View Full Version : New to the forum, new question...

05-06-2009, 07:02 AM
Hello all,

New to the forums, though I hope to be active and ongoing.

I have written one completed book (another partially completed) and I have been in contact with some publishers with some good reception. My question revolves the ability to self-publish a nonfiction/biography on a controversial subject (nothing illegal, demeaning or the like). I am considering this self-publishing possibility and have secured some backing for this endeavour, however, I am concerned about the ability to promote and distribute the book, especially considering the fact that I want to promote it via multiple distribution channels (and attempt to maintain some control).

I know this is a loaded question, but can anyone advise on what type of successes and/or experiences they have had with self publishing a non-fiction book. If there have been some good successes, what advise can you give in proceeding with this approach (or not). I have looked at a few of the more popular self publishing sites but which vehicle generally works best to drive the sales and product attention while maximizing my income?

Thanks for your time, I would greatly appreciate any advice which could be given. If another forum location would be better suited for this subject, let me know.


05-06-2009, 07:52 AM
Hi EthicalWriter, and welcome to AW. There is actually a self-publishing section of the forum where this topic is discussed. You'll find it here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=47

And there's an area where promotion is discussed: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=48

Hope this helps you find the guidance you need.

05-06-2009, 08:19 AM
Generally speaking if you want your book to be in chain stores and sell thousands of copies you need to actually become a publisher, not just use a self-publishing provider like Lulu or iUniverse--at a stretch you might be able to use Lightning Source. This is because you need to offer books with a reasonable cover price, discount of maybe 50% for retialers, and returnable, for bookstore stocking to even be possible. Then you need to convince them they actually want the book.

Honestly, if a reputable publisher is available that is the easier way to do it--unless you both want to and are able to be a successful small publisher in your own right.

That's my 2c, anyway.

05-07-2009, 03:59 AM
I spent almost 2 years looking into self-publishing and found that the advice to become a publisher is the correct one...steer clear of vanity presses and LuLu (not technically vanity).

I founded a publishing company and talked to some book "coaches" (they are typically called book shepherds and I encourage you to talk to a couple) who know the publishing process and hook you up with graphic designers, book binders, distributors etc. It is an amazingly complex process and extraordinarily expensive.

I then bit the bullet to write the book proposal (which was the thing holding up my shopping for an agent...I would rather write the book than do the stupid proposal!). I secured an agent and a publisher. I simply couldn't muster what I needed to do in terms of time, money, coordination with all the players, etc etc to self-publish. So I wound up going the traditional publishing route.

All throughout the publishing process I remember thinking that my self-published book would NOT have had the quality of edits that I got from the publisher. My book was good on its own but they teased out the exact order chapters should be in, what to add, what to subtract etc. It was not one editor looking at it, but a team of editors.

And I did not pay them, they paid me.

Having said all that all I can do is encourage you to research the self-publishing process. Learn ALL you can find out about it...getting ISBNs to writing and editing to illustration to book covers to binding to printing to distributing to marketing and promotion. There are books on it, very good books, and email lists and forums and all kinds of things. Learn absolutely everything you can so you don't sink money into something that goes nowhere.

I did not let people steer me away from self-publishing. I made my own decision about it. And that decision came from research and that research happened over a long period of time.

Good luck.

05-08-2009, 02:39 AM
Thank you for the responses, some good information. I am reading some books on the subject and I will have to consider which works best for my book and genre. Regards.

05-18-2009, 10:57 PM
Hello - A book is first and foremost a creative effort, but then of course you do have to become marketing savvy in order to promote it effectively, especially if you self publish. Think strategically. There are successful self publishers, and the common thread is they all think beyond just writing the book. FYI, I am involved in a conference that features some very successful self publishers and addresses marketing and coming up with a plan for self published works - www.instockconference.com if you want more info.

05-19-2009, 01:21 AM
. . . can anyone advise . . .
A couple of recommended books:

--Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual

--Stephanie Chandler's The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books (Quill Driver Press, May 2008)

Folks I know who have had the best results work relentlessly at it. Methods depend on type(s) of book(s).

FWIW, you might also be interested in The Pursuit of Publishing: An Unvarnished Guide for the Perplexed (http://www.umbachconsulting.com/pursuit.pdf). Free .pdf. No gimmicks.