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing (Jeffrey R. Orenstein, Book Marketing Tools)
How to Get Published (Jane Friedman)
How to Self-Publish Your Book (Jane Friedman)
On self-publishing fiction:  "You'd think that with the growing popularity of indie publishing, agents would be more eager to get queries but like publishers, they're having trouble with the new realities of publishing. The truth is, when writers can hire a developmental editor, a proofreader, a cover artist and a formatter, upload their own digital books and get their own trade paperbacks printed and sold in bookstores and sold to libraries, agents are losing their gate-keeping powers. Not every indie pubbed book will be a best-seller, but not every traditionally pubbed book will be, either. The major difference is that an indie pubbed author has the ability to pull down a book, fix what isn't working, from cover art to sloppy proof-reading to plot holes, and re-publish it. A traditionally published author whose book doesn't do well will just not get a new contract, even in the middle of a series, and even if the poor performance of the book is the fault of the publisher." ~ novelist Kate Freiman
I didn't want to resort to self-publishing, but it's an exhilarating change (Louise Walters, The Guardian 2-22-16) "My debut novel did very well with conventional publishers, but they weren’t interested in the ‘difficult second’ – so I’m going it alone."
• "Self-publishing as a universe is heavily larded with people who have been conned by fake (subsidy) publishers into believing what the con artists told them: of course you can make bookstores take your books, of course you can get reviews, of course you can get signings; of course you can sell a million copies.
"Real publishers are leery of these deluded souls. Bookstores frankly hate them. Readers don’t know they exist."
~ Jennifer Stevenson, in an interesting discussion, To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish on Christina Baker Kline's blog, A Writing Year

For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way (Ros Barber, The guardian, 3-21-16) "Life as a professional writer is financially depressing, and I’ve often been advised to self-publish. Here’s why I won’t do it"
Self-published archaeological thriller takes £20,000 Amazon award (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 7-28-17) The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater is inaugural winner of online retailer’s DIY publishing prize (criticized by some readers on Amazon for poor editing)
The Self-Published Authors Standing On Your Lawn (Gene Doucette, Huff Post, 8-7-15) Why we should break away from misconceptions about self-published authors--and stop comparing the best examples from one category to the worst from the other. "Big publishing can produce pure dreck, and high-quality novels can spring from self-publishing. For some reason we aren't comparing quality-to-quality and dreck-to-dreck." Excellent discussion of issues.
Publishing Options: How to Choose the Best Method for Publishing Your Book (PDF, Michael J. Dowling with Carol White). Excellent white paper on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing, self-publishing, and subsidy publishing (where you pay someone lots of money to handle everything for you, in return for which they charge you far more than the cost of printing to buy your own books).
Publishing Matrix (PDF, CityLit, 2007) Excellent chart frankly outlining differences between subsidy publishing, self-publishing, indie press, and large publishing house -- in terms of business model, target audience, editing and design, chain store?, money coming in or going out, publicity and promotion.
Self-publishing vs publishing with a traditional print publisher (CalistaBrill, First Second Books, 4-9-12)
Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing: How to choose? (Siobhan Morrissey, Miami Herald, 11-16-140)
Are There 5 Reasons to Stick With Major Publishers? No, There Are Zero Reasons (Michael Levin, Huff Post 7-10-14). Read all the way to the bottom and the five main reasons more authors are turning to self-publishing.
Agent-Assisted Self-Publishing and the Amazon White Glove Program (Melissa Foster, on Jane Friedman's site, 3-26-13). This should persuade you that this is a bad idea.
Comparing self-publishing to being published is tricky and most of the data you need to do it right is not available (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 2-13-14)

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What you need to know about wholesalers and distributors

What you need to know about wholesalers and distributors

Marketing and selling your self-published book

aka Marketing for indie authors

See also Book marketing and promotion


If you self-publish, or even if you buy copies of your traditionally published book in bulk at a 50% author's discount, if a distributor or publisher doesn't offer bookstores a deep enough discount, some authors ask the bookstore what price they would buy the book at, and sell them the book from their own supply. They earn more that way than they would from royalties alone (though the sale will not count toward copies sold by the publisher). One self-published author recommends carrying books in a plastic bin in your trunk rather than a box, as trunks leak--and buying a folding wheelie cart on which to schlepp them into events at which you are speaking and selling your book.
Selling Your (Self-Published) Book (Marybeth Lagerborg, Retelling blog). Based on her experience selling her self-published historical novel: "Here is how the sales venues rank for the author: You make the most per book by selling them out of the boxes in your garage, or in the back of the room at events. Next best are sales from independent bookstores. Bookstores keep roughly 40 percent of the retail price, but it is great to support independents, and for them to stock your book and support you.

     "Least best for the author, although necessary, is selling through Amazon. Amazon often sells the book at discount, keeps a high percentage from the sale, and requires the author to ship the books to them, which they in turn ship to the customer. Amazon recoups their shipping cost, but the author doesn’t. An author can actually lose money if shipping orders to Amazon in onesy twosies. The greater the quantity of Amazon orders that the author receives at once, the lower the shipping cost per book and the more the author will make. Still, the convenience of having one’s book available for order on Amazon is crucial for out-of-area sales. And Amazon is critical for offering a Kindle version. Creation of an e-book version is a service that Retelling provides."
The Nasty Logistics of Returning Your Too-Small Pants (Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 10-7-21) What happens to the stuff you order online after you send it back? We can dispense now with a common myth of modern shopping: The stuff you return probably isn’t restocked and sent back out to another hopeful owner. Even some of the biggest retailers in the world now see rampant returns as an existential threat.
Where Amazon Returns Go to Be Resold by Hustlers (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 1-23-19) Welcome to the abyss of the “reverse supply chain,” where hope springs eternal. While Amazon doesn’t publicly talk about how it chooses which returned products go back up for sale and which go to the liquidators, it does sell some products through Amazon Warehouse at a discount.
Marketing for Indie Authors (YouTube, Authors Guild's Business Bootcamps for Writers Series) Serious indie authors operate as the CEOs of their own imprints—doing everything an author should do, while often managing a team of specialists as well. Jane Friedman leads this panel of successful indie authors and publishers as they discuss how readers discover indiebooks, what it takes to build a loyal following, and judging the return on investment for various marketing expenses. From the nitty-gritty details of writing book metadata to marketing with ads, to creative approaches to social media, this session will leave you informed and equipped to market your next book.
Marketing for Indies Facebook group A "group page for independent publishers who have had to slog through the process of marketing without a clue."
20Booksto50K Facebook group an indie writers FB group started by American science fiction and fantasy author Michael Anderle. He started writing in 2015 and wanted to prove it needn’t take years to earn a living from writing.
20Booksto50k Conference. This annual indie publishing conference (typically held in Las Vegas) is a good place to learn about the business of being a self-published author.
---20Booksto50k Live Events (YouTube) Some are easier to hear than others.
---20Books Vegas 2019 Day 1 High Powered Authors A lively discussion of five genre authors (Lindsay Buroker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Malorie Cooper, Alex Lidell, Rebecca Moesta). Down-to-earth and you might pick up some useful tips.
How one author went from $0 to selling $40k a month on Amazon (video of talk by M.G. Herron, 1hr20min) No training, no inside knowledge, no reading kBoards. Just a lifelong reader paying attention to what he liked to read and WHY, then applying his business and marketing knowledge to help him hack the path to success. He's talking about cranking out novels quickly and in quantity, and he makes a pretty good case for cranking out fast series that would appeal to "whale readers" (people who consume series books in quantity).

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6 Tips for Securing Speaking Engagements as a Self-Published Author (Karen A. Chase on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-5-19) Presentations matter more than book signings. "If you plan on writing more books, what you need is simple. Readers. Focus your time on connecting to them via presentations, and they’ll come back for more."
The Book Marketing Show (Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur) Learn what’s working in book marketing for other authors so you can sell more books. Dave provides a wealth of practical information on
Canadian Study: Library Patrons Tell Researchers They Buy More Books (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 5-28-19) New research from BookNet Canada indicates that consumers who borrow books from libraries also purchase more books per month than those who don’t use libraries.
How to Sell Your Self-Published Book to Bookstores (Ingram-Spark, 10-18-18--"Publish big. Stay indie.") Extremely practical advice from Amazon's biggest competitor for indie authors, including this important point: "DISCOUNTED AND RETURNABLE. If you want your book to flow easily into independent bookstores, then consider the 55% wholesale discount and make it returnable. The book industry is a returnable industry, which means bookstores will expect to be able to return books they don’t sell and get a credit for their return."
• “If publishers discover how readers are using their books, what hashtag they are using to talk about them, they can take advantage of that. They should be aware of what the conversation is, and help to harness it.” Richard Nash on the Democratization of Publishing

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IngramSpark vs Amazon KDP (formerly CreateSpace) (Robin Cutler, IngramSpark, 9-10-18)
A wholesaler isn't necessarily a distributor, but a distributor could be a wholesaler. Questions? We have your answers below. (Independent Book Publishers Association, or IBPA) The differences between wholesalers and distributors and a list of both, in U.S.
How Indie Authors Can Get Podcast Interviews to Market their Self-published Books (Kim Lambert, ALLi, 8-12-17) "If we want to sell books, we need to do some marketing. The most effective form of marketing is the kind where you become visible to people, without it being a direct advertisement....The line between ‘podcast’ and ‘radio’ has become vanishingly thin, with the advent of internet radio stations, so I am going to treat them as effectively the same thing here....They are immediate – they are live people, talking to each other. So the hosts of these shows are always looking for new people to have as guests on their show. Their audience expects a new person, live (or a recording of an interview done live) every single episode. Which is great for you."
How to use social media: "A good general rule for social media I've heard is: Pick two platforms, and one should be Facebook. FB is for the advertising reach. You can (and should) make an author page. You can also make a group more specific to your book's topic. Mind you, I write fiction. It might be different for poetry, nonfiction, and other types of writing.
     "In my experience, Twitter is useful for connecting with other authors and the occasional influencer, but it's not much of a sales platform. Ditto Instagram, though I find it easier to connect with readers and book bloggers (or "Bookstagrammers") there. It's very much a visual platform, though, so you need to know what will serve your needs best." ~ Tom Fowler
How to Advertise and Sell More Books (David Gaughran, 9-19-18) How to analyze the profitability of your paid ads to help you sell more books. The step-by-step system outlined within is effective for both promo sites and pay-per-click (PPC) platforms such as Facebook Ads, Amazon Advertising, and BookBub.

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3 Creative Pitfalls to Avoid When You Advertise Books on Social Media (Ingram Spark, 8-6-19) One suggestion: Separate Visual Elements from Text.
Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018 (Ricci, Written Word, 1-8-18) How publishing trends are likely to affect indie fiction authors: Marketing will become more expensive (read how), email marketing will be tested (with reader fatigue, people are unsubscribing), Amazon's generosity with affiliate program will continue to decline, its challenges with scammers will continue, "New subscription services will pop up but more authors will join KU," and so on.
For Indie Publishers: When and Why to Work with a Trade Book Distributor (Joe Biel on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-14-18) An excellent explanation of the hows and whys (and why nots) to work with a national distributor. "[O]ne of my top obligations as a publisher of a distributed press is to constantly ask myself how readers in a certain city or town will hear about our book and want to order it. With nonfiction, that’s subject-based, but with fiction, it’s a mix of getting the right reviews, creating events, making the book available in galleys to churn up interest, having eye-catching covers, picking the right sales descriptions and phrases, and building a brand that is recognizable by readers....A trade distributor can expand your reach, but if you haven’t yet built up a way to connect with your audience, that expanded reach may not stick or be sustainable." Deeply practical advice on what a book distributor can and can't do for you, and what you have to do no matter what to reach the reader, from Biel's book A People's Guide to Publishing: Build a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful Book Business
Amazon oneTag – Using it to Earn More Affiliate Revenue? (Roger Montti, SearchEngine Journal, 9-19-18)
How to Self-Publish & Market a Children’s Book – Part 1 (James Blatch interviews Laurie Wright, on Mark Dawson's Self Publishing Formula, SPF-128 (episode 128, 7-13-18--listen or read the transcript). Influenced by Brian Meeks, Laurie started publishing e-books in addition to print books (and her comments are persuasive). What learned from Jennifer Sparks' self-publishing course was on every book to offer a parent resource and a teacher lesson plan (linking to it in the back of books), to get an illustrator to do a coloring page, to gather email addresses and to have things to send out in her "marketing" emails. “Then I discovered AMS ads. And the world opened up.” "What I started doing in February was asking for beta readers of my next book....I was asking them to look at the whole book once it was already done. The book that I did that for first came out of the gates blazing. I asked them to give me a review on a certain day, 40 people got the book, 10 people gave me a review when I asked them to. That book recouped the illustration costs within two weeks and did really, really well." I listened to the podcast with Laurie Wright out of curiosity and will now explore the podcasts on Dawson's Self-Publishing Formula site--you might want to check them out too.

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How to Self-Publish & Market a Children’s Book – Part 2 (with Karen Inglis, 7-20-18). Listen or read the transcript.. She self-published children's books traditional publishers had rejected as not the right length, doing so with Create Space (before it was part of Amazon), before many children's books had been self-published--so she blogged about the process as she did it (here), which indirectly promoted her books too). The biggest challenge with children's books "is getting your book into your readers' hands.... your buyer is not the reader. Your buyer is the reader's parents [or godparents, friends of children]". And "you need to go out and meet those children...do school events, face to face events, book signings, and book shops." She did some free to learn how to interact with kids productively. AMS Advertising creates a level playing field; "your book is just as visible as the other books. Then, it all comes down to is it a story that people want to read, and what are the reviews saying about it?" See more about her books.
Self-Publishing Formula (SPF) (Mark Dawson's site). Lots of practical podcasts on making money through self-publishing, and most of them seem to have transcripts you can download, if you prefer reading to listening (or want to do both).
• A writer friend in Bethesda published several thousand copies of a 36-page photocopied book on how to avoid speed traps, and sold it for $9.95. He also sold a specialized book on how to make money in a lucrative (nonwriter) niche, 200 pages, and sold it for $45 a copy. After he made $100,000, he sold the rights to a reference firm, so they could take over order fulfillment. He would get less per copy (the royalty rate), but would lose the hassle of fulfillment. Needless to say he also built up a good mailing list of people willing to spend $45 for a book.
The Chilton Method of Book Marketing (follow the link to one-hour introductory webinar hosted by The Book Designer). Sample point Dave Chilton makes: A strong title and subtitle and a professional looking, effective book cover are essential for good book sales. Up your game by selling 32- or 64-page physical excerpts from books (inexpensive to ship, low printing cost, targeted to specific topics/markets, play the numbers game). You can purchase the entire Chilton Method Nonfiction Book Marketing video curriculum.
Eight things booksellers would like self-published authors to know (Niki Hawkes, Independent, 6-8-16). Make sure your title is available for bookstores to order; make sure your title is returnable, specifically for national bookstore chains; your self-published book is not likely to be competively priced; etc.
Self-Publishing a Debut Literary Novel: The Actions, The Costs, The Results (Nicole Dieker, Jane Friedman blog, 7-24-17). A dose of reality from the author of The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1: 1989-2000

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Indie book awards. Awards competitions that accept self-published and independently published books and authors.
Choosing The Best Categories For Your Book Sales on Amazon (Shelley Hitz, Bookbaby blog, 6-6-16). Excerpt from ebook Marketing your Book on Amazon (download free). All the parts of the Amazon site that you need to know about and probably don't know how to exploit.
Talking to Hollywood folks about publishing (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 6-20-12) "One thing that distinguishes Hollywood-originated “self-publishing” stories from all others, probably including Howey’s, is that everybody who might publish in Hollywood has five friends who, among them, have half-a-million Twitter followers. [Hugh Howey] got his ball rolling, but imagine how much easier it would be for a Hollywood entity to do that."
Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Don't Cut Corners: Tips from an Indie Author ( Drucilla Shultz, PW, 8-24-15) "“You get what you pay for. That means if you don’t pay for quality covers, editors etc., you’re going to have a shoddy product, even if you’re a talented writer. Don’t fail by thinking you can do everything yourself or cut corners."
How to Write an Effective Book Description (Richard Ridley, CreateSpace)
Why Self-Publishing Is a Long Tail Business (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 3-8-10) "When you combine specialized information that experts in a field commonly possess with very targeted marketing and automated web delivery systems for either printed or electronic books, you’ve got a long tail marketing machine." Deeply understand long tail marketing and choose titles and marketing copy with that in mind.
Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran, who also wrote Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books, which "shows you how to use clever launch and pricing strategies to make the most of Amazon's algorithms and keep your book buoyant in the charts."

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Working With Self-Published Authors (Karen Schechner, Bookselling This Week, 4-24-12 -- on how bookstores can work with local writers). Savvy booksellers are establishing programs that clearly define their requirements and streamline the consignment process.
Stop the press: half of self-published authors earn less than $500 (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 5-24-14). Despite a few high-profile successes most authors struggle to sell, according to a a 2012 survey of 1,007 self-published writers. "Romance authors earned 170% more than their peers, while authors in other genres fared much worse: science-fiction writers earned 38% of the $10,000 average, fantasy writers 32%, and literary fiction authors just 20% of the $10,000 average" [an average skewed by the few top earners].
How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores (Jason Boog, Galley Cat, 5-17-13)
How to Self-Publish a Book (Kelly Spors, WSJ, 8-29-06). Quoting from that story: "It's easy to self-publish a book, but it's not so easy to sell it." "I cannot tell you how many people I know that tell me they have 5,000 copies of their book sitting in their garage," says Jan Nathan, executive director of PMA, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based association for independent publishers. "What makes someone a good author unfortunately does not necessarily make them a good publicist."
The Creative Penn (an excellent blog on writing, self-publishing, print-on-demand, Internet sales and marketing for your book)
Maximising Your Book Sales with Merchandising (Daniel Parsons on Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing Forum, 8-27-21) Merchandising is relatively new to the self-publishing ecosystem.

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Book distribution and fulfillment

Wholesalers and distributors, explained
Scroll down for
Firms that distribute self-published print books and ebooks

How Book Distribution and Fulfillment Function (BookPrinting.com) Distribution is the process of getting the book into the hands of readers. A useful chart showing the path of a book from printer to warehouse to (a) Expanded distribution o (b) Direct-to-consumer. Expanded distribution can go the brick-and-mortar path (from wholesalers and buyer to bookstores to readers, or online distribution to online sellers to readers)
Book Distributors and Book Wholesalers: What's the Difference? (Don Leeper, Bookmobile, 3-7-16)
How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know (Jane Friedman, 2-6-17) Part of her series on How to Self-Publish Your Book
For Indie Publishers: When and Why to Work with a Trade Book Distributor (Joe Biel on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-14-18)
How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know (Jane Friedman, 2-6-17) Part of her series on How to Self-Publish Your Book
A wholesaler isn't necessarily a distributor, but a distributor could be a wholesaler. (Distributors and Wholesalers, Independent Book Publishers Association)
List of Book Distributors and Wholesalers (Nonfiction Authors Association)
List of Print Book Distributors (Reedsy)
Distributors and Wholesalers (Independent Book Publishers Association)
25 Book Distributors to Help You Sell Your Book (Joana Regulacion, TCK Publishing)
Top Independent Book Distributors (BookSpot)


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Firms that distribute self-published print books and ebooks


Firms that distribute both print and ebooks

Ingram Spark




Here's who D2D distributes to. https://www.draft2digital.com/partners/
including Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive among others.
Follett and EBSCO are also big players in the library marketplace.


Firms that distribute print books

Baker & Taylor

Follett (K-12 and University Libraries)
American West Books

International: Odilo
---<https://www.odilo.us/our-company/ (Contact Us form upper right)

Firms that distribute ebooks

Overdrive (Libby)


Hoopla Digital

Cloud Library/Bibliotheca/Publi Drive


Axis360 (owned by Baker & Taylor. See above.) 

     (H/T Marie Monteagudo, Author's Consultant, Twitter: @IndieBookGal)

What’s the Difference Between Libby and Hoopla? (Taylor VanTryon, Danville Public Library, 1-24-22) Have you ever wondered why the library has two different ways to use eAudiobooks and eBooks? A good explanation (and disregard Illinois references if you don't live there!).

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Hybrid publishing

Hybrid publishing is just a notch above self-publishing, the promise being that you won't have to supervise all aspects of production--the hybrid publisher will. But they do so at a cost. She Press's least expensive option entails an $8500 publishing fee, which doesn't include print books or marketing and publicity, and costs to author go up to $15,000, plus fees for marketing etc. Reportedly (on an Authors Guild discussion) authors pay "a 65-cent return fee per book for unsold books coming back from retailers. Yes, paying for an expanded press run costs you more, too." And "their pricing model--which is typically $9.95 for ebooks--that puts the author at a disadvantage immediately as very few readers will pay that for an unknown author."
How Bad Publishers Hurt Authors (Gemma Whelan on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-8-23) When her indie publisher goes AWOL, an author finds the community and resources she needs to pick up the pieces and persevere. The big takeaway? Trust your gut. Adelaide Books never presented themselves as a hybrid publisher, but by asking for money upfront, in the form of a book purchase, they were acting like one. They lied about distribution through Ingram and were publishing on-demand through Amazon. The lapses in communication were inexcusable. 
Hybrid Publishing: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know (Barbara Linn Probst on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-7-21) "It’s like hiring a contractor. You pay the contractor to oversee the design, construction, plumbing, electricity, and so on, because he has the contacts and expertise that you lack or don’t have the bandwidth to acquire. When it’s done, you own the house; the contractor produced it (for a fee), but he doesn’t own it." Why choose it, how does it work, what are the pros and cons, and how to research hybrid publishers.
• "I would strongly advise against using a Hybrid," writes one successful self-published author. "You'll pay so much more and still may have to give them royalties—but the worst thing is they often overprice the books so much—$9.95 is a sales killer, and makes it very difficult to generate sales or build any momentum." Moreover, among hybrid publishers, some handle more (some less) for you than other hybrid publishers do and it's hard to know in advance which ones will do better work, charge more for it, or take more  income from the book.
She Writes Press and SparkPress: Hybrids That Lead by Example (sponsored post, PW, 9-11-22, paid for by the two hybrid publishers)

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We All Need to Be Defended Against Predatory Publishing Practices (Brooke Warner on Jane Friedman's blog, 5-11-22) "The better—and only—way to address the problem of bad actors in the publishing space, especially those who are coopting the good name of "hybrid" for their own reputational and financial gains, is to educate would-be authors. We must equip authors with the tools they need to see past flattery and compliments, to support them to think clearly when someone tells them they'll make them a bestseller, to empower them ask critical questions about contracts and rights and finances." And explains what to look out for.

    Read also Jane Friedman's measured response: IMHO: A Nuanced Look at Hybrid Publishers (Jane Friedman, Hot Sheet, 5-11-22) "In all my years of advising authors who plan to self-publish, I have always tried to steer them toward services that offer 100 percent net sales. But no matter how much I advocate for this approach, some educated and savvy authors still choose a hybrid publisher, despite earning less than 100 percent net....I can only name a handful of hybrid publishers that have a recognizable brand in the industry. These include Greenleaf Book Group, Wonderwell, Girl Friday Books, and She Writes Press. This is not an exhaustive list, and no one should assume these companies I’ve mentioned are safe or 'good' or can guarantee results....
     "If you are considering a hybrid: I beg you to comparison shop. Get quotes from at least three companies if possible and compare them with self-publishing services that pay 100 percent net (consult the helpful list from ALLi ), and/or research self-publishing on your own. Talk to authors who have recently published with the hybrid and ask about their costs. Don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose. Do the math."

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An Erotica Pioneer Goes From Hero to Villain for Dozens of Authors (Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 10-3-21) In the constantly evolving romance landscape, Blushing Books has long occupied a specific niche: spanking erotica. Now some of its most successful writers just want their books back. Interesting how substantial a part of book sales romance sales are, and that there are enough "spanking" novels to be a sub-genre. Lots of lessons here about what to be wary about in this new world of hybrid publishing--about the many ways a dishonest hybrid publisher can be dishonest (both with authors and with who they sell and ship books to).

What Is a Hybrid Publisher? (Jane Friedman, 12-7-16) "Hybrid publishers combine aspects of traditional publishing and self-publishing. Beyond that, however, it is challenging to define what such companies have in common. They have extremely varied business models, methods of working with writers, and approaches to marketing and distribution.
     "Making matters more complicated, 'hybrid authors' are not authors who work with hybrid publishing companies. Instead, that term describes authors who both traditionally publish and self-publish. A good example is the thriller novelist CJ Lyons. So don’t confuse hybrid authorship with hybrid publishing—they’re two completely different trends."
     She then goes on to describe four types of hybrid publisher:

---Editorially curated.

---Crowdfunding driven.

---Assisted self-publishing.

---Traditional publishers with a self-publishing arm.

The last two, she says, can be the most questionable in value--and she writes about how to evaluate a hybrid publisher.
The Hybrid Publisher Debate: Do You Have the Right Mindset? (Debbie Weiss on Jane Friedman's blog, 6-1-22) Not all hybrid and paid-for publishers are the same, and picking the right option depends on every author’s own thorough self-assessment. "The issue, at least to me, isn’t just about the contractual return on investment, but whether the author can make that investment worthwhile." 
Is it a steal? An investigation into ‘hybrid’ / paid-for publishing services (Society of Authors and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, April 2022) A negative report on hybrid publishing, from the UK. Brooke Warner writes: "The Society of Authors and The Writers Union are UK-based, and as the US-based Authors Guild rightly notes in a statement it released in response to "Is It a Steal?," "The hybrid publishing space is larger and more nuanced in the United States. There are some highly reputable hybrid publishers in the U.S."

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What is Hybrid Publishing? Expectations vs Reality (Reedsy) What it’s like to work with a hybrid publisher.
How Printers Can Capitalize on Book Publishing Trends in 2019 (Barbara A. Pellow, Printing Impressions, 3-12-19) Although geared to printers, this is a clear explanation of the basic principles of the rise of hybrid publishers and the migration to digital publishing. "IBPA CEO Angela Bole explained that three publishing models continue to exist: traditional publishing; self-publishing, where authors can be assisted or unassisted by vanity press organizations; and hybrid or partner publishing....Bole described hybrid publishing as publishing companies behaving like traditional publishing companies in all respects, except that they publish books using an author-subsidized business model, as opposed to financing all costs themselves, and in exchange return a higher-than-standard share of sales proceeds to the author. In other words, a hybrid publisher makes income from a combination of publishing services and book sales." This short piece lists services hybrid publishers provide authors.
What surprises some authors is how much publishing a book can cost, when you factor in the costs of editing, proofing, cover art, copyright registration, ISBNs, printing, shipping, storage.
•  In the valuable How to Evaluate Small Publishers—Plus Digital-Only Presses and Hybrids (6-25-18), Jane says, about hybrid publishers, "Most define themselves as being somehow innovative, but usually the innovation is more about a marketing gimmick—a new way to convince authors to pay for a highly priced publishing service....Regardless of whether you pay upfront or not, a publisher still has to perform the same functions for you to be worth the cost or the profit sharing. Quality hybrids have a quality control process in place and present a curated list; have the ability to sell your book in some form (even if they can’t promise anything); and offer some level of marketing and promotion support, whether that’s directed at the trade or the reader."

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Not All Hybrid Publishers Are Created Equal (Jane Friedman, PW, 5-15-15) She explains all the questions to get answered: Will there be a traditional print run—and who’s paying for it? Will the book be pitched to retailers or distributors by a sales team? How will your books be distributed? What’s the editing process like? And so on.
When Is a “Hybrid Publisher” Not a Hybrid Publisher? (Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association,March 2018) The nine criteria that define what it means to be a reputable hybrid publisher. Number 9: "Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty. A hybrid publisher pays its authors more than the industry-standard royalty range on print and digital books, in exchange for the author’s personal investment. Although royalties are generally negotiable, the author’s share must be laid out transparently and must be commensurate with the author’s investment. In most cases, the author’s royalty should be greater than 50 percent of net on both print and digital books."
IBPA's Hybrid Publisher Criteria (free download, Independent Book Publishers Association) In February 2018, the IBPA Advocacy Committee published a list of nine criteria defining what it means to be a professional hybrid publisher. "The advantages of hybrid publishing come with certain risks and uncertainties, as is the case with any new business model. The IBPA’s criteria are intended to help authors navigate those risks and identify the reputable players by setting clear and balanced standards."~Authors Guild. Authors Guild page on the criteria The Authors Guild has more extensive advice for AG members only. (And the AG has upped its game, so it's much more worth joining now than it used to be.) Watch out in particular for clauses granting the hybrid publisher lifetime rights or termination clauses that make it difficult for the author to terminate the contract; the right to exploit other media, such as film and television; unclear payment terms and hidden service charges. (Umair Kazi, "Hybrid Publishing: What You Need to Know," AG Bulletin Spring 2018-19)

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HCCP’s David Moberg on the Future of Christian Publishing (Emma Wenner, PW, 11-1-19 "Hybrid publishing. Calling it the best of both traditional and self-publishing options, Moberg expects this will be a primary adaptation publishers make to their business models in the next five years."
3 Reasons Why You Might Not Want a Hybrid Publisher (Lizbeth Meredith on Jane Friedman's blog, 10-31-17) Weigh the options. #2. Hybrid publishing puts substantial financial risk on the author.
IBPA's Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book, discussed here on Beyond the Book podcast (with Christopher Kenneally, Copyright Clearance Center).
What Is Hybrid Publishing and Is It an Option? The New IBPA Standards (Lyn Miller-Lachmann, 3-11-18) Lyn asks questions that need answering. She would 'like to see hybrid presses be truly hybrid — not to overcharge for their services so that the author is subsidizing the entire cost plus profit but to share the risk with the author. Another thing they need to do is be more upfront on the royalty share, because giving authors a higher percentage of net price rather than cover price is an invitation to chisel, as the author has no way of knowing how much the publisher actually received once production and distribution costs are deducted. Finally, these publishers need to maintain consistent editorial standards that are not options charged to authors as well as a narrower focus and mission that allows the entire list to brand itself successfully as more than “author-centered” and develop legitimacy with book buyers.'
What is Hybrid Publishing? Here Are 4 Things All Writers Should Know (Brooke Warner, Writer's Digest, 8-11-16) Other terms that describe this type of publishing include “author-assisted publishing,” “independent publishing,” “partnership publishing,” “copublishing,” and “entrepreneurial publishing.” Warner writes about 1) Traditional publishers that have been brokering hybrid publishing deals for years. 2) Partnership publishing models. 3) Agent-assisted publishing models. 4) Other assisted publishing models. "Not all assisted publishing models are bad, but some of them have a reputation for exploiting authors, so you want to be careful."

• The point, writes one author in an AG discussion group, is that you should be "getting editing value of a traditional publisher" -- otherwise "the hybrid house is a vanity operation with fancier clothes."
Nine Criteria for Hybrid Publishing from the Independent Book Publishers Association (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 2-26-18) The IBPA has released a 9-point outline for hybrid publishers with author-subsidized business models to operate reputably and maintain quality standards.
IBPA's Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book (to give independent publishers an at-a-glance gauge of the professional presentation of any book in order to help level the playing field between indie publishers and large-scale conglomerates)
3 Reasons Why You Might Not Want a Hybrid Publisher (Lizbeth Meredith, Jane Friedman's site, 10-31-17) I would never tell someone to publish with a hybrid publisher—every writer's goals are unique, plus hybrid publishing puts the financial risk on the author."When I finally learned about hybrid publishing, the clouds parted. There are many hybrid publishers to choose from, like Inkshares or Evolved or Ever After. My book, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, found its home with She Writes Press after I found that they offered what I’d been looking for....More than a misery memoir, it was a book of hope about bucking intergenerational patterns. I wanted my book to be accessed wherever books are sold. I wanted it to be eligible for trade reviews. And I wanted to be a part of an author cooperative where innovative ideas and ongoing support is at my fingertips."
Is it worth paying $7,500 to have your book published? Maybe (Barbara Lane, San Francisco Chronicle, 7-26-19) Another story featuring She Writes Press.
Hybrid Publishing and the Measures That Matter (Brooke Warner, of She Writes Press, PW, 12-14-18) "In its simplest definition, hybrid publishing is traditional publishing in which authors invest in their own book projects in exchange for higher royalties. On the front end, the difference comes down to the money and who pays; on the back end, reputable hybrid publishers must adhere to the industry’s best practices and standards. Traditional publishers have been cutting these kinds of deals for decades."

