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Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book Paperback – Mar 25 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 463 pages
  • Publisher: Para Publishing; 16 edition (March 25 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568601425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568601427
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.3 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The bible on self-publishing. Highly recommended by virtually everyone in the industry -- even other authors of books on the subject (many of whom probably followed the advice in Poynter's previous 11 editions). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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'?Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Most would-be authors dream of signing a four book deal with Random House for over $10 million . . . and then skyrocketing to the top of the best seller list. That does happen, but not very often.

The average new author who attracts a commercial publisher will probably be offered an advance of $7,500 and won't earn that amount back in actual royalties. In the process, the author will be disappointed to find that the publisher does little more than print the book, put it in a catalogue and take orders from those who demand the book. If there's to be publicity, the author must provide it. In exchange, the author will earn less than 10% of the cover price of the book from each sale.

After having been down that route, it's not surprising that authors begin to realize that selling 5,000 copies that one self-publishes can earn a profit of 5-10 times as much with relatively little more effort . . . and not much of a capital outlay.

So, if you don't get that Random House deal, you probably can still earn a lot more money for yourself by becoming your own publisher. There are lots of ways to do this from e-books as digital downloads to traditional hard cover volumes. You can have a printer make a few thousand of the latter . . . or a print on demand printer will make one at a time as you receive orders.

Naturally, you can pay someone several thousand dollars to help you through the process.

But it's a better bet to buy Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual. Dan's forgotten more about how to self-publish a book that most "experts" will ever learn.

This book covers the following important topics:

1. How to decide if you want to self-publish and how

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Format: Paperback
In circles of professional self-publishers and small press owners, Dan Poynter's book is undisputably recognized as one of the classic manuals on self-publishing. It is a book that discusses self-publishing at the most "go get 'em" level. For authors who have already weighed the pros and cons of self-publishing and decided that self-publishing is the right choice for them -- and who are ready to invest $10,000 or more in setting up a professional publishing company, developing a formal marketing plan, and really making a serious investment in time and money into their publishing ventures -- this is a "must read."
This style of self-publishing isn't for everybody, however, so readers should recognize that there is more than one way to go. Because Poynter has been enormously successful with self-publishing, he presents this task as something that is easy for all authors to do, and that if they follow his plan, they are likely to achieve a high level of financial success. For some authors, this may be true. But authors should also recognize that Poynter's level of success isn't going to be achievable for everyone. They need to be realistic about their own personal goals, resources, and commitment before jumping in at this level.
The Self-Publishing Manual is a great idea-starter and motivator for authors with the drive to really get out there and spend the time and money to heavily market their books. It contains vast resources and an in-depth discussion of the steps necessary to really make it big in this industry. For those without this level of commitment, expertise, and depth of pockets, however, there are other levels of self-publishing, as well.
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