Self-Publishing Your Own Book is the New Business Card

snoopy_writing

If you’ve just given someone your business card then you failed. If you have a business card you might be about to fail. Nobody cares what’s on it. I throw out all business cards.

I’ve written before about self-publishing but more than the “why” and “how” (although I add more info about this below than I previously have)  this post is why YOU NEED to self-publish if you are in business, a blogger, a writer, or in any profession (essentially all professions) where you want to stand out versus the competition. There is one window, right now, where you have the right combination of “easy to do”, “cheap”, and “nobody is doing it”. The key is the Era of Validation is over. Nobody needs to pick you. You pick yourself.

I’ve published eight books in the past seven years, five with traditional publishers (Wiley, Penguin, HarperCollins), one comic book,  and the last two I’ve self-published. In this post I give the specific details of all of my sales numbers and advances with the traditional publishers. Although the jury is still out on my self-published books, “How to be the Luckiest Man Alive” and “I Was Blind But Now I See” I can tell you these two have already sold more than my five books with traditional publishers, combined.

If you, the entrepreneur, self-publish a book you will stand out, you will make more money, you will kick your competitors right in the XX, and you will look amazingly cool at cocktail parties. I know this because I am seldom cool but at cocktail parties, with my very own comic book, I can basically have sex with anyone in the room. But don’t believe me-  it costs you nothing and almost no time to try it yourself.

The rest of this article is really three discussions: Why self-publish rather than use a traditional publisher, why entrepreneurs and others who seek to stand out for career or creatuve purposes should self-publish, and finally, HOW does one go about self-publishing.

WHY: 

A) Advances are going to zero. Book publishers are getting more and more squeezed by declining booksellers so they, in turn, have to squeeze the writers. Because of so much free content on the Internet, the value per unit of content is going to zero unless you are already an established name-brand author.

B) Lag time. When you self-publish, you can have your book up and running on Amazon, paperback and kindle, within days. When you publish with a traditional publisher its a grueling process: book proposal, agents, lawyers, meetings, edits, packaging, catalogs, etc that ensures that your book doesn’t actually get published until a year later. Literally, as I write this a friend of mine just IMed me the details of his book deal he just got with a mainstream publisher. Publication date: 2014.

C) Marketing. Publishers claim they do a lot of marketing for you. That’s laughable. I’ll give you a very specific story. When I published with Penguin they then met with a friend of mine whose book they wanted to publish. They didn’t realize she was my friend. She asked them, “what marketing did you do for James Altucher’s book”. They said, “well, we got him a review in The Financial Times and we got a segment about his book on CNBC and an excerpt in thestreet.com”

Here’s what’s so funny. I had a weekly column in The Financial Times. I WROTE my own review. As a joke. For CNBC, I had a weekly segment on CNBC. So naturally I spoke about my book during my regular segment. And for thestreet.com excerpt, I had just sold my last company to thestreet.com. So instead of doing my usual article for them I did an excerpt. In other words, the publisher did NOTHING, but took credit for EVERYTHING. Ultimately, authors (unless you are Stephen King, etc) have to do their own marketing for books. The first question publishers ask, even, before they look at your proposal is, “How big is your platform?” They want to know how you can market the book and if they can make money on just your own marketing efforts.

D) Better royalties. i.e. when I self-publish I make about a 70% royalty instead of a 15% royalty with a traditional publisher. I also own 100% of the foreign rights instead of 50%. I hired someone to sell the foreign rights and they get 20% (and no upfront fee).

E) More control over content and design. Look at this cover for “SuperCash” designed by a traditional publisher for me (this was my third book). It’s hideous.

Now look at the cover for my last book (self-published), “I Was Blind But Now I See”. You may or may not like it but it’s exactly what I wanted. Publishers even include in the contract that they have final say over the cover and this is one detail they will not negotiate.

You also don’t have any teenage interns sending you editorial comments back that you completely disagree with. YOU control your own content.

Now,

WHY SHOULD ENTREPRENEURS SELF-PUBLISH

A) You have content. I have enough material in my blog right now (including my “Drafts” folder which has 75 unpublished posts in it) to publish five more books over the next year. And I’m sure that number will increase over the next year as I write more posts. You’re an entrepreneur because you feel you have a product or an idea or a vision that stands out among your competitors (if you don’t stand out, pack it in and come up with a new idea).

You know how to do something better than anyone else in the world. How do let the world know that you are better? A business card won’t cut it. People will throw it away. And everyone’s got a website with an “About” button.

Give away part (or all) of your ideas in a book. You’re a brand new social media agency? How should social media work? Write it down. You’re a new CRM software package? How should CRM be better? Tell me. How should online dating services work? Tell some stories. Heck, make them as sexy as possible.

Don’t have time to write it. Then tell it to a ghostwriter you outsource to for almost no money. You don’t need 60,000 words. Do it in 20,000 words. Throw some pictures in. Just do it. Then when you meet someone and they ask for your business card, how cool will it be when you can say, “here, take my book instead.”

B) You have more to say. More and more companies have blogs. Many of the posts on the blog are “evergreen”. i.e. they last forever and are not time specific. If you just take the posts (mentioned in the point above) and publish them people will say, “he’s just publishing a collection of posts”. A couple of comments on that.

1. So what? It’s ok if you are curating what you feel your best posts are. And for a small price people can get that curation and read it in a different format.There’s value there.

2. Don’t just take a collection of your posts.  A blog post is typically 500-2000 words. Usually closer to 500. Do a bit more research for each post. Do intros and outros for each post. Make the chapters 3000-4000 words. Make a bigger arc to the book by using original material to explain WHY this book, with these chapters, presented in this manner is a different read than the blog. Have a chapter specifically explaining how the book is different from the blog.

With my last book, “I Was Blind But Now I See” I had original material in each chapter and several chapters that were completely original. Instead of it being a collection of posts, the overall book was about how we have been brainwashed in society, and how uncovering the brainwashing and using the techniques I describe can bring happiness. This was covered in a much more detailed fashion than the blog ever could even though the material was inspired by several of my posts.

 C) Amazon is an extra platform for you to market your blog. Or vice versa. You won’t make a million dollars on your book (well, maybe you will – never say never) but just being able to say, “I’m a published author” extends your credibility as a writer/speaker/enterpreneur when you go out there now to sell your book, syndicate your blog elsewhere or to get speaking engagements, etc. And when you do a speaking engagement, you can now hand something out – your book! So Amazon and publishing become a powerful marketing platform for your overall writing/speaking/consulting career.

D) Nobody cares. Some people want the credibility of saying “Penguin published me”. I can tell you from experience – nobody ever asked me who was my publisher when Penguin was my publisher. And, by the way, Penguin was the worst publisher I ever had.

E) How will I get in bookstores? I don’t know. How will you? Traditional publishers can’t get you there either. Often bookstores will look at what’s hot on Amazon and then order the books wholesale from the publishers. In many cases, tradtional publishers will take their most-known writers (so if you are in that category, congrats!) and pay to have them featured at a bookstore. As for my experience, my traditional publishers would get a few copies of my books in the bookstores of major cities (i.e. NYC and that’s it) but nothing more.

