View Full Version : Self-Publishing: Best Thing to Do or Your Worst Nightmare? Share your story

01-06-2008, 07:05 PM
Here is kind of a debate thread. I was looking for what people had done, would do, would do again, or would avoid next time. You know, overall general experiances in self-publishing.

I was wondering if anyone in this group has ever self-published a book?

If yes, why did you choose to self-publish? Would you do it again?

If no, why not? Would you do so in the future? Why or why not?

What advice would you give to those considering self-publishing? Would you encourage them to follow that path? Would you try to stear them away from that path?

In either case, what reasons do you have to support your answer?

What one thing do you wish more self-publishers knew, before they set out on their goal of self-publishing?

If you have self-published in the past, do you have a story about your experiance as a self-publisher, that you would like to share? And, would you say that self-publishing was a good thing for you, or was it your worst nightmare?

(oh... and I self-publish btw, so I'm all for it, though I agree it is not for everyone, cause it's a lot of hard work.)

01-06-2008, 11:02 PM
You might some of these interesting: http://podpeep.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Story

01-08-2008, 01:58 AM
My story is told here (http://www.jamiehall.org/) and here (http://jamiehall.livejournal.com/tag/self-publishing).

It was a nightmare in many ways.

However, I did get some good out of it. It forced me to:

(1) Learn a lot more about the publishing industry.
(2) Develop skills at promoting (especially learning what doesn't work).
(3) I made some good friends because of it.

01-13-2008, 12:20 AM

I was just reading you blog, and something struck me as odd... You were told by your publisher that your book went out of print? Doesn't that mean that you didn't actually self-publish it? I'm confused, because when you self-publish you are the publisher and your book can only go out of print if you do not send an order out to your printer. Also, you mentioned that you were getting paid royalities from Authorhouse. You can't get paid royalties via self-publishing, because you are the editor in cheif of the publishing house, and 100% of the profit is yours anyways. The only person at Authorhouse who is selfpublished, would be whoever owns the company, everyone else published via Authorhouse is NOT self-published.

Have you self publishd a book? All I could find was info on your Authorhouse book. I'm not sure, maybe I was reading the wrong blog posts???

01-13-2008, 12:33 AM
You might some of these interesting: http://podpeep.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Story (http://podpeep.blogspot.com/search/label/My%20Story)

I have never seen this blog before. I'll be reading this one more, there's a lot of info there.

I am just starting at POD, so maybe I'll have something to send them soon. I've been self-publishing for over 20 years, but only on a local level. I started my publishing house "officially" in 1993, but I didn't start expanding it outside the local area until 2005. I'm switching from useing a local printer (local copy shop), to useing a POD printer (LuLu) this month. Right now I'm converting the books over to LuLu's required formating, so it'll be a few more weeks before I get to see the end result. I hoping they print up in good quality. I've heard a lot of good things about LuLu, so this is my test run to see if, what folks say is true.

My next step is to seek out a national distrubutor. I've always used local peddleing and word of mouth before, so this will be a big step for me. Basicly I'm switching my self-publishing from a hobby self-publishing house, to an actual business Small Press Publishing House.

I have all these years of self-publishing, and yet, I feel like I'm starting new, because going national is such a huge (big scary) step for me. eeek!

I'm wondering if any one else has ever done this. So far the only other self-publisher I can find who moved from tiny to big was Dan Poyter, and he just totally went huge. I'm not planning on going to the grand scales he took on, but I don't want to stay obscure and local either.

01-13-2008, 12:41 AM
My book was published by a traditional publisher so I can't answer your questions. That said, I found this thread that may interest you: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47629&highlight=lulu

01-14-2008, 07:41 PM
. . .I'm switching from useing a local printer (local copy shop), to useing a POD printer (LuLu) this month. Right now I'm converting the books over to LuLu's required formating, so it'll be a few more weeks before I get to see the end result. I hoping they print up in good quality. I've heard a lot of good things about LuLu, so this is my test run to see if, what folks say is true.
. . .
The more dealings I have with Lulu, the more impressed I am. The big test will be when I see a bulk shipment of a book I am publishing in cooperation with a local group of writers. The sample copy looks good (meets expectations, for sure), but I don't know if the quality changes in large quantity. I'll find out when the UPS guy delivers them.

