163 of 180 people found the following review helpful
If you have ever felt that self-publishing is similar to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, have no fear! "The Self-Publishing Manual" is your parachute! On your way to "landing" your first published book, you will learn everything you need to know.
I think of Dan Poynter as the ultimate "how-to self-publish" expert! He will teach you all the tricks of the publishing trade. As an author of more than 80 books, he also has a proven track record of success. He will convince you that you too can succeed.
The strength of this encyclopedic reference is the author's experience in publishing. Dan Poynter is also on the leading edge of technology. He welcomes the new era of book publishing and prepares writers by giving a "New Book Publishing Model."
If you are looking for a complete reference on writing, printing, publishing, promoting, marketing and distributing your new book, look no further. Whether you just have the concept for your new book or have already advanced to the promotion stage, the information you will need to make your efforts more successful is here!
The "Your Book's Calendar" section is like a true gift for the busy author. This section is vital to keeping your goals and progress in check. It will allow you to digest volumes of information in small sections. You can start with what you have started to accomplish, check the suggested readings and then check off your goals as you reach them.
I especially enjoyed reading the section on professional reviewers. The glossary of publishing terms was so revealing. The "resources for publishers" section was detailed and informative.
This source book also has a companion web site. You can find information kits, great book promotion mailing lists, links to useful Web sites and hundreds of downloadable documents.
If you are still searching for an agent, sending out manuscripts to publishers, or writing those endless query letters, it may be time to take off that seat belt which is trapping you in that airplane seat! Then, read this book and jump! There are people who want your book. There are people who need your book. Believe it! Then, free fall to success!
~The Rebecca Review
118 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Publishing can be a tough business, but with the advice of Dan Poynter you can make your book a profitable reality. 'The Self-Publishing Manual' includes great nuts-and-bolts advice and lots of helpful resources for getting your book written, produced and distributed.
The templates and forms Dan includes are useful, for everything from permissions requests to requests for print bids to discount schedules. Even if all you use are the lists of publishing web sites, printers, distributors, reviewers, etc., you will more than get your money's worth from this book.
Dan's information helped me produce a quality book on a tight timeframe. Not only did I get the book done quickly, it was profitable within one month after release.
I teach a course on publishing, and 'The Self-Publishing Manual' is the text I use. If you want to learn about publishing, this is the place to start.
202 of 229 people found the following review helpful
Poynter is the guru of a certain type of self-publishing author: The writer/hustler who is interested, first and foremost, in making money -- lots and lots of money -- not merely in making information available and earning enough back to make the effort worthwhile. I've done a certain amount of self-publishing over the past couple of decades (mostly genealogical research materials and local history), and while I'm always interested in what he has to say, I've frankly never found a lot of useful material here. All the way through, especially in the early chapters where he's trying to hook you (and remember that his background is in marketing), he insists this writing-publishing thing is easy. All you do is get an idea, read everything about it, put it all in a notebook (rather quirkily for a technophile, he seems to believe in first-draft writing on paper), edit it into a new shape, and Presto! You have a new book, and it's gonna make you rich! Or something. Among other problems, he seems to have only a hazy idea of how the acquisitions process generally works in a large library system. Not to mention comments like "library loans may hurt sales of fiction," and "libraries tend to do most of their ordering around the beginning or end of their fiscal year." Puh-leez. Then there's this, regarding the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998: "Now, anything printed prior to 1922 is safe." Say what? (Even Cotton Mather?) He also seems to think book-indexing need involve only the "indexing" feature in Microsoft Word. Finally, on the very last page (before the omnipresent order form, that is), he says it doesn't matter who the publisher is: "Who is the author? Is she a credible person? No one ever asks, 'Who is the publisher'?" Au contraire, Dan, the credibility of the *publisher* can be *very* important, especially in technical books. Would you rather buy, unseen, a computer book from O'Reilly & Associates, or from Joe Blow Kitchen Table Press? However, even very narrowly market-specific titles (like genealogy) require some advertising and notification of potential purchasers, so his chapters on publicity and marketing are worth reading, as is the material on cutting-edge electronic publishing, both via CD and online.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2000
In a previous review of the former edition this book, Isaid:
This is a very good guide, especially for the author (orwannabe author) who is thinking about writing and publishing their own work.
These days, the writing of the book, contrary to the belief of many, is not the end of the work. Perhaps the largest hurdle remains: getting the book published and out on the market where people may buy it.
This book looks at those problems, and contains a great deal of very good advice.
Even the biggest publishers take a loss, or just break even, on most of the titles they publish. They are supported by the handful that achieve the most attention, and become big sellers. Like the movie industry, only a few become stars. And, of course, the giant's share of their promotion budget goes to the books which show the most promise, leaving the ones who really need it out in the cold.
It is a humbling experience for a would-be author to go into a large bookstore, see all of the shelves full of books, and realize that his book will just be one more of the hundreds of thousands of new titles that show up each year.
