by Sophfronia Scott
Our local newspaper recently featured an area Realtor on the cover of its magazine supplement. It was a large story including a photo of the woman on the top of the newspaper's front page teasing the story and referring to her as a book author.
I was curious to know more about her book so I checked it out. As it turned out, the Realtor had published the book herself and it wasn't her original idea-she had bought the license to the subject (how to sell your house in a tough environment) and tailored it to the area of the country she represents. But did that matter? No! The paper treated it as though it were any book that may have been published by a big New York City publishing house. And if you asked any of her readers if they knew the difference, I'm willing to bet they wouldn't know because the information on how to sell their house was what they wanted, not who published the book!
Not long ago, self published books were considered just a few steps above pamphlets run off on a Xerox machine. How did this big change come about? Let's look at a few points:
The amazing changes in printing technology has made it possible for self published books to be produced with a level of quality that can rival that of books done by traditional publishers. In the past the look and feel of a self published book was the telltale sign that it wasn't a "normal" book. The design (of both text and cover) was often poor and the paper sometimes badly cut. These days print on demand companies can offer similar, if not the same, technology used by traditional publishers and they can do it without requiring print runs of thousands of copies that often ended up unsold in authors' garages and basements. And many of the designers used by traditional publishers also freelance their services out to self publishers. Again, the same quality and talent is available that was once only accessible to the big companies.
When I sought out a company to partner with for my publishing projects, I chose Advantage Media Group, specifically because of the quality of their final product. I wanted to be able to deliver a good-looking finished book into the hands of my clients. You should want the same for yourself.
The same goes for editing help. Many self publishing companies offer editing as part of their packages. It's also easier to find a professional editor for hire via sites such as Elance.com. You can ensure that your book reads well and is free of typos and continuity problems.
Respectability for Being Published-No Matter the Form
Many newspapers and magazines didn't review self published books, and there are some that still don't. But now they look at it this way: a good story is a good story. If your book handles a subject that's important to their readers or viewers (like the real estate example above) or hits upon a trend currently in the news, the media would be very interested in doing a story on you and your book. Again, it wouldn't matter how it was published. On television they seldom mention the publisher, and in print they note the price and publisher no matter how large or small the company.
Distribution Problems Gone
Once upon a time, bookstores resisted stocking self published books. Why? Because unsold books are usually returned to the publisher and the store doesn't have to pay for them. But unsold self published books were non-returnable, which made them more of a risk. However, many companies, including Author House and Advantage Media, have made it possible to include distribution as part of their publishing services. That means they have worked out deals where self published books can be returned, making it easy for you to have your book available in stores. Note: a store may still choose not to stock your book, but if someone comes in and asks for it, your book can be ordered by the store. If they get enough of such requests, they may decide to stock it after all.
While quality self publishing is still an issue of "you get what you pay for", you don't have to spend what you used to in order to get your book done well. Many companies package their services which allow you to pick and choose what you want in the production process.
The Choice is Yours
Is self publishing right for you? Only you can know for certain. Consider all the things you want out of being published-what will a book do for you or your business? Is this book just for you and family or is it for the masses? Do you have a way of getting the book's message out to the public? How will you sell it? The best way for you to be satisfied by the publishing process is for you to be clear about what you want and then pursue the path that will get you there.
© 2009 Sophfronia Scott
Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of the Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Learn what a difference being a published author can make for your business. Get your FREE audio CD, "How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author" and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at www.DoneForYouWriting.com.