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The Indie Author's Guide to Hybrid Publishing (Nicole Audrey Spector, Publishers Weekly, 5-20-16) ' “I think that the best use of a hybrid publisher is for authors who want to write a series and can churn out a lot of books,” Rosenfeld says, “I think for one-off books, you’re better off trying to get a traditional publisher with some marketing budget.” Authors who are keen on getting books into the hands of readers should by all means consider hybrid publishers, but authors who want to get their books into bricks-and-mortar stores should be aware of the model’s inherent challenges. A hybrid publisher that has access to bookstore distribution is promising, but the truth of the matter is that getting an indie book on shelves is 'difficult and expensive.'”
Hybrid Publishing: Five Questions to Ask Before You Decide (Mark Fretz, BookWorks: The Self-Publishers Association, 6-20-17). Who is in control, where's the money, what will you actually do for me, what are the deliverables, and when can I publish my book?
List of Hybrid Publishers (unvetted, from TCK Publishing)
Hybrid Publishers--A Growing List (M Lachi, 4-25-17)
• Among points made in an Authors Guild discussion: You can hire help to get your book together and uploaded to Ingram Spark (or KDP) for far less than what you'll pay for hybrid publication, and the pay-to-play model may make less sense for the average novelist than for the subject-matter expert with a large and loyal audience, a narrowly focused nonfiction book, and the wish for quicker publication. You have to weigh higher royalties against much higher costs. A good hybrid publisher like She Writes Press (for memoirs) might make sense for an author who doesn't attract a traditional publisher and doesn't have the practical skills and know-how to self-publish successfully, but it will be expensive and you will be doing your own marketing (not that you can expect satisfactory marketing and book sales from most traditional publishers except with likely bestsellers).

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Hybrid authors

The Hybrid Author: Everything You Need to Know (Chloe Kizer, WrittenWord Media, 9-16-16) See her chart on who (author or publisher) does which work and who pays, etc. between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
Benefits of being a hybrid author: When to self-publish and when to go the traditional route? Part One: Traditional Publishing (Falguni Kothari, Publishing Crawl, 1-22-18) And Part Two: Self-Publishing (1-23-18)
The Pros and Cons of Being a Hybrid Author (Sara Rosett, Self-Publishing Advice, 1-2-2020) There are ten key business models that are working for writers right now. Being a hybrid author (both traditionally and self-published) is just one of them.
A Hybrid Author Busts the Myths: Should You Self Publish? (Holly Robinson, HuffPost, 8-17-14) Myths dismantled: Publishers are out to screw authors; You have more control as an indie author; Indie authors spend more time marketing; and It's faster to self-publish. Food for thought!
Ask the Agent: How can I become a hybrid author? (Chip MacGregor, MacGregor & Luedeke, 11-17-14) "Hybrid publishing isn’t for everyone, but it might be an avenue to consider if you’re an entrepreneurial and prolific writer with a knack for marketing."
The Hybrid Writer: Balancing Traditional and Self-Publishing. Bob Mayer published over 40 books with traditional publishers before he decided to go DIY and convert his backlist into e-books. It has reinvigorated his career, but it’s not for everyone. (Bob Meyer, guest-blogging on Publishing Perspectives 7-25-11)
What The Hell Is A “Hybrid” Author, Anyway? (Chuck Wendig, TerribleMinds, 1-13-16). Excellent list of pros and cons. For example, plus: Entrenched systems have value (i.e. “not building parachute on way out of the plane” and minus "System does not respond well to change."
Must a Writer Go Hybrid for a Higher Income? by Elizabeth Spann Craig (cozy mystery author). Wonderfully realistic and concrete.

Literary Agents and the Hybrid Author: A Conversation with Literary Agents Bob Mecoy and Kristin Nelson (Sangeeta Mehta on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-8-16) Full of interesting and realistic insights, such as (Nelson) "The most important factor traditional publishing could learn from indies is how to leverage sales by deploying venue-targeted ebook files for all the major vendors. In other words, for the Amazon Kindle edition, indie authors embed buy links that lead directly to their other titles available on Amazon. All indies see higher click-through to sales—which traditional publishers don’t leverage, as they have not adopted this practice yet. "

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Subsidy Publishing

The three different forms of self-publishing (She Writes Press)

Subsidy publishing, true self-publishing, and hybrid publishing, explained persuasively and with examples.
---With subsidy publishers, "You own your content... but the company owns the right to distribute your book, and they then pay you a royalty on books sold." Subsidy publishers include Lulu or CreateSpace or Author Solutions.

---"With 'true' self-publishing, you are the publisher. This form of self-publishing requires you to manage and oversee all aspects of your own book’s creation—from editing to proofreading to design, layout, and distribution...Because you distribute your own book, you have complete control over your product and you don’t get a royalty. Instead, you get a net profit on your books. Lightning Source is the number one choice for this brand of publishing, followed by working directly with a printer to do a short print-run. hybrid publishing
---Hybrid publishing is also fee-based publishing (no advance and no royalties) but in a partnership. With She Writes Press, for example, "you own your content, but you publish under our imprint and our ISBN. You can have your rights reverted at any time, but we are bringing you under our umbrella when we offer you a contract....we do not pay royalties. Instead, we charge a fee to manage your accounts."
Vanity/Subsidy Publishers Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America maintains great resources on publishers and literary agents who take advantage of novices. Great overview, which names some names and defines terms and explains things like "Vanity Publishers in Sheep's Clothing," on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America site, but relevant for nonfiction too
What is a Vanity Press? A Guide to Vanity Publishing (Reedsy, 6-7-23) This long article explains the main differences between traditional presses and vanity presses. A vanity press is a publisher that profits not from selling books but from asking authors to pay for publishing expenses. The chart explaining the differences provides a list of points about which to ask for details when you aren't sure if you are talking to a hybrid, self-, or traditional publisher.
Peter Masterson on Vanity Presses (and on unethical firms that pose as subsidy presses)

Kickstarting your indie publication

See also

I Kickstarted my first novel, sold 1,319 books, and made $4,369.14 (so far)  (Josh Fruhlinger, Comic Curmudgeon, Medium, 8-20-16) The secret to a successful Kickstarter doesn’t start with Kickstarter. Lots of practical dollars-and-cents details about the process.
This webcomic artist has 1 million fans on Facebook. Here’s how he got them (Simon Owens, Medium, 10-10-18) "Chris Grady didn’t know much about the webcomic world when he launched Lunarbaboon, a semi-autobiographical comic about family and parenthood. But shortly after launching the comic, he started sharing it to Reddit, and suddenly Lunarbaboon was being seen and shared by tens of thousands of people. Flash forward a few years, and Lunarbaboon has over a million followers on Facebook. Grady generates $1,500 a month on Patreon and has launched several successful Kickstarter projects related to his comic. His latest Kickstarter, this one for a board game he helped illustrate and create, has already generated $50,000 in backing."
How Kickstarter Is Changing Publishing (A.J. O'Connell, Electric Lit, 1-4-17) More practical advice about using Kickstarter to finance a book project. "So far 13,297 publishing projects have been funded in Kickstarter’s nine years, raising $132 million total." "Authors from marginalized communities, who might not be able to get their voices heard in the traditional publishing world, can bypass gatekeepers and go straight to a community of readers." "Kickstarter is a tool that authors and publishers can use to test out an idea, build excitement for a book or project, or garner support for a project that falls outside what they normally do.” Most important advice: Write most of the book before the Kickstarter campaign. Also worthwhile in this piece: What's still important about publication through traditional publishers: Agent Seth Fishman thinks authors do need publishers and agents. 'Aside from the things agents do to make life easier and more profitable for their clients — having lawyers on call to review contracts, foreign rights, television and film rights, feedback on ideas, for example — a traditionally-published book can open doors for even successful independent creators. “What I’ve found for better or worse, is that traditional publishing provides a big of focus point in terms of validation and publicity,” he said....“Financially, self publishing can be all you need,” he says, but he calls a traditionally published book “one of the most effective advertisements” a creator can get.'
Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles (Kickstarter) Good example of a Kickstarter campaign for a book--and what backers got for what they pledged. In this case 258 backers pledged $8,010 to help bring this project to life.
Kickstarter.com: Giving a Swift Kick to “Men of the Cloth” (Beverly Gray's blog 12-4-12). "Kickstarter.com is a prominent crowdfunding website that establishes ground-rules, collects donations through Amazon.com, and takes a small cut for its trouble. Kickstarter rules require that no money actually change hands unless the entire fundraising goal is met. "
10 Things To Know About Kickstarting a Book (Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Jeff O’Neal, editors of Book Riot, HuffPost, 4-1-13) More practical advice, including thoughts on digital vs. print (and why to do both), proof of concept, most likely sources for funding (your fan base), how much to talk about your project, and honest communications with your fans.
10 Tips for Self Publishing a Photo Book Through Kickstarter (Robert Bahou, PetaPixel, 7-29-16) More practical advice, including best months to submit, and advice repeated everywhere: DO NOT underestimate the high costs of packing and shipping books when you estimate costs, and remember that the size of the book affects the cost of shipping.
Crowdfunding and other forms of creative financing Check out the alternatives to Kickstarter, and read more success and how-I-did-it stories.

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Secrets of success for indie authors

Craig Martelle's popular Indie Author Series:

If you're in the US, there is an embedded affiliate link where the author gets a small percentage of revenue from the sale, but at no additional cost to you.
Become a Successful Indie Author: Work Toward Your Writing Dream by Craig Martelle. Demystifying the tangled web of self-publishing, explaining the keys to becoming a successful Amazon-only self-published fiction writer.
Release Strategies by Craig Martelle. "How do I release? One book at a time? More? How far apart, and why? Should I write more than one before the first book comes out? Is one long book better than several short books? Should short books come out faster? Can readers be overwhelmed by too much of a good thing, too fast? Can releases be too slow? How does genre play into this? How do I take advantage of Amazon's algorithms to boost my sales? Can those algorithms hurt sales if I use the wrong strategy? Should I run ads or promotions and, if so, what does that look like? Do covers really matter? What do I need to do before (and after) each release--and when do I need to do it--to maximize my chances of success? Is there a checklist to help me keep it all straight?"
Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content (Jane Friedman, Publishers Weekly, 1-19-18) Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. "Kaur started publishing her work on Tumblr in 2013, then moved to Instagram in 2014. That same year, she self-published a collection of her poetry on Amazon; soon, her popularity caught the attention of a traditional publisher. Milk and Honey has now sold more than a million copies and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 52 consecutive weeks." "Think through what readers value in terms of experience or access."
Collaborations: When the Whole Is Greater than the Sum of the Parts by Craig Martelle. How and why to collaborate with other authors, how to work with a collaborator, why clear communication and having everything in writing are important, overview of legalities, and sample contracts.
Write Compelling Fiction by Larry Martin and Craig Martelle. Basic tips. (Read the readers' comments to see if this is for you.)
Interviews with Indie Authors (ALLi Self-Publishing Advice) Interviews with ALLi Members about how they self-publish and the secrets of their success.
Pricing Strategies by Craig Martelle. Make "the most from your work by understanding what your genre will support. It’s not hard, but you have to have a plan. Over the course of a year, you might change your book’s price five or ten times. That’s perfectly fine, when done for the right reasons as part of an overall marketing strategy. What is one reader worth to you as an entry point into your author world? What is that reader worth if they stay on board?" Explains why and how you would vary price points, whether you are exclusive to Amazon or distribute on multiple platforms. Book pricing is about getting the most money from your book or box set, not just one time but for the long term.
Why Some Indie Authors Fail (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 2-11-13) "Some indie authors fail because they do not provide a means to notify readers of future writing; some because they disrespect the language of writing; some because they view their editor as their enemy and not their friend. Each of these failing ways is correctable; it just takes effort and determination."
Graphic Tools for Indie Authors (Brad Forseng, in a series about graphics tools that can be used to promote novels, blogs, social media campaigns, and more)
The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use by April Hamilton.


The history of self-publishing

(Self Publishing Advice)

---The artisan author believes success is about making great products and pleasing a patron. "I'll succeed if my books are good enough."
---The artist author thinks success is about achieving a perfection of truth and beauty and pleasing the critics. "I'll succeed if I make art."
---The professional author believes success is being recognized by gatekeepers, pleasing literary and publishing companies, organizations and institutions. "I'll succeed if I prove myself."
---The entrepreneurial author believes success is a thriving creative business. "I'll succeed if I inform or inspire, excite or delight enough readers."


A few books that were originally
self-published (aka "privately published")

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Double Persephone a book of poetry by Margaret Atwood
Dragon's Tail by Joseph Malik
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (1931)
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
The Martian by Andy Weir
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
No Thanks by e.e. cummings (1935)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (initially published under a pseudonym)
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki (1997)
The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi
The Shack by William P. Young
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (vol. 1 of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu)
Switched by Amanda Hocking
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer

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Take heart
"...everything about the economics of American publishing until the end of the nineteenth century discouraged the publication, promotion, and distribution of American literature and encouraged the publication, promotion, and distribution of British literature, which thereby dominated the cultural scene. Thus began a pattern of alternative publishing, in this case, self-publishing, arising out of a desire to pursue an aesthetic agenda at odds with that of the major American commercial publishers and to protest the economic circumstances under which the commercial publishers operated.

     Looking back, we can easily see the significance of this rebellion; one historian sums up,"most of the nineteenth-century writers whom we now think of as important to the development of American literature published their own works" (Denison 193). We can distinguish between the writers in the early part of the century, writers like Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Poe, who were self-published at a time when almost all authors were self-published in the sense that they paid the costs of publication, and writers later in the century who were self-published because of lack of support from or in protest against the commercial publishing industry.

      Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, all of the work of the last half of Herman Melville's career, and Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, among other books, books that were seminal in defining the ideas of American art and the American character, were self-published."
~ Robert L. McLaughlin, from "Oppositional Aesthetics/Oppositional Ideologies: A Brief Cultural History of Alternative Publishing in the U.S."

The Most-Rejected Books of All Time (Of the Ones That Were Eventually Published) (Emily Temple, LitHub, 12-22-17) This includes a lot of books that did very well once they were published, so take heart.

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Self-Publishing Success Stories

See also Self-Publishing Hall of Fame
•**** Exactly how I self-published my book, sold 180,000 copies, and nearly doubled my revenue (Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit, on GrowthLab). Write articles and do podcasts. Read that article completely, section by section:
---Part I: The New York publisher, the big-name agent, and misery. Starting with a story of failure.
---Part II: Don’t go it alone: How to assemble a kickass team. The editor, the designer, project management (from book production to distribution), the audio producer. "Expect to spend between $3K and $5K on editing (depending in part on length), up to $3K on design, and between $5K and $10K for the services of a company like Page Two. To produce an audiobook costs between about $300 and $500 per hour of the book’s narration."
---Part III: Invest more upfront (and keep more money). It's worth it -- IF you sell books. "Don’t forget, most books don’t sell. (An industry rule of thumb is that 93 percent of books published sell less than 1,000 copies.)"
---Part IV: How to engineer a bestselling book launch. #3 of 11: Get the right blurbs as social proof. Requirement: Willingness to reach out to people you may not know well. #11: Get airport distribution (which makes sense, $wise, only if it's a business book) Make it small enough to fit in a purse, with lots of white space instead of "an intimidating block of text," and as short as it could be and still be useful. Plus the ideas he tried that didn't work.
---Part V: No one really knows what they’re doing.
And you can listen to all three episodes of these podcasts: Self-publish the Right Way with Michael Bungay Stanier - Part 1 (Book Launch Show, 3-30-18) Michael has done both traditional and self-publishing, and with his latest book he's had the most success. Follow along as he shares the do's and don't's of a self-publishing book launch. Part 2 And then Self-publish the Right Way with Michael Bungay Stanier - Part 3 Tim Grahl interviews Stanier.
Self-Publishing Success Stories: 8 Examples You Should Know (Reedsy) Read about LJ Ross, Mark Dawson, Rupi Kaur, Rachel Abbott, Phillip Goodrich, Christopher Paolini,Maria E Cantu Alegre, Howard of Warwick (aka Howard Matthews, a crime-solving monk from 1066).
LJ Ross: The self-published crime writer making a killing (Duncan Leatherdale, BBC, 9-19-21) Seven years ago, Louise Ross swapped her career in financial law for a life of crime (writing). She has eschewed the traditional model of agents and publishers deciding instead to do it all herself, selling more than seven million copies in the process. Howdunnit? "L.J. Ross is the queen of Kindle."
How to publish a book on Amazon (and sell over 100,000 copies the SMART way) (Michael Bungay Stanier, GrowthLab, Lots of good suggestions and resources, for making more by self-publishing than you would the standard way.
How to Publish Internationally (Publish Drive) Author Jean Joachim shares her tips about publishing internationally: she conquered the Italian and Spanish market, starting with the first book in her football series. A brief how-to article.
4 ways to add instant social proof to your website (Joe Choi, GrowthLab)
"If you want press, you need to find a story."-- Michael Bungay Stanier

14 hour days, marketing and dealing with snobbery: my life as a self-published bestseller (Rachel Abbott, The Guardian, 3-30-16) I’ve sold 2m copies of my five novels, but I am still not considered a ‘serious’ author because I self-publish. "Many people believe that if the writing was good, the author would be offered a traditional publishing deal...I am happy to trade the occasional (and diminishing) lack of recognition as a serious author for the unbelievable support that I get from readers. ...Self-publishing isn’t for everybody. There are some overwhelming decisions that have to be made: who should design the jacket? Who should edit? Which title is the right title?
•  "In 1843 Charles Dickens, dissatisfied with his payout earned from Chapman & Hall for Martin Chuzzlewit, self-published A Christmas Carol, selling out an initial print run of 6,000 copies in just weeks at five shillings a pop. Yet freed from publishers’ penny-pinching, Dickens designed so gorgeous a book—fancy bindings, gilded pages, lavish illustrations—that, despite it being an instant hit, the author barely broke even." ~ Just Do It (Yourself): A History of Self-Publishing (Alan Scherstuhl, PW, 4-19-22)
5 Lessons in Publishing Success From Bella Andre (Jane Friedman, 9-26-14) "Bella Andre gave a talk on her path to success, from a traditionally published author with 7 titles in 2010, to self-published phenom with millions of titles sold and an 8-figure annual income." Here are the takeaways Jane took from that talk at the International Women’s Fiction Festival.
How My Book Became A (Self-Published) Best Seller (Deborah L. Jacobs, Forbes, 6-13-12) "For more than one year after self-publishing my book, Estate Planning Smarts, promoting it was practically my full-time job....Statistics show estate planning books don’t sell well. I had a vision for a book that would prove them wrong, but the big companies would never have allocated the resources to produce it."
The Indie Author Mindset: How changing your way of thinking can transform your writing career by Adam L. Croft. Croft writes crime thrillers and mysteries and holds the #1 bestselling author spot on Amazon (#2 is J.K. Rowling). “Being a writer is not something that happens to you. It’s something you make happen.” P.S. That's with self-published books. See From paying the bills, to £2,000 a day: making a killing from self-publishing (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 6-2-16) Her Last Tomorrow, Adam Croft’s latest DIY thriller, lifted his bedroom business into the sales stratosphere. He talks about paying off his mortgage in weeks and why he’s fine with publishers being ‘sniffy’...Croft says he had sold around 350,000 books in five years, until the gamechanger: his most recent novel, Her Last Tomorrow. This thriller has sold 150,000 copies in just five months, and Croft estimates that he’s on target for £1m ($1.4m) of sales in 2016...Croft’s success comes in the wake of a new report from Enders Analysis, published by the Bookseller, which found that 40 of the 100 top-selling ebooks on Amazon US in March were self-published.
The World's Best Hitchhiker on the Secrets of His Success (Wes Enzinna, NY Times, 3-22-18) Villarino and Lazzarino broke his contract for “Invisible Routes,” to instead write the book together and self-publish it, "which Lazzarino believed (correctly) would be more profitable. They spent the next 18 months hitchhiking through the Americas. They were robbed and slept on the streets when no strangers opened their homes to them, but Lazzarino finally felt free. “I had, I’m not going to deny it, the illusion that I was the star of a movie,” she wrote about meeting Villarino in “Invisible Routes” when it was published in 2014 by the publishing house they founded. The pair sold 6,000 copies in the first few months, and they’ve made enough money from book sales to finance their travels indefinitely."
'The Martian' Started As A Self-Published Book (Lynn Neary, NPR, interviews author Andy Weir and Greg Lawrence, All Things Considered, 2-27-16) After Andy Weir self-published The Martian online, its next stop was not print. Instead, it got picked up by a small completely unknown Canadian audiobook company, Podium Publishing. He was surprised anyone was interested; he thought it was just a book "by a dork for dorks." But "people loved the story of the marooned astronaut who uses science and math to figure out how to survive." From there, Podium released print rights so Random House could issue a print edition of the book, and then it became a movie. Says Weir, he's made more money from the audio book than from the movie. And the book is probably more charming than the movie.

• Cari Noga experienced great success with her book Sparrow Migrations, a novel about a 12-year-old boy with autism who witnesses the “Miracle on the Hudson” from a sightseeing ferry and becomes obsessed with the birds that caused the plane crash. The story behind the publishing story in Self-Publishing Literary Fiction: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Cari Noga Reveals All to the Book Doctors (David Henry Sterry interviews her for Huffington Post, 8-20-14) " I think publishing anything that isn’t directly aimed at a genre-specific audience is more difficult, whether you go the self-pub route or traditional," says Noga. "The upside is that if you do reach a literary audience, the potential is much wider." She has found a niche with book clubs. "I was aware that I would have to offer discounts, but I did not appreciate enough the importance of offering returns. My book is available through Ingram & Baker and Taylor, but as a POD book there is no way to return it." Most successful marketing strategy by a longshot: "Kindle giveaways. I’ve done two (June 2013, 5,400 copies downloaded; Jan. 2014, 33,600 copies downloaded.) Paid sales increased after each and reviews soared. The January one was advertised on Bookbub, which I also recommend."

Eragon by Christopher Paolini, started as a self-published book. Author Carl Hiaasen, whose stepson read a copy of the self-published book while on vacation in Montana, brought Eragon to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, and a year later Knopf re-issued the book with a new cover. The adventures of Eragon and the dragon Saphira continue with Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance (the Inheritance Cycle). Paolini's books have sold well over 35 million copies.
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How a Shy Former Avon Lady Became the Queen of Self-Publishing (Katie McCollow, Time, 8-9-15) Donna Foley Mabry...Her latest book, Maude, was a total departure—it’s a raw and deeply personal biography of her grandmother. Released in October 2014, Maude within weeks was on The Wall Street Journal’s nonfiction e-books best-seller list, where it remained for over four months."
The Illegal Birth Control Handbook That Spread Across College Campuses in 1968 (Tao Tao Holmes, Atlas Obscura, 3-31-16) A group of Canadian teenagers wrote the first popular text on contraception. The Birth Control Handbook, first printed in 1968 by students at McGill University, was a pioneering text. It was also illegal.
The Viagra Diaries: A self-publishing mega success story (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal, 3-26-12). Rinzler interviews Barbara Rose Brooker, about how she went from self-published book to HBO TV series to Simon & Schuster book deal.
Terry Fallis, Self-Made Satirist(Shannon Rupp, The Tyee, 10-20-10). "He published his own novel, made a podcast, and got famous. Funny thing, he wouldn't advise you try it." Fallis voiced and recorded his own podcast of his gentle satire of Canadian politics and spent $3,500 on a self-publishing package that bought him one hard copy and 10 trade paperbacks. He submitted those 10 copies to the Stephen Leacock Award for Humor (which he won, along with $15,000). That drew a traditional publisher. He "was surprised by the reach of narrowcasting" and continues to benefit from the long tail advantages of the digital world. The release of The High Road has given The Best Laid Plans a bump in the iTune rankings, three years after its launch."
These romance writers ditched their publishers for (self-published) ebooks — and made millions (Mandi Woodruff, Yahoo Business, 8-1-14)
Romancing the Known (Lara Zielin, Law Quadrangle) How Heidi Bond, ’06, has used her wealth of experiences—including a degree from Michigan Law—to write bestselling novels and carve out a successful publishing platform... writing as Courtney Milan..."She decided to stop selling her books to mainstream publishers and instead launch her novels independently. The result yielded more control over what she was producing while successfully targeting e-book readers who wanted to buy digital copies of books often for less money and more frequently than traditional publishing could produce them."
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How winning a literary prize can change your life (Alan Rinzler interviews several award winners. Holly Payne got several awards for her self-published novel.)
Self-publishing boom lifts sales by 79% in a year (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 6-13-14) Self-published books still account for a tiny proportion of the overall market – 5% of total books bought, and 3% of the money spent on books last year (UK figures). According to the new statistics, self-published ebooks tend to be fiction, but they are growing fastest in children's, and self-published ebooks tend to be bought by women.
25 Independent Presses That Prove This Is the Golden Age of Indie Publishing (Jason Diamond, Flavorwire, 10-1-13). Indie publishing is not the same thing as self-publishing, but they have some things in common--including niche publishing.
Self-published memoir shortlisted for PEN/Ackerley prize (Lindesay Irvine, The Guardian, 4-22-08). " Jane Haynes's Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am? is an unflinching journal of her life as a psychotherapist, revealing as much about the author as her patients."
Seismic Shocks and Publishing Industry Predictions (Jill Schultz's blog on Goodreads, 5-17-13). To her surprise, Schultz finds her book in a Barnes & Noble store, two weeks before its pub date. "POD books are now treated like all other print books. Bookstores can order POD titles for a full discount with the no-hassles return policy. These titles are listed alongside their legacy-published kin. " A surprising turn of events, great for indie authors.
Self-Publishing Success Stories: The Anatomy of a Kindle Bestseller (Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, 1-21-13)
Some Things That Need to Be Said (Amanda Hocking, 3-3-11
Wool Author Makes Print-Only Deal with Simon & Schuster (Michael Cader, Publishers Lunch, 12-12-12). Hugh Howey, author of the self-published NYT and USA Today ebook bestseller Wool, makes a print-only deal with Simon & Schuster. "Print-only deals remain rare, though not singular (and they may become more common as the 21st-century version of the old paperback license)." And he gives examples.
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A Self-Publishing Success Story (No Magic Required) (Allison Horton, Vook, 11-7-12, on science-fiction, fantasy, and thriller writer Andrew Mayne)
How babysitting a mountain lion helped me make $100,000 in self-publishing (Andrew Mayne, Hidden Frequency, on the importance of finding a niche and making the most of it)
Self-published novel by Terry Fallis wins Leacock award (CBC News, 4-30-08). Fallis, a Toronto-based public relations consultant with a background in politics, won $10,000 for his novel The Best Laid Plans.
Stay Tuned: A Self-Published Book About TV Gets a Major Publishing Pick-Up (Dave Itzkoff, Arts Beat, NY Times, 1-2-13) Simon & Schuster's Touchstone imprint acquired Alan Sepinwall's self-published book, The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever. The secret to its success? "Mr. Sepinwall combined 'smart, fair-minded assessments meant to provoke discussion' and interviews with creative talent, producers and executives to provide 'a terrific book.'"
The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan. See Erin Collazo Miller's story about the novel (About.com Bestsellers, 9-12-11). In May 2011 Darcie uploaded her quiet but satisfying novel to Kindle, where sales trickled in, then ticked up a bit. Wondering where people who read ebooks found them (there is no library for ebooks), she sought sites that recommended reduced-price eBooks. She reduced her price to 99 cents (to get it out there and develop a readership, making it as easy as possible to read her book). Her social media accounts didn't help get her known (they are useful when you already have a large following). She started word-of-mouth by getting the book featured on promotional sites for low-priced ebooks. Her book was featured on E-Reader News and within 2 days she had sold 600,000 copies, was on the New York Times bestseller list for quite a while, was featured in WSJ, etc. Her book had sold almost 700,000 copies as of October.
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8 Keys to Self-Publishing Success (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 3-11-11, writing about Larry Jacobson's adventure writing and self-publishing The Boy Behind the Gate: How His Dream of Sailing Around the World Became a Six-Year Odyssey of Adventure, Fear, Discovery and Love
How an Enterprising Author Sold a Million Self-Published Books (Mark McGuinness, Copyblogger). CJ Lyons as author-entrepreneur, and on the work of promoting one's book.
Elf on the Shelf founders' sleigh ride to success (Colleen Leahey, CNN Money, 12-12-12). The authors "self-published five thousand $30 box sets seven years ago after countless publishers rejected their manuscript....They funded production with the sale of Pitts' Pennsylvania house and a newly opened credit card. That first year, every single Elf on the Shelf unit sold." Customers got a poem and an elf, about which parent/columnist Petula Dvorak laments: The Elf on the Shelf: It must be stopped! (each night parents must move the elf to a new location-- a tradition that apparently took place before these commercial elves came on the market)
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Self-Published Author Signs a Three-Book Deal, Heralding New Adult Fiction (Leslie Kaufman, NY Times Media Decoder, 11-14-12). Losing It (Cora Carmack's novel about a 21-year-old virgin in her last year of college sold 5,000 copies within first four days, 32,000 by 12 days.) New adult fiction: for readers in college years and twenties.
Self-published authors find e-success (Deirdre Donahue, USA Today, 12-30-11). Michael Prescott self-published his thriller Riptide and "earned more than $300,000 before taxes this year by selling more than 800,000 copies of his self-published e-books." He already had a backlist of titles edited and published the traditional way, and his publishers let those books go out of print. "E-books are changing the way authors and readers connect."
Self Publishing: Second Class No More? (Terri Giuliano Long for IndieReader.com, 10-3-12, picked up by HuffPost, too). The stigma is gone, the range of options has empowered some authors to assert more control over their career (but paralyzed others with too much choice), and the money comes in more steadily--without those long delays in payment when authors go the traditional route.
Jon Clinch self-publishes ‘The Thief of Auschwitz’ (Ron Charles, Style blog, Washington Post, 10-4-12). "Using Amazon’s CreateSpace, he posted “What Came After” under the pen name Sam Winston in December 2011....Sam Winston — the man with no publisher and no background — sold almost 10,000 copies." Now he's self-publishing The Thief of Auschwitz under his own name.
The Self-Publishing Bestseller on ‘How I Did It’ (Dean Wesley Smith, Kirkus Reviews, 8-23-12)
How My Self-Published Book 'Wool' Became A Hot Movie Property (Hugh Howey, HuffPost 5-23-12)
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Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad) (Elissa Gootman, NY Times 3-31-12)
• "For Paul Alexander, a writer living in New York, Amazon offers a welcome alternative to the old way of doing things. Alexander wrote a 9,500-word story called 'Murdered' last year and had it published as a Kindle "Single," a short-form e-book. Priced at $1.99, "Murdered" enjoyed a four-week run as Amazon's top-selling Single. The true-crime story continues to generate royalties for Alexander, who figures he has taken in about $50,000 from the mini e-book — more than if he had written it for a major magazine. And with more leeway on word count, Alexander said, 'It gave me a freedom I didn't have before.'"~Amy Martinez, Amazon.com trying to wring deep discounts from publishers (Seattle Times, 4-2-12). "Amazon.com, the company that changed the way people buy books more than a decade ago, now appears poised to rewrite the rules of publishing.'
How to become an e-book sensation. Seriously. (Beverly Akerman, Globe & Mail 4-27-12). "This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media....It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication."
How I Became a Best-Selling Author (Alexandra Alter, Wall Street Journal, 12-9-11). Read this to learn about her strategy for pricing and for buying banner ads and paying for expedited reviews. "The hardest part for me is uncertainty," she says. "I deal better with rejection than uncertainty." See also WSJ's sidebar: A Reader's Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers 12-9-11
How Amazon's KDP Select Saved My Book (David Kazzie, The Corner, about his novel The Jackpot
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KDP Select Free Promotion — Discoverability Experiment: One Month Later and Feeling Fine! (M. Louisa Locke, 2-1-2012).
Oh heck, I'll just publish it myself (main points from a Globe and Mail story available only to subscribers). It took Saskatchewan author Mary-Ann Kirkby 7 years to produce a book about a little-known, secretive prairie culture, and no publisher wanted it. "Using a $35,000 line of credit to print the first 5,000 copies of I Am Hutterite two years ago, she has since sold more than 50,000."
Dan Poynter's list of 155 successful self-published books. Many books now well-known started as self-published books, including What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles, In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, and The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.and his student E.B. White.
Secret of Self-Publishing: Success Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Small Business, WSJ 10-31-11). Authors With a Following Make Money Going It Alone, but It's a Slog for Others
True “do-it-yourself” publishing success stories will probably become rare (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, Idea Logical Company 11-6-11)
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Self-Publishing Hall of Fame (John Kremer's list and write-ups -- click on a letter of the alphabet, on left, to call up examples)
A benchmark event happened today. Mike Shatzkin (Shatzkin Report, 5-17-10) reports on J.A. Konrath's ventures self-publishing his mystery novels--making publishing history by selling e-book rights directly to Amazon Kindle. "Signing up new books for what publishers would consider reasonable advances just got harder. So did maintaining a 25% royalty rate for ebooks." (Authors: expect at LEAST 25%.)
Joe Konrath's response to David Gaughran's guest post 11-11-11 (on A Newbie's Guide to Publishing) lists seven reasons it makes sense for him to self-publish.
More authors turn to Web and print-on-demand publishing (Elham Khatami, CNN Technology, writes about Still Alice by Lisa Genova (a novel about a 50-year-old Harvard professor's struggle with Alzheimer's disease) and Mommy Confidential: Adventures from the Wonderbelly of Motherhood by Melinda Roberts
How Lisa Genova used social media to turn a self-published book into a NY Times bestseller (David Meerman Scott, WebInkNow, 1-30-09). Part of her advice: "You absolutely have to have a Web site. Get a profile up on Facebook and MySpace right away. When you get press, people will immediately want to go to your site. And link to the amazing reviews and news that comes out. Your site is your business card; it is how you show the world what you’re doing. A site facilitates everything you’re trying to do, and you don't need to spend thousands of dollars. You can do it yourself."
How the self-published book "Rich Dad Poor Dad" got launched as a bestseller (26 million) although author Robert Kiyosaki is not a "best writer" -- and though some have questioned his advice (John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame)
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• Amanda Hocking, self-publishing's early heroine:
——Amanda Hocking, Storyseller (Strawberry Saroyan, NY Times Magazine, 6-17-11). Really interesting analysis of why she succeeded (she's a good storyteller with a light touch--she provides escape) and how she ended up self-publishing eBooks, and with whom, and why.
——Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online (Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, 1-12-12)
---Amanda Hocking Made Millions By Selling 99-Cent Books — And You Can, Too (Steven Spatz, Writing Cooperative, 10-11-18) Selling books at that low price hooked them on the quality of the series; she raised the price to $2.99. "The number of books you sell is more important than the amount of money you make — at least in the beginning....Selling cheap books can help boost your sales rankings and get you more reviews."
——Authors catch fire with self-published e-books .Carol Memmott, USA Today, 2-11, reports that young Amanda Hocking's self-published (digitally) young-adult paranormal novels are selling hundreds of thousands of copies through online bookstores. "Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies." But she's not the only such success in self-publishing.
——This story doesn't end there. In her own blog, Amanda Hocking explains why she's considering a four-book deal with St. Martin's Press, referring us also to a York Times story about the auction for that deal: Self-Publisher Signs Four-Book Deal With St. Martin’s (3-24-11). In becoming a bestselling self-publisher, writes Julie Bosman, in the Times, "she became a reluctant spokeswoman for the practice of self-publishing, which allows authors to sell their books directly to readers without the help of a traditional publisher." Explaining herself to her readers: “I want to be a writer,” she said. “I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.” She wants career stability, better editing, and for her readers to be able to find her books in bookstores, which they can't right now.
Mike Wells threw teen novel Wild Child in the bin and was shocked to find it being sold on Amazon (and getting rave reviews)
Elizabeth Hand's review of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear(in the Washington Post). One of many such self-publishing stories about books that are now classics. (Lauren Paxman,Daily Mail, UK, 10-5-11)
Handselling 14,000 copies of self-published books on NY subway. Trymaine Lee's story in NYTimes (7-9-10) about reformed criminal's self-help book, hand-sold to a targeted market)
John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus on his path from writing a self-published book (which he used "as calling card") to writing a bestseller list (audio interview by Steve Harrison, promotion specialist)
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John Locke on his self-publishing e-book supersuccess. Guest-posting on J.A. Konrath's blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, Locke, who has six titles on Amazon's Top 100 list for Kindle sales, explains (in the Q&A) that his success is based on niche marketing, the formula for which is:
1. Identify your target audience
2. Find out where they live
3. Shove your book down their throats.
Read both his post and the Q&A, where he and others agree that it costs about $1000 to have someone cover design and format your e-book (plus the cost of any art work). When he lowered his cover price to 99 cents (as a loss leader to his more expensive books) he found his sales increasing exponentially -- to more than 300,000. And he never tried the manuscripts (light entertainment) on a traditional publisher.
A new self-publishing success story emerges (Emma Mustich, Salon, 6-21-11) But what (if anything) can authors lose by opting for online self-publication?
Making It: Children's Books by Peter Barnes (Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post Magazine, about a journalist who developed a niche writing and publishing children's books about vacation sites). (Specialize. Find a targetable market!)
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The Rise of Self-Publishing: Authors Unbound. Virginia Heffernan (NY Times Magazine, 4-26-10) writes that in the competition between so-called traditional publishing and "microniche publishing" (a microniche being "a shade larger than a self"), "self-published books are not just winning in terms of numbers but also making up ground in cachet....small and crafty can beat big and branded." And much of the stigma once attached to self-publishing is gone, though there is still much chaff with the wheat. Be sure to click on, and read, the comments.
Self-Published Kindle Author Lands Deal in Obsolete Ink-and-Paper Format (Dan Nosowitz, Gizmodo, 7-11-09, and be sure to read the comments). About Boyd Morrison, author of The Ark
Self-Publishing Sees Triple-Digit Growth Since 2007 (PW, 10-24-12). Growth is faster in e-books than in print, and three big companies dominate the field: "In 2011, CreateSpace dominated the print segment, supporting the creation of 58,412 titles (39% of self-published print books). Smashwords topped the e-book producers with 40,608 titles (nearly 47% of total self-published e-books). The combined divisions of Author Solutions (now part of Penguin Group) produced a total of47,094 titles and Lulu Enterprises checks in with 38,005 titles. The Bowker analysis shows that beyond these four players, no company has more than 10% of market share. Small presses, a category that is defined as publishers who have produced 10 or fewer books, accounted for 34,107 self-published titles in 2011 divided between 21,256 print books and 12,851 e-books."
Publishing Market Shows Steady Title Growth in 2011 Fueled Largely by Self-Publishing Sector (Bowker, 6-5-11)
Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab (Motoko Rich, NY Times 1-27-09)
Self-publishing: Doing it yourself & doing it better (Mark Medley, National Post, examples from Canada 6-12-10)
'Vanity' Press Goes Digital by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (WSJ.com 6-3-10). "Much as blogs have bitten into the news business and YouTube has challenged television, digital self-publishing is creating a powerful new niche in books that's threatening the traditional industry. Once derided as "vanity" titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment."
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Hall of Fame of Self-Published Authors