So, this book fills a need. How about publishing? The primary functions of the traditional publisher are selecting books that will sell in the first place, editing, proofreading, design, production and--most important--marketing. In most cases, the new author is the primary marketing agent for his book, anyway. Why should he give up 90% of the sales price when he must shoulder the main responsibility of the publisher?
The author, who created the book, must usually be satisfied with 10% royalties, with the publisher retaining 90% for their production and marketing efforts.
So, more and more writers, faced with aloof publishers who will not even read their book, let alone buy it, are taking the self-publishing route. They need Dan Poynter's book. It tells them what they need to know.
First, this manual contains some basic rules on how to write a marketable book. Then, the problems they will face in producing it, and finally--certainly not least--promoting it in a crowded marketplace.
He does a very good job. I only noted one neglected area, and, unfortunately it was the very area in which I was most interested: Print-on-demand.
Well, I must tell you that Dan Poynter has corrected that deficiency. In this, the latest edition of the Self-Publishing Manual, released in April of 2000, the entire area of Print-on-Demand (POD), as well as Print-Quantity-Needed (PQN)is amply covered with the latest available information. I have certainly learned things of which I was not formerly aware from the book.
There is a new force in the marketplace, called print-on-demand. Some of the publishers who are utilizing it are simply vanity houses, but many others are not. The era of one-off book publishing is here (POD), along with printing only the quantity actually required (PQN). No more need to warehouse long press runs until they sell, or necessity to pay inventory taxes on warehoused books waiting to be sold. The POD printer will print a single volume, as needed, and mail it to the customer for you, and send the publisher a monthly check, less the cost of printing. It is a force that is changing the face of the publishing industry.
The new technology is particularly good news for those books that sell only a few copies a month, or a year. No longer must they be dropped from the publisher's catalog and go out-of-print. They can simply be digitally archived and printed as needed for the occasional sale.
There are problems unique to the "New Book Model," which Dan Poynter addresses in detail. For the new author contemplating self-publishing, or the author whose work has gone out-of-print, but for which there is still a residual market, this book is one which you should read. There is information here that you are not likely to find addressed anywhere else.
I cannot recommend it too highly.
Author of THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS: Our Journey Through Eternity
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2009
The top two reviews here are negative. That's too bad, because Poynter doesn't deserve them. While negative reviews are necessary--hopefully, they make you think and consider your options--it's frustrating to read reports that are shortsighted and leave you wondering if they actually have a copy in hand, or not.
Poynter's latest edition of his original industry icon, Self-Publishing Manual, now in Vol. 2, does exactly as promised ... it offers necessary information about how to use the new digital technologies and techniques ... along with the old tried-and-true self-publishing information on which it is based.
He didn't give it a whole new title and promise revolutionary epiphanies ... it's a reference manual BASED ON Vol. I, with fresh insights into what's happening now in the industry that we should be aware of, in order to sell our books effectively.
If you haven't noticed, Poynter is a man of few words--he has a LOT of information to share and perhaps is a little short on some details--but for new authors and especially those confused by today's social networking and online PR, it's a great starting point.
If you actually READ the book, you'll see he has saved us all a LOT of time and effort by including websites, blog sites, networking sites, online review sites, eBook distribution information and SO much more--the book is invaluable for that information alone. And knowing Poynter, the sites he recommends are worth visiting.
Vol. 2 is STILL a must-have for any writer who is dazed and confused about the digital age. Thanks Dan!
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1998
THE SELF PUBLISHING MANUAL offers step-by-step instructions for producing a best-selling book. Poynter shares is vast knowledge on researching, publishing, handling printers, establishing credit, discount and return policies, promotion, and marketing. The information industry accounts for over half of the national product, and publishing a book can bring recognition, wealth and success in one's career so almost everyone wants to write a book. It seems most have the ability. Some have the persistence but few have the organizational skills. Poynter helps his readers organize their work. This easy-to-understand, fun-to-read, up-to-date book makes writing enjoyable. It shows how writing can be as uncomplicated as talking, and offers specific cures for writers block. Poynter shares this formula for establishing a track record and becoming recognized as an expert. He offers surprising, helpful information such as: (1) It is often more profitable to self publish and to sell for years than to sell a manuscript to a traditional publisher who retires it after one season. (2) More books are sold through the mail then through bookstores. He gives specific details on publishing and setting up a successful mail-order company to sell books. Perhaps most important, Poynter advises his readers to stop trying for a best-seller and create a best-selling book. He explains the many choices: New York publisher, self-published, small publisher, Vanity press. He describes how one traditionally-published author created enough sales for her book to excite the publisher to spend more ad money resulting in a best-seller. THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL exposes many little-known facts about traditional publishing, such as, what a short time of book has to sell, how little money is devoted to marketing the average book and what a slow process traditional publishing can be. Because information is getting outdated faster today, books have even less time to sell. Whether a book is self-published or produced by a large publisher, the author must do the promotion. Poynter shows his readers how to announce their books to the industry, the government and the world without paying for advertising. By the time an author figures all this out, the book is not new anymore and has no chance of making it in the traditional game. If my co-author Jenny Wolf and I had read his book before Drake publishers in New York published our book RUNAWAYS in 1974, there's a good chance it would still be on the shelves today since millions of teenagers runaway each year. In fact we may use the information in this book and self publish a revised version. Poynter shows how to ask for testimonials, and how to time book reviews, radio and TV appearances, space advertising an autograph parties to hit after bookstore deliveries. THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL can make the difference between an unpublished book and a best-seller. This book is a must for would-be authors and writers hoping to publish their own work or sell their manuscript to traditional publishers.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2001
Perhaps it's all the rave reviews that led to my disappointment... but disappointed I was. This book had lots of good stuff, to be sure. But it was repetitive in many places, and basically full of lists of things that, if you were to write to the people/places listed, as a responsible author you would want to double-check names and addresses before sending (thus what use to list these specifics in the book?)--so I felt the author was basically padding pages.