Here is a tip: when your order gets large enough (don't know the cutoff, but 400 and up for sure), you can inquire about special bulk pricing. The discounts get quite decent, but you have to pay attention to the break points. You have to place those bulk orders directly with the person who handles them, NOT through the regular online order form, to get the special price. In this way, you can use Lulu as a short-run printer with not-unreasonable prices. (But if you know up front you will want a first printing of several hundred copies or more, it is probably best to get quotes from many short-run printers, at least if you are planning on buying a block of ISBNs and arranging for your own distribution anyway.)

Now that I have gotten a good handle on the pricing issues (it gets complicated where retail distribution is involved), I'm finding it easier and more inviting to use Lulu for additional books. I have two more in the pipeline right now (novels by a local author), plus another I am working on (a new edition of a long-out-of-print/public domain book with a nice niche audience), plus maybe one more in cooperation with one or two other writers (nonfiction with a good niche), all via Lulu as a convenient, practical choice. However I start with the advantage of knowing how to format a book, having done so many times now, and being able to design original covers.


03-05-2008, 08:26 PM
Self-publishing your own book may be a great experience for any writer/author.

Here are a few pros:
you own your copyrights
you control your own destiny
you maintain the majority of the profits
you get to be as creative as you like
you don't have to wait for someone to give you the green lightHere are a few cons:
if you don't do it, it want get done
the financial obligation is up to you
you are responsible for the books success or failure
you have to build your own team from the ground upAs of this posting all of my books have been published through my publishing company that I started. Since, publishing my first book in 2004 I've ventured into epublishing all of my books (http://www.makemoneyselfpublishing.com), consulting and my public speaking has grown much since then. Publishing can now manifest itself in so many different ways for writes each of which may generate money (http://www.moneygoldmine.blogspot.com). I encourage all writers to publish their own works both online and off. To get started click here (http://www.selfpublishforprofit.blogspot.com) or here (http://www.makemoneyselfpublishing.com).

03-06-2008, 03:54 AM
I would note that very few authors sell copyright under either system.

03-07-2008, 12:12 AM
I have had the opportunity to self-publish twice, the most recently with Zip Publishing in Columbus, Ohio. The experiences, particularly the most recent, were excellent! What I strongly recommend, though, are heavy doses of reality therapy.

(1) Noted publishers are not looking for you. They are inundated with "great ideas" and are not sitting and waiting for you to bring them the next JK Rowling series;
(2) Self-publishing costs a little bit of money. If you want to print your "labor of love" and give it away to twenty of your best friends, the investment will be low. If you want this work to have a better chance of selling across a broader market, include in your investment money an allocation for marketing.
(3) Find a good marketing person. You are the author. It is unlikely that you have a strong background in marketing, although we would like to believe we can do anything. A good marketing partner will be able to tell you how to get your work into an appropriate market. A GREAT marketing partner will be honest with you about what your work can and can not do in the marketplace.

Self-publishing is a great way to go! Like most ventures, however, smart planning, hard work and understanding that sometimes you must spend money to make money are important to your success!


Tom Johnson
03-07-2008, 05:28 AM
I self-published two anthologies after a small press published the first one in the series, then went out of business after I - and several friends put two more of the antholigies together. We knew when we started this type of anthology, the traditional (is that the right word) publishers would never buy the books, so self-publishing was always an option. All of us who were involved understood this from the beginning, but we went ahead with the project. Since then, I've found another small press publisher interested in two new anthologies, so will not self-publish again. I never made my money back from the venture, and likely never will. But we knew that going into the project. There was no surprise.

William Cook
03-18-2008, 08:23 PM
Marketting a book is a bit like Search Engine Optimisation -you need to create a blog based on it's title - then use a system known as Google Alerts (I cannot post links just yet -but if you search it, you will find it) then create searches from Google that will be book topic related and link it into blogs based on the same topic - Some blogs have a <no follow> tag, try to avoid those. Then basically build up a selection of blogs that point to your book. Funny enough my gmail just flashed an alert up on my topic - so from here I will type info into that blog along with my Amazon links.

03-21-2008, 05:41 AM
check out this awesome story of Jeremy Robinson's self publishing success...he also went from lulu.com success to his own small publishing pod company, Breakneck Books. Now they're merging to go to print runs and about to become much bigger!


04-19-2008, 08:11 PM
Yes I have done it!

Yes I would do it again!