Most of the authors listed here were also or eventually published traditionally, but many self-published at least one work, often their first, sometimes their least traditional, often in a special genre or style. (Tell me who's missing, if anyone)


Margaret Atwood * Frank Baum *William Blake * Ken Blanchard * Robert Bly * Beatrix Potter * Alfred, Lord Byron * Willa Cather * Julia Cameron * Pat Conroy * Stephen Crane * Sergio de la Pava * Charles Dickens * Roddy Doyle * W.E.B. DuBois * Alexander Dumas * T.S. Eliot * Lawrence Ferlinghetti * Benjamin Franklin * Lisa Genova * Zane Grey * Thomas Hardy * E. Lynn Harris * Nathaniel Hawthorne * Ernest Hemingway * Amanda Hocking * Hugh Howey * E.L. James * Robinson Jeffers * Spencer Johnson * James Joyce * Rupi Kaur * Stephen King * Rudyard Kipling * Robert Kiyosaki * J.A. Konrath * Louis L'Amour * D.H. Lawrence * Kevin McGill * Rod McKuen * John Milton * Marlo Morgan * William Morris * John Muir * Anais Nin * Thomas Paine * James Patterson * Tom Peters * Edgar Allen Poe * Alexander Pope * Beatrix Potter * Sergio De La Pava * Ezra Pound * Marcel Proust * James Renfield * Irma Rombauer * LJ Ross * JK Rowling * Carl Sandburg * Robert Service * George Bernard Shaw * Percy Bysshe Shelley * Upton Sinclair * Arthur Schopenhauer * Gertrude Stein * William Strunk * Alfred Lord Tennyson * Henry David Thoreau * Leo Tolstoy * Mark Twain * Andy Weir * Walt Whitman * Virginia Woolf * WB Yeats * William P. Young.


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Warning: Publishing scams, bad deals, and other ways to lose money

Watch out for sharks!

On the fringes of publishing are enterprises that prey on people who yearn to see their book in print. Read “Writer Beware,” Victoria Strauss's blog posts warning about “the sharks out there in the literary waters,” including fee-charging agents, dishonest book doctors, fraudulent subsidy publishers, and fake contests. Strauss also maintains the Writer Beware website of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Though the organization's focus is on fiction, the information they provide is useful for nonfiction writers too. Scroll down on the right and you'll find a list of companies and organizations to be leery of, which includes Read on for more specifics.

Vanity/Subsidy Publishing, Vanity/Subsidy Presses, and Author Mills
Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi, Alliance of Independent Authors) See also Choosing A Self-Publishing Service. The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Guide. ALLi's Watchdog Desk maintains this extremely useful multi-page list of ratings. (Report your good and bad experiences to them and check up on a service or firm that doesn't seem to pass the sniff test.)
Do not fall for phishing scams such as the following, which the Authors Guild has warned against repeatedly:

Attn: www.writersandeditors.com Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Copyright Violation Notification email.
My name is Monica.
Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright-protected images owned by myself.
Check out this report with the URLs to my images you utilized at whatever.com and my previous publication to find the proof of my copyrights.
Download it now and check this out for yourself:
[please wait...
File 'Stolen Images Evidence'
is ready for download [Do not download!]

In my opinion that you willfully violated my rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damage of up to $120,000 as set forth in Section 504 (c) (2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) therein.
etc. Robertsonphoto005@hotmail.com


• The Authors Guild is investigating Silver Ink Literary Agency in response to several complaints from authors of receiving letters that Silver Ink sent on behalf of the Authors Guild to solicit book proposals. The scam letters falsely state that the Authors Guild and leading publishers have formed a task force to solicit book proposals, with Silver Ink acting as an agent, and ask for contributions toward the service's cost.

    The scam letters falsely state that the Authors Guild and leading publishers have formed a task force to solicit book proposals, with Silver Ink acting as an agent, and ask for contributions toward the service's cost. Some authors have reported paying thousands of dollars to the scammers on the promise of publishing their books.

Spotting Scams & Bad Deals Jane Friedman, YouTube video, 7-16-23, 1 hr, 16 min.) Jane covers bad publishers, unscrupulous agents, scammy contests, deceptive review services, and ineffective marketing and publicity schemes. She talks about outright scams, especially in self-publishing, but she also discusses low-quality but expensive offerings that might promise success but mostly deliver disappointment. Jane helps you learn to identify and avoid predatory actors within the publishing community. Check out chart at minute 35. Read transcript here
Beware Bait and Switch Scams (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware, 8-5-22) Michael, with Apraxia, wants to hire you... And encloses a check. (Which will bounce.)
Alert: Scammers Impersonating Video Streaming Services With Fake Job Offers (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware, 3-24-23)
Writer Beware's up-to-date list of writing-and-publishing scams
Beware of Publishing Scams (Authors Guild) Scammers impersonating legitimate publishers and agents, claiming to be a Hachette employee (who could get you published), approaching you out of the blue with incredible opportunities; [publishers] charging you a fee to read your manuscript.

How Predatory Companies Are Trying to Hijack Your Publisher Search, Part 1 (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware, 7-26-18) A good rule of thumb: real publishers don't buy Google ads. Be skeptical in general of any resource that claims to list the Top Anything... And Part 2 (6-20-19) How ads for Random House and Simon & Schuster may take you to high-priced vanity press Austin Macauley.

Preditors and Editors trying to recover from a blow An advice and warning site, now on Facebook only, while it recovers from "a catastrophic server crash" (in 2021?) and tries to regroup.
How The Author Solutions Scam Works (David Gaughran, 3-8-21) The more you study an operation like Author Solutions, the more it resembles a two-bit internet scam, except on a colossal scale. Scammers work on percentages. They know that only a tiny fraction of people will get hoodwinked so they flood the world’s inboxes with spammy junk. (494 comments, and counting) Read this even if you are unlikely to fall for this racket, so you can recognize the symptoms when a fellow writer describes their new "publisher."
How to Spot, and Avoid, “Pay to Play” Publishing Contracts (Susan Spann, Writer Unboxed, 3-27-17) In a traditional publishing deal the publisher, not the author, pays the publishing and distribution costs. Beware: “pay to play” terms sometimes lurk in the royalty language, too.
Vanity and The Media (David Gaughran, 7-31-18) "Some vanity presses are very good at crafting a veneer of legitimacy, one which can be very convincing to those starting out. Infamous vanity press conglomerate Author Solutions figured this out very early on, creating partnerships with Penguin, Harlequin, Writer’s Digest, Random House, HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson, Hay House, Reader’s Digest, Lulu, and Barnes & Noble.These partnerships served two purposes. First, they delivered an endless stream of victims directly from the companies themselves who would refer business to Author Solutions in return for a cut. Second, they helped Author Solutions whitewash its past, acting as a reputational fig leaf, hiding its seamy nature until it was too late. Gaughran has written many posts about these scams. Google his name and the name of a firm offering you a deal too good to be true, or just Gaughran and "publishing scams" and be warned.
Authors Guild Dumps Author Solutions (And Pretends It Was All A Bad Dream) (David Gaughran, 5-29-15) "Like many of the companies under the Author Solutions umbrella, service levels didn’t truly degrade to their current, awful standards until iUniverse was purchased by Author Solutions in 2007 – a trend clearly visible when Author Solutions purchased other competitors like Trafford and Xlibris. Watchdogs like Writer Beware saw a huge uptick in complaints as each company was purchased by Author Solutions and the respective service levels plummeted." The Guild was slow to acknowledge there was a problem.
Avoiding Publishing Scams (Authors Guild, 11-10-21) The first rule of thumb is that if someone solicits you out of the blue with an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. View any unsolicited offers to publish or market your books with caution.
Book Publishers to Avoid (and Other Shady Author Scams) (Reedsy) Vanity presses pretending to be traditional publishers, 'literary agents' promising book deals, grossly overpriced self-publishing services, marketing packages that sound essential, and writing contests and awards no one has heard of.
How to Avoid Publishing Scams: An Author's Guide (Reedsy) Be wary of anyone who contacts you first; tread lightly with “publishers” that want you to pay; Google them, look at their books on Amazon (and what to look for); ask people in a well-established writer community; ask questions and see if they turn up the pressure; and if in doubt, walk away.
Why on Earth Is Someone Stealing Unpublished Book Manuscripts? (Elizabeth A. Harris and Nicole Perlroth, NY Times, 12-21-2020) "A phishing scam with unclear motive or payoff is targeting authors, agents and editors big and small, baffling the publishing industry. This phishing exercise began at least three years ago, and has targeted authors, agents and publishers in places like Sweden, Taiwan, Israel and Italy. This year, the volume of these emails exploded in the United States, reaching even higher levels in the fall around the time of the Frankfurt Book Fair, which, like most everything else this year, was held online. The thefts have rattled some once-trusting literati and left publishing professionals unsure of whom they can trust....

     [There are ] "... countless targets in a mysterious international phishing scam that has been tricking writers, editors, agents and anyone in their orbit into sharing unpublished book manuscripts. It isn't clear who the thief or thieves are, or even how they might profit from the scheme. High-profile authors like Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan have been targeted, along with celebrities like Ethan Hawke. But short story collections and works by little-known debut writers have been attacked as well, even though they would have no obvious value on the black market."
The Talented Mr. Bernardini (Reeves Wiedeman with Lila Shapiro, Vulture, 2-4-22) A young Italian is accused of pulling off the book world’s most perplexing crime. Who is he? Filippo Bernardini, a 29-year-old working in the foreign-rights department of Simon & Schuster’s U.K. operation, was arrested by FBI agents at John F. Kennedy airport and charged with conducting a bizarre spree of digital robberies that has baffled the worlds of book publishing, Hollywood IP, and cybersecurity.
Lots of Imprints and Lots of Complaints! Could You Unwittingly Crawl into Bed with Author Solutions? (Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com, 1-5-19) All the names under which Author Solutions does business--they own or are in partnership with.
From the Philippines, Not With Love: A Plague of Publishing and Marketing Scams (Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware, 8-16-19) "Based in the Philippines (despite their apparent US addresses, phone numbers, and telemarketer names) and preying primarily on the elderly and on writers who've self-published (particularly with one of the Author Solutions imprints), these companies recruit authors with relentless--and highly deceptive--phone and email solicitations. Thanks to the pandemic and the popularity of streaming, one of the most common solicitations at the moment is an "offer" to pitch books to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others for film or series adaptation.
"Some of the scams do provide at least some of the services authors pay for, albeit at seriously inflated prices, often of poor quality. I'm hearing from a growing number of writers who've paid five figures in fees to one--or, in some cases, more than one--of these scams, with next to nothing to show for it."

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Attorney General Hunter announces plea agreement in case against Tate Publishing (Kaylee Douglas, Oklahoma's KFOR, News4, 12-19-18) Richard and Ryan Tate, former executives of Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group, must pay $820,000 in restitution to victims after failing to pay and/or publish authors, among other crimes. "The Tates swindled more than 2,200 individuals out of their property and money they paid to have their music or books published or produced through the companies."
The hidden costs of publishing (read this BEFORE you pay anyone to publish your book!) (Creative Indie with Derek Murphy) How to be a creative genius without becoming a starving artist. Good lines ("But for most people, they’re paying 10X more than they need to just to have someone believe in them and tell them they’re a special snowflake.") but is this guy for real or just another scam?
A.C. Crispin on literary scams and Writer Beware's two-thumbs down list of publishers to avoid
Tom Benjey's run with print-on-demand self-publishing (guest post on Writers & Editors blog, 2-17-12) A plethora of companies that call themselves POD publishers or self-publishing companies sprung up to capitalize on wannabe authors. They are a recent incarnation of vanity publishers. Two of them, CreateSpace and Lulu, offer distribution and also operate as POD printers.
POD, Vanity Press, or Traditional Publishing: What’s the Difference? (Kevin Anderson, 9-12-14) A vanity press is like a traditional publishing house, "except that distribution is often not as good, the author pays for publication rather than the other way around, and the rights are taken from the author."
POD, Vanity Presses and Publishing (David Bricker, WBG, 9-24-10) POD is just a printing technology. Lightning Source is a printer. iUniverse is a vanity press. Both use POD technology. Without POD, we’d all be sitting on stacks of books, handling fulfillment ourselves, and praying for the day when we get our closet space back.
Readers Market Scam (Khristina Chess's blog)
Beware of Sharks in Publisher's Clothing (Judith Briles, The Book Designer, 3-1-17) Featuring Tate Publishing, and it tells you what to Google to find signs of trouble for any particular "self" publisher.
Quality v Budget: The Tension of Indie Publishing (Darcy Pattison, Indie Kids Books, 11-17-21) Contains an excellent graphic contrasting the part of your career self-publishing children's books when Budget Rules (beginning illustrator, POD printing, DIY marketing) and the part when Quality Rules (interior illustrations by an experienced illustrator, offset printing, and more powerful marketing).

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The Perils of Author Mills (Victoria Straus, first published in Romance Writers Report, 2010) 'An author mill turns the basic publishing equation on its head. Instead of selectively acquiring a limited catalog of books and seeking to sell large numbers of every title, as commercial publishers do, an author mill acquires a large catalog of writers, expecting to sell only a few books from each. Unlike vanity publishers, or self-publishing services such as AuthorHouse or Lulu, author mills present themselves as “traditional” publishers. They don’t charge upfront fees, and claim to be selective. Some, like Maria’s publisher, even pay a tiny symbolic advance. In reality, though, the business models are much the same....In the quest for publication, writers can be their own worst enemies. Author mills (along with the many other schemes and scams aimed at writers) thrive on frustration, desperation, and ignorance. Writers need to be alert, to stay informed–and to research publishers before submitting, not after, so that their judgment won’t be compromised by the thrill of a quick acceptance.'
13 Dangers Of Working With an Author Mill (And How to Spot and Avoid Them) (Writer's Relief, 2-14-19) Generally speaking, an author mill is a book factory that spews out as many titles as possible in small batches, with poor production quality, in order to make a profit off the writers. Author mills take advantage of new and unpublished writers, especially those writing poetry, novels, self-help, memoir, narrative nonfiction, and, in scholarly circles, "paper mills," which cater to academic authors who need to show they've published in "peer-reviewed journals to advance (see Predatory Open Access Publishers).

22 Signs That So-Called “Publisher” is an Author Mill (Angela Hoy, Writers Weekly, 5-21-16) An 'Author Mill is any so-called publisher, “free” or not, that sucks as many authors into their virtual doors as they can, while squeezing as much money out of each author as they can. The quantity of authors they bring in, not the quality of the books, is their priority because the majority of their revenues come from fees charged to authors, not from book sales.' Read up on "the signs" you're becoming a sucker.
The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science (Holly Else & Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 3-23-21) Some publishers say they are battling industrialized cheating. A Nature analysis examines the 'paper mill' problem — and how editors are trying to cope. Paper mills have spread from students to scientific professionals.
The Difference between Professional Ghostwriting and Author Mills (Shiloh Walker on Jami Gold's blog,2-28-19) The ghostwriting version of author mills. Packagers/author mill types emphasize speed.
Author Mill (Wikipedia) and Author Mills and a Request for Contact (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware). Writes Strauss: "Unlike vanity publishers or self-publishing services, author mills don’t charge upfront fees–-which is why they can convincingly present themselves as 'real' publishers–-but they often do their best to turn their authors into customers, heavily encouraging them to buy their own books, or incentivizing self-purchases with special offers and discounts." The best examples of author mills: PublishAmerica and Omniscriptum (formerly VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller) (an "academic author mill"). What allows them to thrive: minimal editorial gatekeeping, low production costs (acquiring,editing, designing the book -- how you give them the book is how it's printed), low set-up charges for reproducing the book, high cover prices, minimal marketing, a predictable number of sales to author and author's family and friends. The author doesn't pay up front but at the back end, buying expensive copies of his own book.
• The largest Vanity Press of them all, Author Solutions, owns Author House, IUniverse, Xlibris and Trafford, writes Ron Pramschufer, of RJ Communications. Self-publishing and vanity publishing are NOT the same! Do your homework, and watch your wallet. See Will Author Solutions Case Go Class Action? (Andrew Albanese, PW, 5-18-15) "First filed in spring of 2013, the initial suit alleged that Author Solutions misrepresents itself as an independent publisher, luring authors in, and then profiting from deceptive and fraudulent practices, including 'delaying publication, publishing manuscripts with errors to generate fees, failing to pay royalties, and up-selling 'worthless services' to authors.' ...At the heart of the case is an alleged "deceptive" scheme to lure authors in with promises of sales and marketing exposure, when the “primary goal” is not to sell books, the plaintiffs argue, but to “sell services and books back to authors." See Author Solutions Case Ends With Settlement (PW, 8-24-15) Authors Solutions was sold to a private equity firm in 2016. See Wikipedia page for updates.
Penguin’s Author Solutions Still Poor Self-Publishing Service Choice (Orna Ross, ALLi, 5-9-14).
The Decline and Fall of the Vanity Press (John Doppler, Alliance of Independent Authors, 2-9-17) The growth of the vanity press industry (cancer) "was aided by publishers who eagerly partnered with the worst vanity presses. Simon & Schuster (Archway), HarperCollins (WestBow), Harlequin (DellArte), Writer’s Digest (Abbott Press), and others all funneled unwary authors into the unkind hands of Author Solutions. Those hapless authors were held upside-down by ASI and shaken until the last penny dropped from their pockets. Penguin Random House, apparently intrigued by the jingling of coin hitting the pavement, bought up ASI in 2012. It proved to be a poor decision on the part of PRH. In 2016, after four years of declining sales, they washed their hands of it by selling it to a private equity firm."

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Author Solutions Takes Signing Scam To Miami Book Fair (David Gaughran, Let's Get Visible, 8-13-13). Enticed by AuthorHouse offers like this one, authors pay $3.999 for a one-hour slot at an AuthorHouse/Author Solutions booth at a big book fair ($7,999 for the premium package). "This is likely to be profitable for Author Solutions. In 2011, it had over 50 authors signing books, netting at least $199,950. The following year was even better with more than 60 authors participating, bringing in at least $239,940." The cost of a booth: $1,000.
• We take it as a sign that publishing is in distress when a firm that so badly exploits writers merges with Penguin/Random House. (Not unlike Arianna Huffington making multi-millions on Huffington Post, whose blog posters were paid zero.)
Authors: Warning Signs That You’re Being Scammed (Penny C. Sansevieri, HuffPost, 5-21-14)
Authors Sue Self-Publishing Service Author Solutions (Andrew Albanese, PW, 5-1-13)
Self-Publishers Want Millions From Penguin (Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service, 4-30-13). "Penguin Group's self-publishing branch, Author Solutions, cheats writers of royalties and charges them to correct typos in manuscripts that the company itself inserted, three unhappy authors claim in a federal class action."
Book Publisher and Distributor Listings (a big list, with "not recommended" next to the publishers reported on negatively to Preditors & Editors)
Pearson Buys Author Solutions (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware, 7-19-12). "Last March, word went out that self-publishing giant Author Solutions Inc (owner of AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, Trafford, WordClay, Palibrio, and several others, and contractor for the self-pub divisions of several major publishers) was looking for a buyer. Now it has one: Pearson, the parent company of Penguin Group. Will the stream of complaints from authors end, with Pearson as owner?
5 Ways Author Solutions, Inc. Limits Writers & Authors (Seuss's Pieces)

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'Vanity' Press Goes Digital by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (WSJ.com 6-3-10). "Much as blogs have bitten into the news business and YouTube has challenged television, digital self-publishing is creating a powerful new niche in books that's threatening the traditional industry. Once derided as "vanity" titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment."
Harlequin Horizons: Another Major Publisher Adds A Self-Publishing Division (Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware, 11-18-09
BAD ART: A verse-case scenario (Chris Wright, Boston Phoenix) “It’s a scam,” says Charlie Hughes, a self-appointed poetry watchdog who publishes a Web site dedicated to exposing what he calls “these deceptive practices.” According to Hughes, the figure behind the Bards of Burbank (a/k/a the Famous Poets Society) is none other than John Campbell, the granddaddy of dodgy poetry contests. Campbell has been preying on the naïveté and vanity of poets for 20 years — making tens of millions of dollars into the bargain.)
No More Rejections (D.T. Max, Bookend, NY Times, 7-16-2000) "The foremost print-on-demand site, Xlibris, charges nothing for its basic service, but because of the fees it charges writers for things like galleys and copy-editing, its chief executive, John Feldcamp, says the company will be profitable even if it never sells a book. This has attracted the attention of mainstream publishers. Recently, Random House bought 49 percent of the company. Barnes & Noble invested in MightyWords, the best-known vanity publisher of e-fiction. Time Warner is financing a similar effort, called iPublish."

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Ebooks and self-publishing (ins and outs,
pros and cons, how to's and how-not-to's)

The Basics of DIY E-book Publishing (Brian Klems, Writer's Digest, 2-21-13)The 7K Report (Hugh Howey, Author Earnings, 2-12-14). "Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published." He's talking mostly about genre fiction and ebooks, but this is definitely worth a read. Publishers are not giving authors a big enough share of earnings and authors are wising up.
The Authors Guild Guide to E-Publishing, an exclusive Authors Guild ebook (for members)
Indie Authors: Pricing Your Ebooks (Sabrina Ricci, Digital Pubbing, 4-30-14)
What We Learned Publishing 'Digging Into WordPress' (Chris Coyier, Digging Into WordPress, in which authors talk about printing, pricing, discounting, affiliate programs, piracy, etc.). Interesting presentation. Among lessons learned: "If you are confident you have a great book and have enough of an existing audience to give it some sales momentum, self publishing is the way to go." They explain their thought processes and decisions about whether to issue a print edition, how to price a print edition, whether and how to use discount codes, whether to pay for a professional editor, rewarding customers who find typos, handling customer service efficiently, ups and downs of selling through affiliate programs, how best to ship the book (whether to pay for tracking info), whether to create an index, how to prevent pirated versions, whether to have a website dedicated to the book, and so on. Check out their blog Digging Into Wordpress.

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How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon's Kindle: An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook by Martin Crosbie. See also Crosbie’s List of Book Promo Sites (promo sites for your free and discounted books)
KDP Select vs. "Going Wide" — Which Option is Right For You? (Reedsy, 2-27-19) "Of all the big decisions you have to make in your journey as a self-publishing author, one of the biggest is whether or not to enroll your ebook in Amazon's KDP Select: a program which offers authors bonus incentives in exchange for granting Amazon exclusivity." What is Kindle Direct Publishing? What is KDP Select? Pros of KDP Select (going exclusive) and cons (going wide).

       See also Six Takeaways from the Authors Guild 2018 Author Income Survey (1-5-19) "Authors who self-publish with KDP Select and receive the marketing benefits that come with it, such as the ability to offer free books for five days, are required to take part in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and accept payments from the pool for reads through KU. KDP Direct authors get a royalty of only 35% if they price their books above $9.99 (compared to 70% for books priced $2.99–9.99), contributing to authors’ losses and giving Amazon a windfall on books that are expensive to produce."

    Or as one novelist observed: "Many readers don't know this but Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program doesn't pay authors by the book, only by "page turn"-and a measly .0035 cents per page turn at that." (That income comes as a percentage from a pool of works by indie authors, not from a specified $ per page.)

Is Amazon's Kindle Select Bad for Indie Authors? (This discussion on Goodreads raises lots of important points and provides links to many helpful articles. Among points made: Amazon is a few steps away from totally dominating the market (this is both pro and con--that's where the market is, but you are also helping them in their power grab).   

      Publishing exclusively on Kindle Select means you rule out other parts of the market. "They have a $500,000 pot, and all participating authors will share. That means the best selling authors will take their share, and everyone else divvies up the rest. You can't earn more unless the best sellers earn less because the size of the pot remains unchanged."

       If you remove your book from other distribution channels, you lose your ranking there, etc. "Amazon Prime members (the people who are paying to borrow books in the KDP Select program) are limited to one "borrowed" book per month. What kind of lending library is that?" And so on.

      And, from the spring/2015 issue of the Authors Guild Bulletin: "Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service for which readers pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access to over 700,000 ebooks. ...While traditionally published authors whose books are part of KU are paid for an e-book sale as soon as a reader has accessed more than 10 percent of a book, indie authors are paid out of a royalty pool that is split among all self-published authors." (Emphasis added.)

     To which another novelist replied: "Yes, lamentably KU is part of the Netflix et al "all you can eat for one price buffet" for content approach. KU generally produces about 1/4 the profit of an ebook sale. And of course major publishers will not put their content there, so it's mostly populated by indies.  Problem these days is that there are no new readers, just plenty of new books flooding the market, and Amazon is sadly the major platform for sales. I have a few titles in KU just as a means for introduction…but it's not a major revenue generator, more of a marketing tool."