It also needed a good edit. The author advises that one can write a book starting anywhere, and then throw the topics together to make a book. This book is a good example of the result of such a process. Several chapters contain identical sentences... and the flow is often, well, non-flowing.
I was also very irritated by the many, many references to "go to my Web site to buy the detailed report on how to actually do this." Geez, for the price of the book, I thought I'd actually *get* the details--not a reference for where to go to buy them.
And the typos! Early in the book, I recall a statement by the author that the time to go to print is when the book seems 99% correct. I'll admit that I'm a perfectionist, and typos bother me a lot. Even so, I find it hard to imagine how error-filled the first 11 editions must have been.
I've been self-publishing with good success for 6 years now... and this book was a huge disappointment. Way too much self-promotion and details that might well be out-of-date the minute they were published... and too little actually helpful info. This one was no better than any of a number of books on the same topic I picked off the library shelf.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2000
On the Cutting Edge of Publishing As traditional publishers get larger and even less friendly toward unknown writers, The Self-Publishing Manual is the finest guide for not only publishing your book but selling it as well. Dan Poynter takes you through every step of the process, from writing a good book that people will buy, through design and printing, to marketing and distribution. The well known "bible" of book information is now even better. Now available in its twelfth edition, over 30% of the book was changed. The Self-Publishing Manual really hits its stride as it details a time-tested system for following through after the book is done-to let potential readers know the book exists. Dan also tells you exactly how to set up your business, what tools you will need and where to find them. His straight-forward style pulls no punches about how much work it takes, but Dan also makes you believe you really can do it! Of the myriad books now available about self-publishing, The Self-Publishing Manual has, by far, the best combination of practical advise and comprehensive coverage of the industry. No other author has kept their finger on the pulse of the whole publishing industry-from production to promotion-like Dan Pointer. Dan has successfully predicted trends for many years. Now he is among the first to tout the "New Book Publishing Model" which uses electronic production and promotion to write, produce, sell and promote books faster, easier and cheaper. The new edition includes a fully updated and expanded chapter on electronic book publishing and promotion. Writers will discover how to build a book rather than just write it. Dan also tell you how to sell your book in download, CD and ebook versions. Dan shows you how to promote your books with email, book reviews, autographings, feature articles and radio/TV interviews. This is one book you will read many times, as you return to it again and again for practical instruction and sage advice.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2001
For several decades, Dan Poynter has been the grand master of self-publishing. One thing that sets Dan apart is his tenacity. Unlike many other authors on self-publishing, Dan stays on top of the field. His books come out whenever he feels there is enough new material to warrant a new edition. Each new edition has built upon the previous and added much to the discussion.
This 13th edition is no exception. It features all the nuts and bolts that have made Dan's books stand out in the past. It also features sections on electronic books and "Print Quantity Needed," two new phenomena that are redefining publishing. The section on resources has been updated. And the entire book has been redesigned. I don't know how many copies of Dan's earlier editions I have. I still look forward to each new edition, because I know that it will contain information that I haven't seen before. I do know Dan personally. Every time I run into him, I am amazed at how new everything he says is. I am equally amazed every time I see a new edition of his book.
Buy this book if you are at all considering publishing your own books. It touches on just about everything you'll need to know to do it successfully. Buy the next edition, too. You could do a lot worse than choosing Dan Poynter as your guide.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2000
Don't even consider self-publishing without first reading The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. His book will save you time and prevent you from making costly mistakes. Dan not only leads the industry, but is two steps ahead of it. I have been producing and marketing books since 1985 and Dan Poynter's advice gave me the foundation from which I built my business. He has been and continues to be very generous with sharing the secrets to his success. This 12th edition of The Self-Publishing Manual keeps you current and walks you through each step. Do you have questions about printing on demand? Not sure how to approach e-books? Dan has the answers. He continues to tell us where to look, who to contact, and how to maintain the image we strive for as small press publishers. This edition is filled with a gold mine of information - each page offers nuggets of publishing advice. This is the best investment you'll ever make as you enter or continue your world of self-publishing.
Linda F. Radke Author of Linda Radke's Promote Like a Pro: Small Budget, Big Show