OK, I’M CONVINCED. HOW DO I SELF-PUBLISH

There’s lots of ways to do it but I’ll tell you my experience.

A) First write the book. For my last two self-published books, as mentioned above, I took some blog posts, rewrote parts of them, added original material, added new chapters, and provided an overall arc as to what the BOOK was about as opposed to it just being a random collection of posts. But, that said, you probably already have the basic material already.

B) Createspace.com. I used createspace because they are owned by Amazon and have excellent customer service. They let you pick the size of your book and then have Microsoft Word templates that you download to format your book within. For my first book I did this by myself, for my second book, for a small fee, I hired Alexanderbecker.net to format the book, create the book design, and create the final PDF that I uploaded. He also checked grammar, made proactive suggestions on font (sans serif instead of serif) and was extremely helpful.

C) Upload the PDF. Createspace approves it, picks an ISBN number, sends you a proof, and then you approve the proof.

D) Within days its available on Amazon. It’s print-on-demand as a paperback. And by the way, your total costs at this point: $0. Or whatever you used to design your cover.

E) Kindle. All of the above (from Createspace) was free. If I didn’t hire Alex to make the cover I could’ve used over 1mm of Createspace’s possible covers (I did that for my first book) and the entire publishing in paperback would be free. But with Kindle, Createspace charges $70 and they take care of everything until it’s uploaded to the Kindle store. Now you are available in paperback and kindle.

F) Marketing.

1. Readers of my blog who asked for it got the first 20 copies or so for free from me. Many of them then posted good reviews on Amazon to get the ball rolling.

2. I’ve been handing out the books at speaking engagements. Altogether, I’ll do around 10 speaking engagements handing my latest book out.

3. I write a blog post about how the bo0k is different from the blog and why I chose to go this route.

4. Writing guests posts for blogs like Techcrunch helps and I’m very grateful.

5. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ are also very helpful.

G) Promotions. You’re in charge of your own promotions (as opposed to a book publisher.). For instance, in a recent blog post I discussed the differences between my latest book and my blog and I also offered a promotion on how to get my next self-published book (“Bad Behavior”, expected in Q1 2012) for free.

Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to stand out, promote their service, and get validation for their offerings. Writing a book makes you an expert in the field. At the very least, when you hand someone a book you wrote, it’s more impressive than handing a business card. It shows that you have enough expertise to write the book. It also shows you value the relationship with the potential customer enough that you are willing to give him something of value. Something you created.

And you can’t say the excuse “I don’t have time, I’m running a business.” Entrepreneurs make time. And they have the ideas so, again, at the very least you can use elance.com to hire a ghostwriter.

Over the next year I have five different books planned. All on different topics. I’m super-excited about them because I’m allowed to push the barrier in every area I’m interested in and there’s nobody to stop me. There’s nobody I need validation from. I get to pick myself.

You can do this also. And now, you should do it. There’s no more excuses in this environment. Good luck and feel free to write me with any questions.

Follow me on Twitter

Also, see 33 Unusual Ways to Become a Great Writer

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  • http://devblog.ailon.org Alan Mendelevich

    Makes total sense, but, because of the self-published books, searching for books by subject on Amazon became as useful as searching for it on Google. Books are like large web pages/blog posts now.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Since its print on demand its also easy to hand out. When I have a few meetings planned, I’ll order some from Amazon for next day shipment and then I’ll hand out 3 or 4 in a day of meetings. Its great. 

  • http://alephblog.com David_Merkel

    Thanks, James, I’ll give it serious thought, as I have been approached to write a book on Value Investing.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      David, I would even PRE-ORDER that. 

  • Felix

    that´s just what i was thinking of on my way home. thank you james!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Felix, thanks. What topic would you write about?

      • Felix

        I´m already writing on a book, maybe two books (thanks to your inspiring blog posts and books. i really like them.). The first one is about why everyone should travel to Ameland (a dutch island) once a year, because I have done that for almost my entire life now. Believe me, it´s another world, probably a better one. But I am not sure about the second one, since it´s more like a mixture of little stories about a friend of mine. We´ll see how that turns out in the end.

        • http://twitter.com/sirdanielsilva Daniel Silva

          I’ve always wanted to go to Ameland, amazing that you would mention it (it’s not exactly the most popular place). My wife is Dutch, and her brother has been many times, but she (and I) have not been. Is there a mailing list or something I can sign up for to know when your book is done, Felix?

          • Felix

            I suppose it will take like two or three month from now (maybe four?), since I have just started working on it. Wow, I didn´t even think of a mailing list, good idea! Just send your Email adress to felix1203 at gmx dot de and I promise to contact you when it´s done.

        • Martin

          Let me know when your book on Ameland is done. I went there once as a young kid and it rings a magic bell in my mind. martin at dornbusch dot com is the address, thanks!

  • http://www.leadershipquantified.com Leslie L. Kossoff

    Very, very true, James.  In the heyday of management consulting, the only way a boutique operator could stand out was by having a book.  Now, with technology being what it is, this has become an available avenue and necessity for anyone who wants to stand out in any arena.

    That being said, keep in mind, your books are good.  They’re well written and well thought out.  That makes a difference – sort of – because lots of folks buy books they never read. They just buy them and have them.  (I always hope that’s because they intend to read them – not just that they want impressive looking bookcases…or, these days, to be able to tout the number of ebooks they’ve got on their Kindle the way they do Twitter followers or Facebook ‘friends.’)

    So, to your blog audience, my only addition to all the good information and guidance that you have provided (and now I’m speaking as a publisher – yes, I’m going to do the pitch: http://www.leadershipquantified.com ), make sure you’ve got a good editor.  It’s all well and good to have a ‘book’ out there – but if it’s crap, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

    Or you can hope that yours is one of the books folks buy but never read.

  • Alex

    Where does a “self publisher” find an editor, either for blog postings or the actual book?

    • http://twitter.com/sirdanielsilva Daniel Silva

      Your friends and family could help. They might not be able to give you professional level insight, but if they find some misspellings or grammar errors, then it’s already worth their help.

    • http://twitter.com/somethingabtjen Jennifer Knight

      I have a friend that does this: http://www.perscribo.com.  She will also take your Word doc and format for e-publishing.

    • http://twitter.com/terreece Terreece M. Clarke

      You can also hire a professional writer | editor like myself. More than 12 years as a freelance writer for websites, magazines, newspapers and yes, copy editing for book publishers. http://www.TerreeceClarke.com

  • http://twitter.com/sirdanielsilva Daniel Silva

    Great blog post James, I agree. I am going to do this. I’m going to start chronicling my experience with a start up I’m engaged in. Very early stages, but we’re going about it in a way you might suggest, building the product first, trying to get some revenue, starting small and agile, not raising funds (not yet, maybe not ever). The book will either be a very interesting look at a brand that could explode, or a book about lessons learned and things I will do differently if this fails with future projects.