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DBW Interview with Hugh Howey (Daniel Berkowitz, 4-4-16) "Your first book won’t be your best. You need lots of titles out there to build momentum and to hone your craft and develop your voice. Too few successful self-pubbed authors talk about the incredible hours and hard work they put in, so it all seems so easy and attainable. The truth is, you’ve got to outwork most other authors out there. You’ve got to think about writing a few novels a year for several years before you even know if you’ve got what it takes. Most authors give up before they give themselves a chance. It’s similar to how publishers give up on authors before they truly have a chance."
In an indie-dominant world, what happens to the high-cost non-fiction?" (Mike Shatzkin, 4-6-16) Shatzkin argues that Hugh Howey's success won't work for other authors, especially authors of big nonfiction books, the kind sold in indie bookstores (big important nonfiction titles that require big publisher advances to afford writing time to author, for example).
How to self-publish an ebook (David Carnoy, C/Net, 6-1-12). Basic tips for e-book publishing and best options for publishing quickly and easily.
The Missing Ingredient: Quality Control in Indie eBooks (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 3-16-11) It's not just that many indie ebooks are fully of spelling and grammatical errors; it's that there's no reliable way to tell from most reviews whether a particular ebook is a good investment--whether it will be worth reading.
Seduced by the Dark Side--Amazon Select (Diana Layne, Five Scribes blog). Layne reports on the numbers after she posted one of her two novels on Amazon Select. " I don’t look at it as giving my books away for free, but rather investing in promotion to reach a worldwide audience....by keeping the price at $2.99 for a while, I’m hoping to lure more readers into taking a chance on an unknown author." (LOVE that background photo.)
Make Money From Kindle Self-Publishing: Four-Step System To Triple Your Income From Nonfiction Books by Sally Miller
Tips for Self-Publishing in the iBook Store (Mark Koker, founder of Smashwords, 11-3-12)
How to Create Picture Ebooks for Kids (Jane Friedman, 2-23-15)
Picture eBook Mastery , Laura Backes' online course on how to use the KDP Kids' Book Creator software to produce, upload and market picture ebooks on Amazon. To get free video mini-course, go to http://pictureebookmastery.com/yesyoucan.
How Much Does Self-Publishing a Book Cost? (Lindsay Buroker, with
BB eBooks - Developers Working with Developers (for those who can talk techie)

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The Amazon 7K Report (Hugh Howey, Author Earnings, 2-12-14, emphasizing sales on genre fiction) What publishers are doing wrong with ebooks that makes more and more genre fiction writers, in particular, turn to self-publishing. "Traditional publishers only have to pay 25% of net revenue to the author...; self-published authors on Amazon’s platform keep 70% of the total purchase price..." As authors get better at doing the math, publishers may have to offer more generous shares to hang on to authors.
How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books – Real-World Case Studies (Ryan Buckley and the team at Scripted, guest-blogging on Tim Ferriss's blog)
The Amazon 50K Report (Hugh Howey, Author Earnings, 2-19-14) This one is a bit more techie, and is based on one day's sales figures on Amazon.
The B&N Report, Author Earnings) Looking at the the combined effect of royalty rate, sales volume, and sale price on Barnes & Noble sales to see where authors are doing better, sale for sale. Among other surprising findings: "Self-publishing authors as a group are worth more money to Barnes & Noble than a business relationship with any traditional publisher, even the largest of the Big-5."
How to Self-Publish an Ebook (Chandra Steele, PC, 12-8-11).
Bad Math Among eBook Enthusiasts (Tim O'Reilly, Tools of Change for Publishing, 12-5-07)
Why one successful novelist now starts with eBook and then does POD edition (Joanne Penn, read the article AND watch the persuasive video, which is different and adds to the message)
How the e-book landscape is becoming a walled garden (Mathew Ingram, Gigaom, 2-29-12). Apple’s decision to reject an e-book by Seth Godin because it contains hyperlinks to books in the Amazon store is just another example of how the oligopoly that controls the market for e-books is turning the landscape of reading into a walled garden. Should e-bookstores only carry their parent company’s titles? Welcome to the platform-dependent bookstore of the future.
Three mistakes to avoid when self-publishing an e-book (Maria Murnane gets tips from Joel Friedlander)

Five Ways to Recognize a Bad Editor (Popular Soda). With the recent ebook explosion, dozens of freelance editors have popped up, self-promoting, taking payment, and supposedly editing ebooks. How can you tell if you’re getting a good deal from a reputable freelancer or about to be screwed over by a misguided (potentially malicious) hack? Read about five signs of bad editors.

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Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth? (Mark Coker, Smashwords blog, 4-25-12). See Coker's slideshare presentation at Chicago RT Booklovers convention 4-11-12: How Data-Driven Decisions *Might* Help Indie Ebook Authors Reach More Readers . Interesting figures, including: "60% of Top 20 Bestsellers Longer than 100K Words." But readers of romance novel prefer shorter novels, and readers of erotic novels prefer still shorter novels. See data on how price affects units sold and which price ranges are the "sweet spot."

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (Mark Coker, Smashwords, free download)

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (Mark Coker, Smashwords, free

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Is it possible to make a living as a genre fiction writer? Yes it is, says Joe Konrath and tells all, on this blog.
Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath Get a (PDF file here.
eBook Basics and Beyond (Writers and Editors)
Eisler’s decision is a key benchmark on the road to wherever it is we’re going (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files 3-21-11)
So You Think You Can Self-Publish an eBook? by Candice Adams, EditorMuse. See also her Proofreading Ebooks. Good info; varied spelling of e-book.

Ebooks & Ebook Readers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer)
Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing 2016: Ten Steps To Formatting Your E-Book for Sale on Amazon (Or Anywhere Else) by N.J. Notjohn.
EBook basics for authors: formatting (Writers and Editors)
Digital rights management (DRM, access-control technology to limit access, use, and sharing of digital content after the sale of copyrighted material) Page of links on page about Copyright issues)
Ebook DRM Protection: ebook formats & security options (Locklizard) They're selling something, but they also provide a lot of useful explanations!
EBook basics for authors: DRM, or copy protection (Writers and Editors)

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Best book promotion sites for self-published books (David Gaughran, 1-26-22) Boost sales with "promo stacking." Money savers. See also BookBub Ads – What the FAQ? and 9 Ways To Unleash The Power of Free
New Service for Authors Seeking to Self-Publish E-Books (Julie Bosman, NY Times 10-2-11). The new distribution and marketing service of The Perseus Books Group will allow authors to self-publish their own e-books. "The new service will give authors an alternative to other self-publishing services and a favorable revenue split that is unusual in the industry: 70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor. Traditional publishers normally provide authors a royalty of about 25 percent for e-books. "The service arrives as authors are increasingly looking for ways to circumvent the traditional publishing model, take advantage of the infinite shelf space of the e-book world and release their own work."
Would million ebook-selling author John Locke be better off with a publisher? I think he very well might… (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files 6-26-11)
Estributors Redux (Joe Konrath 6-27-11,
More to come. Meanwhile, Mike Shatzkin's blog, The Shatzkin Files, is one place to keep an eye on, for this topic.

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Ebook formatting

Reader ratings of eBooks are often lower when the formatting on a title is badly done (often because done on the cheap, offshore). Poor formatting will hurt sales. Many firms and individuals can handle conversion to eBooks. In some cases they can help you find outlets for sales, too. But there are many 1- and 2-star reviews on Kindle because the eBooks' formatting is crummy.


Also, some publishers prefer to make PDF versions because it's a lot easier for them. One result, with the wrong content/format match, according to Luanne Oleas, author of 'FLYING BLIND, A Cropduster's Story', may be this: "The end product can look terrible, with headers in the middle of the page, lots of gaps between words, skipped lines, blank pages, short lines of dialogue pushed to the right margin, etc. In the end, I reformatted it by removing all the print formatting and made it easily translated by XML. It was more suited to ebooks where you don't know what size page or font your end-user will employ."

Articles about book formatting (Kindlepreneur)
How to Format a Book (Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur) An excellent online guide, with sections on
--- Formatting file types
--- Formatting guidelines (how to)
--- Whether to do it yourself or hire a designer
--- Deciding which formatting program to use
--- Picking the best trim size for a particular book
--- Creating front and back matter
--- Rules and steps got proper formatting (headers, footers, page numbers; fonts; indents, line spacing, and rags; watching for widows and orphans)
--- Beautiful chapter openings
--- List of formatting services
--- How to format with Microsoft Word, Scrivener, and Vellum
--- Key book formatting terms.
Book Formatting Versus Book Layout and Design: What You Need to Know (Heidi Thorne, Tough Nickel, 1-15-19) Book formatting only (one aspect of layout and design) is good for:
---"Text-only books with few or no images and tables.
--- EBooks since PDFs usually cannot be displayed properly on e-reader devices.
--- Low budgets since formatting is typically less expensive than book layout.
--- Just the interior pages of a book."

• Amazon will stop taking MOBI files in June 2022 for reflowable ebooks. Instead, authors can upload EPUB, KPF (Kindle Create), or Microsoft Word files. If you’ve uploaded a MOBI file in the past, you do not have to update it. For complete guidelines, visit KDP.
6 Ways to Format an eBook for Publishing (Kim Garst, 8-5-19) "Of all the steps involved in publishing an eBook, this is the stage that many authors find the most stressful and confusing.There are a number of common eBook formats. None of them is better or worse than the others; some are good for viewing on a particular device. The ones you need to know about are:

---PDF eBooks (good for reading on a computer but maybe not on a smartphone),

---EPUB eBooks (the most common format for eBooks, readable on virtually any device – except the Kindle),

---MOBI eBooks (designed for use on the Kindle, or Kindle app),  See note above: No more Mobi FILES!

---AZW/AZW3 eBooks (the newer version of MOBI, Amazon’s proprietary format, readable on the Kindle or Kindle app and on most computers and smartphones).

     Garst explains how to format your Word or Pages doc and 6 ways to format your ebook:

1) Create a PDF eBook (free);

2) Use Calibre (free);

3) Use Kindle Direct Publishing (free),

4) Use Barnes & Noble Press (free);

5) Use an eBook Formatting Tool Like Vellum (for Mac) or Scrivener (for PC);

6) Hire Someone to Format Your Book for You


Notjohn's Guide to E-Book Formatting: Ten Steps To Getting Your Book Ready To Sell Online, Digital and Paperback

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Ebook formatting vendors

Decide which formatting program to use (Kindlepreneur's very useful chart, including information about Adobe InDesign,Vellum, Scrivener, Microsoft Words, Kindle Create, and Reedsy. Others mentioned elsewhere:

eBook Launch

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Self-publishing and print-on-demand publishers/services

IngramSpark, Lightning Source, Kindle/KDP, Draft2Digital, Lulu, etc.
(CreateSpace and KDP merge, etc.)


• If you're going to self-publish through one of the firms marketing to the huge new self-publishing industry, you owe it to yourself to check out a few references that tell you what to expect, so you go into a deal with your eyes open. Luckily, Reedsy has just done your homework for you, with What Is the Best Service for Print on Demand Books? (updated 2-13-19), reviewing the top print-on-demand services. IngramSpark, KDP Print [formerly Createspace], BookBaby, Blurb, D2D. Reedsy compares the four on print quality, royalties, ability to get book into stores, and delivery of print on demand services. When you choose a self-publishing service, be sure to ask about costs: cost per copy, cost of setup, discount, distribution, quality, and shipping.
Interview:Adam Croft on IngramSpark and Amazon KDP Print Problems for Indie Authors John Doppler, Watchdog at the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), interviews UK indie author Adam Croft about IngramSpark and KDP Print challenges for Indie Authors
Kindle Direct Help Page It's well-organized on the screen. Presumably they will help when you get in touch, also.
Draft2Digital. "I use Draft2Digital both to format my books as well as to distribute to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo. There is no cost for those services. D2D takes a percentage from sales so the author expends no money upfront. That's an important consideration for me. I've been impressed with their prompt, personal service (humans, not bots) and easy-to-use formatting (I'm not techie).
     "The formatting process is fairly easy. D2D offers good tutorials and quickly responds when contacted by email for help. Once your book is formatted using D2D's template, you can download a .pdf or .epub file to upload to Amazon.
     "No matter how you publish--traditionally, self-pub, or pay-to-play--the marketing is almost entirely up to you. So-called marketing by pay-to-play outfits are expensive and usually w/o meaningful results." ~ Debbie Burke, crime writer, in online Authors Guild discussion. She gives talks/PowerPoint presentations about them.

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Can I Use IngramSpark and KDP Together? (ALLi, 1-18-23)
What are the differences between IngramSpark and Lightning Source for self-publishing authors? An excellent explanation by David Kudler, publisher at Stillpoint Digital Press.
Can I use Amazon KDP Print and IngramSpark to self-publish? Does Amazon work with ingramSpark? (M.K. Williams, 10 minute video). These two companies need each other and neither likes that, but here's what you can do. (And by the way, Ingram owns Lightning Source.) If you're having a problem with either firm, I suggest you listen to these two M.K.Williams videos, as she covers a lot of issues frankly.
Troubleshooting your IngramSpark File Submission. Why does IngramSpark keep rejecting my book? (M.K. Williams, 12-minute video)
5 most common issues authors face when submitting their files in IngramSpark (& how to fix them) (Formatted Books & Covers, IngramSpark)
The 17 Best Self-Publishing Companies of 2022 (Reedsy). Publishing companies for self-publishers, author services, marketing services.
Why do ebooks look ugly on Kindle? (BookFunnel, the blog, 2022) There are actually TWO ebook formats that Amazon delivers to its Kindles (EPUB is not one of them). Everyone reading in the Kindle app on an iPhone or iPad is seeing a prehistoric format--in the US, that’s the majority of readers. So, when your EPUB passes through Send to Kindle and gets converted into their old, crusty classic format, you not only lose some of your pretty, pretty formatting, but there’s a chance the book looks downright ugly. Everyone reading in the Kindle app on an iPhone or iPad is seeing that prehistoric format. And in the US, that’s the majority of readers. While Amazon Send to Kindle now accepts EPUBs (and will soon stop accepting MOBIs), they have not changed the format that Send to Kindle outputs. Ya gotta read this to make sense of what to do if you have this problem.
IngramSpark vs Lulu – What’s the best for Hardcover book creation? (John Pinedo and Eevi Jones, Kindlepreneur) Eevi Jones: "If you're planning to launch your paper back and your hardcoverat the same time, then you will want to make sure to set this up a couple of weeks in advance." IngramSpark works better for Jones and her clients, who are children’s authors, because IngramSpark offers more trim size choices, including the square common for kids' books. Lulu’s trim size works well for authors using CreateSpace for their paperback book.

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Ack! I found a typo in my book! Now what? (Andrea Schmidt, Building Book Buzz, 6-30-21) Fixing typos in published books. Self-publishing platforms allow you to upload new versions of your book when you need to. With Amazon’s KDP, that process is free. With IngramSpark, each time you replace a file, it costs you $25 (unless you can find one of the codes that are sometimes floating around, or join ALLI which offers an IngramSpark code with your membership). Schmidt is author of Almost Done Writing: Now What? A Guided Workbook for Self-Publishing Authors (Nonfiction)
• Check out Joanne Penn's Creative Penn website and get on her email list. She provides a promo code for Ingram Spark (NANO at checkout) with this explanation: "If you only use KDP Print (or previously Createspace), then your book is available on Amazon but it is not available to the wider print eco-system. Even if you choose Extended Distribution on Amazon, libraries and bookstores can order it, but they aren't able to get a discount." So she started publishing all her books on Ingram Spark and in 2 years her print sales went from 10% of book sales income to 21%. "They have appeared in bookstores, literary festivals, and libraries – and now I'm doing hardback and large print editions, all print-on-demand through Ingram Spark. (I particularly love my hardbacks, they look and feel great!)" Go to Ingram Spark.

     See also Exclusivity vs Publishing Wide For Ebooks, Print, And Audio With Joanna Penn (Joanna Penn, 5-6-19) in which she writes of a "split in the author community" about "whether to publish exclusively on Amazon or ‘go wide,’ meaning to publish on all platforms in all markets." She explains the pros and cons of doing one or the other, in all variations of options, saying, "Some genres sell very well in KU [Kindle Unlimited] and some authors make great incomes by publishing only within KU, but it doesn’t work for every author and every book, even within a popular genre." She explains when KU exclusivity is worth it, when it is not, and why. and she happily publishes with KDP but not exclusively, noting that "You can still publish on Amazon KDP and not enter KDP Select, as I do."
How to Transfer a Book From One Account To Another Account (IngramSpark) "You can have your book in your own IngramSpark account and available for sale through Ingram's global distribution network AND have it in your Amazon Kindle Publishing (KDP) account, as long as you do not use Amazon's Expanded Distribution option.
---If CreateSpace or KDP owns the ISBN or if it is CreateSpace or KDP exclusive, it cannot be transferred.
---If the author or publisher owns the ISBN, the files and ISBN can be transferred to the author or publisher's account once Expanded Distribution is removed and CreateSpace or KDP confirms with IngramSpark support the transfer can be completed.
---If the title has never been in Expanded Distribution, it can be set up as a new title in the IngramSpark account without having to go through the title transfer process.
Guide to 12 Best Self-Publishing Companies (Scott Allan, Self-publishing.com 2014) Scroll toward second half for pros and cons of each company (as of 2014).
What to do if you self-publish through both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark (Melinda Clayton on Writers and Editors, 7-23-19) If you want to use both KDP Print and IngramSpark for paperbacks, explained novelist Melinda Clayton on the Authors Guild forum, you must be careful to "un-check" Expanded Distribution through KDP Print. In this blog post she outlines the steps to take, in which order.

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Lightning Source Turns 20 (Jim Milliot, PW, 11-16-18) “Why in the world are we wallpapering the warehouse with books? Wouldn’t it be better to store a digital file and print a book when there was demand?” John Ingram asked that question, Ingram developed the business modle, and in 1998 Lightning Source printed its first print-on-demand (POD) book. Later they realized they could send a file to a POD partner in another country and avoid the time and cost of shipping books. “If I could tell publishers one thing, it would be to give us a file of every book they have,” Ingram said. “That way, when something happens and a book unexpectedly becomes in demand, we can quickly fill immediate orders while the publisher develops a larger printing plan.” Mike Shatzkin develops that point in The best ways to use Lightning are not widely employed yet 20 years in (Idea Logical, 11-28-18). Publishers are not currently taking advantage of the spikes in sales that occur when there's a spike in interest in a book because of something in the news. "The newly hot book could be in all the shipments to stores that want it almost from the moment of the news break by employing Lightning. In our times, delaying the book’s real distribution into the marketplace by even 48 hours could be the difference between a book that catches fire and one that misses its opportunity." Publishers fail to "strike when the iron is hot" because they're stuck thinking, Why do POD when we have inventory in the warehouse. Selling books instantly is the best way to communicate that a book is "hot."
CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to become one service (1106 Design,8-28-18) What you should do next if you've published or planned to publish, with either. If you published with CreateSpace, you'll have to set up an account iwth Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Books published with CreateSpace will be transferred to KDP. Read the official instructions:*****CreateSpace/KDP Instructions on what to do Before you move, How to move, After you move, and FAQs, as CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) merge.
Watchdog: Ingram Spark vs CreateSpace for Self-publishing Print Books (Giacomo Giammatteo, Alliance of Independent Authors--ALLi, 10-3-14) ***UPDATE: Amazon’s CreateSpace service has now been superseded by its new KDPPrint service. ALLi now recommends using KDPPrint and IngramSpark together to publish your paperback books. For a guide on migrating your CreateSpace books to KDPPrint, read Moving from CreateSpace to KDP: A Simple Guide by John Doppler (ALLi, 10-15-18)

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The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, Ebooks, and Marketing (6th edition, 2016) by Mark Levine (on Amazon you can "search inside this book" and see what you're getting--but no current edition seems available).
Why Indie Authors Should Use KDP Print & IngramSpark Together to Self-publish Paperback Books (Debbie Young, ALLi, 11-15-18) KDP Print was formerly CreateSpace. Details KDP Print and IngramSpark's unique benefits and explains why publishing solely with one or the other doesn't make sense. And "Publishing your paperback simultaneously to both platforms is not as complex as it might sound." And why to use your own ISBN.
What to Do if Amazon KDP Asks You to Prove Your Publishing Rights (AskALLi Team, 8-2-21) Why would Amazon ask you to prove your publishing rights? Which kind of proof is most likely to succeed? How long will it take?
Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services (Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors, Watchdog Desk) Rated as (star) partner member of ALLI; (checkmark) as recommended by ALLI, (X ) as caution, (triangle) as Watchdog Advisory.
Which E-Book Publisher Is Right for You? (Jennifer McCartney, PW 2-14-14)
E-book (Wikipedia's good overview of e-books and their pros and cons)
Experiments with E-books (Jim C. Hines, guest-posting onSFWA, December 2010) A reality check from the world of science fiction; read the comments, too.
My experience: Self-publishing with CreateSpace, Blurb, Kindle, LULU, Smashwords and Peecho (Isis Sousa, Tragic Books, 1-2-17)
What the Shuttering of CreateSpace's Services Means to You (1106Design).

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Accessing Your Application Files with CreateSpace (1106Design, Michele DeFilippo, Publish Like the Pros) If CreateSpace didn’t just print your book, they typeset it as well and/or designed your book cover, read this explanation of what you need to get from them before they stop offering typesetting and design services. A good brief explanation of the difference between your original manuscript file, the "application files," and the PDF files needed for print-on-demand. If you don't know what "application files" are, read this.
CreateSpace vs. Ingram Spark: How They Stack Up (Holly Brady "helping serious writers self-publish"). Very up to date. And do read the comments, which include updates in response to queries. E.g., "CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) are both Amazon companies, so I can see how you might be confused, but CreateSpace helps you publish print-on-demand books, and KDP helps you publish ebooks. Ingram Spark (IS), on the other hand, is a competitor to both. With IS you can publish hardcover, softcover and ebooks." BUT NOTE:
Createspace Getting Out of Publishing Services? Createspace is best-known as Amazon's POD service, but they also provide paid publishing services. Or at least they used to. South Carolina's The Post and Courier reports that Createspace will be laying off staff later this year as it exits the services market. "Amazon's self-publishing service, Createspace, is laying off workers in its editing, marketing and design division in July because the company is getting out of the business of offering services to writers." See Amazon laying off 58 workers at North Charleston self-publishing business (Thad Moore, Post & Courier, 1-12-18)
The best ways to use Lightning are not widely employed yet 20 years in (Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company, 11-28-18) 'The value that almost all publishers now recognize in Lightning was summed up very well by Steve Zacharius of Kensington Books. “We use it for short runs to cover books temporarily out of stock or to keep the book available when there’s not enough demand to do a full offset printing. We also, of course, use it for ARCs.” (ARCs are “advance reader copies”, sometimes called “bound galleys”, which are usually pre-publication samples of a printed book.) But there is another way to use Lightning which only a few publishers have employed so far but which could become one of its most valuable capabilities in these times....'

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Lightning Source Turns 20 (Jim Milliot, PW, 11-16-18) "“In the first few years, the print-on-demand concept had a slow ramp-up, as publishers tried to wrap their heads around the idea of new concepts like ‘inventory free’ and ‘print to order,’ along with a belief that the consumer would question the difference in quality.” But, he noted, as results started coming in and publishers were able to keep backlist titles in stock indefinitely while growing their sales, they began to embrace POD....Lightning Source has also been front and center in the self-publishing boom."

Watchdog: Ingram Spark vs CreateSpace for Self-publishing Print Books (Giacomo Giammatteo, Self Publishing Advice Center, Alliance of Independent Authors, 10-3-14) Charts differences between the two printers CreateSpace and Ingram Spark, and considerations for various options.
Self-publishing 101: Why Indy Publishers are Smart to Use Two Printers and Not Just One (Skywriter, Daily Kos, 1-8-15) On choosing between IngramSpark and Amazon CreateSpace (and other strategies for self-publishing). Skywriter recommends using both CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon, and IngramSpark (Lightning Source), which is owned by Ingram, the largest wholesale book distributor. If you only used Lightning Source (aka IngramSpark for small publishers) as your printer, Amazon would delay selling your book sometimes for weeks saying, inexplicably, that your book is "currently unavailable."
      By using Ingram Spark/Lightning Source as one of your two printers, your book becomes available for ordering at nearly any bookstore in the western world. That does not mean it will be shelved everywhere, just available for ordering at brick and mortar stores.
       "You might be thinking "Why don't I use a P.O.D. (print-on-demand) printer like Lulu?" We use CreateSpace because its parent company is the behemoth, Amazon, where an estimated 60 percent of books and ebooks are sold. Printing through CS means the sale of your book will not normally be delayed on Amazon for unexplained reasons. We use LSI/IngramSpark for reach. Because LSI's parent company is Ingram, doing business with LSI means that your book shows up as 'available' in most brick & mortar bookstores." Lulu does not have the reach of these two firms.

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Lightning Source, CreateSpace, and Ingram Spark (Kimberly Martin, Jera Publishing, Self-Pub.net, 8-6-13) "Since the writing of this article, Lightning Source has stopped accepting self-publishing authors into their system and is directing them to IngramSpark instead, CreateSpace dropped its setup fee for Expanded Distribution, and IngramSpark has announced that they are now letting you choose between a 30% and 55% wholesale discount option."
News Update: Should You Use Lightning Source or Ingram Spark? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-15-13) "Ingram Book Company, the parent company of Lightning Source, recently launched their new author-centric platform for print on demand publishing and print and ebook distribution." Friedlander interviews Ingram Spark's Robin Cutler about the service.
The Truth About Amazon Publishing (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent.org--The Economics of Digital Content, 11-2-11). As a digital publisher, it's doing great. As a print publisher, not so hot. One reason: It doesn't do well with brick-and-mortar bookstores.
The Truth About Amazon Publishing, Part II (Laura Hazard Owen, mocoNewsnet ("healthily obsessed with mobile content"). More about Amazon's lacklustre print sales as a publisher.

Harvard Explores the History of Self-Publishing (Rebecca Rego Barry, Fine Books Magazine, 2-23) What do the editors of Bitch magazine have in common with Beatrix Potter? They both didn’t see the kind of work they wanted represented in the publishing world being produced so they decided to do it themselves.”

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Printers and Printing

Printers, publishers, and . . . (Dick Margulis succinctly explains the difference between a publisher, a publishing services company, a book packager, a printer, a book manufacturer, a print broker, and a vanity press...and between offset printing, short-run digital printing, and on-demand printing. Do not skip this entry!
Print pricing 101 (and related issues) by Dick Margulis

Judging a book by its . . . no, not just its cover (Dick Margulis, 1-6-21) A great explanation of the different elements of the book production process and options, explained succinctly, starting with the difference between print on demand (POD), digital printing, and offset press, with minor variants, etc. Scan Dick's blog links for more wonderful explanations.
Changes in KindleDirect Printing costs FAQ (Amazon KDP, 6-20-23) A pretty steep (40%?) rise in prices for print-on-demand at Amazon.
Offset printing (Evil Hat Productions). A clear explanation of the difference between three categories: Single-copy print on demand (POD); short run POD; and Offset Printing (traditional printing). You get a much lower cost per copy with offset, but most printers won't do it in batches less than 1,000, Evil Hat says. (I've seen printers do 500 copies offset.) Just remember: there IS a cost for $torage, as I've learned the hard way.
Offset Printing Versus Print-on-Demand (Allison Schiff and Alex Daniel, PW, 9-9-16) While the vast majority of indie authors turn to print-on-demand services when it’s time to take their book public – and for good reason – there are certain cases in which offset printing is the way to go.
Price Lists for Short-Run Printing. Gorham Printing's price lists provide side-by-side prices that make it easy to compare the relative cost-per-copy of digital (print-on-demand) printing and offset printing--for books of various sizes and for various sizes of printings. Note that offset printing is done in signatures of 16 pages (this has to do with how large sheets of paper are folded and cut). You'll see from the page lengths in the digital and offset columns that digitally printed books aren't organized by those 16-page units, but if there's a chance your book will one day go to larger printings, offset will be more cost-effective, so you may want to design with page totals divisible by 16 in mind. Offset printing doesn't generally make sense for printings of fewer than 500 copies. Check out Gorham's Frequently Asked Questions, too.
Book printing price and cost example (Lightning Press)
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, 6th Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine (on Amazon you can "search inside this book" and see what you're getting).
Understanding Book Printing Estimates for Self-Publishers, Part 1 (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 1-10-11) Specific items included on a typical book printing estimate from an offset printer. Part 2: How each item is specified when creating a Request for Estimate how to use that language to get accurate estimates from book printers, based on your exact specification. And then Part 3: The Printer's Quotation.

Book printers (Aeonix list, helpful info about printers, including digital printing)
Print-on-Demand (POD) Printers and Publishers (John Kremer's pretty full list on Book Marketing -- with some annotations)
The Top 250 Book Printers in the U.S. (John Kremer)
---The Top 200 Book Printers — A to G (John Kremer)
---The Top 200 Book Printers — H to N (John Kremer)
---The Top 200 Book Printers — O to Z
---The Top 150 Off-Set Book Printers in the U.S.

Printing Your Book (SPAN answers to frequently asked questions)
Printing on Demand (Pete Masterson on the economics of POD printing)
Printing your own book through an offset printer (Foner Books). A useful explanation, though I'd hate to think what a book cover for which one paid $200 would look like. Understand the principle; the prices might be off.
The Printing Process (Ron Pramschufer, Publishing Basics)
Independent Publishers and University Presses (NewPages.com) Rather than do it all yourself, consider a small independent publisher, and let them worry about the printing.

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P.O.D. Secrets Revealed (Angela Hoy, Writers Weekly) A series of critical articles, a common theme for which seems to be: "Most of these firms earn far more from authors than they do from the book buying public!" The format is odd and you may need to skip around but the numbers tell a story.

Dog Ear Publishing has an interesting approach to competition among self-publishers (and subsidy publishers), which might be useful to the those considering various print-on-demand publishers.
Dog Ear lists the Self Publishing Pros and Cons, and in another section makes it easy to compare Dog Ear's prices with various other POD publishers/printers. See Dog Ear Compared with Its Competitors. Here what Dog Ear offers is compared to what other houses offer, and here you can get some practical insights. See comparisons with AuthorHouse (one of the big three firms, with flaws), Book Surge (Amazon.com sales only), Infinity Publishing Service (Dog Ear's chief toughest competitor), iUniverse, Lulu.com ("ideal for a graphic designer who only requires a few books"), Outskirts Press, PublishAmerica(they subtly refer you to the huge amount of online criticism of this company, links to which you can find below), Tate Publishing, Trafford Publishing (in Canada), Wheatmark Book Publishers, Wordclay, Xlibris (the smallest of the "big three" self-publishing companies), and Xulon Press (Christian self-publishing).

These are useful comparisons. Dog Ear makes it easy for you to see what the issues are in the contracts of these firms! As always, it pays to do your homework. You do not want to sign away rights (or say yes to expenditures) without understanding what you're doing.

Read up on various options:
Self-Publishing Basics: Four Ways to Publish Your Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer 10-13-09)
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine. Read this book before you hire and pay a publisher to publish your book. Lulu.com (for example) does not make the list of recommended firms to work with. Read why, and what you should base your choice on.
Print on demand. Wikipedia's entry explains basic principles; see especially POD enablement platforms
Opus is Politics & Prose’s book making machine, formally called the Espresso Book Machine. Option and $$ spelled out.
Choosing a Self-Publishing Company (Ray Robinson, pres. of Dog Ear Publishing, on Writing-World.com)
New Print-on-Demand (P.O.D.) Price Comparison and commentary (Angela Hoy, Writers Weekly, 11-13-13)

John Kremer's list of print-on-demand publishers (a list, unevaluated, which includes subsidy publishers)
eBooks Production and Distribution (John Kremer's list of Ebooks Formatting and Translation Services)
The Publishing Game (Fern Reiss). Reiss's books and articles on self-publishing (she's done it so successfully herself that in her case ASJA reversed its policy on not granting membership based on self-published books. Reiss makes the important distinction between POD publishers and POD printers. With only a couple of the POD printers, including Lightning Source and CreateSpace (which have arrangements with Ingram, a distributor), can you get books into bookstores and libraries--most of which won't otherwise accept most self-published books.
CreateSpace and Lightning Source: Tom Benjey's run with print-on-demand publishing (guest blog, Writers and Editors 2-17-12)
Printing at Lightning Source vs. Create Space—the differences are remarkable (Larry M. Edwards, Polishing That Prose, 4-10-13). The quality of printing is better with LS; CS is better at hand-holding newbie writer-self-publishers. And then there are prices and discounts.
Lulu vs. CreateSpace: Which Is More Economical For The DIY Author? (April Hamilton, Indie Author 3-16-09)
Lorna Suzuki on why she switched from POD to Lightning Source.
BackInPrint.com. The Authors Guild, through a partnership with iUniverse, makes out-of-print works available through online bookstores and the nation’s largest book wholesaler. For most titles, no charge for AG members to participate. Not all books are eligible.
New Model for University Presses (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 7-31-07)
Online Book Publishing (Eileen Gittins, Chief Executive, Blurb, interviewed by Leslie Walker, Washington Post, 5-4-06), transcript
Book Publishing Royalties Compared, for several self-publishing companies (Mill City Press, "empowering authors with 100% royalties and complete publishing control")
Scribd site lets writers sell digital copies(Brad Stone, NY Times 5-17-09)
Practical Tips For Potential Web Printing Users (Ira Blacker, Printing By Design, 5-11-12). Some of the variables to consider when choosing between a web printing company and a sheet fed printing one--and that's a different KIND of "web," by the way).
Tom Benjey's run with print-on-demand self-publishing (guest post on Writers & Editors blog, 2-17-12)

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What the heck are CIPs and PCIPs, ISBNs and ISSNs, ISNIs, LCCNs and PCNs, BISAC, WorldCat, and barcodes
and does every product need one or need listing?


