Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lois Brown's Comments on Self-Publishing

I think Rick's advice is very sound. Personally, I had a good
experience with self-publishing, but it was a narrow market niche and
the book subject lent itself to some obvious marketing channels. It was
a non-fiction, self-help adult book. I had to put myself out there and
get invited to women conferences to teach classes. Those I know who have
tried to self-publish fiction have a much harder time selling
it--particularly children's books. In the end, I did make money, but it
wouldn't have been worth it if I hadn't really enjoyed the subject
matter. Fortunately I did. I did not go through a vanity press. I found
a good printer myself. I did get the book into mom and pop bookstores,
and the BYU bookstore was great about working with me. However, I had no
luck with Deseret Book, Seagull, or Walmart.

Two things I would have done differently:
1. I would have gotten a better editor! My book had many typos and I
was somewhat embarrassed about it. Don't try and save money by doing
this yourself. It's worth it.
2. I would have investigated the possibility of combining my
self-published book with others of the same type to create a "line of
products." When I went to bookstores, most had the policy that they
would only take a product if the wholesaler had at least 3 to 5 products
to sale. That rules out self-publishers. My thought was, what if
self-publishers got together (each footing the cost of his/her own book)
and created a small line of products that they could then place into
bookstores? The books would be self-published but they would all be
connected with the ISBNs and an umbrella "wholesaler. " Anyhow, I don't
know about the legality of it all, but I think it's an interesting thought.

Lois Brown

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