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The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living Paperback – August 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This comprehensive reference covers all the bases, and does it with humor and a personal touch." --Dan Poynter, Author, "Self-Publishing Manual" (and 120+ books)

"This book is a gem. Well organized, well written, all the facts, and lots of smart advice.” --M.J. Rose, (Former Self-Publisher), Author, International Bestseller, "The Venus Fix"

“As an industry insider, this book is a refreshing alternative to most of what’s out there on the subject." --Ron Pramschufer, 35-year publishing industry veteran

About the Author

In 1993, after a 15-year career in sales and marketing, Peter Bowerman turned his sights to freelance commercial writing. With no industry experience, no previous paid writing experience and no writing background, he built a commercial freelancing business in Atlanta, Georgia from fantasy to full-time in less than four months. His corporate client list has included The Coca-Cola Company, BellSouth, IBM, UPS, Holiday Inn, Cingular Wireless, DuPont, American Express, Mercedes-Benz, The Discovery Channel, Junior Achievement, Georgia-Pacific, the CDC, and many others. He is the author of the award winning Book-of-the-Month Club selection, The Well-Fed Writer and its companion volume (and triple award-finalist), TWFW: Back For Seconds, how-to “standards” in his chosen field of lucrative commercial freelancing. He has published over 250 articles and editorials, leads seminars on writing and is a professional coach on both commercial freelancing business start-up and self-publishing. In 2006, he released The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living, a detailed how-to guide to making your book a commercial success – minus the big publisher or hefty marketing budget. The book chronicles his own successful self-publishing path, where he created a full-time living for more than five years (and counting).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Fanove Publishing (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967059860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967059860
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since 1993, Peter Bowerman has made a lie out of the conventional wisdom that "starving" and "writing" are eternally joined at the hip. And, along the way, through four books, he has shared that message with thousands of other writers and authors longing for a way to pursue their love of writing, and actually have it pay all their bills - and a lot more.

It was in 1993 that Bowerman leveraged a 15-year sales/marketing career into a full-time living as a freelance commercial writer. With NO paid professional writing experience, NO writing training, and NO industry contacts, he was paying all his bills in under four months - using the techniques outlined in his books and seminars.

Over the years, his commercial client list has included The Coca-Cola Company, BellSouth, IBM, UPS, American Express, Mercedes-Benz, The Discovery Channel, Junior Achievement and many others. Check out what commercial writing entails and looks like at his portfolio at writeinc dot biz.

In 2000, building on his success (and not at all impressed with the sad and sorry calculus of conventional publishing), Bowerman wrote and self-published the award-winning triple book-club selection: The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less.

The book was described as "a detailed how-to for helping writers - seasoned and aspiring - launch, build and grow a 'commercial' freelancing practice: writing for businesses, and for hourly rates of $50-125."

The book achieved the following milestones:

* A selection of Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, and Writer's Digest Book Club (second best-selling Featured Alternate in more than two years)

* Second Place: ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Awards (Career category)

* Finalist: Publisher's Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards (Best First Book)

* Honorable Mention: Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards

* 53,000 copies in print of both books (as of 6/09)

In 2004, he released a companion volume: "The Well-Fed Writer: Back For Seconds" (triple-award finalist), also self-published.

Together, the two books have provided him with a full-time living for eight-plus years - all the step-by-step "how-to" details of which are chronicled in his award-winning 2007 release, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living (www.wellfedsp.com). The book, sold on Amazon, has garnered (at press time) roughly 100 reviews with an average rating of five stars.

In late 2009, he released the revised edition of "The Well-Fed Writer" - which combined and heavily updated the two original "Well-Fed Writer" titles. Through his wellfedwriter dot com site, he offers Well-Fed Writer readers a popular no-charge ezine (since 2002), blog and knowledgebase.

He also provides coaching services both for those starting a commercial freelancing business (or trying to boost an existing one), or those planning on self-publishing a book. In addition, in early 2010, he launched Title Tailor (dot com), offering book titling and back cover copywriting services to publishers and self-publishing authors of non-fiction books.

He has published over 250 columns and articles, leads seminars on writing, and is a popular speaker at writers conferences across the country.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Peter Bowerman is a successful freelance writer in the commercial market who rocketed to success with his first self-published book, "The Well-Fed Writer," followed that up with "The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds," and has now packaged the keys to his success for other writers in "The Well-Fed Self-Publisher" (TWFSP). He chose to self-publish for several reasons: greater control of the process was certainly one of them, but he also felt he could do better by overseeing the process himself than by handing it over to a publisher. Why? Because he believes that unless you're selling to a mainstream market, many of the marketing efforts of a publishing company will be ineffective compared to the highly-targeted efforts you can put together yourself. Besides, as he points out, these days publishing companies expect you to do much of the marketing yourself anyway, so why not pocket more of the profits as well?