 • A concise guide to book industry product identifiers (ISBN-13 Task Force of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc., IBPA), on EAN, ISBN, GTIN)
Identifier Services For Publishers (Bowker) ISBN, Barcode, Book2Look, SAN, Bookwire.
2D barcodes launch in 2027 (GS1 Digital Link, Bar Code Graphics: US Barcode Authority) More change ahead! The venerable UPC barcode will be replaced by QR codes.


ISBN, ISSN, and barcodes for books

ISBN.org (Bowker) is the official issuer of ISBNs, product identifiers for ordering books in the U.S. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and accurately identify a particular format of a particular title from one specific publisher; that ISBN is unique to that format of a book (that physical format, not the vendor), which allows for efficient marketing and inventory-tracking of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors. Through the My Identifiers site, you can buy 1 ISBN for $125, ten for $295 (the best deal and there is no time limit for their use), 100 for $575, or 1,000 for $1500. If you write another book a couple years down the line, you'll already have its ISBN number. (H/T Marie Monteagudo) Libraries and bookstores use the ISBN for ordering and won't order it if they don't see the ISBN.

    You need only to buy the ISBN; you do not need to buy a barcode. Both Amazon and Ingram generate that for free using your ISBN. The ISBN goes on the copyright page. The printer (Ingram or KDP on self-published books) generates the bar code using the ISBN.

     "You do need a barcode on a print book," says novelist-publisher Maggie Lynch. "You don't need it for any digital products that are direct download. On a physical product like a CD you may want one. There is NO reason to pay $25 to Bowker to create the barcode for you when you can get it created for free. Kindlepreneur is my favorite site, because he gives you a lot of options. However, there are many free barcode generators online. Just Google 'free barcode generator.' "
Understanding When and Why Your Book Needs an ISBN (Chelsea B, Lulu blog, 3-10-22) Helpful, and explains what the various parts of the ISBN mean.
FAQs about ISBNs (Bowker)

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    How many ISBNs do you need? As Maggie Lynch explains, "That is one ISBN for ebook (no matter which vendors you send to), one for audiobook. With Print it gets crazy as you need a different one for each different format (paperback, hardback, large print) or size (if you do one for trade paperback and then another for mass market sizing that's two more) print paperback, one for hardback, one for large-type print. (Members of Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) get a 15% discount.)

     Do you need a separate ISBN for libraries? "The answer is no," says Lynch. "There are many people who choose to have a separate ISBN for libraries for tracking purposes. I have print books, ebooks, and audiobooks in libraries and have never (as an independent author) had a separate ISBN for the library copy of those formats. Big Publishers do this for tracking because they buy tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of ISBNs at once. They are paying less than $1 for each ISBN. Many small traditional publishers do what I do, that is, one for each format--no separate library ISBN.

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      To find out who owns an ISBN, go to Bowker's Find My Publisher Record and plug in the ISBN. The ISBN is generally translated into a worldwide compatible bar code format (which you can get here at Bookow for free).
      You will usually place the ISBN and the bar code on the book jacket, to make it easier to scan books at a store's checkout counter. You will also include the ISBN on the copyright page inside the book (as books do lose their jackets). As a book customer, including a library, you know from the bar-code number on a book jacket that you are getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. (Generally there is a different ISBN for each version (physical format) of a book: the hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audio book--as well as American and British editions.

       If you self-publish you will need separate ISBNs for books from Amazon/Kindle and books from IngramSpark (the division of Ingram that works with self-publishers), partly because many bookstores will not stock books from Amazon but will work with IngramSpark. Amazon has its own product identification system (ASIN). Draft2Digital, in The Surprising Truth About ISBN , explains that there are also vendor-equivalent identification numbers: 
      "When you upload a file to KDP, Amazon will assign your book an ASIN—the Amazon Standard Identification Number. This is a unique 10-character alphanumeric code that Amazon uses for its internal inventory system, and it’s functionally equivalent to an ISBN if you are selling/buying thru Amazon.
     "Barnes & Noble will assign your book a European Article Number (EAN)—a unique 12- or 13-digit identification number that helps with inventory tracking.
    "Apple prefers to use their own internal Apple ID Numbers, and will not display the ISBN even if you provide one."
     See Almost Everything You Need to Know about ISBNs (Laurie Boris, Indies Unlimited, 11-17-15)
ISBN-10, ISBN-13 and ASINS (Goodreads Librarian Manual) When manually adding a new edition to the Goodreads database, "enter the exact ISBN into the appropriate 10 or 13 digit field on the book edit page. Please be sure that the 10-digit ISBN is added to the ISBN field and the 13-digit ISBN is added to the ISBN13 field. It is best if you can list both the 10 and 13-digit numbers, as it will aid in future searches for the book. If only one is listed on the book itself, you can use the ISBN Converter here to retrieve whichever ISBN is missing." Lots of information on this page.
Anatomy of a 13-digit ISBN and of a 10-digit ISBN (Bill Pearce, 8-31-21)
How to Get an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) (WikiHow)

     ISBNs originally had 10 digits; newer ISBNs have 13 digits. Many trade books include both.You can go to My Identifiers to get your ISBNs instantly. And there are apps with which to scan ISBNs and compare prices. 

      As a publisher, if you want libraries to find and order your book, you need an ISBN number to get a CIP data block, issued by the Library of Congress' Cataloging in Publication program. (The CIP data block is that bunch of strange catalog-talk you find on the copyright page of books you check out of the library.) Once you have the ISBN, you request a Library of Congress control number (PCN) pre-publication and get the language to go on the copyright page, so that libraries can find and order the book. Clearly you have to allow time for this in your production schedule.
Preassigned Control Number Program (Library of Congress)

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Who buys the ISBN, the author or the publisher? The publisher (you, if  you self-publish) buys the ISBN (buys ISBNs in batches, for a reduced price), because the ISBN identifies who a bookstore, library, or reader can order the book from. The only time the author buys the ISBN is when the author is self-publishing and plans to fulfill book orders. The ISBN is an identifier useful in marketing and distribution. It has nothing to do with who owns copyright on the book, which is a separate issue. If you don't plan to sell your self-published book you don't need one.

         As novelist-publisher Melinda Clayton explains, "There are companies out there that will buy a huge sheet of ISBNs and then "re-sell" them to authors at a cheaper price than the author can get from Bowker. For example, someone might buy a sheet of 10 for $295, then re-sell the ISBNs to authors for $50 each, which is well below Bowker's price of $125, and the re-seller makes a profit of $205 in the process. The problem is that the publisher of record is the person/entity who bought the ISBN from Bowker, so if you're buying an ISBN from someone else, they're the one actually listed as the publisher in directories such as BOOKS IN PRINT." The ISBN needs to lead a bookbuyer to whoever will fulfill orders. (The copyright leads you to whoever owns rights to the work.)

       Draft2Digital also emphasizes "Make triple sure that you apply the correct ISBN the first time," as it's hard to charge later; you need to apply the ISBN at the time of first publication (it explains why). "Different physical formats definitely do require different ISBNs" ("You cannot use the paperback ISBN from CreateSpace to track the eBook that you upload to D2D"). But D2D discourages buying ISBNs anyway (especially for their editions, presumably).

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       How to indicate price changes: "If you look at the back of most books," says author Richard Babyak, "you will see a secondary bar code extension that indicates price for retail scanners. If you anticipate changing the price somewhere down the road, then use the null code for price bar code extension, otherwise you will have to alter back cover design every time you change the price. An experienced book cover designer knows about all this, but be sure to discuss it." See Frequently Asked Questions About Barcodes (Bowker)
Placing an ISBN barcode block on your book cover (Yaquin Press) Never buy a barcode. You can generate them for free.
Barcodes for Books (Wendy J Woudstra, Publishing Central). Answers basic questions: What Is a Bookland EAN Barcode? Where can I get one? Where Can I Get a Bookland EAN? Do I Also Need a UPC Code? Where Can I Get a UPC Code? Don't Barcodes Contain the Mark of the Beast?
Barcodes for Books: Labels for Book Publishing (Electronic Imaging Materials) “The barcodes found on the back of books are called Bookland EAN or EAN-13 bar code symbols. The EAN barcode is created from the ISBN for the book. Although the EAN barcode is much like that used for general retail merchandise, the numbering system used to generate the bar code for books is different.”
Barcoding Guidelines for the United States (Book Industry Study Group, BISC)

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The AskALLi Ultimate Guide to ISBNs for Authors (Eleanor Pigg, Alliance of Independent Authors, 2-10-20) An excellent list of Q&As. See also, the book: Using ISBNS as an Indie Author

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) (Wikipedia entry) "The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-specific and varies between countries....Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained thirteen digits, a format that is compatible with "Bookland" European Article Numbers, which have 13 digits....Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN. The International ISBN Agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative." The Wikipedia entry explains a lot of things most of us are unaware of.
A concise guide to book industry product identifiers (ISBN-13 Task Force of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc., IBPA), on EAN, ISBN, GTIN)
ISBN Users Manual (PDF, ISBN International)
ISBN for Self-Publishers: The Complete Guide (Reedsy, 5-2-18) An excellent overview, including How to read an ISBN, how to get one, who does and doesn't need one, how much they cost.
Bowker's Title Set-Up and ISBN Registration Guide (PDF, for ISBNs in US)
Nielsen ISBN Store (to buy ISBNs in UK)
International ISBN Agency
ISBN Converter (Library of Congress)
ISSN FAQs (the "social security number of the serials world"--the ID number for magazines and periodicals (as opposed to books).

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Do I Need Different ISBNs for CreateSpace and Ingram? (Melinda Clayton, Indies Unlimited, 9-24-17)
KDP Print ISBN Options: How to Choose and Converting from CreateSpace-2018 (David Wogahn, Author Imprints, 9-1-18) Why not choose the free ISBN? What about Expanded Distribution? Warning: Converting from CreateSpace.Read this if you want distribution of printed books to schools and libraries.
Who gets the ISBN for your self-published book and why? (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog, 6-2-13)
Register Your Book: The Essential Guide to ISBNs, Barcodes, Copyright, and LCCNs, a book by David Wogahn. See his post on Jane Friedman's blog, Why Self-Publishing Authors Should Consider Establishing Their Own Imprint.

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Almost Everything You Need to Know about ISBNs (Laurie Boris, Indies Unlimited, 11-17-15) One bookstore owner told her "she would only stock books from wholesale distributors like Ingram or IngramSpark (a division of Ingram that works with self-published authors). She gets a better discount and, more frequently, the option to return books that don’t sell. Amazon's’s distribution partners don’t guarantee her a discount or a return policy, making these books a less-attractive shelf prospect unless they see that you have good sales."
Getting an ISBN through a reseller that handles the process for you (ISBN San)
Getting an ISBN and Companies that will submit certain ISBN applications to the US ISBN Agency (Bowker's list)
U.S. ISBN Agency (Bowker) and helpful links (ISBN user manual, how to convert 10-digit ISBNs to 13-digit ISBNs, etc.)
International ISBN Agency
ISBN FAQs (frequently asked questions)
ISBN history
From 10 Digits to 13: Why the Longer ISBN? (PDF, Shauna Kanel, Council of Science Editors, March-April 2008) Basically, they're expecting to run out of numbers at some point.
Who gets the ISBN for your self-published book and why? (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog)
ISBN 101 For Self-Publishers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-19-10) Excellent explanations, as answers to 20 of your questions.
Mythbusting the ISBN (LJN Dawson)
Things You Need to Know About ISBN Numbers Miral Sattar, BiblioCrunch Self-Publishing Blog, 12-10-12)
ISBN LookUp and FAQs (Shelley Hitz, Self Publishing Coach)
E-book ISBN Mess Needs Sorting Out,” Say UK Publishers (Liz Bury, Publishing Perspectives, 3-11-10)
Summary of study of ISBNs and e-books and SPAN's blog response What does the study mean? (posted 1-6-11 -- read these before getting an ISBN for your e-books)

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Your book needs CIP data—here’s why (Glenna Collett, Book Design Made Simple, 3-11-19) "With CIP data on the copyright page, all the librarian has to do is copy it into their computer, and then the book can go right onto the shelf. But if they don't see any data, and they can't find it online (see below), they must create it themselves, and that can take days, weeks, or even months."
Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Program (Library of Congress) A Cataloging in Publication record (aka CIP data) is a bibliographic record prepared by the Library of Congress for a book that has not yet been published. When the book is published, the publisher includes the CIP data on the copyright page thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cataloging in Publication Program Reading this page is an education. For example, you learn that "There is no relationship between the CIP Program and Copyright registration. The main purpose of copyright records is to document the intellectual or creative ownership of a work. The main purpose of a CIP record is to record the bibliographic data elements of a work and facilitate access to it in library catalogs."
Making Sense of Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) Records (Linda Carlson, IBPA, Feb. 2016) A crash course on Machine-Readable Cataloging records—and why they matter. “MARC records create efficiencies in library workflows,” says Cynthia Whitacre, manager at WorldCat Quality, OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). “If a MARC record isn’t available for some items, those items will have to wait to be cataloged before they can get out to the public. So delivery of MARC records with these books is helpful—not necessary, but helpful.” These records are important to libraries. Horne emphasizes that libraries can and do acquire titles that lack MARC records. “In fact,” he says, “the function of a library’s cataloging department is to create MARC records and then usually share them in the OCLC database for other libraries to use.” This IBPA article explains who qualifies for Cataloging-in-Publication Program Membership, how to use Preassigned Control Number Program if you have a forthcoming title that will not have CIP data, and how to get bibliographic information about your titles uploaded to the OCLC’s WorldCat database via a vendor’s Publishers Cataloging-in-Publication records.
What Authors and Small Publishers Need to Know About CIP, PCIP, MARC, LCCN, PCN (Amy Collins, New Shelves, 3-6-16) Once over concisely, to explain MARC: "The MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) record is a computer file containing the PCIP text block in coded form. The file is delivered to OCLC and SkyRiver soon after the text document is delivered to the publisher. These records can be located and downloaded by libraries as part of their regular workflow. The records can only be opened and read by using special bibliographic software which libraries have and most publishers do not, unless publishers are creating their own cataloging for their titles."
Does My Book Need PCIP? (Pat McCurdy-Crescimanno, AuthorMaps, 12-26-11) She explains the differences between CIP (a cataloging block created by Library of Congress and usually found on back of title page) and PCIP (Publisher's Cataloging-In-Publication, a cataloging block created by a trained cataloger at the request of a publisher)>
CIP: What It Means, How to Read It, Who Should Get It (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 3-23-10) "Unfortunately, the CIP program excludes self-publishers from participating, and that applies to authors who have published with one of the “subsidy” presses like LuLu or Createspace. It also excludes publishers who have issued less than 3 books by authors other than themselves.... The good news is that participation in the Library of Congress’ Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program is open to all publishers who list a U.S. place of publication on the title or copyright page, and who maintain an office inside the U.S. where they can answer questions from the catalogers. And once you have a PCN you can pay for your own CIP to be created. CIP data blocks created by the Library of Congress are known as LC-CIP. Those created by a publisher, or by a third party on behalf of a publisher, are known as P-CIP." This provides an excellent explanation of the various parts of the datablock you find on a book's copyright page.

       If you are a self-publisher, it may be easiest to hire a company (for $80 to $100) to create a publisher cataloging in publication (PCIP) block for you (those blocks of data typically found on the copyright page, on the back of the title page, in library books).

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LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number and PCN (Preassigned Control Number)
Anatomy of a Library of Congress Call Number (Online Library Learning Center). A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. See FAQs about the Library's collections and services
Authors: How to Get Your LCCN, or Library of Congress Catalog Control Number (Judith Briles, Author U) This is the number that any library you are pitching your book to wants to know you have. You must have your ISBN to get your LCCN, but it only takes a couple of days to get it, via email, and it's free. Instructions on the two-step process. The wise author applies for the LCCN before the book is printed.
What is an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number)? (Go-Publish-Yourself.com) Unlike an ISBN, the LCCN is assigned to the work itself and doesn’t change with each new edition or version. What is the difference between a Library of Congress Card Number, a Library of Congress Control Number, and a Preassigned Control Number? Check out Frequently Asked Questions (Library of Congress). "Unlike an ISBN, the LCCN is assigned to the work itself and doesn’t change with each new edition or version."
Preassigned Control Number (PCN) Program assigns a Library of Congress Control Number to titles most likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress as well as some other categories of books. Not to be confused with the Cataloging in Publication (CIP) program, which creates bibliographic records for forthcoming books most likely to be widely acquired by U.S. libraries. See Library of Congress FAQs.
Self-Publishers May Want to Try For Library of Congress Cataloging (RJ Crayton, Indies Unlimited, 1-25-16) Does a good job explaining how to get an LCCN for a self-published book or any book that does not qualify for the CIP program:
Get a Library of Congress Number for Your Book (Stories to Tell, Self-Publishing for Independent Authors)

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BISAC Subject Headings

BISAC and BIC refer to the systems of American and British "categories" on the backs of books, also called Subject Headings by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). The same categories appear in the copy for cataloguing often found on the copyright page of traditionally published books. For more detailed answers to frequently asked questions, see the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) tutorial. Here is a tutorial and FAQ and here are the BISAC subject headings. Click on a heading to find subheadings. Then go talk to a local bookseller for tips on how labels for your book might be helpful. They're the ones who have to figure out where in the bookstore to put the darned books!
BISAC Subject Codes (Book Industry Study Group, or BISG) "The BISAC Subject Headings List, also known as the BISAC Subject Codes List, is a standard used by many companies throughout the supply chain to categorize books based on topical content. The Subject Heading applied to a book can determine where the work is shelved in a brick and mortar store or the genre(s) under which it can be searched for in an internal database. The complete BISAC Subject Headings List is available online at no cost for one-to-one look-up." See, for example, the BISAC Subject Headings List, Fiction and The Complete List (including nonfiction topics). See Selecting a BISAC Code.

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ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier--the ISO certified global standard number for identifying the millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution, including researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, and more)
YouTube to start issuing ISNI numbers to creators (Chris Cooke, Complete Music Update.com, 1-23-18) YouTube has become a registration agency for the International Standard Name Identifier system, which means it will now start requesting and issuing ISNI codes from and to any creators who publish content via the video platform, including musicians and songwriters. The ISNI code makes it easier for distribution and publishing platforms to identify which exact people were involved in any one piece of content, which helps with attribution and royalty payments. Other similar standards systems already exist in music for identifying specific performers and writers. In particular the IPN (International Performer Name) system for artists, and the IPI (Interested Party Information) system which is used by the music publishing sector and its collecting societies to identify songwriters, composers, arrangers and publishers.
Name identification using the ISNI: An interview with Laura Dawson (Todd A. Carpenter, Scholarly Kitchen, 3-12-14)

WorldCat Registry, a free global directory for libraries, consortia, archives and museums. To get your book into libraries, you must (in addition to having the right ISBN) register with OCLC, which runs and funds the WorldCat Registry. You must register with both ISBN and WorldCat to get into libraries. I suggest authors who want to get their books into this library database search for their local participating library through this link & asking them to purchase their book. Author/librarian Marie Monteagudo suggests a good place to find other local libraries to promote to: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries. Or send this form (Worldcat Registry) to your library and ask them to join Worldcat if interested. Some libraries don't join because of staffing costs, etc.

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Selling your book to libraries, bookstores, schools

(for both traditionally published and indie authors)


Says a former librarian, "the only way to get any review in front of librarians is through the professional sources for traditional publishing:

  • Library Journal,
  • School Library Journal (SLJ)
  • Kirkus (NOT Kirkus Indie),
  • Booklist,
  • Publishers Weekly).

You can buy a mailing list from ALA (the American Library Association).  Different library systems use different vendors, so there's no one-size-fits-all place through which to sell books to libraries. But libraries are an important market. As author-librarian Marie Monteagudo explains: "SLJ is the trade journal for both public and school librarians and has been for decades, including not only reviews but articles relating to the profession. Having your publisher send your book for a review is a big plus since there's a potential of 80,000 school librarians & 16,000 public librarians who subscribe and read the reviews. That's why seeking out a traditional publisher is so important to your book's sales."



Tweets from a few librarians about vendors:

---"We've got other vendors for our books. Brodart, Ingram and Baker and Taylor. Netlibrary and Overdrive for ematerials."
---"And while this might not be true for all libraries, the library system that I work for does not purchase items outside of Baker and Taylor or Ingram, regardless of how much push there is from the author."
---"...many libraries [especially smaller ones] are not allowed to order from Amazon. If it isn't on Baker and Taylor or Ingram they are told it is not necessary. This is a bureaucratic issue which is hard to overcome, espcially when budgets are so limited." H/T Marie Monteagudo

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If you self-publish, you can pay for a Kirkus Indie review, which won't necessarily be positive, but often is."Kirkus Indie isn't a waste of dollars if you're promoting your book to libraries," says Marie Monteagudo, writer of children's and local history. "They consider [Kirkus] the gold standard of trade reviews. Your potential market is 16,000 US public libraries including branches & 5,000 US academic libraries. Then there's Canada, the UK & others. Who will actually buy it depends on the library's readership and their budget.
     "In addition, your book needs to be available through library vendors/distributors like Baker & Taylor where they receive a contracted discount. Most libraries don't use Amazon for purchases except for buying out-of-print books, replacement copies, other unique books & if the college president requests 'everything out there' on some topic."
     Says a bestselling author whose books are stocked in libraries: "Ingram is a printer, not a publisher, and they distribute. So when you uncheck expanded distribution with Amazon (which goes through Ingram anyway), you can then keep a copy with KDP and put a copy with Ingram as well. That makes it easier for libraries and bookstores to order. There is nothing to retaliate for. This is just business. Very common. It's what I do, one copy with KDP and one with Ingram. No special formatting required for Ingram. I use the same files that I used for KDP. If you de-check expanded distribution also, that doesn't mean Amazon will then order from Ingram--though they could. Sometimes they do--having it both places helps keep it in stock."

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Marketing to Libraries: Reviews as a Selection Tool (American Library Association)
What is the difference between Libby and the OverDrive app? (Atlantic Library) Overdrive, the distributor, has been transitioning to the LIBBY app.  OverDrive offers a growing catalog of millions of digital titles from over 30,000 publishers for library users of all ages. 
Hoopla vs. Overdrive and Libby (Abby Porter, Lynnfield Public Library, 7-21-21) Overdrive, the distributor, is gradually emphasizing its Libby app,which allows you to check out e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and videos. "Hoopla is equally great, but runs things a bit differently. They have e-books, audiobooks, movies, television show episodes, workout videos, and music to check out on demand. You get 10 uses per month and everything is immediately available. You have to read and listen through the app, rather than using your Kindle or iPad, and the selection is a bit smaller. It still has great options..."
Marketing to Libraries: The Library Market in General (American Library Association) Tips for authors, small publishers, and others who wish to reach the library market.
How to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries (Eric Otis Simmons, updated, on The Creative Penn,1-27-22) "There are 2.6 million libraries globally, and they spend roughly $31 billion annually! In the U.S., library expenditures are $14.2 billion a year, and of this amount, $1.4 billion or 10.2% is spent on books! "As of this writing, 156 libraries worldwide have acquired 192 copies of my self-published titles since I first introduced them to librarians a few years ago....When corresponding to libraries, you want to make them aware of
---who you are
---what your book is about,
---why you believe their Patrons will be interested in it,
---where your book fits genre-wise,
---where they can purchase it, and
---how it is doing with other libraries or in the retail marketplace." And more.
How Library Distribution Works for Indie Authors (Maggie Lynch, Self-Publishing Advice, Ask ALLi Team, 4-5-21) Libraries don't buy directly from publishers or authors, but from distributors. So your first step is to get your book into a library vendor catalog, by uploading your titles to the right book distributor.'  In this super-helpful article, with many helpful names and links, Maggie explains how to get a list of libraries, who distributes to libraries, which library-friendly distributors with global reach handle indie author-publishers, what's up with Amazon and Walmart, how you'll get paid, what's up with Public Lending Rights, and what's the best approach to libraries. ALLi members can download a complimentary ebook copy of Your Book in Libraries Worldwide in the Member Zone.

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Book Marketing: How To Get Your Book Into Libraries (Eric Simmons' original piece for The Creative Penn, 6-12-19) "Libraries are another potential channel for book sales and another stream of income. Having a book in a library helps establish credibility with readers, because the book has been vetted and passed a litmus test, so to speak.... If you can get one library to buy your book, the odds are likely others will follow (the domino effect).... Millenials are more likely than older generations to say that libraries help them find trustworth information, learn new things and make informed decisions."
Hold On, eBooks Cost HOW Much? The Inconvenient Truth About Library eCollections (Jennie Rothschild, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, 9-6-20) Ebooks for libraries are really, really, really expensive. And then we don’t even get to keep them. Librarians pay wholesale for print books that can remain in circulation for literal decades, but ebooks are very different in terms of access and in terms of cost. (She interprets the numbers.)
Amazon withholds its ebooks from libraries because it prefers you pay it instead (Nick Statt, The Verge, 3-10-21) Amazon’s publishing arm has refused to sell digital books to libraries....Amazon is again setting its own terms and using its dominance as a major US bookseller and publisher to break from industry norms. But instead of lowering prices for customers, which arguably won Amazon public favor in its antitrust fight against Apple and the major book publishers a decade ago, the company is withholding books from libraries.
What Do Authors Earn from Digital Lending at Libraries? (Jane Friedman, 9-30-21) "Traditionally published authors are paid when their books sell to libraries regardless of format, usually at the same royalty rate that’s paid out for a retail sale. However, library unit sales may not be known to authors, as they’re often mixed in with retail sales on royalty statements. Complicating matters, what the consumer pays and what the library pays for an ebook may not be the same. Digital licenses can be as much as six times the consumer price and they expire.... "One of the most interesting things about the panel with Rasenberger and Dye was the simultaneous chat happening amongst librarians. One attitude—expressed by more than one participant—was that if authors aren’t earning enough from library lending, perhaps they need better contracts with their publishers."

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How and where to get reviews that lead to library purchases
How and where to get book reviews and publicity (and tips about book giveaways)
How and why to get trade book reviews? And what are they? Publishing trade journal like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Booklist are where bookstores and other vendors as well as libraries figure out what books to purchase. You need to get books reviewed early so their copyright date will show that they are "new" books.
Absent Live Events, Publishers Keep Creators and Librarians Connected (Marlaina Cockcroft, School Library Journal, 12-23-2020) Traditional publishers have pivoted with COVID-19, reaching librarians via webinars, virtual conferences and other virtual events (which have been reaching new teachers and librarians who can’t afford the time off or the travel costs of attending a conference in person"),providing access to electronic ARCs through Netgalley instead of mailing physical ARCs (advance reader copies), downloadable kits, teacher guides. Simon & Schuster offered an “ALA in a Box” promotion, where librarians could choose e-galleys or a select number of physical galleys.

       "Events on Instagram, Crowdcast, and other platforms are here to stay, marketing directors say, in large part because they draw a much larger school and library audience online than is possible in person. The focus is less on swag, more on deep connection with readers. Since librarians can tune in from anywhere for free, a broader, more diverse group is engaging and providing feedback."
OverDrive Reports More than Half a Billion Digital Library Loans in 2021 (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly, 1-5-22) The e-book market in both stores and libraries is large and exploding. Among news reported:
---60% of readers accessed their borrowed digital library through OverDrive's popular Libby app, "heavy hitter" used for circulating ebooks and likely to replace the Overdrive app used in libraries.
---School circulation of digital books with the Sora student reading app grew by 65%.
---Public library digital collections enabled 4.7 million books to be borrowed by students for self-selected reading on the Sora app, an increase of 117%.
---400 third-party apps, websites and service vendors integrated OverDrive services, fulfilling more than 15 billion API calls for some 22,000 libraries.
Digital Checkouts Surge in 2021 for OverDrive Education's Sora (Shannon Maughan, PW, 1-6-22)
Book Production: How to Self-publish Large-Print Books (Russell Phillips, Alliance of Independent Authors, 11-19-18) Diversifying formats enables indie authors to reach a wider audience – and large-print books helps us serve the significant number of print-disabled readers who find standard format paperbacks too difficult but still prefer print to audio. As Phillips explains, drawing on his own research and experience, creating a large-print book is not just a matter of increasing point size. His useful post provides a complete how-to list for indie authors everywhere. Amazon doesn't seem to list the large print option on the same product page as the regular paperback/Kindle editions. To find it, click on "See all formats and editions.Many public libraries have large print collections so having your books available in library distributors (i.e. Baker & Taylor) is key. Of course, you’ll need to market to libraries. (H/T Pamela Kelley and Marie Monteagudo, AG)
The Case For Libraries (David Vinjamuri, PW, 4-3-15) "The problem with focusing on platform size is that it measures marketing potential rather than brand strength. Without a unique brand, all the marketing in the world won’t build loyal readers." Libraries are a place to become visible as an author and for books/authors to be discovered (especially by people who do not go to bookstores). How about Amazon? "The inventory of Amazon may be virtually unlimited, but the size of your screen is not." Unlike bookstores, libraries do not remainder books. Studies show that toughly a third of people who bought a book in the last month also read one from the library in that same month, and that over 60% of frequent library users have also bought a book written by an author they first read in a library. Libraries are the most trusted institution in America, librarians a trusted source for book referrals. And libraries need our support.
Directory of Best Practices for Public Library Events (Panorama Project) Based on findings from Panorama Project's 2019 Public Library Events & Book Sales Survey and compiled by a volunteer committee of public librarians, is intended to offer an overview of the best practices librarians across the country have used to produce, market, and host successful events of all types.

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Materially Different: A New Kind of Materials Survey (Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, 3-2-2020, at start of pandemic) As LJ’s materials survey grew too complex, we turned to vendor data for a granular look at what’s selling to libraries. Fiction: According to Baker & Taylor, mystery, thriller, romance, literary fiction, and women’s fiction were the top five print fiction subjects purchased by U.S. public libraries last year, in that order [and a change in trends]. Neither fourth-place literary fiction nor fifth-place women’s fiction is broken into subgenres, but both do well enough to approach suspense titles in number of units sold. Comics/graphic novels/manga makes its appearance for the first time in a materials survey report, ranking seventh in B&T sales. Nonfiction: In B&T nonfiction sales, biography claims the blue ribbon, with history following in second place. That sounds like a lot of serious reading mostly focused on the past, but in fact personal memoir constitutes 40 percent of the biography category. Cooking comes in third.
• 6 Steps to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries (Ilham Alam on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-21-19) Step 5: Ensure that your book is available through library wholesalers Baker & Taylor (US and Canada), WhiteHots (Canada) and Library Services Center (Canada). Libraries can then easily find your book and buy it from these wholesalers.
Early Word Galley Chat (#EWGC), the monthly Twitter chat where librarians share what books they are most excited about. See also Early Word ("The Library-Publisher Connection) Join it each month for GalleyChat, to talk with fellow librarians about your favorite (and not-so-favorite) recent galleys, and seed the market with pre-pub galleys and e-galleys. Also participate in Library Reads (H/T Skip Dye, the VP of library marketing at Penguin Random House, via The Hot Sheet)
Library Reads. The monthly nationwide library staff picks list for adult fiction and non-fiction. See also Library Reads resources Edelweiss and NetGalley, the leading resources for digital advance reading copies, both support LibraryReads by accepting votes for the list, and by making digital Advance Reading Copies widely available to library staff.
Why Writers Should Care About the ALA Annual Conferences (author Jesse Byrd, 7-5-18) "Why sell to libraries?  Most bookstores want a discount (at least 40% off your retail price). Libraries RARELY return books. Most bookstores want your book to be listed as ‘returnable’ so if they don’t sell them all they can send the remaining inventory back to you for a refund." And with libraries there is higher potential for bulk sales: "You speak to a district manager who likes your book. This person has 10 libraries within their district. They'd like 10 copies of your book for each branch...You just sold 100 books via a single contact/conversation....Most of the 16,000 librarians who attend ALA have buying power. A lot of the ones we met had their purchasing Credit Card on them in case they see something they really like."

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How to sell your self-published book to libraries. Novelist and self-publishing guru Melinda Clayton explains: “If you're self-published and you made it through the CreateSpace-to-Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP Print) migration, people should be able to order your book from Amazon. If you chose to use Kindle Direct Publishing's free ISBN and selected "Expanded Distribution," your book should also be available for libraries to order. If you didn't choose to use the free KDP Print ISBN, your book won't be made available to libraries through KDP Print.
      "If you're also distributing through IngramSpark, your books should be available to both stores and libraries. If you haven't also directly uploaded your book to IngramSpark, it won't be there.  CreateSpace/KDP Print and IngramSpark are two completely different entities; uploading to one doesn't put it with the other.
      "In short, if you publish through KDP Print with their free ISBN and select Expanded Distribution and if you also upload directly to IngramSpark, your book will be available for libraries to order. If you don’t, they will have to order it directly from you or from a store and libraries don’t like to do that."