    I’m going to share this with a friend of mine, too, who I know wants to write a book too but is scared to do it, I think. This may help them get over the hump. Good stuff, James, as always. Thanks for writing it.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Very good idea: diary of a startup. 

      • Chef/ Farmer

        This was a great article, thanks for writing it. There are so many things to choose from, I get booged down. diary of our famring operations sounds good to me. we have begun to offer ‘consuting’ for folks who wantto get out of the city and start rural living but don’t have a clue…maybe a self published book would be a way to help them… and i thought of all the cooking classes i give, a book to take home would be helpful, maybe…lots to chew on.

  • http://www.soloflexforever.com/ Garett

    Post of the century! Thanks James. People tell me that I should write books. Like many things in the world, the entire process has changed immensely. Many years ago I recall looking into it. The process was expensive, involved a lot of negotiation, a lot of interference and unwanted editing from publishers,  and if it got approved, would take a long time to get to print. Just like you stated above. After all that they wanted me to pay for the printing of the runs of the books in case the stores failed to sell them. 

    As I was an unknown with barely enough funds to live on as it was. I dropped the project and stopped looking into it further. All I saw was a big black hole to drop money time effort, blood sweat and tears into. Your blog and especially this post now has me thinking about writing again for many reasons.

    Many thanks! 

  • http://twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga Claudia Azula

    Absolutely love the concept of the self published book as the new business card and I agree. We live in a different publishing world!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, having just re-read your self-pubished book last night I am glad I didn’ thave to wait a year for a publisher to publish it. 

  • Carsten Hucho

    What a valid point! *Content* is the currency of social interaction! I commented on your post here http://www.smarts-club.com/2012/01/write-book.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=732244537 Priscilla Paredes Wood

    This post got me going! Just what I needed today, keep rocking!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Priscilla, please write a book. I would definitely buy it. 

  • http://planetoplano.blogspot.com/ Leonardo

    Hi,
    I’m working on a translation, from Italian to English, to be self-published; after having convinced the Italian writer that that was the way to go. Your help, via your posts on the subject was invaluable. Thank you very much,
    L. Pavese

  • http://twitter.com/LuckytobeYou kara rane

    this is the way~ no longer do a few people feed us information..We decide.
    one of a Kind handmade Business cards here —-> http://www.lucky2bu.com/2011/11/aligned-stars.html sorta like self publishing..

  • http://twitter.com/terreece Terreece M. Clarke

    Fantastic post!

    I remember when I started out as a freelancer/journalist we were always told by the book publishers and within media circles that no self-respecting writer self-published. It was for losers who couldn’t get their work published by a REAL publishing house.

    There was always this image of a poor bastard sitting in his mother’s basement raging against the (publishing) machine surrounded by cases of books he’d spent thousands on printing.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are some who still hold on to that sentiment, but the majority of industry people are waking up and seeing the writing on the wall. E-books and e-readers have changed the game much life social media has changed the way businesses interact with their customers and the way the media interacts with users.

    • http://444express.blogspot.com/ the444

      “There was always this image of a poor bastard sitting in his mother’s
      basement raging against the (publishing) machine surrounded by cases of
      books he’d spent thousands on printing.”

      You crystallized exactly how they did, in fact, try to brainwash us.  And they might have convinced some of us, for a time.  But now they have failed!  That day is over, isn’t it?!  And it’s about time!

      (I say this with all the bluster of someone who isn’t doing anything to publish anything except my own uninteresting little blog, but I like jumping on this bandwagon.  Down with the patronizing, greedy, too-big-for-their-own-britches publishing houses.  I never did like them OR their attitude!)

  • http://www.vwvagabonds.com VW Vagabonds

    Seven years ago we went the traditional self-publishing route.  That is, we started our own publishing company and ordered a print-run of books from a commercial printer.  One day the tractor-trailer pulled up at our apartment and began unloading pallets.  Gulp!

    The markup was a little better than createspace but we had all those books staring us in the face every day. 

    After a lot of hard work and creative marketing we sold them all.  At that point we stumbled onto createspace.  I would never do it the old way again.  Now, everything is absolutely automated.  This past year we were traveling and never gave one thought to the logistics of fulfillment, inventory, warehousing, etc…   It all happens behind the scenes and Amazon simply makes a deposit to our bank account each month. 

    In many ways I think of createspace as the most concrete realization of the potential of the internet. 

    Those looking for automated income should seriously consider starting a book / dvd project  today.

  • Singh

    How do you find the time to write soo much each day. please share how you schedule your day. I love your writings.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      4:30am wakeup. Read until 6:30, write until 8 or 8:30, yoga, shower, eat, then work, then read again, then maybe write a little. then if i have time, respond to some emails, then sleep. 

      I skip TV, dinners, meeting people, calling people, and thinking bad thoughts about people (thats the hardest part)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      4:30am wakeup. Read until 6:30, write until 8 or 8:30, yoga, shower, eat, then work, then read again, then maybe write a little. then if i have time, respond to some emails, then sleep. 

      I skip TV, dinners, meeting people, calling people, and thinking bad thoughts about people (thats the hardest part)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lishen.nair Lishen Nair

    Thank you for this James.  This answers so many questions I had.  Just one more: When you make your work available on Kindle, can you still make your work freely downloadable, or do Amazon now own rights to your book?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      No, you own the rights and can do whatever you want with it. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/lishen.nair Lishen Nair

        Perfect.

  • http://www.kiwimotorart.co.nz/ B Young

    that post really hit me James. I successfully create and sell very focussed artworks and blog about them as works in progress on kiwimotorart.blogspot.com suddenly I can see a book about how I do this filled with pictures and info for others. my isolation down here in the antipodes, New Zealand, is now no barrier! on to it!!!!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yeah, imagine each chapter a picture and then your thought process that went into it plus what you were experiencing in life. “Portrait of an Artist” sort of thing. 

      • B Young

        my thoughts exactly.. already started chapter 1…

    • http://AldinePublications.com/ Sharon Beck

      We are also thinking of publishing an book of original artwork and commentary. The problem is that fairly high-resolution is needed for the quality we want, but that will make the file too large. We are also looking into a printed book, but color printing is fairly expensive. We have other projects to work on, and will get back to this as we monitor the printing costs. So our art just resides on our blog and at Fine Art America.

  • http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/why-you-need-f-you-money/ Jlcollinsnh

    Hi James….

    Nicely done, clear and specific.  As my blog has come together I’ve been thinking more and more about this, remembering your earlier post on the subject.

    Never thought about it as being the “new business car” but you are absolutely correct.  I’ve been tossing biz cards for years and I’m sure folks have been tossing mine.

    Many, many years ago before the age of computers I had a business professor who declined to carry cards.  this at a time when cards actually had a function and mattered.  His thinking was they were so ubiquitous that by not having one he’d be more memorable. 