TWFSP is fairly specifically aimed at authors of niche market books--primarily non-fiction--who have written quality products and seriously wish to market and sell them to make a profit. If you want to self-publish a novel for the mainstream market or a family history just for friends and family you'll still find some handy information in here, but the book isn't really aimed at you and you'll find much of it irrelevant.

For folks who fit the book's intended audience, however, "The Well-Fed Self-Publisher" is a dragon's hoard of clear, well-presented information. Because of the tight focus, Bowerman is able to present highly targeted and relevant information that walks you through each step of the process. This makes the whole thing feel less overwhelming (although don't make the mistake of thinking it's simple!
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Format: Paperback
Peter Bowerman has created a wonderfully accessible reference for anyone who has ever thought about self-publishing. He presents all the ins and outs of publishing your own book in a straightforward manner. Even better, he includes his own experiences, both good and bad -- yes, he made mistakes -- making his book both more real and more readable, and ultimately more useful to the potential self-publisher.

A quote from The Well-Fed Self-Publisher sums up what Bowerman explains so well in this book: "Self-publishing is a big job, no question, but technology has made it so much more feasible than it's ever been before in history."

Make no mistake, this is a self-publishing how-to book with solid credentials behind it. The author has earned a full-time living for over five years, from his two previous books, The Well-Fed Writer and The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds. Before that, Bowerman spent close to 30 years in sales, marketing, copywriting and publishing. Clearly, he has certain skills from his background that you may not have. By letting you know exactly how he went about self-publishing his own book, he has made it possible for you to decide what will work for you.

The author covers how to approach writing, marketing and selling your book, and discusses publicity avenues including Amazon.com, the mainstream media, your own website, radio and bookstore signings.

Almost 50 pages of useful material can be found in the five Appendices. Not only does the first of these, Resources, include books and websites, but also the specific vendors that helped Bowerman with his own books, from cover design to typesetting to publicity.
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Comment 51 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
"For me, self-publishing is the first choice." ~ Peter Bowerman

Peter Bowerman's ideas will be most useful to the serious self-publisher. If you are interested in taking care of all the details yourself then this book has a lot to offer. This book will also be useful to anyone who is tired of waiting for publishers to respond to their queries. Peter Bowerman actually shows why it might be more profitable to pay for your book to be printed by a reputable printer. His ideas about POD (Print-on-Demand) publishing are not encouraging although I've tried it twice and have always been happy with the results. It works well enough if you just want to have copies available for anyone who is interested and the cost is less at the start ($500 vs. $15,000). If you are more serious about distribution and marketing then you might find "The Well-Fed Self-Publisher" to be worth your time. This book teaches authors to think more like a buisiness owner than a writer. Whether you are a seasoned or aspiring author, this book has a lot to offer.

~The Rebecca Review
6 Comments 67 of 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There was only one good idea I found in this book: selling your own books through the "Used and New" link on Amazon (since, often, even if you sell them cheaper you are still making the same or more as if you let your distributor handle them.)

Unfortunately, the author of this book based his advice on his own personal experience; this means you can only follow his advice if you are doing something very similar to what he was up to.

Here are some types of books that will not benefit much from advice in Well-Fed Self Publisher:

Print-on-Demand books
Fiction books
"Niche books" (basically, any book that's not about making money)
Art books

He also seemed to have a lot of crazy luck with his own books that he admits was just crazy luck, and gives no suggestion on how to wrangle a similar case for yourself -- for example, he brings up from time to time that people tell him "we don't take self-published books" but then, they seem to just shrug their shoulders and accept his stuff anyway.

Apparently the author assumes you have at least several hundred dollars -- if not several thousand -- to spend signing up for programs and ad campaigns. (Basically, he assumes you are already a "well-fed self publisher" even when you're starting out.) He tends to only offhandedly mention free methods, usually in a dismissive way. He says early on, "time is money" as his defense of why you should spend on all these services, but never seems to consider the potential that maybe there just isn't any money to begin with. (Though, granted that he also assumed you sponsored a full print run, I guess that's not so surprising. Like I said -- this book never takes Print on Demand into consideration.)

Frankly, this is barely even a book for writers. This is a book for promoters. You need to generally be a charming, social person for these things to work. If I could do that, I'd take a salaried job.
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