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Self-Publishing Books From Home

Many authors launch their writing careers by self-publishing their first book from home. Spencer Johnson, author of the bestselling Who Moved My Cheese? began by self-publishing The One-Minute Manager with coauthor Ken Blanchard. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles is another well-known book that began life as a self-published title.

Yet, for every bestselling book, there are many books that never become national bestsellers, but which earn their authors thousands of dollars each year. Titles that earn profits year after year are called backlist titles.

Small Time Operator: How To Start Your Own Small Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, And Stay Out Of Trouble! by Bernard Kamaroff is an example of self-published book that is a perennial strong seller because it provides valuable information. Over two decades, Small Time Operator has sold over 500,000 copies.

Most non-fiction self-publishers won't achieve bestselling books, but they can publish titles that provide strong sales over many years. Self-publishers should look upon each title they launch as a potential revenue stream that can extend for many years.

Self-publishing is easy today because of enhancements in Printing-On-Demand (POD) and digital printing technology, which allow cost-effective, ultra-small press runs. Today, it's possible for a new author to print 125 high-quality books for $500 or less. A small first press run minimizes the financial risk to the author. The largest risk in self-publishing is often the author's time.

Publishing skills, such as editing and cover design, can be outsourced to freelancers. Or, publishers wishing to do-it-themselves can learn publishing skills relatively easily. Adobe Pagemaker 7 is a common program for laying out and design the interior of books. In addition to many books teaching Pagemaker, most technical colleges have reasonably-priced classes where you can learn the basics of Pagemaker.

Many self-publishers initially pack and ship their own books. However, as a publishing company grows, it's often desirable to outsource fulfillment, meaning another company is hired to pack and ship book orders. Outsourcing fulfillment allows a small home-based publishing company to sell tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of books a year. Without outsourcing fulfillment, it would be difficult to pack and ship 100,000 books per year from home.

Self-publishers must establish relationships with book wholesalers, distributors, and major bookstores. Finally, successful self-publishers spend much time promoting and marketing their books. Many of the most popular books come from authors who are popular speakers or seminar presenters.

Advantages to Self-Publishing

– Low Start Up Costs

– Proprietary Product Protected By Copyright

– Established Channels Of Sales And Distribution Are Available: Amazon, etc.

– Can Benefit From Free Publicity More So Than Other Products

– Easily Marketed Over The Internet

– Friendly Publishing Community Willing To Help New Self-Publishers

Disadvantages to Self-Publishing

– Competitive Marketplace: 50,000+ Books Published Annually. Difficult to get titles onto bookstore shelves.

– Profit Per Book Sale Is Usually Rather Low: $3-$4

– Distribution Costs Are High. Many Wholesalers expect a 55% discount from the retail price.

Books To Learn More About Self-Publishing:

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book by Tom Ross and Marilyn Ross

How To Start And Run A Small Book Publishing Company: A Small Business Guide To Self-Publishing And Independent Publishing by Peter I. Hupalo

Make Money Self-Publishing: Learn How From Fourteen Successful Small Publishers by Suzanne P. Thomas

The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter

The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days by Fern Reiss

Article by Peter Hupalo
Author of
How To Start And Run A Small Book Publishing Company: A Small Business Guide To Self-Publishing And Independent Publishing

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