Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have been published, and I have self-published.  It's been interesting, difficult, grueling, and yet even a little exhilarating.

There are pluses and minuses to either way, but the end result is the same -- you have a book "out there" and, in a [very small] way, you are immortal -- well, at least your words are.  Your words will live on, long after you're gone.

When you have a publisher, a lot of the work is done by them -- formatting, editing, cover design, interior set up, distribution, ISBN numbers, copyrights, advertising, marketing, and in the case of a children's book, they have staff artists who do your book illustrations.

None of this is so, when you self-publish.

When you make the decision to self-publish, you will ultimately have to decide how much of the burden you want to, or can, carry on your own.

There are self-publishing companies online that will gladly sell you  publishing packages, some costing thousands of dollars.

They will do most of the work I'm told, however, you have to ask yourself how long it will take to recoup the money you've spent -- not to mention, your cost per book is about $20.

To make any money -- this is a business, remember -- you would have to set your selling price in excess of $25-35!  Robert and I quickly decided this was not for us.

A further search into self-publishing brought us to P.O.D., which means "print on demand".  There are several of these online, notably and Createspace, which is owned by

With each, you do most of the work and upload your formatted pdf or ePub book to them for printing, or publishing.  You should also do your homework here -- research, study, check out complaints on the Better Business Bureau's website for each, and then decide which company you will ultimately entrust with the birth of your book.

You have to also decide if you want the P.O.D. publisher to assign an ISBN number to your book -- understand, this technically makes them the publisher -- or whether you will obtain your own ISBN number for your book.  This is daunting, trust me.  There is only one place to get ISBN numbers, Bowker, and they're expensive.

With our first self-published book, Robert and I decided this was the way to go -- we're decided we were doing all the work, so we are the publishers.  Since we each have several books we want to self-publish, we went to Bowker and jointly bought a small block of ISBN numbers. It was far less expensive than buying one ISBN number at a time, which was $125 per ISBN.

Keep in mind, in most cases, you also need to purchase a separate bar code for each ISBN number.  That's for the back of your book.  The bar code carries the price you're charging per book, and has the ISBN number, as well.  Each bar code costs $25.

As you can see, when you self-publish, you've made a concrete decision to BE the publisher of your book.   You take on the whole exhausting process, beginning with  learning everything you have to do to publish a book, and then learning how to do each step.

Believe me when I say, it's a mind-boggling, tedious and frustrating process.  I don't know how many times Robert and I felt we had a handle on something, only to find out we had done it wrong and had to start over.  There are even times when you wonder if your book is even worth all the trouble.

In our case, we felt our books were worth the work of self-publishing, daunting as it was going to be. Deciding who to go with was relatively easy at first glance.  Since we both belonged to, we initially went with a P.O.D. company that AuthorsDen had a working affiliation with:

That was a wrong decision and we backed out of almost immediately.  We would not recommend them, but whether you choose to is up to you.

Whoever you ultimately go with, please never, ever assume anything ... trust me.  All I'm going to say is, if you go with, just be sure when you get to the end point -- that of ordering a proof of your book to check whether it's the way you ultimately want it to look -- that you do just that.

You will also be offered the chance to order bulk copies of your book.  Make sure you do not order personal copies at the same time you order your proof and then make the mistake of assuming your proof will be sent first -- it won't.  Enough said. is not clear on that point, as well as other points, so be very careful.

Robert and I were extremely happy with CreateSpace [Amazon].  They make payments on time and keep excellent records.  You can see at a glance on your Dashboard on their website, how many of your books were sold, your royalty per book, which countries your sales were from and whether they were Kindle or print sales.  They handle all sales and shipping, too, freeing you up for writing even more books.

We liked Createspace so well that we went ahead and allowed them to be the publisher on several more books -- it made things so much more simple for us. We highly recommend CreateSpace.

I wish you success!

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

1 comment:

Kindle Self Publishing said...

Thanks. Amazing thoughts. Self-publishing offers the author a much larger royalty and the costs are relatively inexpensive, sometimes even free! Moreover, it doesn't require storage space for your printed books, as each one is ordered, a book is printed and mailed to the customer. No muss, no fuss!