Posted by on April 3, 2011 · Leave a Comment
1. You must get your own set of ISBN numbers.
In order to be a “Self Publisher” you need to have you own set of ISBN numbers.”ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number”. An ISBN is a number, not a bar code. One agency per country is designated to assign ISBNs for the publishers and self-publishers located in that country. The U.S. ISBN Agency cannot assign ISBNs to publishers and self-publishers located outside the United States and its territories. In order to find out more about ISBN #’s please go to http://www.isbn.org or http://www.rrbowker.com
2. Do I need to copyright my work?
You can formally file for the copyright through the US Copyright office. This can be done at either the manuscript or finished book stage. The copyright office website is http://www.copyright.gov. However, many publishers fore-go official copy right and merely add the copyright symbol to their work. It really depends on how far you want to take it.Your book is copyrighted as soon as you “create” it.
3. What about Library of Congress Catalog Number? (LCCN)
It’s a good idea to get one if you plan to sell your book to libraries, but you don’t have to have it printed in the book itself (so it’s OK if you do apply for it while your book is printing). All you have to do is apply for a Library of Congress (LC) Pre-Assigned Card Catalog Number (PCN). It doesn’t cost anything and it can be ordered for any book over fifty pages (genealogies and children’s books fewer than fifty pages are an exception to this rule). The Library of Congress Web site is www.loc.gov.
4. Isn’t it a better deal to get a contract through a bigger book publisher?
Not necessarily. Instead of a 5 to 15% royalty from a book publisher, by self publishing, you could make 20 to 80% of the purchase price. Getting a contract through a larger publisher these days is very difficult. In most cases, the catch 22 is that you must have an agent, and an agent will only take on an author who has been previously published. If you have a specific niche market and you know you can sell a certain amount of books- self publishing can be a fast track method to getting your name out there. It’s just as easy nowadays for a self publisher to get a book distributed through amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com as it is for a larger publisher. Getting there is only half the battle, selling it is the key to success.
5. Should I design the book myself?
We do not do design books, so therefore we should be unbiased on this, however,
experience will show that a trusted graphic designer will make your book look more “sale-able”. Self published books often have an amateurish look to them when designed by someone with no experience in book design. A good graphic designer can help you avoid the pitfalls self publishers commonly run into and help your book appeal to the widest audience possible.
6. What about editing?
Our company is also not an editing service, so therefore we should be unbiased. But practically speaking, ANY author is too close to their own work and before throwing good money towards bad- have an editor- or at least some one with good grammatical skills proofread your manuscript and suggest possible changes. If you are going to skip this step- please at the very minimum use SPELL CHECK on your word processing program. Keep in mind though that SPELL CHECK does not catch errors in context.
7. How many copies should I print?
This is a great question, and with the advances in digital printing and “print on demand” services, that number is now smaller than ever to begin with. The rule of thumb in book printing is that as you order more, the cost per book gets lower (up to a certain point). So you must consider carefully and cautiously how many books you can immediately sell once you publish. A good safe number to start with is 100 books. The reason is because the cost per book starts to be reasonable enough to allow for some profit to you as a publisher at that quantity. An article on self publishing in 2008 calculated the total number of books sold vs. total number of ISBN’s issued. According to that survey the average book sells 53 copies! We strongly suggest having a written business plan to how you intend to sell your book first. Include what you will do to promote the book, what social media channels will you use, will you have a website? Will you be doing public speaking tours? Radio interviews? etc, etc.
8. What about Print On Demand? (P.O.D.)
The cost to produce a book through “Print-On-Demand” (P.O.D.) leaves very little room for a publisher to make much profit. Sometimes, a new self publisher has gone this route, only to find out that after paying a P.O.D. cost + distributor fees, they are actually losing money by making their book available through a Print-On-Demand scenario. If you are not interested in making money, then P.O.D. is a good, low risk way to get started.
9. Who is the best book printer?
The simple answer is – it depends. It depends on what type of book you are producing, and what quantity you will be ordering. It also depends on you. If you have never produced a book before, you may need to have alot of handholding through the process. Some larger book printers don’t like to work with first time publishers because of this. If you are more familiar with printing terminology and know what to watch for, you can venture out and find some very competitive specialists for book printing. If timing is a factor, though, you may want to work with someone geographically closer. Not all printers are alike, and even amongst printers who specilaze in producing books, there are big differences. Find out what type of books the printer is good at. Do not try to fit a square peg in a round hole. If the printer has never done a book- look elsewhere. It is best to find a source that specializes in the type of books you need. You will save money by shopping around!
10. Should I produce a Hardback or Soft cover book?
This again all depends on the market for the book, the subject matter and the expected usage. Hardcover books will cost more to produce and also carry a higher retail price. Do your research and compare the competition in your subject matter. There are also many ways to produce a hardcover book- such as printed, laminated cover or cloth or imitation leather. Houchen Bindery Ltd. is an excellent resource for this question. Contact Martin Pugh directly at email@example.com