    • http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/why-you-need-f-you-money/ Jlcollinsnh

      Oh, and a question James.  In my blog posts I frequently use pictures downloaded from google and links to video clips.  Can these transfer into book format?

      thanks.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        SOmetimes pictures can transfer over. Sometimes not. Get an editor/book designer to help (I recommended ab@alexanderbecker:disqus.com) and he can tell you. 

        Your business professor had the right idea. 

  • Mitchell Davis

    Hey James, 
    I was the founder of BookSurge, which Amazon bought in 2005. They integrated our POD software and manufacturing system globally and turned our self-publishing business into CreateSpace. Great technology, great people and super psyched to see this article. I have been reading you on SAI for some time and really, really like your style. You can imagine how the industry treated us like we were pariahs in 2000 … and it is so great to see this become the new normal. Congrats!
    Mitchell Davis
    http://www.bibliolabs.com

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Mitchell, congrats very much! I am glad you started BookSurge as I am a heavy user (obviously) of Createspace. Are you still there? 

  • http://www.dealsbell.com/store/psprint/ psprint coupons

    This is really good idea that the book can be represents as the business card. But one must not ignore the business card. It is also the way to spread the contact. With the business card you can spread your business easily compare to the book. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Business Cards will never disappear. But I’m talking about STANDING OUT. Then having your own book is good. 

  • Anonymous

    My great-uncle published several books in and around 1982.  Was he ahead of his time?  They are in the library of congress and in a number of university libraries now (as well as on my bookshelf right next to my head – and ironically, I had to pay $80 for one of them from some swindler on Amazon and I can’t bring myself to pay $180 for the other one that I want.  I have not yet exhausted all family sources to see if anyone has any copies, though.)

    • http://www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com/ Andreas Moser

      People who know about supply and demand are not necessarily swindlers. :P

      • http://444express.blogspot.com/ the444

        I called him a swindler because I had to buy my own family member’s book from him. ;o)  And yes, he sure did know about supply and demand, as do all of the other swindlers currently holding my uncle’s books for ransom :o/

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          I know a guy in the investing world who self-published a book around 1990 and then bought all the copies. Now if you want to buy one of his books you have to pay of $1000 for something that is totally out of date. Its funny how that works. But that will be a thing of the past ina  world that is print on demand. Then price will never go up. 

          • Anonymous

            One of life’s little ironies. The web decreased the value of new books by allowing buyers to contact a much broader spectrum of sellers for a product that is, once published, a commodity. The web increased the value of old books by increasing the number of buyers for something with a fixed supply.
            C’st la Vie.

  • http://www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com/ Andreas Moser

    Very motivating post!

    A few questions:
    1. How is the print/paper/binding quality of the Createspace books in comparison to the ones published by the legacy publishers?
    2. How did you choose the list price of the paperback and kindle editions?
    3. With all the books you buy yourself to hand them out for free, do the copies sold to other readers at least still cover the costs? (Without taking the writing and editing time into consideration of course, because we know then it will always be a loss.)

    Thank you!

    • http://www.vwvagabonds.com VW Vagabonds

      1. The quality of a creatspace book is indistinguishable from any high quality paperback. 

      2. We carried-over the price from when we first printed the book independently.  The price of similar books has gone down (thanks in part to createspace) so I would probably lower the price if I were publishing today.  Look at what others are charging for similar books and try to find the price point that will maximize profit. 

      3. We pay $4.54 per copy for those we order as handouts or for in-person sales on a 407 page book size 5.5″ X 8.5″. 

      They’ve made is so that the only thing to lose is the time invested

  • http://suddeninsights.com/ Jonas Bruun NIelsen

    Inspiring!

    Are you using editors/friends to help you improve the content? How?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, I don’t use anyone to help me write the book. But I do use someone to help proofread, design cover, and get book ready in terms of formatting, etc. 

  • James Ford

    inspirational, yes. but if you plan on writing a book, and you actually expect someone to read it, you better work with an editor. 

    writing is an extension of who you are, and you don’t want that extension being responsible for a setback in your career or whatever your point is for writing it. put in the time and make it high quality. 

    this is unless, of course, you don’t want anyone to read it, and you just want to make the statement that you wrote a book (wrong reason to write).

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes, I recommend that above and provide a link to the guy I used for my last book. 

      • James Ford

        I appreciate that you read and respond to comments. Clearly you understand that this ups the sincerity of your writing across the board. That, in turn, ups other items you produce. Case in point, the reason I purchased I Was Blind But Now I See recently. The simple fact that I know you will read this brings me back to read more. 

  • http://twitter.com/pumpupyourbook Dorothy Thompson

    This is a fantastic post…the time to self-publish is RIGHT NOW. 

  • Anonymous

    Great post, thanks for filling in some of the details. I’m inspired to
    self-publish my book, The Value Investor’s Guide to Apartment Buildings…. as soon as I can get the world’s slowest writer (me) to finish it. Thanks also for the Woody Allen post, the daily writing is helping.

  • Dan Limbach

    I agree that the publishing house model is nearly dead, unless you are a celebrity, former high level government official, or high profile criminal trial personality (defendant, victim, lawyer).

    Before we all believe we can all be successful self-publishers, we need to understand a couple fundamentals.

    1) If you have a big platform (audience), your chances of success with your book are much better. This includes when you are just distributing your book at cost to move your business forward. You need to get a lot of books out there to get the phone to ring and generate new business. For non-famous folks, it helps to have a large blog following or a popular website, or a large email database. Without something like this, your chances are greatly hindered. You may still become a viral success, but this is very rare.

    2) It’s very hard to overcome bad writing. It’s a reflection on you, so it also won’t help your business one bit if it is amateurish, or has mistakes. If you have the ideas but you find it hard to put them in writing, find a partner. They help you put your ideas into a book, and you cut them in on the first $500 or so of the profits before you take a dime. You may never see a dime, but your partner/friend will get something for their troubles, and you’ll have a better quality book to hand out and generate business.

    3) Give yourself a deadline. If you don’t, something will always get in the way from finishing the book and sending it to the service who will print it. If you set a deadline, you also have to stop thinking of new chapters you may want to add, new research to include, or other features. There’s always an opportunity to write a sequel.

    4) Your book simply may not be worth reading. People think their life stories or business philosophies are compelling, when they are really not very unique or interesting in terms of a commercial opportunity. Unless you can put a unique spin on it, people may just not be interested. Write the first two chapters, and solicit the opinions of a few people who have no compelling interest whether you succeed or not. They will tell you the truth more than a friend or relative. Contact some top reviewers on Amazon, and ask them if they would read your first couple chapters. This is a litmus test. Not 100% bonafide, but a good initial indicator about the chances for your book.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Dan, I agree with those four points. The interesting thing, they all also apply to the traditional publishing model. In most cases, agents and editors don’t know whether your book will be worth reading. You have the same ability as they do to figure that out. And without them looking over your shoulders, you might even write a better book. But yes, self-publishers need to keep those 4 things in mind. Thank you. 

    • http://www.writeabio.com/ Barbra @ Write A Bio

      Excellent points.

    • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

      Thanks for making some really great points.

  • ofolk

    Like always, great post James! Thank you!

    The world is changing rapidly,there should be no doubt about it, not only the book publishing industry is being and will be disrupted, the same will happen with the music distribution industry as well and there is/are/was people working on this:
    “upcoming Megabox music store and DIY artist distribution service that would have completely disrupted the music industry. ”

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/was-megaupload-targeted-because-of-its-upcoming-megabox-digital-jukebox-service/ 

  • http://www.chrisisgrowing.tumblr.com/ Chris Han

    Great stuff… i’m definitely going to self publish my book in the near future.  Thanks for posting this!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Chris, thanks. Let us know when you publish. 

      • http://www.chrisisgrowing.tumblr.com/ Chris Han

        Also, I really enjoy reading your blog.  I’m a recent college grad (graduated in May 2011) and I feel like reading your stuff now will help me better prepare/ embrace myself for the future.  Thanks again

  • http://maldives2you.com/ cruise maldives

    I will recommend my friends to read this.I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Hopefully while they are on your spam cruise to the maldives they can read my books. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rj.oguillory RJ O’Guillory

    …for years I talked to my brothers and sisters regarding working together on a book,…a memoir about growing up in Webster Groves, the small St. Louis suburb chosen by CBS News in the 60’s,… as the subject of a nationally broadcast documentary, “16 in Webster Groves”,..which purported to sell the Missouri community as the perfect American suburb,…or as CBS phrased it at the time, “six square miles of the American Dream”,…

    ….My Dad was a 6’9, 350lb, corrupt, racist St. Louis City Cop,… and my Mother the Court Clerk for a nearby suburb,…until she embezzled thousands from the ticket fund,…and my memoir captures the essence of the dysfunctional baby-booming family of the 60’s & 70’s…so my family members were not to pleased with my efforts,….

    …anyway,..to your point regarding self-publishing,…to me,…the act of publishing was more important to me than the outcome of “sales or “profit”,..now, don’t get me wrong,…since I published in 09,..I’ve been diagnosed with genetic epilepsy and drove off a two-hundred foot cliff by accident during a post seizure fugue-state,…so my attention to sales details may be lacking somewhat,…

    …but we are recovered from the results of that accident and are moving briskly ahead with plans for a film-treatment of my work,…and I’m moving forward on a book of poetry,… and will probably write a second memoir regarding my adult years of employment with US DoD and my twenty-years career as a “Federally Protected Whistle-Blower” (ha, ha)…..(Confessions of a Federal Hamburger Flipper)…

    …but the point is, regardless of commercial success,…no one will ever be able to take that accomplishment away from me, or my legacy as a human on this planet,….

    ..that alone,..is worth self-publishing,…

    Regards,

    RJ O’Guillory
    Author-
    Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family
    ——————————————————————-
    The U.S. of Hollow

     

    Junior demons litter the
    culture,

    sucking up all that’s left.

    The Elder knew how to pick em’

    The Boy claimed no such heft.

    Picked apart and long picked
    over,

    our bird of Giving Thanks.

    America, finally laid to rest,

    by her own traitorous Yanks.

    Liberty & Freedom,

     need no such plan to follow.

    Bleeding slowly across our
    land,

    The United States of Hollow.

    RJ O’Guillory /Author/ Webster
    Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well RJ, I, for one, just downloaded your book to my kindle. Thanks. 

      • http://www.writervixen.com Deborah Hymes

        Ditto. Thanks RJ.

    • Jason from Affton

      RJ “the other author from Webster Groves”.  While I have no desire to read Johnathon Franzen, I will be reading your book.  I hadn’t heard of it until I read the comments on this post.  Thank you for putting it out there.

      Jason from Affton

  • Del staecker

    Most people will write crap, not edit it, and produce worthless reading material. The market will judge them as fools.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes, but like anything, it will become a real market. Not a false market dominated by useless middlemen and bureacratic antiquated institutions no longer necessary. In such a market, not everyone will be a success but: 

      A) the sincere voices will rise to the top
      B) everyone who writes a book (50-100,000 words) has done some research and has something to say to someone. Those people will stand out versus the ones who do no research and have nothing to say. 

      That said, I’m not saying EVERYONE has to write a book. Just if you want to stand out in your business or career, or if you love writing and don’t like 21 year old editors, this is a good option for you. 

      • http://444express.blogspot.com/ the444

         I deduce from some of your comments that you have been tasked with tolerating teen/20-ish “professionals.”  As we get older and crotchety-er, we lose patience with taking orders from people chewing on Skittles and going to bed with their Care Bears at night, don’t we?

    • Greglaw

      That observation is also true of traditional publishing.  More traditionally-published books are ultimately shredded than sold.

    • http://444express.blogspot.com/ the444

      Oh well, let them do it.  Let “the market” judge.  Let the judging begin!
      What’s the problem with that, anyway?  Cream rises, detritus sinks – you know… it’s the natural order of things.  It happens with regular publishing houses, too.   The detritus is just more polished once it goes through their hands – that’s all.  I don’t see a need for a gatekeeper to do the deciding…  The reign of “The Authority” over what people will want to read is nearly over – we can all see it coming!

  • Asf

    The problem is marketing. I just self-published a book of short stories entitled “Purgastories.” (A tough genre, I know.) It’s available at Amazon.com, but even if you search for “short stories” it won’t appear in the first 1,000 listings. So practically no one knows the book exists. Without placement in bookstores or national exposure, most self-published books will go nowhere.

  • http://courtreportinglife.typepad.com/ reportinglife

    You have to be true to yourself in setting goals and not waste your energy on something if it’s not the right vehicle to get your points across.  Your values, principles, what you believe in and your true intentions should guide you.  It will determine the effect you have on the people reading your material.  Sometimes self-publishing a book isn’t the most efficient way to get your message out.  It depends what you’re trying to accomplish:  If you want to bring about change, or if you just simply want to be published.

  • caroline

    I forwarded one you wrote about self-publishing to my husband a few months ago and he self published one of many fiction books he wrote during the last 15 years.  It’s a thrill for him!  Thank you.

  • Josf Kelley

    I just want to say thanks. I have been writing for years and wondering what I can do next in my writing experience. With this helpful article I can now adjust my writing with the goal of creating a book page by page from my Web Page: Power Independence.

  • http://bclund.com/ bclund

    Great post James.  Question: Other than just asking, what are your best suggestions to convince a site to let you do a guest blog post?

  • Artour

    But don’t forget that you should have something to say (before you go wasting all that paper).

  • David B

    Great post! My business partners and I use Createspace and have been very happy. We essentially created a publishing company as a DBA for our current business, did the work, and within a few months, we have two books live, both in print and on Kindle, and a third on the way. I had to learn certain things along the way (like graphic design programs, formatting books, etc), but it was worth it. I even managed to publish my grandma’s stories and poems as a Christmas gift to her, and she is tickled to see her works for sale. She struggled for years to win the approval of a publishing company.

