The question is, does this process still involve a stigma? It would be great if the answer were no but, in spite of the ever growing popularity of self publishing, it's still a negative to many. A good friend of mine still seems pessimistic about self publishing even after publishing his own book. I helped him publish and the book turned out quite good even though it isn’t selling well. He is appreciative of my publishing help and the quality of his book but still seems to view self publishing as a stigma.
At dinner recently, after complimenting my wife on her children’s book, which I published in 2007, he said she needed to find a traditional (real) publisher to market it successfully. I know he meant well but, as publisher of the book, it bothered a little. Since it was high praise for the book and a wonderful evening, I avoided starting a discussion about the merits of self publishing.
Obviously, my friend really believes a traditional publisher would do things with my wife’s book that we didn’t do, perhaps not realizing that traditional publishers do little marketing for books by unknown authors. After a few preliminary actions they turn it over to the author to market alone, unless he or she is famous.
I was learning when I published my wife’s book and we both learned fast and worked hard to get her book noticed, including sending out press releases, contacting media, and conducting book signings. Because my wife is a retired educator, we went even further and collaborated with a reading specialist to create a Teacher’s Guide which we made available for download to teachers at no cost. We followed that by contacting every school librarian in the state about the book and the Teacher’s Guide. We did manage to sell quite a few books but it’s never been a big seller.
I don't believe her book, “Lottie’s Adventure: Facing The Monster,” (formerly “Lottie’s Adventure: A Kidnapping Unraveled”) suffered because it was self published. Perhaps a professional publicist could have done more with it since I was just starting out at the time and lacked publicity experience, but another publisher was not the answer and still isn’t.
I don’t believe my friends concern is about marketing or the number of books sold. I think it is about the prestige of being selected by a traditional “real” publisher. For him and many others, to be a “real” author your book must be published by a traditional publisher. Regardless of the quality of the book, self publishing does not qualify you to be an author.
As long as even some who self publish view it negatively, self publishing will face a stigma. Nevertheless, if done professionally, self publishing equals and can even exceed traditional publishing and some, admittedly few, self publishers have already become millionaires and famous, in some cases receiving substantial offers from traditional publishers because of the fame. So, in spite of the stigma, it would seem that the most important thing about a book is still the quality. If it is informative or entertaining and well marketed, who published it isn't important.
Below is not relevant to the article above but does relate to self publishing.
My book, Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others, includes complete and comprehensive details, illustrations, and instructions on a proven method for writing and self publishing books and ebooks that I have used for more than a dozen print books and a half dozen ebooks. There is no theory or fluff only the exact proven method that I have used repeatedly.
For complete information on Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others check out: http://selfpublishingworkbook.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Frustration With Traditional Publishers Leads To Self Publishing
In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.
As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.
After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.
After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.
Planning The Book - The Outline
Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for your book.
You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic logically follows the previous one.
Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full advantage of an outline to create your book.
If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.
Knowing Your Market
While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those interested in your book and how to reach them.
While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased sales before you even publish.
The Final Format
In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for the Kindle in chapter fourteen.
Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage of them is covered in other chapters.
When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way. There were some similarities but many more differences. The important thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were obviously many ways to do that.
There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the Amazon.com web site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as there are publishers.
If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so helpful, at least while publishing your first book.
From age twelve, A. William Benitez spent his summers and weekends working with his dad, a general contractor, building homes and buildings. He contracted his first home at age nineteen and built his own home by age twenty. For more than 30 years he has operated one-person businesses. Twelve years of his life was spent working for local government managing federally-assisted housing programs. He started as an inspector with a three month assignment and was Director of Community Improvement with 78 employees when he resigned to do writing and consulting.
Writing, Publishing and Consulting
During the 80’s, he established Rehab Notes Library, a publishing company that published a monthly newsletter (Rehab Notes) with subscribers in all 50 states, Canada and England. He also did consulting and public speaking on housing related topics for agencies and organizations in cities across the country and testified before the U.S. Congress on housing issues.
He wrote and published nine guidebooks on the subject of housing rehabilitation. After 1980, when most federal funding was pulled from housing activities, he took advantage of his construction and business experience and started a handyman and woodworking business.
In 2007, he established Positive Imaging, LLC, to publish a children’s book for his wife and then begin publishing his own books and that of other using methods he calls positive publishing. To date, he has published twelve paperback books, a half dozen ebooks, and presently has several books in various levels of completion.
He was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and moved to Austin, Texas in 1986, where he now lives with his wife, Barbara Frances. They have three adult children, eight grand-children, and two great grandchildren.
For more information about A William Benitez, check out his website and the following pages:
Main Positive Imaging, LLC Site; Self Publishing Support Blog; PublishingSimplified Blog.
You can find his book through CreateSpace.