Are you thinking about self publishing a book?

Are you thinking about self publishing a book?, guest post by John Kaniecki

Are you thinking about self publishing a book? Here are some thoughts that you should consider.
First and foremost, what is the purpose of your self publishing? Is it simply a desire to share what you have written or do you want to make some money off of it? If it is the first then it is relatively easy to do at Createspace. I recently published a book of my early poetry called "A Day's Weather". ( Createspace walks you through the process step by step. Formatting the pages of the book can be a little tricky. I changed the boundaries on my word document and this solved the problem. The only thing that may be difficult is the cover. But it is relatively easy to use a predesigned format. However you will need a photograph of some sorts for the outside cover. Be prepared for this.
Once going through the easy steps on Createspace it is best to order a sample so you can look at it physically. Once you proofread your prototype it is safe to order the book in bulk. The more books you order the less the shipping and handling costs. Once everything is finalized the book will be available for sale on Createspace and Amazon; in both a hard copy format and as an electronic book. Createspace will even give you an ISBN number. Also in going this route there is no money to pay.
Now if you want to make money off of your book and you want to self publish I am going to have to ask you a hard question. If you can't get a publisher to invest in your book, why do you think people will be interested in reading it? I know that many famous and successful writers were rejected an absurd number of times. However in modern times there is an abundance of small publishers. I have found that a book, or a least a prose book is a combination of many minds. One thing that a publisher or vanity press will provide is an editor. A good editor is key to success. If you have a poetry book, well then the editor is of far less importance.
However the thing with vanity publishing is the huge costs that are usually associated with it. In my experience publishing with small publishing companies is that they do everything at their own expense. That is editing, cover design, an ISBN number, formatting, and getting your book on all the websites selling books. They do take a large portion of the earnings. But consider also that some are very good at the marketing end. It is important to note that with a legitimate publishing company the author's success is their own.

If you want to go with a vanity press I suggest that you look long and hard at what they are offering you. From what I can gather is that they charge a lot of money. Sums in the thousands of dollars. Look hard at what you are getting and look hard at what you need. There is a good reason that these vanity presses aggressively pursue clients. I expressed to one agent who called on the telephone that I wasn't interested. In fact I told them that my book had been published. Yet two days later they send me a solicitation via email. These vanity presses make a lot of money on promising a lot and delivering not so much.
If you write poetry I suggest that you first try to have your poems published in magazines or online sites. Being previously published in the world of poetry is a good thing; unlike prose. Once again if you can't get your poems published on a website or magazine, most likely your book will fail. There are thousands of venues to publish poetry each with their own little niche.
Finally think of writing as any other career. It takes time, hard work, and dedication to reach the top. While vanity presses appear to be a short cut to success they are in my opinion a risky venture at best. Make reasonable goals and hope for the best. Above all never stop writing or dreaming.

John Kaniecki  


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