    You make excellent points about self-publishing. Personally, I would never go with a traditional publisher, unless I knew the deal was perfect. Even when selling our books on Amazon, we are making roughly $4-5 per book, which is leagues above the $1-2 we would make on royalty payments from a major publisher. When we sell the book through our store, or at speaking gigs, the profits are closer to $6-8. Also, I love that self-publishing allows ideas get to bypass big media companies. Granted, a lot of self-published books are horribly written and need an editor badly, but it is good that ideas are flowing much more freely this way. The marketplace will judge, not an agent or publisher.Also, we skipped the Createspace Kindle option, and just did it ourselves. It is pretty easy to get a quality Kindle book together with some basic research. You just take the manuscript, put it into html, and add a few tags/bookmarks, and it’s ready to be uploaded at kdp.amazon.com. Amazon will link it with the print copy, and if they don’t, you can contact them and they will make sure it happens quickly.

    Just FYI, our first book is “Say It Like You Mean It: How to Use Affirmations and Declarations to Create The Life You Want.”

  • http://blog.mdwoptions.com/ MarkWolfinger

    James,

    Thanks. When I look at createspace.com, everything has a fee.  Where do I find all the stuff you say is free?

    • http://444express.blogspot.com/ the444

      I can’t believe I just saw the name above me that I am seeing right now.  Mr. Wolfinger:  I just bought a copy of your book and it’s on my desk right now, a few inches from my typing fingers.  I have just started it but I’m really enjoying it, and it’s helping me a lot (The Rookie’s Guide to Options.)

      • http://blog.mdwoptions.com/ MarkWolfinger

        Nice coincidence. 
        Thanks for the kind words

  • William

    Great post! I read everything you write, except the 75 drafts, (but never say never) 

    kind regards from Belgium 

  • http://twitter.com/ThomasGBrown Tom Brown

    Thanks for this article James.  I have been looking at self publishing and this article really puts the key points all into one easy to access article.  It also gives a great idea on marketing in a new format that very few folks are doing right now.  I really like the idea of using some of the ideas from a blog to springboard. 

    As always I learn something new every time I read your blog.  Best wishes

    Thomas Brown
    http://www.thetgbreport.com

  • Mike

    James:  Great post on self publishing.  Would you consider outlining the nuts and bolts of what you do between 6:30 and 8:30 am.  What I am asking, is for some insight into how you do your research, how you organize it, and then how you organize and produce your book.  Or in other words, the mechanics of producing the work itself.
    Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/WileyIndiaPL WILEY INDIA PVT.LTD

    This is from Self-Publishing For Dummies Cheat Sheet.

    Develop an awesome book idea.

    Research the idea to make sure that it’s viable as a full-length book.

    Write the manuscript.

    Choose a self-publishing option, such as offset printing or Print-On-Demand (POD), and then hire a printer and/or publisher.

    Apply for an ISBN, copyright, and other
    book-specific information, if necessary (this step may be handled for
    you, depending on the publishing process you choose and the company you
    work with).

    Set the cover price for your book.

    Hire a graphic designer to create your book’s front and back covers.

    Develop a Web site to promote your book.

    Begin pre-selling your book (pre-selling
    includes sending out press materials, promoting the book to
    distributors, lining up booksellers to sell the book, taking out ads,
    and so on).

    Have your book listed with online retailers.

    Publish the book and ship it to consumers, booksellers, retailers, and distributors (as appropriate).

    Continue promoting and marketing your book as you take orders.

  • Anonymous

    Very informative. Thanks, James.

  • http://www.TheAcsMan.com/ TheAcsMan

    James, you’ve written on this topic before, and I’ve taken the opportunity not only to respond, but to use your ste as a platform for my own marketing.

    I went the Amazon self-publication route after I had already established a decent market and sales for my book in .pdf format (incidentally, 100% royalties!). But, whereas no one asks you about your publisher, a physical book, regardless of how it’s published, has more cache than a PDF file, masquerading as a book.

    What’s amazing to me is that I get much greater satisfaction from book, kindle or Nook sales than I do with .pdf sales, although the earnings are less per unit.

    As an idea of how much greater satisfaction there is for me, in order to get my book eligible to participate in Kindle’s free lending program to AMazon Prime members, I had to agree to stop offering the .pdf version for sale.

    All of the advice that you provide, especially regarding outlets for your self-promotion is truly priceless. There are so many venues to get the word out about your own book. You just have to find the one that meshes with your particular intyerests and reaches your core audience.

    In fact, if my wife were still of child bearing age, we would give stong consideration to naming a next child “Altucher”.

    So, with all that said, take James’ advice, but before you do,read my blog and then buy my book.

  • KB

    Great post, James.  Having used Createspace myself, I can say their service is fantastic.  I did purchase their premium editing service as I learned my lesson on the first go around with a self-published book. A side note to those wishing to pursue this route – if you do your own editing and it is pretty tight before sending it to CS, buying the uptier of editing will not hurt you. Createspace will refund you the difference in levels if they deem your work was close to camera ready.

    Quick question – anyone using Createspace and/or Amazon has seen the breakthrough novel award for which the prize is a $15k advance…with Penguin.  Would you recommend any authors approached by them to avoid, or is it worth it if you are armed with info going into it?
    Oh, and per emails, we are live with Kindle as well as paperback…(shameless plug, sorry if that’s frowned on)http://www.amazon.com/Tumblers-ebook/dp/B0073IDHDO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1328142379&sr=8-2 http://www.amazon.com/Longitudes-ebook/dp/B006X0Z0EM 

  • http://736hundred.tumblr.com/ 736hundred

    I think the QR-Code, has to be part of the new business card.  In what ever medium you choose to create your card.

    Create your own here:  http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

  • http://twitter.com/EntreprenKorner EntrepreneursKorner

    Self Publication is the way to go if you do feel like writing a book. What’s the point in all the stress and hassle of going through the other route, am I right? I am guessing that is why you did not James.

    James Check out: 7 Must have iPhone Apps for All Internet Entrepreneurs:

    http://bit.ly/xKb0Q1

  • Mitchell Powell

    Good post, Mr. Altucher. You’ve once again shown that you value reality over tradition. If only more aspiring writers would listen to you.

  • http://www.mymacbookcase.com/ Ahmed

    Dear James…..

    Facebook IPO……buy or dont buy?

    http://www.zdnetasia.com/facebooks-ipo-do-not-buy-62303693.htm 

    • Ahmed

      sorry…I meant the shares…should we buy nor not when it becomes available

  • http://www.facebook.com/orin.hahn Orin Hahn

    Any recommendations regarding low cost worthwhile ghostwriters/editors?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Holmes/772158900 Joshua Holmes

    Your self-publishing posts inspired me to start blogging and write my own book.  I’m about halfway through the book and the blog is doing…well, it’s in trouble because I have two jobs, but I’ve put up way more than I ever thought possible and people have told me it’s helping them.  Thanks for the inspiration and advice.