     One further tip from Melinda: "If you use Ingram, you can set it so that the book is only available for you to order. This gives you time to order books yourself to send to review places. Once you're ready for it to be available for stores and libraries to order, you simply go into your settings and select that option." 

Allow at least three months from the time you get copies of your book until your official publication date (including copyright year date), time to try to get reviews (traditional publishers often allow more time). Libraries won't even know about your book unless it gets reviews. And libraries won't usually be interested in buying a book with last year's copyright date.
What is the Indie Author Project? "IAP Library Print Editions is a sales and marketing program built to partner with public libraries to discover and then sell the best indie-published books into library print collections. This program, in partnership with IngramSpark, is provided to those authors that have been selected by our curation partners and library editorial boards and will launch in early 2020."
--- Curated Indie Ebooks Available for Public Libraries through Rakuten OverDrive (Indie Author Project) The IAP eBook collections feature award-winning titles from across the world that are hand-selected by Library Journal, Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA), and a network of hundreds of librarians participating in the IAP’s regional indie eBook contests. This is a royalty-paying program to the selected authors, and it is the latest development in the transformation of deeper mainstream public library involvement in the indie book world.
---Indie Author Project Regional Contests (Ingram Spark, Library Journal)
---Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution (Newswire story)
---Biblioboard and Indie Author Project BiblioBoard is a software company that helps libraries and their patrons Create, Share, and Discover content in their community. We created the Indie Author Project to encourage a strong relationship between indie authors and their local libraries.
In 2019, more Americans went to the library than to the movies. Yes, really. (Dan Sheehan, LitHub, 1-24-2020) Yes, according to a recent Gallup poll (the first such survey since 2001), visiting the local library remains by far the most common cultural activity Americans engage in.
New Leaf Distributing Company. Andrea Jones, author of a Hook & Jill series of adult novels of Neverland, highly recommends New Leaf for distribution of self-published books. "Don't be put off by the New Age theme. They are reliable, affordable, they keep and share clear sales numbers, and they pay royalties on a regular schedule. New Leaf does not require a publisher to have a long list of products, nor to add to that list yearly. The only drawback I've found to New Leaf is that Ingram will not carry their products. If an author has already arranged to manufacture her own book, New Leaf seems to me to be a good resource for its distribution."

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Discover Insider Secrets to Selling Books to Libraries (30-minute audio, Amy Collins, Book Marketing Mentors). Or you can read the transcript. "The foot traffic in libraries has more than doubled in the last two years. Selling books to libraries is an under-served, under-tapped market." The Book Industry Study Group "will tell you that books that are stocked in libraries, 100 units or more, over 100 different library systems or more, are five times more likely to be selling on Amazon at a brisk rate. There is something about having your book in a library that gives it either a nod of credibility, or just the word of mouth that dramatically increases your sales outside of the library." She tells you where you need to have your book listed to have libraries look at you. "...librarians want to know that the book they're considering has been approved by an outside third party... If one of their trusted wholesalers likes your book enough to put it on their shelf or to recommend it to them, they will give you a far greater chance than if you are not listed with those wholesalers." Go to Book Marketing Mentors site for links to more (but not all) interview transcripts
Getting Paid: How Do Authors Make Money from Library Books? (Troy Lambert, Public Libraries Online, 8-18-16) A dose of reality.
Book Marketing: How To Get Your Book Into Libraries (Eric Simmons on Joanna Penn's Creative Penn blog, 6-12-19) Simmons explains in some detail his strategy for getting his self-published memoir into libraries.
Getting Self-Published Books into Public Libraries (Betty Kelly Sargent, PW, 4-10-15)
Self-e (Self-e White Paper, Library Journal) Six Strong Benefits of Supporting Your Local Author Community in Your Library. Sign in and access their other white papers.

• If you are trying to get ebooks into libraries, you can always try Library Journal's Self-e program, says indie novelist Melinda Clayton. "If your ebook passes their screening program, it could become available to participating libraries nationwide (Library Journal's Self-e Select). Even if it doesn't pass their screening program, it may still be made available to your state's library systems. Authors aren't paid for books selected, so this option really works best if you have a series the reader might want to pay for after reading the first book, or if you have a backlist you can use to encourage authors to find and buy your most recent books. I would consider inclusion in LJ Self-e Select a marketing opportunity more than a money-making opportunity."

•  H/T to The Hot Sheet. There are roughly 18,000 library buildings in the United States and 10,000 public library systems. Titles libraries promote to their patrons through various means have been shown to increase book sales to consumers indirectly. Check out Early Word Galley Chat (#EWGC), the monthly Twitter chat where librarians say what books they're most excited about. Three of the Big 5 publishers are shifting "from perpetual access licenses (one high price for access forever) to a two-year metered model (lower prices with an expiration date)" for e-books.
Create Engaging School Visits (Michelle Cusolito, YouTube, Authors Guild, 5-8-18) 80 minutes of excellent very practical ideas for planning and running an engaging school or library program that also meets the needs of teachers and librarians. Michelle gives a quick overview of Common Core standards to help you see how your work dovetails with the standards. Then she moves into practical, real-world examples of successful programs designed to suit the style of the individual author. She also offers tips for selling books, setting reasonable fees, and running Skype visits.

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The Library Market: What Indie Authors Need to Know (Jane Friedman, Publishers Weekly, 9-25-15) Self-publishing success stories are predominantly within genre fiction, where patron demand often lies. And it’s easier for librarians to assess the quality of adult fiction than nonfiction. With nonfiction, librarians need reassurance that someone is vouching for the integrity of the information, as well as the author’s credentials. Some librarians say self-published children's literature has also not achieved professionalism.
9 Steps to Getting Your Self-Published Books into Libraries (Amy Collins on The Book Designer, March 2016) Headlines: Learn what librarians need. Approach wholesalers first. Make your book available on full trade discount and fully returnable. Go after reviews from respected sources (e.g., Midwest Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, any major newspaper, Booklist and Library Thing). Create a plan to increase demand and drive traffic into libraries. Etc.
Getting Self-Published Books Into Libraries (Jane Friedman, 10-1-15)
Marketing to Libraries (ALA Library Fact Sheet 5)
Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Bookstores And Libraries (Debbie Young talks to Joanna Penn, on The Creative Penn, 2-26-15) Among tips offered: Quality standards are critical. Leave behind any sense of entitlement. Booksellers want a 40% (or significant) discount because they need to pay for their store costs, staff costs and all their other business costs from the sale of books. Bookstores generally won’t order Createspace books as they have no returns. Libraries are going digital and you can get into library digital catalogues through OverDrive on Smashwords.
Independently Published and Self-Published Textual Materials (Policy Statements Supplementary Guidelines, Library of Congress Collectons) Guidance to Library of Congress staff regarding: (a) the dramatic increase of self-published works as a significant portion of and change in the book publishing industry, and (b) the acquisition of independent (indie) and self-published materials. (Possibly helpful indirectly.)
Opening Up To Indie Authors: A Guide for Bookstores, Libraries, Reviewers, Literary Event Organisers ... and Self-Publishing Writers by Debbie Young and Dan Holloway (the Alliance of Independent Authors, a UK organization)
Self-published Authors Learn to Market to Libraries (Henrietta Verma, Library Journal, 6-2-14) Many more tips from experts in the field.
Self-publishing and Libraries (Annoyed Librarian, 10-21-13)
How to Sell to Libraries – Top 10 Strategies for Independent Authors and Publishers (Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, excerpt from The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries) Here's Tip 1: "Publish a library-friendly book. Library books take a lot of abuse, so libraries prefer books that are sturdy. However, given the choice between a hardcover and paperback edition, they may choose the paperback because it's less expensive. Libraries generally will not purchase books with spiral or other nontraditional binding, and they don't like books with "fill-in-the-blank" pages. Nonfiction books should have a good index and preferably a bibliography. Librarians also prefer to purchase books that are cataloged using CIP (cataloging-in-publication) data."
And tip 3: "Make sure your book is available through major library wholesalers such as Baker & Taylor and Ingram. The majority of library book purchases are made through wholesalers, and some libraries won't order directly from small publishers."

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Why you need IngramSpark AND CreateSpace – UPDATED (Amy Collins, NewShelves.com, 5-21-16) Main points: Use CreateSpace for Amazon. It does a great job and takes less money for each sale. In addition, use IngramSpark so that your book can be ordered by the bookstores and libraries from the large wholesalers with which they prefer doing business. Use your own (Bowker-provided) ISBN so that you have the benefits of your publishing company’s brand on all databases.
What Authors and Publishers Need to Know About CIP, PCIP, MARC, LCCN, PCN (Amy Collins, NewShelves, 3-16-16) Follow Amy @NewShelvesBooks. See also Product identifiers, explained (ISBN, WorldCat, CIP, LCCN, PCN, LC-CIP, P-CIP, and BISAC headings)
How To Set Up a Price-Specific Bar Code for FREE (Amy Collins, NewShelves.com, 5-18-16)

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Self-publishing children's books

The Business of Self-Publishing Children’s Picture Books: Two Literary Agents Weigh In (Sangeeta Mehta's Q&A with agents Erin Murphy and Susan Hawk, Jane Friedman's blog, 3-4-15) Extremely practical, important advice.
How to Self-Publish and Market a Children's Book by Karen P. Inglis. The key steps to self-publishing in print and as an eBook and how to get your story into young readers' hands.
Lessons Learned from a Decade of Self-Publishing and Marketing Children’s Books With Karen Inglis (Podcast, Creative Penn) Taking the long-term view plus taking advantage of new marketing tactics can help you sell more books, as Karen Inglis talks about in this interview.
How to Make Six Figures Self-Publishing Children’s Books (Darcy Pattison on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-31-21) @FictionNotes A successful self-publishing author discusses the importance of multiple formats, wide distribution, licensing, thinking like a publisher (not an author), networking your way to special sales.
How much does it cost to publish an Illustrated Children’s book? (Ron Pramschufer, Publishing Basics, 4-10-07). Ron Pramschufer's good overall view of the process.
Children's Book Publishing (the traditional route--through major publishers)
Frequently Asked Questions About Children's Books (Ron Pramschufer) Excellent explanations.
The Rewards and Challenges of Self-Publishing Children’s Books: Q&A with Four Authors (Sangeeta Mehta's Q&A with Zetta Elliott, Brent Hartinger, Cheryl Klein, and Stephen Mooser, on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-1-18) What prompted them to self-publish, who they hired to help them, how did they promote, distribute, and sell the books, and more.
What are the differences between publishing a trade book and a children’s illustrated picture book? ( Ron Pramschufer, Publishing Basics)
How to Create Picture Ebooks for Kids (Jane Friedman, 2-23-15)
Picture eBook Mastery , Laura Backes' online course on how to use the KDP Kids' Book Creator software to produce, upload and market picture ebooks on Amazon. To get free video mini-course, go to http://pictureebookmastery.com/yesyoucan.
How to Get Your Children's Book Published (David Henry Sterry, Huff Post Books, 1-10-11). Read this if your secret goal is to make a book that a major publisher will pick up.
Illustrated Children's Books (RJ, SelfPublishing)
Children's Books (JC Publishers, Go for the Gold section, Why children's books, which require illustrations, are poor candidates for print-on-demand self-publishing).
Why Print Rules When Self-Publishing Children’s Books (Karen Inglis, Self-Publishing Advice, 10-27-16) ALLi’s Children’s Publishing Advisor Karen Inglis shares insights from The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference.
Frequently Asked Questions about Children's Books (RJ, Self-Publishing)
• Download a free eBook Publishing Basics
Children's Book Publishing (writing for children) (another page on this website)
Children's Book Printing (RJ, SelfPublishing, with warning about trim sizes from vanity presses)
Making It (Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post, 7-12-09). Chang developed a niche market writing and publishing children's books for travel destination sites.
Publishing Basics newsletter (subscribe and/or scroll through archived articles)

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Blogs about self-publishing

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing (JA Konrath)
Author Marketing Experts (Penny Sansevieri)
BiblioCrunch's tips for self-publishers
The Book Deal (Alan Rinzler, An Inside View of Publishing) Archived through 2017.
The Book Designer (the late Joel Friedlander) See also The Definitive Guide to Author Blogging: 4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success and
Author Blogging 101: How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be . One of the most helpful blogs and sites in the biz.
Book Marketing Mentors (podcast helping authors get their books noticed!)
The Creative Penn (Joanne Penn's London-based blog)
Jane Friedman An especially useful resource.
Indies Unlimited Knowledge Base
David Gaughran (a fiction-oriented blog)
The Passive Voice (a lawyer's thoughts on authors, self-publishing, and traditional publishing)
There Are No Rules (Jane Friedman, Writer's Digest, insight on the future of publishing)
The Well-Fed Writer Blog ("Income-boosting resources for commercial writers") Peter Bowerman, author of The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living and several other items in the well-fed series.
Free Advice Fridays with Keri-Rae Barnum, New Shelves and Amy answer your questions about books and publishing every Friday at 10 am ET. To ask your question ahead of time send email to questions@freeadvicefridays.com.

John Kremer's Book Marketing and Book Promotion
Literary Adventures in POD (Judith D. Schwartz, publishing on demand)

52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-23-10). A clickable list, by the author of A Self-Publisher's Companion
Six Great Blogs for Indie Authors (Betty Kelly Sargent, PW, 2-3-14). Describes The Book Designer, Jane Friedman, Indies Unlimited, The Creative Penn, No Rules Just Write, The Passive Voice.

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Links to other self-publishing resources

There is also a wealth of information and advice available online. Check out some of the links below.
Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors
The Global Golden Age for Independent Publishers Has Begun (Tom Chalmers, Digital Book World, 8-10-16) The larger publishers are consolidating ever more--we are now down to five major U.S. publishers, from six. But the independent presses are also thriving--winning more of the big literary prizes (in the UK, especially), being more in touch with their customers, being abler to capitalize on quickly changing trends, and so on.
How to Publish with KDP (Joleene Naylor, 8-16-13, Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors)
How to Publish on Create Space Joleene Naylor, 9-2-11)
The Ins and Outs of Publishing and Self-Publishing (Mark Herschberg, Cognosco Media) Links to info on book proposals, literary agents, self-publishing (process, timing, costs), editing (sourcing, types, beta readers), book covers (frontcover, color, backcover), book title, book interior (components, layout, typesetting, indexing), physical book (printing, size, paper, binding), audio (production, reading), e-book (formats, process) marketing (pre-orders, pricing and margins, metadata, best seller lists, Amazon description, website, podcasts, local, book launch, press releases, general, selling e-books), reviews, legal (contracts, copyright, liability), distribution, publishing company, financials (advance & royalties, tax) data, miscellaneous. A good one-page list of links. Same or similar material linked to on Writers and Editors website, in more detail.
How to Publish on Smashwords (Joleene Naylor, 10-7-11)

ALLi's Self-Publishing Advice Center (Alliance of Independent Authors)
Bringing Old World Publishing Skills To New World Creators With John Bond From White Fox (Joanne Penn's interview, Creative Penn, 8-6-21). Listen and/or read the transcript.
Big Black Chapters Supports self-published authors of color.
Watchdog review of BookBaby (Giacomo Giammatteo, ALLi's Self Publishing Advice Center, 9-12-14)
Smashwords Commended by ALLi’s Author Service Award 2014 (Giacomo Giammatteo, ALLi's Self Publishing Advice Center, 5-19-14)
Watchdog: Review of Draft2Digital (Giacomo Giammatteo, ALLi's Self Publishing Advice Center, 2-5-15)
ALLi Watchdog: Amazon vs Apple
How to Choose a Self-Publishing Service (Watchdog team at The Alliance of Independent Authors--ALLi)

Legal Issues in Self-Publishing: What Authors Need to Know (Bernard Starr, HuffPost, 12-24-12)
Steps to Getting Published (Author.Pub)
Publishing Service Index (Independent Publishing Magazine's tracking of the popularity and uptake of the various self-publishing services. Kindle has slipped a bit!
How to Print Dyslexia Friendly Books – and Why (AA Abbott, Self Publishing Advice, Alliance of Independent Authors, 3-2-17) For example, use sans serif fonts such as Verdana, 14 point, on cream paper. (Also good for readers with vision defects.)
The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide: Every Indie Author's Essential Directory—To Help You Prepare, Publish, and Promote Professional Looking Books [ by Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent
• Here's something about the process of putting together a resources list:
Curating Content for The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide (Joel Friedlander, 11-22-14)
Goodreads For Authors: How To Use Goodreads To Promote Your Books (Michelle Campbell-Scott) on Kindle

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And Now, the Tricky Part: Naming Your Business (Emily Maltby, WSJ, 6-29-10) and Name Choices Spark Lawsuits (Emily Maltby, "Start-Ups Can Get Mired in Costly Trademark Scuffles With Bigger Firms," WSJ, 6-24-10)

AuthorHouse, complaints about. Do your homework before signing with Author House. On this site are some complaints. See also The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine (on Amazon you can "search inside this book" and see what you're getting). From The Authors Guild Guide to E-Publishing: "When self-publishing first became affordable through print-on-demand technology, a range of author service companies sprang up to provide very affordable POD publishing packages. Some of those earliest companies were AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and iUniverse-which over the years became consolidated into one corporation now known as Author Solutions. Traditional publishers have partnered with Author Solutions to launch self-publishing imprints, such as Simon & Schuster's Archway Publishing and Thomas Nelson's WestBow Press; in such operations, Author Solutions is responsible for providing and managing all services, while the traditional publisher receives what amounts to a kickback for referring a new customer. Despite traditional publishing partnerships, Author Solutions' business is declining and is largely seen by indie authors as a service company for those who are uneducated and uninformed about how to self-publish. Be cautious if considering Author Solutions' services, as they are typically overpriced."

BackInPrint.com. The Authors Guild, through a partnership with iUniverse, makes out-of-print works available through online bookstores and the nation’s largest book wholesaler. For most titles, no charge for AG members to participate. Not all books are eligible.

Barcodes for Books (Wendy J Woudstra, Publishing Central)

The Biggest Mistakes Self-Published Authors Make (Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, with links to five of the biggest mistakes that self-published authors make, along with tips on how to avoid them, Sept. 2012)

BEA: Why Small Publishing Will Save the World. Literary agent Janet Reid reports from Book Expo about the coming artistic revolution. She doesn't know what it will be--maybe an enhanced e-book--but it won't come from traditional book publishing, which is not set up to invent things. Writes Anthony, in Comments, "Essentially, what it boils down to is decentralization and just-in-time (JIT) content models based on nimble movers and shakers that can turn on a dime."

A benchmark event happened today. Mike Shatzkin (Shatzkin Report, 5-17-10) reports on J.A. Konrath's ventures self-publishing his mystery novels--in this case selling e-book rights directly to Amazon Kindle, making publishing history. "Signing up new books for what publishers would consider reasonable advances just got harder. So did maintaining a 25% royalty rate for ebooks." (Authors: expect at LEAST 25%.)
Beyond the Book: Special Media Shift Series (PBS)
The Book Publishing Industry of the Future: It's All About Content (by Felicia Pride, 10-24-11)
5 Reasons E-Books Are Awesome, Even for the Very Reluctant (by Jenny Shank 10-25-11)
How a Novelist Bypassed His Publisher and Raised $11,000 on Kickstarter (by Simon Owens 10-26-11)
E-Book Publishers Must Provide Flexible Access to Avoid 'Media Hell' (by Dorian Benkoil, 10-26-11)
5Across: Beyond the Book: E-Books and Self-Publishing (video roundtable discussion moderated by Mark Glaser 10-27-11)
Is Amazon Short-Changing Authors? (by Jon Peters 10-27-11)
Mediatwits #25: The 800 Pound Gorilla of E-Books: Amazon (an audio podcast hosted by Mark Glaser and Rafat Ail 10-28-11)
What Do You Think About Amazon's Power in Book Publishing? (poll conducted by Mark Glaser 10-28-11)
Why Self-Publishers Should Consider Using Lightning Source (by Carla King 10-28-11)
How Social Networks Might Change the Way We Read Books (by Audrey Watters 10-31-11)

BISAC and BIC, the American and British "categories" on the backs of books, also called Subject Headings, explained briefly. For more detailed answers to frequently asked questions, see the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) tutorial. Here is a tutorial and FAQ. And here are the BISAC subject headings. Click on a heading to find subheadings. Then go talk to a local bookseller for tips on how labels for your book might be helpful. They're the ones who have to figure out where in the bookstore to put the darned books!

Blurb, a behind-the-scenes tour of Blurb's print-on-demand facilities (Vimeo video).

Blurb and Lulu (Eileen Gittins, Chief Executive, Blurb, interviewed by Leslie Walker, Washington Post, 5-4-06) Here's Blurb's website.

Book Construction Blueprint and other articles by Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com). Excellent links to his articles on many topics.

Booklocker, Angela Hoy's company recommended on AG discussion group for handling POD self-publishing

Book1Blog Experts Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow on book self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) technology, with contributions by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier, Karrie Ross, Dana Lynn Smith (The Savvy Book Marketer), and Bobbi Linkemer (How to Write a Nonfiction Book)

Book Publishing 3.0, a video of Richard Eoin Nash's provocative half-hour talk on the future of book publishing. Nash's start-up, Cursor, is "a portfolio of niche social publishing communities, one of which will be called Red Lemonade." Combine Kinko's (which democratized copying) with Netflix (which brings in "if you liked this, you may also like this") and you go from "The 20th century was about sorting supply" to "the 21st century will be about sorting demand" and Oprah's book club. "The end is connection." He also speaks on Surrounding the Audience: Cursor and the Social Publishing Community, or, Apres Le Blockbuster, Le Niche. If that's not enough, read What Does Publishing 2.0 Look Like? Richard Nash Knows by James Turner.

Digital Self-Publishing Shakes Up Traditional Book Industry by Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (WSJ.com 6-3-10),or 'Vanity' Publishing Goes Digital.

eBook Economy (news about and resources for the digital publishing revolution). First quote on deck: "The ebook also allows authors to skip over other hurdles, including the very cold reality that most offline retailers won’t stock a self-published book on their shelves. Though online retailers like the Kindle and Nook stores can still give preferential treatment for major publishers, they’re able to provide a wide swath of inventory from the long tail." ~ Simon Owens, The economics of self-publishing an ebook, on The Next Web: Media

E-books: Where they are going, a compilation of enlightening articles on the subject.

The Essentials New Publishers Need to Know (Fern Reiss, PublishingGame.com

52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-23-10). A clickable list.

Find a Literary Agent or Self Publish: How to Decide (Fern Reiss, PublishingGame.com)

Finding a Printer (Dick Margulis,words/​myth/​ampers&virgule, 12-17-09)

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine. Read this book before you hire and pay a publisher to publish your book. Lulu.com (for example) does not make the list of recommended firms to work with. Read why, and what you should base your choice on.

Formatting. Desktop publishing (DTP), explained nicely by Wikipedia, allows anyone with a computer and page layout software to print and publish readable documents. For a truly professional look, a book ought to be designed by a book designer working with software that can present camera-ready copy, software such as InDesign (Adobe), which replaced Pagemaker, or QuarkXPress. Here's a good explanation on Publishing Basics about why not to design a book using Word. Formatting for eBooks is a different kettle of fish. Here's a brief basics of eBook formatting for authors. Reader ratings of eBooks are often lower when the formatting on a title is badly done (typically because done on the cheap, offshore).

Getting Ready to Publish (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, with a LOT of good basic explanations for anyone just thinking of trying to self-publish -- or become a self-publisher)

Getting reviews for self-published books

Glossary of Printing and Graphic Arts Terms and other helpful explanations in the PressProof Resource Manual. See also Glossary of Printing Terms (Printing ForLess.com).

Hall of Shame. Irked or appalled by a badly edited or produced book? Submit details about it to the Hall of Shame, sponsored by the blog, An American Editor. Check out the first nominees. Send your nominations to hallofshame[at]anamericaneditor.com (after reviewing instructions for submissions).

Handselling 14,000 copies of self-published books on NY subway. Trymaine Lee's story in NYTimes (7-9-10) about reformed criminal's self-help book, hand-sold to a targeted market)

How Amazon Could Change Publishing (Sramana Mitra, Forbes, 5-16-08)

How to Self-Publish a Book (Kelly Spors, WSJ, 8-29-06). Quoting from that story:
"It's easy to self-publish a book, but it's not so easy to sell it."

"I cannot tell you how many people I know that tell me they have 5,000 copies of their book sitting in their garage," says Jan Nathan, executive director of PMA, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based association for independent publishers. "What makes someone a good author unfortunately does not necessarily make them a good publicist."

In Pursuit of Plan B: Dealing with the Reduced Availability of Lightning Source Books on Amazon.com (With a Strategy for Maintaining Profits) by Aaron Shepherd. One of many helpful resources on Aaron Shepher'ds Self-Publishing Page

Is KDP Select Salvation or Damnation for Indie Authors? (Carolyn McCray, Publishing Perspectives, 1-20-2012). Ultimately, whether KDP Select works for you depends on the strength of your sales across various platforms. The pros and cons of the program.

How to create a PDF (Yaquina Press)and other helpful pages from Yaquina Press (for Lulu.com), including Don's Guide to Choosing a Font, When Is Landscape Not Landscape (about page orientation, not gardening), and Lossless vs lossy compression of images.

Information in a Nutshell Radio. Felice Gerwitz interviews experts about writing and publishing (including marketing).

Is Print the New Vanity Press? (Mary Ellen Bates, EContent blog, Dec 2010). Seth Godin, a best-selling author of Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers, is leaving his traditional publisher and plans to distribute his content in several media, including audio books, apps, podcasts, and print on demand. In this young new market, "whether a book is published and distributed by a reputable print publisher or self-published in ebook form is not as important as whether or not the content is immediately available, is reasonably inexpensive, and meets a need," reports Bates.

The last laugh: If self-published authors owned the midlist (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal). Don't skip the comments.

Kickstarter: A new way to Fund & Follow Creativity.For the 9th Annual Year in Ideas, the NY Times Magazine includes Subscription Artists, describing Kickstarter as a form of market research for artists: "At Kickstarter, creative types post a description of a project they want to do, how much money they need for it and a deadline. If enough people pledge money that the artists reach (or surpass) their financial goals, then everyone is billed, paying in advance as you would for a magazine subscription. For goals that aren't reached, nobody is charged." (1-21-11) Writing about Kickstarter months earlier, in A Few Dollars at a Time, Patrons Support Artists on the Web, NYTimes, 8-24-09), Jenna Wortham described the process as "micropatronage," which allows artists and creative entrepreneurs to gauge in advance whether an idea has appeal, and allows microinvestors to feel included in a creative venture. (Thanks to Rhea Wessel for raising this topic for discussion on WriterL.)

Losing the Secondary Business Can Kill You (Mike Shatzkin, 5-23-10, on the changing value chain: e.g., how in the past someone with money got "self-published" through a traditional publisher; changing role of independent bookstore)

MediaShift Your Guide to the Digital Revolution, with PBS host Marc Glazer, has posted a series of Carla King's articles about self-publishing, under the label BookShift. Here are the stories and when they appeared:
Self-Publishing, Author Services Open Floodgates for Writers (3-1-10).
The Pitfalls of Using Self-Publishing Book Packagers (3-25-10)
How to Pair Smashwords and Scribd for Ideal E-Book Strategy (Carla King, BookShift (5-3-10)
Want Your Self-Published Book in Stores? Weigh the Options (6-10-10)
2010: The Year Self-Publishing Lost Its Stigma (12-29-10)
The Advantages of Middleman Services for Self-Published e-Books (3-18-11)
The Easiest, Cheapest, Fastest Way to Self-Publish Your Book (4-7-11, Carla King on using Smashwords to create your own eBook and CreateSpace to self-publish your own print book).
• Carla also speaks on the first of three informative panels at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2010. You can listen to the podcast online: Self-Publishing: Tutorials from the Trenches

Options for Self-Publishing Proliferate, Easing the Bar to Entry (Alina Tugend, Shortcuts, NY Times 7-29-11). Understand the options, have realistic expectations, and understand that, as Mark Levine says, “A lot of people have been told that they have talent, but they really don’t. Everyone has a story to tell, but everyone doesn’t have a story to publish.”

PhotoBook Press (for heirloom-quality photobooks, made with archival paper and Smyth-sewn-signature bindings, which, unlike those from POD presses, which are glued, won't fall apart)

The Publishing Game (Fern Reiss). Reiss's books and articles on self-publishing (she's done it so successfully herself that in her case ASJA reversed its policy on not granting membership based on self-published books. Reiss makes the important distinction between POD publishers and POD printers--only with a couple of the POD printers, including Lightning Source and CreateSpace (which have arrangements with Ingram, a distributor), can you get books into bookstores and libraries--most of which won't otherwise accept most self-published books.

Reference Desk for Publishers, on site of The Profitable Publisher (Marion Gropen's blog for independent publishing community)

The Rise of Self-Publishing: Authors Unbound. Virginia Heffernan (NY Times Magazine, 4-26-10) writes that in the competition between so-called traditional publishing and "microniche publishing" (a microniche being "a shade larger than a self"), "self-published books are not just winning in terms of numbers but also making up ground in cachet....small and crafty can beat big and branded." And much of the stigma once attached to self-publishing is gone, though there is still much chaff with the wheat. Be sure to click on, and read, the comments.

Secrets of successful book covers and titles (filed under Marketing, publicity, and promotion)

Self-Publishing Basics: Four Ways to Publish Your Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 10-13-09)

Secrets of successful book covers and titles (filed under Marketing, publicity, and promotion)

Self-Published Kindle Author Lands Deal in Obsolete Ink-and-Paper Format (Dan Nosowitz, Gizmodo, and be sure to read the comments)

Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab (Motoko Rich, NY Times Book Review, 1-27-09)

Self-Publishers Get Help. Penguin Starts Service as Big Houses See Digital's Potential (Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ 11-16-11)

Self-Publishing Basics: Four Ways to Publish Your Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 10-13-09)

Self-Publishing: Tutorials from the Trenches (free podcasts of three excellent panels on self-publishing presented at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2010). The three panels are
1. Options, Directions and Resources. What does it take to publish a book, and how do you choose which route to follow? Discover your options, from traditional to cooperative to true self-publishing, with industry experts who’ve done it themselves. (Lisa Alpine, Peter Beren, Carla King, and Paula Hendricks) The audio is a little weak on this one.
2. The Nuts and Bolts of Making Books. What does it take to publish a book, and how do you choose which route to follow? Discover your options, from traditional to cooperative to true self-publishing, with industry experts who’ve done it themselves. (Joel Friedlander, Lee Foster, V. Vale, Paula Hendricks)
3. Book Sales and Marketing. Bookstores are closing; newspaper book reviews are almost gone; and online options can be overwhelming. What’s an author or publisher to do? (Scott James, Elizabeth Block, Teresa LeYung Ryan, and Paula Hendricks)
(Click on the link to listen online; right click and save the mp3 file to your computer; or go to Joel Friedlander's site both to listen and to see the names and affiliations of those speaking (one of them being Joel, on whose site I discovered this series).

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Getting reviews and promotion
for self-published books

See especially What's up with Kirkus Indie Reviews?

