- Series: Self Publishing Manual, 12th ed
- Paperback: 421 pages
- Publisher: Para Pub; 12th Rev edition (April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568600631
- ISBN-13: 978-1568600635
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 430 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,119,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual, 12th ed) Paperback – April, 2000
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From the Publisher
For nonfiction, Dan Poynter is the top coach for writing, publishing and, most important, promoting. (John Tullius, Founder and Director, Maui Writers Conference)
From the Author
Dan Poynter, DanPoynter@ParaPublishing.com
The Book Writing-Publishing Revolution Why Authors No Longer Need Publishers
More and more authors are being gored by their publishers and some authors are doing something about it.
There was a time when the big (New York) publishers held the keys to book publishing. Only big publishers had the funds required and could provide access to bookstores. Times have changed. Today, book wholesalers and distributors move the books into bookstores for all publishers, large and small. And, most books are sold outside of bookstores anyway.
It used to be that publishing was an expensive and time-consuming undertaking; few authors could afford to invest in their own work. Today, offset printing techniques and 43 specialized book printers across the US provide top quality production at very low prices. Depending upon page count, trim size, quality of paper, print run, etc., your book will probably cost less than $2 per unit to print.
Typesetting used to cost several thousand dollars and take months to accomplish. Today's author writes on a computer and sets the type with a laser printer.
Whether you sell out to a publisher or publish yourself, the author must always do the promotion. Publishers do not promote books.
Publishers put up the money, have the book printed and use sales reps to get it into bookstores but they do not promote the book. The author must do the promotion. The problem is that most first-time authors think the publisher will push the product. Once they figure out that nothing is being done, it is too late, the book is no longer new (it has a quickly-ticking copyright date in it) and is being remaindered.
"If you publish yourself, you will make more money, get to press sooner and keep control of your work," says Dan Poynter, author of The Self-Publishing Manual, How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book. He explains:
Money. Typically, the author gets a royalty from the large publisher of 6% to 10% of the net receipts (what the publisher receives) , usually on a sliding scale, and the economics here are not encouraging. For example, a print run of 5,000 copies of a book selling for $20 could gross $100,000 at retail, but an 8% royalty on the net (most books are sold at wholesale) may come to $3,200. That isn't enough money to pay for all your hours spent at the computer. The chances of selling more than 5,000 copies is highly remote because, after a few months (there are three, four-month selling seasons a year), the publisher takes the book out of print. In fact, the publisher will sell less than the amount printed because some books will be used for promotion while others will be returned by the bookstores, unsold.
Only two people make money on a book: the printer and the investor.
If you invest the money in your manuscript, you can make up to four times what you would get from a publisher in a royalty-nearly 35% of the list price. Authors should invest and profit from their work.
Time. It is a sad fact of (book publishing) life that most publishers take 18 months to turn your manuscript into a book. This means that even though most of the books in the bookstore have a current copyright date, the information is over two years old. For many quickly-evolving nonfiction subjects, this delay is unacceptable.
Control. Once you turn your manuscript over to a publisher, you lose control. They sometimes decide to save money by leaving out some illustrations and they often change the title and lose the theme of the book. If you want to maintain control, you will publish yourself.
Should you self-publish? Would-be author/publishers should be cautioned that self-publishing is not for everyone. Writing is an art, while publishing is a business, and some people are unable to do both well. If you are a lovely, creative flower who is repelled by the crass commercialism of selling one's own product, you should stick to the creative side and let someone else handle the business end. On the other hand, some people are terribly independent. They will not be happy with the performance of any publisher, no matter how much time and effort are spent creating and promoting the book. These people should save the publisher from all this grief by making their own decisions. You must understand all the alternatives so that you may make an intelligent, educated choice. "Over 95% of all authors should take control of their work and publish themselves," says Poynter. DanPoynter@ParaPublishing.com
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My one small quibble is that some of the links he cites are no longer valid. I can't blame Dan Poynter for that; he died several years ago.