  • http://killingidols.com/ killingidols.com

    Thank you James. I took the instruction in your other self publishing blog and published my first book Killing Idols for REVIVAL. 
    Thanks for sharing info and continuously spreading knowledge to help people and break the oppressors to pieces! (Psalms 72)

  • http://www.cheerfulword.com/ SamUhl

    I’m in startup phase, networking and answering the many referrals I’m getting as interest builds. Publishing a book right now dangles in front of me like the new shiny object. It’s great, but not the right timing in a startup. I’m after money on the table right now to fund the fun and specialty product and services in development and build a following.

    A self-published book is certainly on my list, only after the profits begin rolling in. I’ll have more to write about after some experience, and a bit more time to write it.

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://jacxu.com/ Jac Xu

    You are pretty active, you almost write a blog everyday! 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been researching going the self publishing route and am convinced it’s the way to go. Did you spend money on editing? I’ve been told this is crucial. I like  CreateSpace because there is so little up front cost. I’ve looked into some other options but it’s fairly expensive. I’m still a bit confused.

  • Shaq

    Thank you James – a very insightful and inspiring post. 

    I do have one question:

    If one is not yet branded, does not yet have a ‘following’ of some sort, there is a reasonable chance he will not sell many books. 

    The first thing others may say when they hear he or she wrote a book is “how cool!” 
    The second thing however, might be “how many copies has it sold?”  

    How do you suggest dealing with this?

    In other words, do you still think the value of being a ‘published author’ is greater than the awkwardness or perceived failure of being a ‘published author who sold only a handful of books’?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.carveoutyourniche.com/ Terry Sprouse

    Nice article.

    As a fellow self-publisher, I agree with you that people have few excuses for not writing and publishing a book. 

    Beyond the personal satisfaction of delving into your heart and putting who you are, and what you have learned into a book, you have the satisfaction of inspiring others, and helping them to change their world.

    As Albert Schweitzer said, 

    “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

  • David Stark

    Having written (more specifically, compiled from blog posts) and self-published a book using suggestions and inspiration from “I Was Blind, But Now I See” (with those suggestions and inspiration reinforced by this blog post)… I think this great content that’s much appreciated.

  • Steven Collins

    Jason Cohen (@asmartbear:twitter ) and the rest of us at SmartBear Software in the very early days took this a step further; we (well, Jason, frankly :) ) wrote a book and had, over time, many thousands of copies printed by a book-printing service, but we didn’t sell it. We gave it away. It was literally our business card. The theory was, people throw away cards, fliers, brochures. They don’t throw away books. We didn’t (back then, anyway) even offer an electronic form of the book for that reason; we’d mail it anywhere in the U.S. at no charge to the requester, but we insisted they get a hardcopy. Best idea ever. It was well worth the cost and hassle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/estherbill Esther Bradley-deTally

    Excellent-i’ve self-published 2-gettng more savy and tecy all the tim!

  • http://twitter.com/ellenviolette Ellen Violette

    I couldn’t be more excited! You hit the nail on the head. I’ve been saying this for years but now with more people starting to understand it the word is finally getting out. LIke Terreece said, for so long people wouldn’t consider self-publishing and ebooks now many people won’t consider a traditional publishing deal! Technology has been a true game changer! 

  • Scott Sambucci

    Hi James – Thank you. Over Thanksgiving, I finally got off my a$$ and starting writing my first book – “Startup Selling: How to sell if you really, really have to and don’t know how.” I’d be noodling on it for about a year.  Your posts about self-publishing on Amazon made me realize how pathetic I was for not taking advantage. It took a little longer than I thought but it’s now published.

    Now I’m out promoting on Quora and starting this week, local Silicon Valley events (tons of opportunity to meet 100s of budding entrepreneurs at one spot with all of the Meetup groups and local events. Fish in a barrel!) I’ve sold 5 copies to date. Two of those to people I know and two complete strangers.  What a huge rush! I’m busting with pride that I wrote something that a complete stranger decided was worth giving their hard-earned money to read.

    Couldn’t have done it without you. Now I have a few more ideas thanks to the Daily Practice.

    The Kindle version is free if you’d like a copy:

    http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Selling-sell-really-Volume/dp/1468159240/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338835406&sr=1-1

    If you’d like a paperback copy, I’ll happily sign a copy and mail it.  :–)

    Thanks again – keep up what you do – it really matters.

    -Scott Sambucci

  • http://www.shoestringventure.com Steve Monas

    Thanks for the post. Here is more info on this topic. Richard and I published “Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible – Turbocharge Your Business Through Outsourcing” ( http://amzn.to/KUMutg ) in 2008. I had previously used Booksurge for my other 4 books and this time decided to use iUniverse, only for the fact that the book will also be distributed to BN.com (Barnes and Noble). What a mess, this happened to be the same year that they were going through some house cleaning, and it took 6 months to publish our book with their process. Anyway, we kept our digital rights, and went direct with KDP. I had hired a PR firm Annie Jennings PR, who guarunteed us 14 radio spots for a set price. That happened, she does what she says, and over delivered. Richard still does regular interviews on Jim Blasingame: The Small Business Advocate ( http://bit.ly/OcYUh8 ). We don’t sell enough books and still have not been offered any speaking engagements. The author’s need to be in the “business” of being an author / publisher. I did contact ALOT of people. Our Kindle book is consistently around top 10 for Long Tail categories. This is not because I have a huge budget and we get alot of interviews, its that I had figured out a way to use what I had talked about in the book (yes, I use my own advice for my own businesses) to create a complimentary website http://www.shoestringventure.com that consistently publishes stories from entrepreneurs under regular categories Shoestring Startups, Social Entrepreneurship, Web based business apps, business authors, and smart phone apps. The process, unfortunately is mostly template based and outsourced. I don’t sell enough books or ebooks, on multiple platforms and distribution channels, to hire a staff or do it myself. But, it does get readers who came from the sharing of the story from the entrepreneurs, to buy the book for .99 on Kindle, all 560 pages. Now for the future, because I had already published a total of 5 books, got me into Lightening Source – They are the actual POD for other companies and give you a higher royalty, unlike iUniverse, which I think comes out to 12 % or something. iUnverse makes their money from the authors, by making them buy iUniverse marketing services. Whatever, we saw them at a trade show, and authors were signing free books. That is not in my marketing budget. Anyway, I was talking about the future, and it will be like Vook.com. I don’t believe that softbacks is the way to go for our book. We want each book to have creative commons video, like from Kahn Academy on a particular topic, like how Angel Investing works or how the financing is broken down. Our book is a reference guide, rich with hyperlinks, similar is how your book should be with each chapter in the begining. We found a great outource specialst for that – for $ 150 U.S. dollars, he goes through the entire 560 pages, fixes all the hyperlinks, chapters, the saves it under ePub and Kindle version. I upload to KDP, and then I have another guy, who owns an Apple computer, to log into Apple Konnect and upload ePub for iBooks for $ 20. We don’t own an apple computer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/MetroBaker/279960092102889 Jenna

    I don’t even know how I stumbled on this… but this is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Great post! 

