Customer Review

197 of 223 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to be rich and famous. Or at least rich. Maybe., June 7, 2004
This review is from: The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, & Sell Your Own Book) (Paperback)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 17, 2014 12:15:57 AM PDT
fwoom says:
I'm glad I was able to find this title at the library, rather than having shelled out my hard-earned cash for the book.

I completely agree with this review. Wholeheartedly. This book seems like it is just one in a long line of materials that don't really have a lot of depth to them and essentially ends up being just another "get rich quick" scheme -- although the conceals it fairly well.

I am very reluctant to purchase his other book, which I'm equally interested in, but my library doesn't carry it, after reading the first few chapters of this book.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2014 3:56:42 AM PDT
Inter-Library Loan to the rescue! Really, talk to the folks at the reference desk at your library. They can almost certainly borrow it for you from another library system, no matter how small your local library might be.
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Location: South Louisiana

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