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Wading Into Self Printing (or Publishing). Reflecting some of what I have learned 11 months after the plunge. Happiness. Oh Oh Oh JOY!!!!. Pretty Much the Best Feeling Ever. Not So Happiness. Uh-oh. Work needed. So Many Caveats! AND Info Has Such a Short Shelf Life!.

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Wading into self printing or publishing

Wading Into Self Printing (or Publishing)

Reflecting some of what I have learned

11 months after the plunge


Oh Oh Oh


Pretty Much the Best

Feeling Ever

Not so happiness
Not So Happiness

Uh-oh. Work needed.

So many caveats and info has such a short shelf life
So Many Caveats! AND Info Has Such a Short Shelf Life!

  • I know only one model fairly well, for one type of book, and there are dozens of models for hundreds of types of books.

  • Me: nonfiction, quirky tone, seasonal, timeless (I hope), geography-specific, not-quite-any-one-thing, book (not chapbook or article), color, softbound.

  • I have sold 1100 copies and have much more to do—so, I am far from expert.

  • Necessarily today is an introduction only, ideally with good resources for your use.

  • Everything changes quickly.

And i m okay with that
And I’m Okay With That

  • “Work is how you get it in your head. You can make eating chocolate cake be work if you want to.” —Virgil Rose, one of 29 groundskeepers at the Lexington Cemetery


don’t make me eat that.

Photo courtesy of BobPetUK

My modest goals for today
My Modest Goals for Today

  • Report on my 11 months as a self-published author

  • Point toward resources: http://publishmybook.wikispaces.com

  • Enjoy connecting to others interested in something big, useful, and puzzling

The stigma s gone
The Stigma’s Gone

Books recently among NYT top 30 fiction best sellers that are either self published or began as self-published. (8-3-12)

  • "On the Island," by Tracey Garvis Graves

  • "Bared to You," by Silvia Day

  • "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E.L. James

  • "Fifty Shades Freed," by E.L. James

  • "Point of Retreat," by Colleen Hoover

  • "Slammed," by Colleen Hoover

  • "Beautiful Disaster," by Jamie MaGuire

  • "Playing for Keeps," by R.L. Mathewson

  • "Training Tessa," by Lyla Sinclair

  • "If You Were Mine," by Bella Andre

Photo Credit: Azimo. Info from Jessica Yadegaran, mercurynews.com

My reasons for choosing sp print on demand
My Reasons for Choosing SP/Print on Demand

  • Because I could, finally

  • My extreme niche topic

  • Marketing: Mine no matter what

  • Earlier bad experience with the traditional approach

  • Impatience

  • Stubbornness

  • Personal energy and time assessments

After the first decision i will sp more decisions
After the First Decision—“I will SP”—More Decisions

  • Friends and family? Or public?

  • Paperback or hard cover?

  • Black and white or full color?

  • E-book, printed book, or both?

  • A single book, or a publishing empire?

  • Make money, just be published, or both?

Some types of self publishing
(Some) Types of Self Publishing

  • Vanity or subsidy publishing

  • E-publishing only

  • SP 3: You use many different services, paying separately for each

  • SP 2: You buy packages of services

  • SP 1: You use a Print On Demand company and may or may not buy individual or packaged services from the company

I did not use a vanity press
I Did Not Use a Vanity Press

  • Author pays to get X copies of a finished book

  • Submit text (a Word doc) and the press does design and formatting

  • Some can make hard cover books

  • Not expected to make money (except for the company)

  • 1000 copies is a lot; more typically 100 printed/sold/given away

  • Sometimes used when audience is friends and family

I did not do e book only
I Did Not Do E-Book only

  • My book depends on color photos to tell its story well (not ideal for e-reading devices)

  • But I WOULD do e-book only if I wrote any kind of sizzling narrative (romance, vampires, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, S&M, or maybe certain types of self-help…)—if it hooks readers and makes them want more, e-books can be ideal. Especially romance.

  • Recommend: Free download: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran and Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard ($2.99 to $15.95)

I did not do sp 3 author as general contractor
I Did Not Do SP 3: Author as General Contractor

  • Author might contract separately for any number of services, including ghost writing, editing, copy reading, interior design, cover design, printing, distribution, marketing/publicity

  • I DID contract for book design, and I recommend that without reservation, if looks matter to making your case.