In a terrific long piece in the Summer 2014 Authors Guild Bulletin, "The Power Is Shifting to the Author," Isabel Howe's Q&A with novelist C.J. Lyons, Lyons says, about the difference between marketing and promotion: "Marketing is building the readership. It's getting the word out when no one has heard of you. It's reaching new readers. That is vital, no matter what stage of your career you're in.
"Promotion is taking something that is already starting to get known and get a buzz, and increasing that, giving that buzz a greater impact. But you can't do that without already having the buzz. "Unfortunately, a lot of publishers just want to do the promotion" and for most authors just list their book in their catalog.
The Essential First Step for New Authors: Book Reviews, Not Sales (David Wogahn on Jane Friedman's blog, 1-30-18) "New authors have no symbolic capital. They are not (yet) known for producing quality books that seduce readers. Is it possible for self-publishing authors to create symbolic capital? Absolutely yes, and many have. In today’s increasing online world of book shopping, it is book reviews that build symbolic capital."
Get Your Print Books Reviewed Pre and Post Publication (Judith Briles, AuthorU) Provides details on how to submit to Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and ForeWord Reviews ("the gold standard in book reviews," which traditional publishers ALWAYS send review copies to) and Blue Ink Reviews. (See also Kirkus Indie Reviews and Foreword Clarion Reviews.)
• Melinda Clayton, author of Appalachian Justice and the compelling Cedar Hollow Series of novels set in the coal mining village of Cedar Hollow, West Virginia, told self-published authors in the Authors Guild that she got reviewed in Book Life, the "back door" into Publishers Weekly for self-published and small press authors. The "unpaid" door. "Many people don't realize small press and self-published authors have an avenue into PW that doesn't require payment and that actually appears in PW instead of on an insert for self-published books." She was also surprised to find herself reviewed in Library Journal. "I suspect it may have been because my books were all accepted into Library Journal's Self-e program." Midwest Book Review also works with small press and self-published authors. "Funny thing is, I was initially with an independent press, but that's not when I managed to get those reviews. Those were all after self-publishing."
The Indie Author's Guide to Paid Reviews (Daniel Lefferts and Alex Daniel, Publishers Weekly, 12-14, updated 3-10-17) Paid review services described:
---Indie Reader
---Blue Ink Review (fairly pricey)
---Kirkus Indie Reviews
---Self-Publishing Review. Choose from four options.
The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages (Partner Press) A Directory of 200 Book Bloggers, 40 Blog Tour Organizers and 32 Book Review Businesses Specializing in Indie-Published Books.
How four magazines you've probably never read help determine what books you buy. (Adelle Waldman, Slate, Sept. 2003) "Look up a book on Amazon.com, and the first media review you see isn't from a well-known book review outlet such as the New York Times or Washington Post but from Publishers Weekly. Scroll down, and chances are you'll also find an opinion from Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, or Booklist. You've probably never read these magazines, even if you've seen their names on book jackets. But they're helping determine what you read. Note: A regular Kirkus review is helpful, but is a different animal from a Kirkus Indie Review (for self-published books).
How to Get Your Self-Published Novel Reviewed (C. Patrick Schulze, This Business of Writing 4-16-10)
So You've Self-Published, Now What About Book Promotion, Part 1 on goals, infrastructure, promotion timeline, publication date, business, and marketing plan (not just hope). (Penny Sansevieri, Author Marketing Experts, 2-26-16). And Part 2 (3-4-16) Some more tactical approaches. Get a newsletter. Reach out to bloggers. Get on Goodreads. What one thing will sell books? Likelihood of being reviewed by NY Times. Check her archives for more on marketing self-published books.
• (Erica Verrillo, Published to Death, 8-14) Mostly genre fiction.
Top 25 Sites for Finding Reviewers (Published to Death, 8-27-17)
To Share with Your Readers: Tips for Writing Amazon Reviews (Penny Sansevieri).
What Every Indie Author Needs to Know About Their Book’s Landing Page (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 12-8-14)
Want to Launch Your Book With a Bang? Then You Need This. (Kimberley Grabas, Your Write Platform, 11-27-14). How to build your following beforethe book deal.
Getting reviews for self-published books (Midwest Review).
Book Awards for Self-Published Authors (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer)
Smashwords Is Now Publishing Author Interviews (Dianna Dilworth, MediaBistro.com, 8-22-13). For Smashwords authors.
How Indie Authors Sell Books (Jason Matthews, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks_
How to Get Reviews for Self-Published Books (Joel Friedlander, Writer's Digest 3-30-11)
How to get your self-pubbed or e-book reviewed by bloggers (Stephanie Lawton 8-18-11)
Download the Universe (a science e-book review site, with reviews by science writers)
Indie Reader (a site that features and reviews books of indie authors)
• Darcie Chan started word-of-mouth on her quiet novel, The Mill River Recluse, by getting the book featured on promotional sites for low-priced ebooks. After lowering the price to 99 cents and being featured (for free) on Ereader News , her sales jumped in two days to 600,000. Sites that promote low-priced eBooks (typically for a fee) include
~ Ereader News (tips, tricks, and bargain books for your Kindle)
~Pixel of Ink (free & bargain Kindle books),
~Kindle Nation Daily (free books + Kindle tips + news, commentary)
~ The Frugal eReader (frugal finds under nine for the Kindle)
~Bargain eBook Hunter (briefly traps free Kindle books)

Paid Reviews: What's up with Kirkus Indie Reviews?

 • Are Paid Book Reviews Worth It? (Jane Friedman, 2-8-16) "Paid reviews are typically segregated and run separately from unpaid reviews, so a bookseller or librarian may have to actively seek out reviews of self-published books. How much attention these reviews receive from the trade, in aggregate, is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure: there’s a ton of competition even just among traditionally published books."

     "If paying for a review consumes all of your marketing and publicity budget, stop. This isn’t what you should spend your money on. You’d see far more sales from spending that money on a BookBub promotion or on other types of discounts or giveaways to increase your book’s visibility.

     "The children’s market is one area where I think paid reviews can make the most sense, because you’re not typically marketing directly to readers (children) but to educators, librarians, and schools."
Blue Ink Review is an example of a pay-for-your-review site. It pays reviewers $75 for a review and charges the self-published author $395 for a review (as of November 2012), or $495 for "fast track" (review to be completed in 4-5 weeks).
Kirkus Indie Reviews Kirkus Reviews has an Author Services set-up similar to Blue Ink Review, and paid reviews on Kirkus may be negative (that is, honest), but you can also choose not to have them published. See How to get your (self-published) book reviewed
The Best Reviews Money Can Buy (or, Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves, by David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-25-12--note 300+ comments) "Twenty percent of Amazon's top-selling e-books are self-published....Mr. Rutherford's insight was that reviews had lost their traditional function. They were no longer there to evaluate the book or even to describe it but simply to vouch for its credibility, the way doctors put their diplomas on examination room walls.
Is a Kirkus Review Worth the Price? (Giacomo Gianmatteo, Self-Publishing Advice, 6-13-14) ALLi Watchdog Giacomo Giammatteo provides a balanced and objective appraisal of Kirkus, the paid review service used by some indie authors who hope it will add credibility to their self-published books – but does it also bring sales?
Kirkus Indie Review vs PW Select (The Business Side of Books, 10-25-12) A "a Kirkus Indie review does nothing to help sell or promote a book and isn’t that the purpose of securing press? It doesn’t help, because everyone in the industry knows it is a paid review and there is no merit behind a paid review. Not only is it a paid review, but the reviews are put on a separate section on the website, like a group of outcasts and the $425 or $575 is nothing to sneeze at. For that kind of money, there are countless other ways for an author to spend their marketing dollars....
      With "PW Select, you’re not necessarily paying for a review. The $149 price tag guarantees you’ll be listed with a bunch of other self-published authors in a pullout section and online. Your book is also put into consideration for review, but nothing is guaranteed."
Kirkus Job Review: Get Paid to Review Books? Yes! (Tom Nathaniel, LushDollar, 12-22-20) Disappointed in that Kirkus review of your book? Did you know reviewers get paid maybe $50 per review? Think of it from the reviewer's viewpoint: "While Kirkus charges more than $400+ to have them review your book, they, unfortunately, do not pass much of this money onto you. In fact, a very small amount of it will be passed along to you, usually in the tune of $50 or so, at least according to multiple reports I read online.
      "While this isn't to be looked at as a bad thing, per se, you do have to remember that Kirkus finds the books for you to review online and they don't expect too much in regards to your review. Remember, you only need to write about 350~ words to get it accepted. And, in many cases, since they send you books based on your reading habits, there's a good chance you will like the book you're reading.
       "However, on the downside, you may read a book you may not enjoy and may find yourself investing upwards of 15+ hours just to read. Then, after you write the review, you could be making a few dollars an hour. This can be frustrating to some."."
Where to Get Self-Published Book Reviews (Self-Publishing Review)  There's a list.


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For more on "fake book reviews":
The furor over 'sock puppet' Amazon book reviews (Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, 9-4-12). For more on this topic see Fake ("sock puppet"), not quire kosher, and poison reviews
The "sock puppet" scandal: How to stop fake book reviews online (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, 9-6-12)
And Why Beholdest Thou The Mote In Thy Brother's Eye...? (Barry Eisler, 9-4-12)

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Self-Publishing: Reports from the Front Lines, special issue of TalkingWriting, a fresh new online magazine. Articles include:
Bound for Indie Glory by Martha Nichols
Dominique Browning: “I Love Skipping the Editor!” (Judith A. Ross interviews the former head of House & Gardening about starting her own blog
Does Self-Published Mean Self-Conscious? (Nikki Stern)
“Half-Publishing” to Respect My Father’s Privacy by Ashley Taylor. It’s Not Simple When Family Stories Turn into Books
The Penny Novel in an E-World by Fran Cronin (a profile of Con Chapman, E-Book Indie Author)

Selling Your Book (Marybeth Lagerborg, Retelling blog). Based on her experience selling her self-published historical novel: "Here is how the sales venues rank for the author: You make the most per book by selling them out of the boxes in your garage, or in the back of the room at events. Next best are sales from independent bookstores. Bookstores keep roughly 40 percent of the retail price, but it is great to support independents, and for them to stock your book and support you. Least best for the author, although necessary, is selling through Amazon. Amazon often sells the book at discount, keeps a high percentage from the sale, and requires the author to ship the books to them, which they in turn ship to the customer. Amazon recoups their shipping cost, but the author doesn’t. An author can actually lose money if shipping orders to Amazon in onesy twosies. The greater the quantity of Amazon orders that the author receives at once, the lower the shipping cost per book and the more the author will make. Still, the convenience of having one’s book available for order on Amazon is crucial for out-of-area sales. And Amazon is critical for offering a Kindle version. Creation of an e-book version is a service that Retelling provides."

Senior authors embrace self-publishing (Diane C. Lade, Sun Sentinel, 12-17-12)

Sites Let Amateurs Be Published Authors Without the Book Deal (Leslie Walker, Technology, Washington Post, 5-4-06)

SharedBook gives individual users and website owners a way to collect and publish their photos, stories and data from multiple sources into a book.

So You Think You Can Self-Publish an eBook? by Candice Adams, EditorMuse. See also her Proofreading Ebooks. Good info; varied spelling of e-book.

So you're writing a book, eh? (Larry James's useful page of tips on where to get things done, such as ordering ISBNs or Library of Congress catalog numbers, finding a bar code)

SPAN (Yahoo) forum on self-publishing (a useful discussion group, with those who've done it advising those who haven't)

Stigma of self-publishingSelf-Publishing Stigma Is Perishing ( Abbie Jarman, Utne Reader, 8-2-02)

Subsidy publishing vs. self-publishing: What's the difference (Moira Allen)
Support for Indie Authors . A support group for authors who choose to self publish, or self publish while searching for an agent and/or publishing company to sign with. Has strict rules about how to handle reviews of your book. Under FAQ , for example, a "bookwhack" is "the art of attempting to push your book into conversations."

Two surveys highlight the “satisfaction divide” between indie and
trade-published authors
. Australian author Karin Cox makes clear how dissatisfied most authors are with their publishers' marketing efforts, which is one reason they are more willing to self-publish (5-26-12)
Catherine, Caffeinated (Catherine Ryan Howard's blog post breaks down some of the results from Taleist survey of self-published authors, many of them romance novelists, apparently, 5-24-12)
Not a Gold Rush – The report of the Taleist Self-Publishing Survey 2012. This survey asked 61 questions of more than 1,000 self-publishers. Their excellent infographics show that
---10% of authors earn 75% of royalties.
---70% of authors format their own book
---41% paid for a cover designer
---29% paid for copy editing
---42% have never changed the price of their book
---56% would rather sell their books cheaply or give them away to get more readers
---42% would rather charge a higher price and make more money from fewer

Suppliers recommended by Dan Poynter (Para Publishing)

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish (an interesting conversation on Christina Baker Kline's blog, A Writing Year)

There Are No Rules:An Exciting Future for Authors (That Can Succeed Without Publishers or Agents) (Jane Friedman's blog, Writer's Digest, 6-24-10). Publishers are cutting back on how much they publish, brick and mortar bookstores are declining in importance, and media companies that succeed will do so by finding how to reach a niche audience, says Friedman. If it's time to focus on the reader (or community), maybe Kickstarter is a practical model, using patronage to "fund & follow creativity." Let your fan base support your serious work.

Thoughts on the Editing Process (Cheryl Anne Gardner, Self-Publishing Review, explains the various levels of editing to self-published authors)

The facts about print-on-demand (POD) publishing

Before you jump into print-on-demand (POD) publishing, do your homework. The following may help get you started thinking through the possibilities and economics of the POD option. You do not need a “POD publisher” to use POD printing. There are many POD printers who will happily print your correctly formatted manuscript as a book for a far lower cost.
       Miss Snark, the literary agent, warns: "POD/scam mills are companies set up to persuade you, the author, that printing your book with their company is the equivalent to having it acquired by a publisher. They charge you money. Unlike a respectable vanity press, they don't copy edit or produce high quality products. They are out to make money on volume. They prey on author's insecurities and lack of knowledge. POD/scam mills are the scum of the earth. Whether a company is the scum of the earth depends on how they run their business, not how they print their books."

       POD (one-book-at-a-time) book costs are far higher than prices for books from large offset printings, so a publisher hanging on to publication for your rights by providing ebooks and/or by printing one-at-a-time POD copies of a book for random orders is not really "keeping your book in print" in the traditional sense. Few readers would pay $22 a copy for commercial fiction they would typically buy in paperback, for example.

      As novelist Bruce Coville explained in an Authors Guild discussion, "All contracts should have a floor regarding ebook rights, requiring a minimum amount of sales per royalty period for the books to be considered still in print. Availability is not sufficient; the publisher should have to be actually selling the books if they are to retain rights." By providing ebooks and POD copies of books, publishers have managed to hang on to rights for books that authors in the past could have more easily been able to get a "reversion of rights" on. Authors who want to make money from publication of their books need to become/remain savvy about all the issues.
IngramSpark and Lightning Source (explained, with costs, by IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association)
Ingram Spark Shipping Calculator Use this tool to determine how much you will pay to print and ship POD orders directly to yourself or to your customers. You can use this to calculate a traditional publishers costs on POD books.
The Profitable Publisher: Making the Right Decisions by Marion Gropen. As one reader comments, "A mini publishing course. A basic guide that demonstrates how to calculate costs and pricing of books in the quickly changing world of publishing, and it offers graphs and charts that illustrate each phase. That's the math part, but Ms Gropen also provides wise advice to err on the side of caution throughout."
The supply chain for book publishing is being changed by Coronavirus too (Mike Shatzkin, The Shatzkin Files, 4-19-2020) "[Traditional] publishers are seeing for themselves that the higher unit costs may be real, but so is the reduction of waste (no returns), the more efficient use of cash (because books aren’t printed for future use), and the instant capture of perishable sales....About a quarter century after its invention, the POD tool that was conceived as a way to keep slow-selling titles from going out of print may become a standard industry tool to capitalize on sudden bursts of consumer discovery. And in the age of digital marketing, those bursts come every day." See Shatzkin's other columns on POD.
POD for Profit by Aaron Shepherd. How to Publish Your Books With Online Book Marketing and Print on Demand by Lightning Source. A good source of advice on print-on-demand.
The New Digital Print Business Model For Small/Self-Publishers (Pete Masterson, 2011)
When SHOULD you use a subsidy/POD/vanity publisher? (Marion Gropen, The Profitable Publisher). In responses, Dick Margulis emphasizes: "PRINTING on demand is a technology, digital printing, that can be used by all kinds of publishers, from Random House down to the individual self-publishing her first book....you can buy print-on-demand service directly from a printer with no middleman. So-called PUBLISHING on demand is a phrase vanity presses latched onto to co-opt the “POD” initialism and suck people into the vanity press business model. The problem is that a lot of people who understand the difference nonetheless play into the vanity presses’ hands by tossing around “POD” without clarifying the distinction between print-on-demand (the technology) and publish-on-demand (the business model)."
     Fern Reiss (whose five books have been successfully self-published) points out that using a POD subsidy publisher precludes many sales or makes them difficult: "by the time you pay the POD/subsidy company, and factor in the wholesale discount that the middlemen require, the price points are too narrow for most bookstores or libraries." (Bookstores generally want a 40% discount and the right to return books.) POD subsidy editing is substandard and although major review media such as Publishers Weekly and Library Journal occasionally review self-published books, they never review POD subsidy books. Digital printing may be a good idea in some circumstances, but you don't need to "sign with" a POD subsidy publishing to do digital printing.
      What you want to do is arm yourself with enough knowledge that you can take advantage of POD printing if it makes sense for you, but not if it doesn't. One way to use it, for example, to create an early version of a book to test on readers, get reactions, and then improve the book (it's like asking people to read a manuscript, but making it more readable and portable for them). Maybe do this more than once. Then use POD to create a test run of the book. Then, if the book seems to have potential, do a regular print run with an offset press. Be sure to protect your rights and weigh the economics of each approach.

Harlequin's foray into vanity publishing of romance novels. Paid subscribers to Publishers Lunch Deluxe got a useful summary of Harlequin's "Harlequin Horizons" self-publishing enterprise, an effort to make money from the romance writers it doesn't publish by selling them vanity publishing. The sharp rebukes from writers included an announcement from Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), which, concerned that the new 'self-publishing' venture's "sole purpose appears to be the enrichment of the corporate coffers at the expense of aspiring writers," declared that "NO titles from ANY Harlequin imprint will be counted as qualifying for membership in SFWA." Bestselling novelist Nora Roberts, in one of 799 responses to a story on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, wrote: "Vanity press is called vanity for a reason. You’re paying for your ego. That’s fine, dealer’s choice. But it’s a different matter when a big brand publisher uses its name and its resources to sell this as dream fulfillment, advertises it as such while trying to claim it’s not really their brand being used to make money on mss they’ve rejected as not worthy of that brand in the first place." Writes SFWA prez Russell Davis: "Already the world’s largest romance publisher, Harlequin should know better than anyone else in the industry the importance of treating authors professionally and with the respect due the craft; Harlequin should have the internal fortitude to resist the lure of easy money taken from aspiring authors who want only to see their work professionally published and may be tempted to believe that this is a legitimate avenue towards those goals."

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Useful online resources for academic publishers and self-publishers (Mary Ellen Lepionka, Atlantic Path Publishing)

Wattpad: What Self-Published Authors Need To Know (Writer’s Relief, Medium, 7-15-19) "For new writers and published authors, Wattpad is a unique way to reach a new audience. Just keep in mind that the work will be considered published by literary journal editors, and that you'll essentially be self-publishing your work and offering it for free to readers."
Web-Savvy Authors Reap Fame, Fortune Sramana Mitra, Forbes (7-18-08) on Elle Newmark's self-published historical novel The Book of Unholy Mischief, launched in iUniverse and picked up by Atria and Washington Square Press.

What advice do you give a writer? Mike Shatzkin writes: "...when we discussed with a leading agent a panel we’re planning for our January Digital Book World conference called 'Stalking the Wild Blogger: Scouting Blogs and Self-Published Content for Fresh Voices,'which is about agents and editors finding authors through blogs and self-published books, he said that is now something that 'every agent does.' He explained: 'it is now the standard way to find new clients.' That means that blogs and self-published books using ebook and print-on-demand models are now part of the overall commercial structure of publishing. They are not something separate and inferior, as 'vanity publishing' was in the past." ~ The Shatzkin File, 8-25-09

What Every Self-Published Author Needs to Know About Taxes (Helen Sedwick, on Jane Friedman's blog, 6-18-14)

***What We Learned Publishing Digging Into WordPress (Chris Coyier, Digging Into WordPress, in which authors talk about printing, pricing, discounting, affiliate programs, piracy, etc.). Interesting presentation. Among lessons learned: "If you are confident you have a great book and have enough of an existing audience to give it some sales momentum, self publishing is the way to go." They explain their thought processes and decisions about whether to issue a print edition, how to price a print edition, whether and how to use discount codes, whether to pay for a professional editor, rewarding customers who find typos, handling customer service efficiently, ups and downs of selling through affiliate programs, how best to ship the book (whether to pay for tracking info), whether to create an index, how to prevent pirated versions, whether to have a website dedicated to the book, and so on. Check out their blog Digging Into Wordpress.

Why I Joined the POD People (Richard Grayson)

When anyone can be a published author. How do you find something good to read in a brave new self-published world? Laura Miller (Salon, 6-22-10)

When SHOULD you use a subsidy/POD/vanity publisher? (Marion Gropen, The Profitable Publisher). In responses, Dick Margulis emphasizes: "PRINTING on demand is a technology, digital printing, that can be used by all kinds of publishers, from Random House down to the individual self-publishing her first book....you can buy print-on-demand service directly from a printer with no middleman. So-called PUBLISHING on demand is a phrase vanity presses latched onto to co-opt the “POD” initialism and suck people into the vanity press business model. The problem is that a lot of people who understand the difference nonetheless play into the vanity presses’ hands by tossing around “POD” without clarifying the distinction between print-on-demand (the technology) and publish-on-demand (the business model)."

Will Self-Pubbing Hurt My Chances? (agent Rachelle Gardner, 6-28-11). Times have changed!

Writing the Book on Self-Help: A Publisher's Cautionary Tale by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (WSJ, 11-13-07)

Yahoo discussion group on Self-Publishing (free, and you can ask questions)

You're an Author? Me Too! (Rachel Donadio on self-publishing. New York Times Book Review 4-27-08)

Printers and Printing

Price Lists for Short-Run Printing. Gorham Printing's price lists provide side-by-side prices that make it easy to compare the relative cost-per-copy of digital (print-on-demand) printing and offset printing--for books of various sizes and for various sizes of printings. Note that offset printing is done in signatures of 16 pages (this has to do with how large sheets of paper are folded and cut). You'll see from the page lengths in the digital and offset columns that digitally printed books aren't organized by those 16-page units, but if there's a chance your book will one day go to larger printings, offset will be more cost-effective, so you may want to design with page totals divisible by 16 in mind. Offset printing doesn't generally make sense for printings of fewer than 500 copies. Check out Gorham's Frequently Asked Questions, too.
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fifth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine (on Amazon you can "search inside this book" and see what you're getting).
Book printers (Aeonix list, helpful info about printers, including digital printing)
Print-on-Demand (POD) Printers and Publishers (John Kremer's pretty full list on Book Marketing -- with some annotations)
Top 101 Book Printers (John Kremer's list of short-run and long-run printers)
Printing Your Book (SPAN answers to frequently asked questions)
Printing on Demand (Pete Masterson on the economics of POD printing) See also The New Digital Print Business Model For Small/Self-Publishers (2011). On 2018 was added: NOTICE: In the time since this article was posted, the competitive situation between CreateSpace (CS) and Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI) has changed. Also, measures by Amazon to discourage the short discount pricing (inherent in this "New Digital Print Business Model" has rendered the strategy presented here to be impractical. Finally, CS has modified their pricing, making them far more competitive with LSI, in spite of their not offering quantity discounts. Thus, many of the figures comparing the two (as digital book printers) are no longer accurate. While I plan to do a thorough re-write of this article, that can not occur for several weeks (from the time this notice is posted).
Print pricing 101 (and related issues) by Dick Margulis
Printing your own book through an offset printer (Foner Books). A useful explanation, though I'd hate to think what a book cover for which one paid $200 would look like. Understand the principle; the prices might be off.
The Printing Process (Ron Pramschufer, Publishing Basics)
Independent Publishers and University Presses (NewPages.com) Rather than do it all yourself, consider a small independent publisher, and let them worry about the printing.
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A head to head comparison of major Print On Demand publishers (Clea Saal, with specifics on royalties and discounts)
Three self-publishers sue Author Solutions (Adam Clasfeld, Courthouse News Service, 4-13-13) "Despite its impressive profits from book sales, Author Solutions fails at the most basic task of a publisher: paying its authors their earned royalties and providing its authors with accurate sales statements. Author Solutions also fails to take diligent care of its authors' works, making numerous and egregious publisher errors - errors made by the publisher, not the author. These errors include errors on book covers, in addition to various typographical and formatting errors. In fact, Author Solutions profits from its own mistakes. Aggressive sales techniques ensure that these errors are corrected only for a fee of several hundred dollars...."
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 48 Major Self-Publishing Companies--Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed by Mark Levine
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing (list of self-publishers analyzed in Mark Levine's book -- includes a list of the best publishers and the worst, and some that are just so-so)
P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: The Most Expensive Packages are JAW DROPPING! Shame on Them! (WritersWeekly.com, 12-5-12) Angela Hoy provides dollar amounts for most expensive packages for black-and-white-interior books at the most popular P.O.D. publishers. Read her whole POD Secrets Revealed series
Whispers and Warnings (WritersWeekly.com and Booklocker forums)

Dehanna Bailee's database of print-on-demand publishers (but, as she says, do your homework before you sign up with one of them)
A Cautionary Tale about POD by Joanne Gail Johnson (Joanne Gail Johnson's experience, with informative reader responses, Publishing Perspectives)
AuthorHouse reviewed (by Mick Rooney, whose POD, Self Publishing and Independent Publishing site offers frank reviews of various POD enterprises)
Writer Beware's "Two Thumbs Down" Publishers List (updated 12-31-11 to reflect closures and name changes)
Can someone explain to me how POD and subsidy publishing works? (Pete Masterson, Publishing Basics)
Five Things Your POD Subsidy Publisher Won't Tell You (Fern Reiss, The Publishing Game; read her on Print on Demand, too)
The Joys and Hazards of Self-Publishing on the Web (Alan Finder, NY Times Personal Tech, 8-15-12).'
Dollars and Deadlines' 7 Biggest Mistakes POD Authors Make--and How to Avoid Them (Jelly James-Enger, Kindle edition)
Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers (maintained by academic librarian Jeffrey Beall. On Facebook: Beall's List of Predatory Open-Access Publishers
Clea Saal's helpful articles on POD:
Is POD for me?
What Is POD?
A chart showing what various POD firms offer (or don't offer) (be aware that "royalties" is a slippery term in this context
Beware of...
Beware: Treacherous clauses ahead
Fee or Free?
Royalties, the R-word
Do's and Don't's 101
Sales Rankings
Library of Congress 101 (CIP, PCN, MARC, LCCN)
Balancing A Promotional Budget
That's a sample of a list of useful articles to help you think through whether POD is for you, and if so, what you need to think about. Clea Saal has done much of your homework for you.

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Goodbye Byline: Hello Big Bucks--The Writer's Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books by Kelly James-Enger. Kelly self-published this book, print-on-demand, and reports on the experience in More Straight Talk (and Real Numbers) about POD Sales (on her Dollars and Deadlines blog).
Five Good Reasons to Go POD (Kelly James-Enger, Dollars and Deadlines, 11-15-10). Here's an interview with Kelly: There are no rules (Writer's Digest 4-18-12)

POD Is Not Vanity Is Not Self-Publish (Miss Snark, the literary agent; be sure to read the Comments section)
Making Books Self-publishing companies are in the business of selling dreams. But what if the dream becomes a nightmare? (Paula Span, Washington Post, 1-23-05)
Print on Demand Publishing, Bruce Hartford and SF chapter of National Writers Union on how to do POD, with comparisons of six vendors (March 2007). Oddly laid out, but follow the bread crumbs and you'll find some info.
Print On Demand: A Definition and a Comparison (Michael LaRocca, WebProNews)
A print on demand (POD) case study (Foner Books, the example being Ingram's Lightning Source). Cost for Amazon CreateSpace vs Lightning Source and POD Book Price
Vanity Publishers in Sheep’s Clothing, part of a section on Vanity/Subsidy Publishers (Writer Beware, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America)
• Writer Beware on Print-on-Demand Publishing Services, discussing Pros and Cons, sales statistics, important issues to consider, electronic self-publishing, and other things to thoroughly understand before you take the plunge. See also Writer Beware's take on (and explanations of) vanity and subsidy publishers.
The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing with Print on Demand (Wendi Moore-Buysse, The13thStory.com
Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab (Motoko Rich, NY Times, 1-27-09)

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America Star Books a/k/a Publish America (warning stories about one POD "publisher")
America Star Books (formerly PublishAmerica)
49 copies thread (on Absolute Write) and here's the full AbsoluteWrite thread on Publish America and here's the Condensed Version: Reasons We Don't Recommend PublishAmerica
The PublishAmerica Scam (Lee Goldberg, A Writer's Life). See also So You Are Thinking About Publishing America? (a radio discussion -- click on transcript, for text of the interview; Making Books (Paula Spann, Washington Post, 1-23-05: "Self-publishing companies are in the business of selling dreams. But what if the dream becomes a nightmare?").

Airleaf Victims Fight Back! (website about experiences of victims of a publishing scam). See also Airleaf Victims blog .
No More New Titles For Seth Godin’s Amazon Imprint, The Domino Project (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent.org 11-29-11). "His biggest takeaway, he writes, is the importance of 'permission': 'The core group of 50,000 subscribers to the Domino blog made all the difference in getting the word out and turning each of our books into a bestseller.'" Here is a story about that Domino project: The Bestsellers: Seth Godin’s Imprint Bundles E-Book With 200 Free Songs (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent.org 7-1-11)
The Truth Behind POD Publishing WBJB's 8-part series of online radio about the multi-billion-dollar “pay to be published” publishing industry.

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Why and how you should get your
self-published book edited

and why and how you should first edit it carefully yourself

Every good ebook needs a good editor (Harriet Evans, The Guardian, 6-12-11). "Who knows whether Gone With the Wind would have been as successful had it been called, as it originally was, Pansy, after its eponymous heroine, Pansy O'Hara, before Margaret Mitchell's editor at Macmillan persuaded her to change the name to Scarlett?"
Proofs from print companies can be expensive. Many self-publishers use Lulu or CreateSpace to print cheap proofs. They upload a PDF to Lulu or CreateSpace, click the print button, and get proofs in the mail for less than ten dollars. Play around with the order, design, fonts and do it again.
How to Survive Editing (Daphne Gray-Grant on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-14-23) Having a gut-punch reaction to being edited is part of the cost of doing business for writers. Here’s advice on how to survive the process. 'If your editor has used “track changes” and if they are someone whose judgment you trust implicitly, consider hitting the “accept all” key, then reading through only the corrected manuscript to ensure all is okay with you. In this manner, the edits won’t traumatize you, but you can still accept the benefit of the editor’s knowledge. Just remember that this maneuver won’t delete their comments, so you will still need to deal with those.'
The value of editing in the digital age: Readers’ perceptions of article quality and professionalism (Leighton Walter Kille, Journalist's Resource, 3-4-15)
How a Developmental Edit Can Save Your Book (1106 Design, Nov. 2017)
Audience Perceptions of Editing Quality: Assessing traditional news routines in the digital age (Fred Vultee, Digital Journalism, 1-6-15--behind a paywall.) Findings summarized in Kille's piece, above, include: "On average, study participants gave higher ratings to stories that had been edited than those that hadn’t." and “Editing makes effectively no difference in how male respondents rate the value of an article, but women see nonedited articles as significantly less valuable than edited articles." Download PDF of Vultee's 2012 presentation to ACES here: "Readers Perceptions of Quality". (Thanks to Rich Adin, An American Editor, for these leads to Vultee research findings, and stories about them.) This batch of pieces is about copyediting for journalism but in my view they are as important in books, if not more so. I shudder when I find errors in books; in a newspaper, I know they were in a hurry with a short staff.)
Study shows the value of copy editing (Natalie Jomini Stroud, American Press Institute, 3-3-15). Vultee asked students to react to four edited and four unedited articles on four dimensions:
"Professionalism, assessed by asking people whether they agreed or disagreed with statements like: “This story sounds like it was written professionally”
Organization, measured by agreement with statements such as “It’s hard to tell what the writer is trying to say”
Writing, where participants indicated whether they thought that “The story uses poor grammar,” among other questions. (Does this bother you? "Their may be some mistakes, but we are the ones to place you’re trust with.")
Value, which included questions about whether participants believed that “Stories like this are worth paying for."
Study: Readers value extra editing, women especially (Craig Silverman, Poynter, 4-17-12) "Vultee suggests that Internet news consumers have different expectations or criteria for professionalism. Rather than write one version for all platforms (Web, mobile, print, etc.), the same information needs to be written and edited to best suit the way it will be consumed."
7 Simple Edits That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful (Shane Arthur, BoostBlogTraffic, 1-9-14)
9 Ways to Vet an Independent Book Editor (Chris Robley, The BookBaby Blog, 5-30-12)
Get your manuscript ready for the editor and save money on editing costs (Adrienne Montgomerie, Right Angels and Polo Bears, 3-1-15)
Questions to Ask for the Ideal Client–Freelancer “Marriage” (Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, guest blog on An American Editor, 2-23-15) The right questions asked at the right time can make the difference in a smooth, rewarding experience for both client and freelancer.
What Every Self-Publisher Ought to Know about Editing (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 1-29-10, on the importance and functions of developmental book editors, copyeditors, production editors, and proofreaders)
Should You Hire a Professional Editor? (Jane Friedman, Writer Unboxed, 3-19-10). "Even the best editor in the world can’t turn a mediocre work into a gem. But they can make a good work great."
7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing (David Kudler, guest-posting on Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer, 2-15-13)
Should writers hire editors? (Writer Beware's excellent links, some of which are included here, too).
Making the Author-Editor Connection: The Importance of Being Edited (Anne Ross, guest-posting on Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer, 4-20-11). How to find, work with, and budget for book editing. The number one priority in your budget should be editing.
A Professional Editor Takes on Self-Editing (Linda Jay Geldens, guest-posting on Joel Friedlander's blog, 10-5-12). Read the many comments. Bottom line: Self-editing is important but not enough: we can't see all our own errors.
6 Ways Copyeditors Make Your Book Better (Linda Jay Geldens, guest posting on Joel Friedlander's blog, 5-25-12)
Should I Hire a Freelance Editor? (agent Rachelle Gardner, 3-25-10)
Will Automated Copy Editors Replace Human Ones? (Michael King, AJR, 4-15-14). No, but they can be useful.
Should You Pay Someone to Edit Your Work? (Nathan Bransform, agent-turned-author, 10-5-09)
Should You Hire a Professional Editor? (Jane Friedman, Writer Unboxed, 3-19-10)
Tips on Working With an Editor (Northwest Independent Editors Guild)
What to Expect from a Professional Critique (Margot Finke)
The Doctor Will See You Now (book doctor Lisa Rojany-Buccieri on what book doctors can and cannot do)
See more such pieces on Writer Beware links.
The Editor-Author Relationship; Five Reasons Why Self-Published Authors Need an Editor (Dick Margulis, Intelligent Editing)
What editors and copyeditors do (links to many helpful articles on the topic, Writers and Editors)
Book doctors: what they do
What a Good Editor Will Do for You (Jerry Gross, Writer's Digest 3-11-08)
21 top tips
to make the most of your freelance copy-editor or proofreader
(Society for Editors and Proofreaders)
21 top tips
to make the most of your project manager or managing editor
(Society for Editors and Proofreaders)

Edit yourself or hire an editor? See how well you do on these quiz-based primers for authors (all written by me, Pat McNees, for my column Grammar Corner, for the newsletter of the Association of Personal Historians):
Capitalizing Titles (Pat McNees, Grammar Corner, APH newsletter)
That, Which, and Commas (setting off nonrestrictive phrases, Pat McNees's column for APH newsletter)
To Hyphenate or Not-to-Hyphenate (Pat McNees, a quiz-based explanation of appropriate hyphenation, Grammar Corner, APH)
What Is Wrong with These Sentences? (Pat McNees, a quiz with explanations, Grammar Corner, APH)
Use the (Right, Rite, Wright, Write) Word (Pat McNees, Grammar Corner, APH). Spellcheckers reveal many errors, but they fail to detect wrong words that sound almost right. Circle the incorrect words.
For more on writing well (and correctly, see Style, grammar, and word choice, a popular page on the Writers and Editors website)

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Book design and production

Here are some helpful resources that, taken together, form a primer on the subject! Below this section is one on typography and fonts, and below that the titles of good basic books on book design. The New York Times starts us off with a beautifully illustrated article/tutorial, with bits of video: How a Book Is Made: Ink, Paper, and a 200,000-Pound Printer (Elizabeth A. Harris, photography and video by Thomas Prior, NY Times, 2-20-22) Join them as they follow Marlon James’s “Moon Witch, Spider King” through the printing process--how vats of ink and 800-pound rolls of paper become a printed 626-page book with a luminous cover that glows with neon pinks and greens.

