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Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book (Self-Publishing 4th Edition) Paperback – December 18, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1582970912 ISBN-10: 1582970912 Edition: Fourth Edition

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Complete Guide to Self Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book (Self-Publishing 4th Edition) + Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book + The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fifth Edition: A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, E-Books, and Marketing
Price for all three: $46.51

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 521 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; Fourth Edition edition (December 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582970912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582970912
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Self-publishing," say authors Tom and Marilyn Ross, "is a perfect example of the American dream." The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, then, is an aspiring self-publisher's dream. "This isn't a book of fancy theory," as the authors put it; "it's a practical handbook of state-of-the-art specifics." In 521 pages, it lays out everything you need to know to publish your own books, from start-up considerations to the possibility of selling to a big publisher: how to choose a name for your press, how to get an ISBN, what cover designs cost, how to find a reliable printer, how to price your book, where to find lighter-weight shipping envelopes, how to generate working capital. The authors' encyclopedic grasp of the ins and outs of self-publishing is matched by their natural good sense about self-promotion. Turn your signings into events, they recommend; get your books into a variety of venues; use the books as fundraisers for organizations; get online and get reviewed online. The price of this book is negligible considering the cost of proper self-publishing (between $12,000 and $25,000), and, oh, the headaches it will spare you! --Jane Steinberg


"The most readable guide to self-publishing … loaded with resources for e-publishing, on-demand publishing, ... What a great resource!” -- John Kremer, author, 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books

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Customer Reviews

It's in a clear, concise easy to follow format.
A Customer
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing provides everything a writer needs to know to publish, promote and sell a book.
Yes, self publishing IS a lot of work, and this book shows you just HOW to do it if you want to invest the time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Westerman on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first saw the title of this book, I thought the subject matter had to do with publishing your book through a POD publisher or a vanity press. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a basic instruction book on how to become your own publisher and the cost-effective means of publishing your book. (In fact, Tom & Marilyn Ross devote only a few pages to PODs and vanity presses, saying that if you are looking to sell your book to the general public, these options may not be the best choices.)
This book takes you from the beginning of setting up your own publishing business (which is needed even if you plan on publishing only you own works), the different requirements for publishing a book (like obtaining an ISBN and EAN as well as copyright and Library of Congress registration), finding and selecting a book printer, how to go about distributing you books (which you can do yourself or by going through traditional distributers), and even how to market your book.
While a good starter book that whets you appitite about the book publishing industry, it falls far short of providing you everything that you need to know in order to do this properly. The authors constantly make reference to the Literary Market Place; a book that, while it is available here on Amazon, comes with a hefty ($) price tag. And while they do provide some inforamative lists, they admit that the lists is not complete and refer you back to the LMP.
The book does discuss e-publishing, but only in a scratching-the-surface kind of way. I had to look at other areas to find the information about e-publishing only to discover that I may not want to bother with that at this time.
The most disappointing aspect of the book that I found was that most of it (about 70%) is dedicated to trade or self-help publishing.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Reiter on July 21, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given the solid-five star rating in the Amazon reviews, I expected this book to be a real gem. Instead, while this book has some helpful tips, much of the book is composed of:

-common sense advice;

-self-promotion by the authors, including references to other books or organizations affiliated with the authors;

-no-brainers such as "use the internet for research", "try a search engine called 'Google'", etc.; and

-home-spun "witticisms" or "words of wisdom" in the form of quotes from various authors & publishers.

To wrap up, this book is decent, and probably worth the money and time to buy it and read it, but you need to wade through a bunch of verbiage to find the parts that are interesting and relevant to you.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By SBrav on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Tom & Marilyn Ross are experts at promoting themselves, and it shows throughout their book. They take every opportunity to hawk other books published under their label, and their consulting services, etc. There is some useful information in this book, but you have to wade through a lot of silliness to find it. Here's a ridiculous tip from the Ross's: "While at the airport, request that an announcement be made for [your name], author of [your book title], call..." I'm sure that's how Tom Clancy got started <sarcasm>.

This book is primarily targeted to writers of non-fiction. Logical, since non-fiction fares much better in self-publishing endeavors. About their biggest advice for novelists is to read Lawrence Block's "Writing the Novel." Along with such brilliant insights as "Good description elevates a book from the pack." Duh.

The authors are also nauseating in their praise of Amazon, no wonder Amazon gave them a favorable review. A friend of mine self-recorded (i.e. "self-published") a CD and listed it on Amazon. It was a good, professional product, but she found Amazon's service to be almost non-existent.

Dan Poynter's book on self-publishing might be a better buy. The truth is, POD technology is changing this field so quickly, it's hard for anyone to stay up to date. If you must read the Ross's book, get it from your local library. Save your money for a writing class, or perhaps a marketing class at your local SBA office or community college.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Maxim Masiutin on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Complete Guide to Self Publishing" is by no doubt valuable source of information to any self-publisher. It embraces the whole area of modern self-publishing: the today's publishing scene, start-up considerations to get you off on the right foot, creating a quality product that attracts buyers, PR issues, selling books the usual and unusual ways, nontraditional venues for generating more sales.
The book gives example of properly-fillied copyright registration, ISBN application, and other essential forms, gives the self-publishing "project plan", gives the list of most valuable organizations and information sources for self-publishers in the U.S.A. and Canada. It also lists selected book manufacturers, marketing contacts and other helpful information, including structured bibliography/recommended reading and glossary and definitions of widespread publishing acronyms.
When I first filled my copyright registration form, I made lot of mistakes, and the processing of this form has been delayed half a year due to these errors. I could have avoided this if I've followed the precepts given in this book.
The only thing that the 4th edition of this book misses is a reference to Internet-based discussion lists, which is also a valuable resource for self-publishers.
Please note that the book is big. Nevertheless, the price is surprisingly low, comparing to other self-publishing manuals. I would however recommend "How To Start And Run A Small Book Publishing Company: A Small Business Guide To Self-Publishing And Independent Publishing by" Peter I. Hupalo prior to reading "The Complete Guide to Self Publishing".
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