Self-publishing: Some Pitfalls

Earth and Sky

I will begin again today to discuss self-publishing and what it can and cannot do for your books.  I began to be interested in this very useful form of publishing more than 20 years ago.  At that time, it wasn’t very well regarded, results were so-so and it could be expensive.  Today, it’s all the rage, and the results are beautiful.  But look before you leap, and study, study, study the field.

Stay away from the companies that don’t answer promptly, give you short shrift when they do answer and who give evasive answers.  It wasn’t quite a horror story, but a woman I knew was in tears because her book was more than halfway through the printing process when several new costs came up that she hadn’t been carefully told about.  So, a year later, still no book.  Check to see if their total cost quoted allows for a Library of Congress Control Number if your book is fortunate enough to get one.  You’re going to have to have an ISBN.  You’ll want your book to be listed with W.W. Bowker.

It will be helpful to have a See Inside The Book feature with Amazon.  How much does company charge for extra copies?  It’s to your advantage to check all this out before you begin.  And whatever you do, check and double check your contract.  I would advise legal assistance.  It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Universities in your town or nearby have law schools whose students can and will help for a nominal fee.

Thus you begin on firm footing and you won’t be crying later.  Most companies do a good job putting out books.  It’s no longer difficult, so that leaves time for getting a good market and editorial analyses, then superb editing and proofing.  The list isn’t endless.  It just seems that way.  And, with your brainchild in hand, and few or no disappointments, you’ll be glad you published with care.

2 Responses to “Self-publishing: Some Pitfalls”

  1. Michael N. Marcus Says:

    >>Check to see if their total cost quoted allows for a Library of Congress Control Number if your book is fortunate enough to get one. <<

    Any American can get an LCCN, and it's FREE, and very easy to get. However, many vanity preses charge for it.

    Michael N. Marcus
    – president of the Independent Self-Publishers Alliance, http://www.independentselfpublishers.org
    – author of "Become a Real Self-Publisher: Don’t be a Victim of a Vanity Press," http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661742
    http://BookMakingBlog.blogspot.com

  2. Francine Craft Says:

    Thanks for the comment. I’m still checking into this. I’ve had 23 books published by Harlequin, BET, Kensington, and Berkley. I’ve had no LCCN numbers at any of them. My publisher did not charge for the LCCN. I think there are some holdups here, and I’m checking into it. I will be joining your organization.

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