The essential parts of a book

What is the difference between a preface, foreword, and introduction? and what is their purpose? (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors)
A visual dictionary of book terms (Abigail Sutherland, Tor.com, 8-7-08) Where on a book are the front, back, head, tail, spine, and fore edge? What and where are the book block, leaves, case, board, endpapers or endsheets, pastedown and flylead? And so on. Learn industry jargon!
Standard order of parts of a book and More on the order of parts of a book
An Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer 9-29-09)
Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms (Thomas Christensen)
Parts of a Book How many of these elements does your book design have? (Jacci Howard Bear, About.com)

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The Title Page (Joel Friedlander, 2-1-10)
ISBN 101 For Self-Publishers (Joel Friedlander, 11-19-10)
Deciphering the Bookland EAN Bar Code (Joel Friedlander, 10-22-09)
8 Solutions to the Text Break Dilemma ( Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 6-30-10)

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Editing, design, and production
(overview of the process)

Clearly many authors who self-publish pay little attention to book design. You can often tell from the margins that amateurs put the book together. The margins will be all wonky--too narrow, too wide, or too symmetrical. Margins should be wider in the center of the book (the gutter), so the inside ends of sentences are readable; they should be narrower on the edges. In other words, even and odd pages should be styled differently. That's just one example of how you can go wrong if you try do-it-yourself without training.
Book editing and publishing process, explained well (Dick Margulis, 40 minute video, TV interview from Brian Jud's weekly program, The Book Authority)
Book design: a primer. Dick Margulis has some useful material on his website about book design. See Book Typography 101 and go here to read a sequence of brief explanations of typography, the architecture of the page--especially the chapter opening, the color of the paper and ink, and font choice and spacing.
Beware the Impossible Book Project (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer,2-19-18) "If you’re planning to publish a book that’s not a standard ebook or a simply fiction or nonfiction book that doesn’t require special binding, special paper, an odd format, high quality color reproduction, or any of the other things that you can’t do with print on demand, do yourself a favor. Find a book professional and run your idea past them, it could save you a lot of frustration down the road." "Otherwise, after allowing for the discount to retailers (typically a minimum of 40 percent of the retail price) and the cost to manufacture the books using the relatively expensive print on demand technology, he would be losing money on each book sold." You'll find a full menu of useful articles about various aspects of book design on the late Joel Friedlander's website.

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Your Complete 4 Step Guide To Book Sizes (Sarah Rexford, The Book Designer, 5-4-22) Trim size, word count, paper stock and binding, etc. Sticking with industry-standard word counts will help you create the appropriate trim size for your book when it’s finished.
How To Make A Professional Standard Print Book Interior With Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer (The Creative Penn, 2-23-13) Many people still format the interior of their own print books for Createspace or other print on demand services, or pay a fair amount of money to have someone do it for them. The problem with DIY is that it can look unprofessional. (One thing DIYers often fail to do is make the first line of a chapter or a new section within a chapter start flush left. If you look in traditional books on your bookshelf, you'll see that the flush left line is standard, and that often the first words of a chapter are ALL CAPS, or the First letter is capitalized and oversize, or even decorated.) Study book cover design too and learn which aspects of book design are mostly likely to attract and hold someone's eye, because the most important part of making people aware of your book is to bringing it to their attention effectively (and in a lot of different ways).
Bookow. Look at this website. For authors self-publishing on their own, Steve Passiouras (steve@bookow.com) provides a Word template for your text. You can choose from a few interior format designs and have a choice of almost any book size dimensions and fonts, says Merida Johns on an Authors Guild forum. "For pure text I found this an excellent resource at an extremely affordable price. When I needed a little hand holding for some special features that required the insertion of 'code' in my manuscript, Steve was always available in a short time with email responses."
Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People by Bonnie Siegler.
Prepress Services (Friesens). Friesens, located near the Canadian-US border, helps many of us produce books for private clients. On this page, you can pick up a lot by looking at sections on Archiving, Color management, Color and transparency, Color fonts and illustrations, Preflight, Preparing layouts, Preparing PDF files, Proof, Scanning, and Trapping. If you can't figure out what you want from their pages, you will at least have the vocabulary to search for more explanations.
The evolution of the book (Julie Dreifuss, animation by Patrick Smith, TED-Ed original) How the parts of the book (paper, binding, ink, etc.) developed and came together (in Europe) in "the book" and became more than the sum of their parts.
Book editing and publishing processes explained well (Dick Margulis, 40 minutes total, TV interview from Brian Jud's weekly program, The Book Authority)
Book Formatting Versus Book Layout and Design: What You Need to Know (Heidi Thorne, ToughNickel, 9-6-18)
20 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing (Joel Friedlander, download free PDF)

Great covers sells books, but what makes for a great cover?
Secrets of successful book covers and titles
Book Cover Design: How self-publishing authors can do it best (Martin Cavannagh, Reedsy)

Editing by Design: For Designers, Art Directors, and Editors--the Classic Guide to Winning Readers by Jan White
Page Layout Programs (Aeonix, on why PageMaker and InDesign are preferable to Word, which is not good on layout software)
Gallery of Book Design Templates (Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com)
5 Book Interior Page Layout Mistakes to Avoid (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer)
Balancing the Book (Raphaël Freeman, Renana Typesetting, 12-6-17) This is the process whereby the recto (right-hand page) and verso (left-hand page) of each spread are adjusted to be the same length.
How to Design Running Heads for Your Book (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 3-31-14)
Don’t Get Confused By Typeface Point Sizes (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 2-1-12) It's not just about 11 point. It's about ascenders and descenders and the x-height and density of letters. Be a little savvy on this stuff.
Pagination Styles: Shall We Kill the Widows & Orphans? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 10-20-10)
This is How Huge Door-Stopper Fantasy Novels Get Made (Irene Gallo, Tor Books -- this is for mass market production)

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Book Design for Self-Publishers, one of several helpful entries from The Book Designer, Joel Friedlander's blog of practical advice for indie publishers. See especially his delightful semi-tongue-in-cheek essay, The Death of Book Design. Among useful entries:
~Self-Publisher’s 5-Minute Guide to Book Printing Processes
~What Every Self-Publisher Ought to Know About Editing
~Book Design & Page Layout Software: A Guide for DIY Authors (11-8-10)
~Making Print Choices
~Don’t Let me Find You Bleeding in the Gutter—Understanding Book Terminology
~Book Design: Points and Picas Primer (3-21-12)
Self-Publisher’s 5-Minute Guide to Book Printing Processes (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-9-09)
The Print, Paper, and Graphic Dictionary (Well & Drew)

Why Publishers Love Hardcover Books (including the financial incentives that favor hardcover)
Book production process (links to all of the articles, by category, in Joel Friedlander's series, on The Book Designer)
Book Design: Don’t Get Confused By Typeface Point Sizes (Joel Friedlander, 2-1-12) See section below on fonts.
Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes by Colin Wheildon (previously published as Type & Layout: How Typography and Design Can Get Your Message Across or Get in the Way)
Book Design (excellent Wikipedia page)
Publishing Basics (helpful articles on book design and other topics)
22 Top Book Designer Tasks for Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Print Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer (a site FULL of informative articles)
Design Samples for Books Created Through Create Space by designer Robin Brooks
Anatomy of a Beautiful Page (Pamela Wilson, New Rules of Book Publishing)
The 4 essentials of a design critique. Designers are trained to critique designs. Clients aren't. Here's how, clients can react to design proposals -- and, designers, here's how to listen. (Felt & Wire, impressions from the paper-obsessed, 4-13-11)

"Why are most printed books rectangular? One might imagine that it’s for ergonomic reasons—they’re easier to hold, carry and store. But according to Keith Houston, author of “The Book” they have this shape “because cows, goats, and sheep are rectangular.” ~ Henry Hitchings, From Sheepskins to E-Books (WSJ, 8-29-16)

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Book printing and binding, explained and illustrated

Book binding (video demo of high-speed binding of Abraham Lincoln book at Edward Brothers, in NC--with links to do-it-your-self binding and stitching nearby), 11 minutes.
Why Paper Jams Persist (Joshua Rothman, New Yorker, 2-12-18) A trivial problem reveals the limits of technology.
Book Binding ( video, 5.27 minutes). Kevin Small of Thomson-Shore, fine book manufacturer, has started a series of Book Basics videos on the book printing process. This first one explains different binding options and shows how they look and what type of book each is typically used for. Explained: perfect-bound books, notch-binding (good for a split run in casebound and softcover), case-bound books (sewn or glued, side-sewn), adhesive-bound books, two-thirds round, oversewn binding (which lends itself to a lay-flat book), smyth-sewn, NASTA (sewn, reinforced in first and last signature, and a tight-back spine, with cover snug). NASTA stands for National Standard for Text Book Administrators (in other words, book binding that withstands many uses by many people).

Book Binding Options (Mandy Syers, Linda Coffin, HistoryCrafters site)
Price Charts ("ballpark" prices for calculating the cost of a book project, from Gorham Printing, one of the most reliable firms for short-run printing--runs under 500 copies)
List of Print Book Distributors (Reedsy)
Print Pricing 101 (Dick Margulis's explanation is helpful, too)
Publishing Basics (aka Self-Publishing Basics) Read up on various aspects of the process, so you know what to expect.
How much does it cost to publish an Illustrated Children’s book? by Ron Pramschufer (co-author of Publishing Basics. See also Self-Publishing 411.

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A brief history of book printing and binding (cj madigan, Shoebox Stories)
How to Examine Bindings (Werner Rebsamen, Bound to Stay Bound Books, Library Corner)
Japanese stab binding & book binding
Easy How-To Professional Looking Home Book Binding (YouTube video, Robin House showing case binding process). Along the right side you'll find links to other demos of binding.
Chris Rowlatt, Bookbinder & Paper Marbler, doing his thing (YouTube video showing his interesting process, from The Gloucestershire Guild Of Craftsmen, 7-23-15).
Understanding Book Layouts and Page Margins (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer)
Casewrap vs Dust Jacket? Self-Publishers Make the Hard(cover) Choice (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 1-14-10)
Binding Terms: A Thesaurus for Use in Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloging (RBMS Controlled Vocabularies, Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, American Library Association. On this site you can find Controlled Vocabularies for binding terms, genre terms, paper terms, printing and publishing evidence, provenance evidence, and type evidence, for use mainly by antiquarian booksellers and buyers.
Print-on-Demand (POD) Printers and Publishers (John Kremer, BookMarket.com)

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Top 101 Book Printers(Book Marketing and Book Promotion)
Jenni Bick Bookbinding (one of a kind handmade books)
Making a Clamshell Enclosure for Rare, Valuable or Fragile Books (YouTube video, DAS Bookbinding, Adventures in Bookbinding, 4-17-20) The clamshell box is also called drop-spine or Solander.
Sewn Board Binding Part 1 (YouTube video, DAS Bookbinding, Adventures in Bookbinding, 6-26-20) The sewn board binding developed by Gary Frost in the early 80s connects back to the earliest forms of the codex where the boards were attached to the text block at the sewing. This is different to later forms where the sewing encompasses supports, which are then used to attach the boards, and later still, the cased book.

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Fonts, typefaces, and typography--the basics

"If an angel statue is removed from a fountain, does that make it a sans seraph font?"
-Tweet from Caelyn Sandel @inurashii

Once you become aware of design traditions, you will begin to feel the designer's irritability when confronted with things like poor letter spacing, inadequate white space, and too many fonts and typeface styles in one document. And you will appreciate a beautifully designed book more. Remember, with better typography and font design, Hollywood would not have had the big mistake and mess for the "Best Movie" announcement that concluded the 2017 Oscars. (See Typography Ruined the Oscars' Biggest Moment (CoDesign, Mark Wilson, FastCo, 2-28-17)

As a novice, at least learn the basics:
A typeface is not a font. A font is not a typeface. (Jon Tangerine, 8-22-08) "Typeface = a type family’s design." "Font = one member of a type family." "Using the Georgia typeface example, the 'Georgia Regular,' 'Georgia Italic,' 'Georgia Bold,' and 'Georgia Bold Italic' in my library are all fonts of the Georgia typeface."
What is Typesetting? Your Guide to Interior Book Design (Reedsy blog, 10-26-18) Understand trim size, a "ladder" of hyphenated words, not to use hyphens to serve as dashes, kerning, orphans and widows, word stacks, drop caps, and book blocks.
Dick Margulis has useful material on his website about book design. You can read a sequence of clear, brief explanations of typography, the architecture of the page --especially the chapter opening, the color of the paper and ink, and font choice and spacing. See especially The Color of the Page , including his explanation of ladders, rivers, and pigeonholes . Dick provides an interesting perspective on fonts and italics in an entry called Mix and match typefaces , for example.
Learning from a world-class designer and typographer, Erik Spiekermann (Reedsy)
Basic Font Types (Purdue Online Writing Lab). The copy needs editing but the content and illustrations, showing the differences between serif, sans serif, and decorative fonts, and what not to do with them, is great for beginners.
Understanding Fonts & Typography (on Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer)
Book Design: Don’t Get Confused By Typeface Point Sizes (Joel Friedlander)

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Beyond words: how fonts make us feel (Louise McWhinnie, The Conversation, 10-27-13) While many can identify when a typeface jars, the key is in understanding why and then applying that understanding to one’s own use of type.
These People Really Care About Fonts (Fabrice Robinet, NY Times, 1-24-20) A regular mixer brings together designers and typography nerds who get consumed by spacing and serifs.
Typefaces have personality – and can be political (Daniel Tamul and Katherine Haenschen, The Conversation, 5-6-20) An email to your boss in Comic Sans is likely to be read differently than if it is sent in Arial.
A hundred years of Johnston – the iconic typeface of the London Underground (Paul Wilson, The Conversation, 7-21-16)
Comic Sans gets neue lease of life – but it may end in tragedy (Robert Honnell and Derek G.Ross, The Conversation, 4-21-14)
Font redistribution FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for Windows (Microsoft Windows)
How a new alphabet is helping an ancient people write its own future (Deborah Bach, Microsoft Story Labs) Two young brothers in Guinea developed an alphabet for their native language, Fulfulde, which had been spoken by millions of people for centuries but never had its own writing system. The writing system, which became known as ADLaM, acronym that translates to 'the alphabet that will prevent a people from being lost.' Microsoft worked with designers to develop a font for Windows and Office called Ebrima that supports ADLaM and several other African writing systems.

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Can You (Should You) Typeset Your Own Book? (Arielle Contreras, Jane Friedman's blog, 1-29-18) As world-famous typographer Erik Spiekerman says, “Design works not because people understand or even appreciate it, but because it works subliminally.” She recommends and describes typesetting software for simple, text-driven books, such as paperback novels: Reedsy Book Editor (free), Vellum ($$), and Draft2Digital (free). For complex books (such as an illustration-heavy book), she recommends
Adobe InDesign ($$the leading typesetting software) and BookWright (free).
They're Not Fonts! (Allan Haley, AIGA, 10-21-02) " “Typefaces are designs like Baskerville, Gill Sans or Papyrus. Type designers create typefaces. . . . Fonts are the things that enable the printing of typefaces. Type foundries produce fonts.”
5 Favorite Fonts for Interior Book Design (Joel Friedlander, Book Designer, 8-31-09)
Font Recommendations (Practical Typography)
Evolution of the English Alphabet (Matt Baker's useful chart). On the same page, Evolution of the Latin Alphabet.

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The Big Book of Font Combinations by Douglas Bonneville (Joel Friedlander, Book Designer, 9-20-10)
Font or typeface? ( Yves Peters, The FontFeed, 9-11-08)
Butterick's Practical Typography. Excellent website/online book, beautifully designed, from the basics (Typography in ten minutes)) to the things you had no idea you didn't know--with summaries along the like, such as Summary of key rules and Common accented characters (and how to type them) and Identifying fonts.
E-Books Get a Makeover (Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, 6-26-15) E-readers rejoice: Amazon and Google are rolling out new fonts (Bookerly and Literata) designed not only to look better on screen but to make reading easier on the eye.
How one typeface took over movie posters (Vox video explains the prevalence of Trajan on "serious" movies)

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Smashing magazine pieces on fonts and typography
How to choose typography for ebooks (Roger Packer)
Whitespace (Mark Boulton, A List Apart, 1-9-07, on macro whitespace and micro whitespace). Go here for more Boulton articles on Design: Typography and here for more articles on other aspects of design.
The Elements of Typographic Style: Version 4.0 by Robert Bringhurst (a book that practices what it preaches--beautiful design)
Tricky Type Terms (Ilene Strizver, Fonts.com). Explanations of italic vs. oblique (two different varieties of angled, or slanted, typestyles), tabular vs. proportional figures (tabular figures will align perfectly; proportional figures will not); standard vs. discretionary ligatures (characters joined to form a new character, or characters that nest together).

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Proposed Standards for Book Typography (Dave Bricker, WGB, 12-2-12). This useful entry includes suggested solutions for controlling widows, orphans, runts, and off-balance spreads.
Widows and Orphans: Some of the Most Common Typesetting No Nos (Renana Typesetting)
Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston
Picking Fonts for Your Self-Published Book (Joel Friedlander, 6-15-12)
Writers: The Only 9 Fonts You'll Ever Need (Jane Shafron, Your Story Here -- a great overview of classic fonts)
Responsive Typography: Using Type Well on the Web by Jason Parmental (O'Reilly)
Familiar Faces. Designer Michael Brady has posted a PDF scan of "The ABCs of Type" by Allan Haley, a "useful guide to some of the key features of various faces, [which] gives illuminating background information about the provenance and development of some of these faces."
Google fonts All of the typefaces listed in the Google Fonts directory are open source, meaning you can not only use them for any web page, commercial or non-commercial, but you can also download them onto your computer and even tweak them yourself.

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Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield. (PW review: a “lively romp through the history of fonts")
Typographers on Type, ed. by Ruari McLean (essays exploring technological changes in publishing in 20th century, from the typographer's perspective )
A calligrapher explains his art (Master type illustrator Seb Lester tells Salon.com writer Benjamin Wheelock about calligraphy and designing letterforms.)
Cool Fonts: Where to Download and How to Install ("darkside," HubPages)
The End of Times New Roman: Font as a Writer (Ben Graves, HubPages). Courier (a monospace font) is superior to Times New Roman (a proportional font) for accurate, precise word and page count.
How The World’s Most Beautiful Typeface Was Nearly Lost Forever (Hayley Campbell, Buzzfeed, UK, March 2016) After a dispute between its creators, the Doves Type was left to lie in the Thames. A century later, it has finally resurfaced. This is the fascinating story of its rescue. See New Digital 'Facsimile' of Legendary Doves Type.
The Measure of Type and how to take advantage of it (James Felici, Creativepro.com)
Historic fonts from Walden Font (Wild West, Civil War, Colonial, German Fraktur, various kinds of script, including German)
Fonts and Typefaces (ScriptSource) Not for beginners!

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Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing

A Basic Booklist

Before you engage in self-publishing, check out some of the following guides. (These are affiliate links to Amazon.com; if you buy anything after clicking on our link we get a small commission--which helps support maintenance of this site.)
Aiming at Amazon: The NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books with Print on Demand and Online Book Marketing on Amazon.com by Aaron Shephard. Particularly useful if you intend to sell most of your books through Amazon.
5 Changes in My Approach to Book Publishing (Ed Cyzewski). ""I heard an agent talking about that bestselling book Heaven Is for Real. Someone insightfully asked him if he would have represented the author. He laughed and said, “Well, I’d represent him now!” Exactly, as long as Burpo is selling books to people, he’s a valid author. Validating yourself as an author is really just a matter of connecting with readers. That’s it.' Good reality-based common sense.
The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use by April Hamilton. See also April's companion website (with supplementary materials) and Publetariat (an online community and news hub for indie authors and small, independent imprints), which she started.
Publishing Basics: Navigating the Self-Publishing Minefield by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr. with Ron Pramschufer (free download from Ron Pramschufer's website); also available as a free download: Publishing Basics for Children's Books, though I don't see it there right now. (Request the printed Publishing Basics to get samples of paper, etc.).

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Legal Issues in Self-Publishing: What Authors Need to Know (Bernard Starr, HuffPost, interviews intellectual property lawyer Paul Rapp).
Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to the Legal Issues of Self-Publishing by Helen Sedwick
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing, 4th edition, by Mark Levine (on Amazon you can "search inside this book" and see what you're getting). Available now in Kindle, too. Levin reviewed publishing contracts, customer service and other factors for several dozen "self-publishing companies," assigning them ranks as Outstanding, Pretty Good, Just OK, and To Avoid. Many qualify as "to avoid," including firms many indie authors routinely use. His advice on contracts is helpful, as most are author-unfriendly, and if you aren't experienced you may not even know what that means. So do your homework!
Think Like a Publisher: A Step-By-Step Guide to Publishing Your Own Books by novelist Wesley Dean Smith (read it free online or purchase it).
Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book , 16th Edition by Dan Poynter. There is now also a Volume 2 (about digital editions, etc.)
Unconventional Guide to Publishing by nonfiction agent David Fugate (expensive, but his publications come with a money-back guarantee)
Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking
Top Self Publishing Firms: How Writers Get Published, Sell More Books, And Rise To The Top: And Make Money Working From Home With The Best Print On Demand Self-Publishing Companies by Stacie Vander Pol.
The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living: by Peter Bowerman (especially for commercial writing)

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Bestseller in 30 Days, Find an Agent in 30 Days, and Publish a Book in 30 Days. Three shorter books by Fern Reiss, called collectively The Publishing Game
Beyond the Bookstore: How to Sell More Books Profitably to Non-Bookstore Markets, by Brian Jud
John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame
Publicize Your Book: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jacqueline Deval
Guerrilla Marketing for Writers : 100 Weapons to Help You Sell Your Work by Jay Conrad Levinson.
Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book, 4th edition, by Tom Ross and Marilyn Ross
• (Of possible interest, on designing for the Web: Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy, who one reviewer calls "the Malcolm Gladwell of web design."

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Mastering InDesign book design software

(and can/should you use MS Word?)

InDesign and Quark Xpress are the design software brands most favored by professional designers, but for designers starting out they often recommend InDesign, which is the most popular. No professional designer designs in Word! There is definitely a learning curve. One popular place to learn how to use InDesign is Lynda.com's online training tutorials on InDesign. Says designer cj Madigan, "Their InDesign courses are taught primarily by Anne-Marie Concepcion or David Blatner, the gurus of InDesign, in my opinion. lynda.com also allows you to drop in and out. Concepcion and Blatner also run InDesignSecrets, which is a great free resource." The American Graphics Institute (AGI) also offers free InDesign Tutorials addressing processes such as Using styles to format text in InDesign, Text frame options, Checking and correcting spelling, Adjusting character spacing: kerning and tracking (and so on). Online, see An Introduction to Typesetting Books in Adobe InDesign (Grace Fussell, EnvatoTuts, 11-7-14)

Adobe sells InDesign in two ways: You can buy InDesignCC (a subscription mode., which is part of Creative Cloud, so you can sync settings like keyboard shortcuts, presets, and workspaces across multiple computers-- see FAQs for InDesignCC ), or you can buy InDesign CS6. Here's one page linking to Adobe tutorials.

InDesign User group
FAQs about InDesign on Adobe Creative Cloud.
Page Layout (Word processing vs. a layout program), Aeonix Publishing Group (describes various types of software, offering suggestions such as this: "They may offer certain advantages (usually a low price), but you'll have greater difficulty finding a printer who can support them."
The Non-Designer's InDesign Book by Robin Williams (helpful for those just learning to use InDesign)
Real World Adobe InDesign CS6 by Olav Martin Kvern, David Blatner, Bob Bringhurst
InDesign Help and InDesign tutorials
InDesign Secrets (all things InDesign, forums and other resources)
InDesign Secrets
• Check out this wonderfulIndex to InDesign Magazine topics.
Plugins for Adobe InDesign
From Word to Kindle (How to Format a Text-Only Document in Microsoft Word and Convert It to a Kindle eBook—For Free, by Aaron Shepherd)
Why Use InDesign Instead of MS Word? by David Blatner, InDesignSecrets.com (for those of you stubbornly and very very slowly trying to format a book in Word)
7 Reasons NOT to Use Word to Typeset Your Book (Walt Shiel, Five Rainbows, 8-26-12)
WORD VS. INDESIGN and other common first-time questions from our design customers (Jonathan Gullery, Publishing Basics 5-29-08)
Why Use InDesign Instead of MS Word? (David Blattner, InDesign Secrets.com, quoting Bevi Chagnon, a consultant for the federal government)
WORD VS. INDESIGN and other common first-time questions from our design customers (Jonathan Gullery, Publishing Basics, 5-29-08)
Improve the Way You Merge Cells in InDesign (Indiscripts, IndDesign Scripting Playground, which offers many tips on scripting)
Create and manage high-quality ISBN/EAN-13 barcodes from within InDesign (indiscripts)
The Hidden Way to Highlight Styles

Footnotes and endnotes (InDesign)

All About Footnotes and Endnotes with InDesign (carijansen.com)
InDesign footnotes: an alternate typesetting method (Glenna Collett, Book Design Made Simple, 10-8-17)
Footnotes (Adobe)
InDesign scripts (Peter Kahrel), including this: Various foot- and endnote tools, including Convert footnotes to endnotes
See also:
Footnotes: Citation and reference styles for footnotes, endnotes, documentation
Footnotes, endnotes, references, and citations (general, for academia)
Footnotes, endnotes, and citation boosting and manipulation in academia

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Books on how to design and produce a book

Book Design Made Simple by Fiona Raven and Glenna Collett
Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers, by Pete Masterson
The Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice, by Robin Williams
The Non-Designer's Design and Type Books, deluxe edition by Robin Williams
Robin Williams Design Workshop by Robin Williams and John Tollette
Thinking Like a Designer: How to Save Money by Being a Smart Client by Michael Brady
Editing by Design: For Designers, Art Directors, and Editors--the Classic Guide to Winning Readers by Jan White
How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst (for professional editors and graphic designers)
The Complete Manual of Typography: A Guide to Setting Perfect Type, 2nd edition, by Jim Felici (for the average self-publisher--read the Amazon reviews)
A Freelance Editor's Guide to Book Production, by Rachel Hockett Youngman (36 pages, Editorial Freelancers Association) At lulu.com Or download PDF at: the-efa.org
Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students, by Ellen Lupton
The Complete Manual of Typography, by James Felici (not itself a model of typography, and expensive, but helpful if working with InDesign).
Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes, by Colin Wheildon
Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word, or How to Design Your Own Book for Desktop Publishing and Print on Demand, by Aaron Shepard (almost everyone advises against designing a book in MS Word, but if you do…)
All About PDF Stamps in Acrobat & Paperless Workflows by Thom Parker (explains a tool often used by indexers, etc.)
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Famous authors who self-published
(mind you, they weren't famous at the time)

A few books that were initially self-published (aka "privately published")

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Double Persephone a book of poetry by Margaret Atwood
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (1931)
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
The Martian by Andy Weir
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava
No Thanks by e.e. cummings (1935)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (published under a pseudonym
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki (1997)
The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (vol. 1 of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu)
Switched by Amanda Hocking
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer

"...everything about the economics of American publishing until the end of the nineteenth century discouraged the publication, promotion, and distribution of American literature and encouraged the publication, promotion, and distribution of British literature, which thereby dominated the cultural scene. Thus began a pattern of alternative publishing, in this case, self-publishing, arising out of a desire to pursue an aesthetic agenda at odds with that of the major American commercial publishers and to protest the economic circumstances under which the commercial publishers operated. Looking back, we can easily see the significance of this rebellion; one historian sums up,"most of the nineteenth-century writers whom we now think of as important to the development of American literature published their own works" (Denison 193). We can distinguish between the writers in the early part of the century, writers like Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Poe, who were self-published at a time when almost all authors were self-published in the sense that they paid the costs of publication, and writers later in the century who were self-published because of lack of support from or in protest against the commercial publishing industry. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, all of the work of the last half of Herman Melville's career, and Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, among other books, books that were seminal in defining the ideas of American art and the American character, were self-published."
~ Robert L. McLaughlin, from "Oppositional Aesthetics/Oppositional Ideologies: A Brief Cultural History of Alternative Publishing in the U.S."

Other resources on the Writers and Editors website

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From Elizabeth Hand's review of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear, in the Washington Post, 1-24-07, link below:

"The Tale of Peter Rabbit" first saw light in 1893, as an illustrated letter to Noel Moore, the 4-year-old son of Potter's former governess: "I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits." Years later, in 1899, Noel's mother suggested that Potter turn her picture letters into a children's book. Potter already had successfully marketed her drawings as Christmas cards and pamphlets, but publishers had rejected "The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor's Garden."

So, in a move that has brought hope to would-be authors ever since, in September 1901 Potter withdrew her savings and paid for a first printing of 250 copies of her book, with another 500 copies ordered and held in reserve. The cost of her venture into self-publishing: 11 pounds.

"The public must be fond of rabbits!" she marveled a year later; "what an appalling quantity of Peter." By 1903, there were 56,470 copies in print. Today, the book has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide in 35 languages.

Links to other resources on Writers and Editors website
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