This is a concise little tome that most who are intent on following in Poynter's highly successful footsteps will refer to many times over the months (years, even) that it will take to reach your target market.
This text streamlines the process - cutting many, many hours off your search for a path through the info-glut to find answers to your seemingly endless questions, cutting through the confusion of similar sounding formats, vendors and concepts that turn out to be vastly different in terms of what it will mean to the monetary success of your book/s. (Even if you have only ONE book in you, Poynter encourages you to publish in multiple formats - and not just Kindle and print, by the way - then tells you how to go about it.)
Part 2 adds to (without duplicating) the information in the 13th update of Part 1. My [practically brand new] copy of Part 2 is already "bleeding" with highlighted text - there are several items on each page worth noting particularly, especially if you are new to self-publishing.
If you are *already* a self-publisher, but are not making a great deal of money from your book, THIS book will probably help to remedy that situation - at least, it will if you take the actions he outlines. There's a LOT to it! Writing a book hoping the world will beat a path to your door is unlikely to happen, he asserts, without a great deal of time and attention - no matter how good the book.
Throughout, however, he reminds readers to concentrate on what they do best and what they enjoy doing (radio and TV for the outgoing, print for those who'd rather write than speak, for example).
He cites sources, explains each step (including to-do checklists in a sort-of timeline toward the book's end) - even suggests typefaces, page margins and software. He also points readers to services that can do a great bit of it FOR you, if you prefer, as well as pointing out some places where it won't be to your advantage TO do it yourself. (For example, don't sell your eBook from your website, because "tech support" will eat your life -- who knew?) He also gives a pointer or two about when it might make sense to sell out to a publishing company.
A few reviewers have objected to the many links in the book - but, for me, that is one of its strengths. Why pad the book when the info is already available online? (free, btw) Better for the environment, and better for book pricing to do it this way - PLUS this section covers internet marketing, social networking (etc.), so it simply makes sense to use the medium for part of the message. (He covers how to use Amazon to your best advantage, too, btw)
He does refer to Part 1 quite a bit, which some readers may not care for, but again, using similar logic to above - why repeat content? (have a copy of part 1 handy as you read, however)
I have been following Poynter's email lists for many years, and I promise you he does not need to gouge readers for money by forcing the purchase of one more book -- and I doubt he would be interested in doing so. He has always been extremely generous with information he had to find out the hard (and expensive) way. He is doing no more (and no less) than what he advises his readers to do (which he reminds us at several points in the book.)
I can't speak for everyone, but I, for one would not want to be WITHOUT this book (and the most recent version of the one before it).
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
- ADD Coaching Field co-founder -
(blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld - dot com!)
"It takes a village to transform a world!"
In my opinion, the 1 star negative reviews are unwarranted. I judge all my book purchases by "Did I get $12-22.00 worth of information or tips from this book?" If the answer is yes, then I found value in the book. As for the marketing section? I am a long time successful self employed artist who has manged to raise a family and pay all my bills for over two decades with just art sales. So I KNOW when an author or marketing guru is lying about marketing! Dan Poynter's advice is spot on. And it sure cost less than the course I attended :-)
Finding critical and extremely important information that was not even within my personal knowledge has been very helpful. Besides learning from this book, it helped me to employ very savvy publishing suggestions that improved my manuscript before I submitted it into the publisher's hands. It headed off my having to kick myself because of not knowing enough about my existing blind spots which we all have. There is nothing as good as learning from the authoritative experience of a pro like Dan Poynter.
It is said we can not live life over again. But letting Dan pour his experience into our want-to-be life of an author is in my mind better than living life over. I started with his books loaned from the public library. I tried to hand copy umpteem notes from his book. I said, "This is nuts! There is too much important information to capture by hand. I have to buy my own copy from Amazon and highlight it as my personal working reference book." And that is what I did.
Donn G. Ziebell, Ph.D., author of: My Letters to a Prisoner - I had not met, which manuscript is now in the hands of Amazon's publishing subsidiary CreateSpace. You should be able to find my non-fiction book on Amazon sometime in November 2012