I did not do sp 2 buying author services
I Did Not Do SP 2: Buying Author Services

  • Biggest: AuthorHouse: www.authorhouse.com

  • I trusted my writing and my ability to browbeat skilled friends into reading, commenting, and copy reading.

  • I have confidence in my book designer.

  • I couldn’t afford other services, and didn’t think they would be very well done (though skilled copyediting and proofreading are a good investment.)

  • I knew I could design my own blog, use twitter, facebook, and G+ with some competence

  • And furthermore…

I chose sp 1 print on demand
I Chose SP 1: Print On Demand

  • Either zero or affordable initial cost

  • Lots of control (lots of responsibility)

  • Lots of instructions

  • Lots of ability to google questions and find (too many) answers

I considered lightning source caveat things change
I Considered Lightning Source (CAVEAT: Things Change)

  • $75.00 Upload fee for Cover/Interior

  • $12.00 US Distribution (a year)

  • $12.00 UK Distribution (a year)

  • $30.00 Proof

  • Change your files: Costs $40.00/Interior and $40.00/Cover

  • $1.50 Shipping and Handling charge per order

  • Must provide own ISBN

  • No services provided on cover, editing, or anything else that goes into the making of a book

    Credit: Information from Jen Talty, Write it Forward (included in resources)

Of two choices i chose createspace
Of Two Choices,I Chose CreateSpace

  • Considered easier for beginners

  • Owned by and linked directly to amazon.com (yea!)

  • Moderately active online community

  • Decent book quality (I ordered some)

Create space caveat things change
…Create Space (Caveat: Things Change)

  • FREE self-service (there are services you can pay for, but the basic upload is free)

  • $25.00 Expanded Distribution (one time fee)

  • A proof is the cost of printing plus shipping.

  • Can use CreateSpace ISBN for free, or use your own

  • Lots of services offered; none required

    Credit: Information from Jen Talty, Write it Forward (included in resources)

Mid stream offerings part 1
Mid-Stream Offerings, Part 1

  • Being a published author with a book I can hold? Not boring. Yet.

  • Writing about something I loved? Brilliant choice.

  • Having someone say “You are so close—no quitting now?” Invaluable.

  • Choosing CreateSpace? Good so far.

Mid stream offerings part 2
Mid-Stream Offerings, Part 2

  • Reading all the online information about how to self publish? Never write again.

  • Committing to fun and turning down drudgery? Smart. (But I’m not trying to make a full living as an author. Yet.)

  • All the advice about how to market a published book? Winnow it; sieve out what suits YOUR life and goals.

Starts i have made grade c
Starts I Have Made: Grade C-

  • Dedicated blog, www.sweetsweetsorghum.com

  • Mentions on my main blog: www.savoringkentucky.com

  • Some tweeting (savoringky)

  • Some facebook (Rona Roberts)

  • Some google plussing (Rona Roberts)

  • Minimal Linked-Inning (Rona Roberts)

Ways i ve been lucky in marketing
Ways I’ve Been Lucky (in Marketing)

  • Ouita Michel, Morris Book Shop, Jo-Beth, Good Foods

  • Barbara Napier and Kentucky Crafted

  • Sharon Thompson, Lexington Herald-Leader (thanks to Kathie Stamps’s press release mojo)

  • Carmichael’s Books and Edible Louisville

  • Kentucky Book Fair and Incredible Food Show this year

  • NSSPPA National Annual Meeting

  • Online sales

Ways i want to be lucky
Ways I WANT To Be Lucky

  • Regular mentions in national food magazines and newspapers

  • Regular opportunities to speak as a lay expert at state, regional, and national events

  • Regular marketing events with favorite sorghum producers

  • Regular invitations to make a case for sorghum as good for Kentucky and regional economic, environmental, community and personal health

Would i do it again
Would I Do It Again?

  • I AM!

  • Second book 75 percent written: working title: Savoring Kentucky’s Summer Foods

  • E-version of Sweet, Sweet Sorghum just begun (thanks to prepping for this session!) It will be a second plunge into the unknown.


    Contact: [email protected], 859.951.8151

All i see is blue skies and sorghum cane
All I See Is Blue Skies (and Sorghum Cane)