  • Marie-Claude Giguere

    I just self-published eariler this year (translated to French too) Stay or Move? How to Talk to a Senior About their Changing Needs and Retirement Residences (SeniorStayorMove.com).  Just decided last night to move forward with Create Space while my in box held this great post that I just read.  Thank you for that!
    Couple questions for you: I am about to start blogging, I had thougth of posting every 2 weeks (one week in French and one week in English), do you think that is often enough or should it be weekly?  Or is it not how often I post but what I post that matters?
    Editing: my book was edited, my website too, I thought for my blog to go “au naturel”–what are you thoughts on that? (Language was never really my thing in terms of grammer, though when I write I know to pay attention to every word I use).

  • http://www.robynsafarian.com/ Robyn Safarian

    A few days ago I read an article on why book reviewers will not review a self-published title. There was no real reason to it other than – I’m paraphrasing – ‘We don’t think your title is worthy’. In fact one very angry commentator said, ‘self-published titles do not meet the literary standard that he demands’.   

    So you can imagine how happy I was to see this article which counters the old paradigm. 

    I have recently published my first children’s picture book – Kangaroo Kangaroo Where Are You? If you think the field of self-publishing is rough for general fiction, you should look at how tough it is to promote indie Children’s and YA literature. We sure need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. 

    In an effort to help out I’ve created a facebook page called Indie Books for Children. Everyone involved in self-publishing material for kids is invited to post their work, announce events, even swap reviews. I hope it we can become a community where parents drop by to find out about books not found in traditional book stores. 

    Cheers for giving self-publishing a positive perspective and push back on old paradigms. 

    One last thing, a reader asked about the CreateSpace’s quality of print. My book is full color with bleed. Edge to edge filled with bright colors and they have done a fantastic job. The binding is no different than other picture books done by the larger publishing houses. Their royalty scheme is reasonable so authors can price their titles competitively. 

  • disqus_U1OJHl0X0Y

    when i put my book on amazon, do i get printed the actually books? how do i get copies to hand out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=766015299 Jenny Sarfaty

    This is great. Question: Do you think the same rules apply to fiction?

  • http://www.kindle-book-publishing.co.uk/ Publishing on Kindle

    Awesome! Very informative post. I could say that publishing your own book is a kind of difficult one. There are a lot of things and factors to consider. Lucky I visited your page. I’ve learn a lot.

  • thx 1138

    Love the wig.

  • Chris J

    Great article. What would you recommend to use for the Nook and iPad?

  • http://cardsofwoods.com/ wooden card

    Great idea for book publishers.

  • http://www.cardsofwoods.com/ wood card

    Very motivating post.

  • Chelsea

    I just found your blog and I think I’m in love….thanks for sharing darling!!

  • http://woodbusinesscard.com/ wood business card

    cool idea

  • http://twitter.com/SomerEmpress SomerEmpress

    This is a very helpful article for me right now, as I sludge through NaNoWriMo. I like that you provide very specific examples. Sounds like self-publishing is definitely a game changer. And for folks like me who want to maintain creative control over my work, it sounds like self-publishing is where it’s at! Thank you!

  • Timothy Philips

    Great story and advice! I am 25 years old and just realized writing is my heart and soul. I am in the starting phase of writing my first book and look to publish more. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  • himagain

    What a Communicator this VERY clever man is!

    Nobody makes money like he has except by being favoured by the Gods – either naturally endowed with whatever, or best of all, rich, socially successful parents.

    So, what has he got that you don’t??

    Extraordinary talent as a fablor.

    VAST experience “out there” because of it and shares it with us all.

    Great entertainment! Better than Woody Allen and smarter, even, mebbe…

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasmi.niluka Rasmi Niluka
  • Roberto Torres

    James, would you please expand in more details the marketing suggestions for a new independent writer? Thank you, Roberto Torres

  • http://twitter.com/KoraSadler ★ KORA SADLER ★

    I love this post!

  • Steve Blame

    Great post. I intend to publish my book through createspace, both as paperback and kindle versions. But I also intend to give out my book as a free flip book from my website and also sell the paperback myself when on a reading tour. What I don’t get (as my previous book was published through a publisher) is if I am allowed to do sell my own book and give away a flip book version when it is also being sold through amazon, and whether the solution is that I should I use my own ISBN number for all versions of the book, or a different one for my free download book? Any advice on this would be really helpful!

  • O T

    James, quick question: which software do you use to actually WRITE your books? How do your organize your writing? You probably DON’T use the CreateSpace/Microsoft Template to write in, or do you? Thank you!

  • Courtney Lynn

    Thank you so much for making this post! I was struggling with this decision. You put it in such a way that made it easy to understand.

  • Danielle

    By far the best post about Self Publishing I’ve read! Thanks a lot.

  • Imdadul Hoque

    The interesting thing, they all also apply to the traditional publishing model.For more information about self book published you can visit here: http://selfbookpublishingtips.com/

  • Jahz

    Thanks kindly for the valuable insights, the Intuitive writer within is Now Awake :) ☆ ♡☆

  • jimjenal

    I came across this post in January (of 2013) and it inspired me to give this a shot. I had been writing my company’s blog – Thoughts on Solar – since 2009 and I figured that I could craft a book from a select collection of blog posts. I started in earnest in March with a deadline of the 4th of July – you know, energy independence and all. Plus, it is my favorite holiday so it seemed a worthy goal.

    I completed the manuscript in time for my deadline and then spent two months editing, polishing and dealing with the annoying aspects of Word for formatting a book with lots of embedded images.

    Last Friday my book went live on Amazon and I am ready to move into hard-core promotion mode. So thanks again for the insights and the inspiration.

    Jim Jenal, Founder & CEO, Run on Sun

    ps – here’s a link to my book: http://runonsun.com/html/ros-publishing.html

  • Tiffany

    Great post! I’m curious about your opinion on writing a book that has nothing to do with the field you want to pursue. I am pursuing a career in art but have been itching to write a comedic book about dating. I guess I’m concerned about not being taking seriously in my professional career if I make my hobby too public. Thoughts?

  • David Sanford

    I agree! The business card isn’t dead, but the best business card today is your own book. True, everyone doesn’t have a great book in them. Then again, many do. I’ve
    presented a popular and very practical 2-part book publishing seminar at conferences and colleges across the U.S. and in Canada. I would be happy to send the handouts from that seminar to any reader. Just send me a quick note at mailto:dsanford@corban.edu. You can check out my professional credentials at http://www.linkedin.com/in/drsanford

  • Shivani Gurung

    Independent Book Publishing
    Welcome to Independent Music Press, Independent Book Publishing, Independent Book Publishing Company and also Online Book Publishers, we have published many press.
    Visit Here :- http://www.callenderpress.co.uk/

  • http://rachelhenke.com/ Rachel Henke

    Fabulous post. I was umming and ahhing about whether to self-publish my next book after being published traditionally and you’re right – we have to do all of the marketing anyway so we may as well get paid for it. Great summary and reminder.