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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Primer On Self-Publishing



Where do writers turn when they want guidance on their book publishing options, especially, if they are seeking to explore the self-publishing world?  One source would be the recently released sixth edition of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing:  A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, Ebooks, and Marketing.

The author, Mark Levine, is the CEO and founder of Hillcrest Media Group, a company celebrating its 10-year anniversary.  Under his organization, he has published over 6,000 titles (Mill City Press).  He has another imprint, North Loop, which features up and coming authors as well as a handful of established writers.

For the uninitiated, the book provided a good overview of the self-publishing landscape. I especially found his quoting of statistics to be of interest.  He noted the following:

·         As of the first quarter of 2015, self-published books made up 18 percent of the entire US book market. Ebook sales now account for 30 percent of all books sold in the United Sates.  Less than 10 percent of all books are now sold through independent bookstores.

·         In 2013, there were approximately 5,000 fewer titles traditionally published than in 2012.

·         One of the best reports chronicling the reality of book sales was done in 2004 by Nielsen BookScan, which tracked the sales of 1,200,000 books through retail locations (including online retailers) in the United States.  Of all books sold, 79 percent sold fewer than ninety-nine copies.  Another 200,000, or 16.67 percent, sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 books, or 2.1 percent, sold more than 5,000 copies.  Fewer than 500 books, or 0.04 percent, sold more than 100,000 copies, and only ten books, or 0.0008 percent, sold more than a million copies each.

·         The number of self-published print titles in the US alone has exploded by 437 percent between 2008 and 2013 with 458,564 titles published in 2013 alone (up 17 percent over 2012).

·         In 2013, Amazon’s CreateSpace published 62 percent of all self-published print books that have ISBNs, a 42 percent increase over 2012.  Lulu increased the number of titles it published by 48 percent in 2013 over 2012. 

·         Small independent publishing companies published 71 percent more titles in 2013 than they collectively did in 2012.

There are many, many self-publishing options out there, including:

Abbott Press
Arbor Books
Archway Publishing
Author House
Aventine Press
Balboa Press
Book Baby
Book Locker
CreateSpace
Dog Ear Publishers
Dorrance Publishing
Freesen Press
Infinity Publishing
Ingram Spark
iUniverse
Lightning Source
Llumina Press
Lulu
Mill City Press
Outskirts Press
Publish America/America Star Books
Redemption Press
Tate Publishing
Trafford Publishing
Wasteland Press
West Bow Press
Xlibris Press
Xulon Press

Self-publishing has evolved from being seen as a vanity press scheme to a self-empowering, democratized way of being a writer-entrepreneur.  No longer is self-publishing a last and desperate option; for some, it’s a desired choice. Even big-name authors, for a variety of reasons, have opted to self-publish.

Let’s conclude by quoting the author’s four lessons for a self-published book to succeed:

 “The first is that a book needs to fill a void or create a market that didn’t exist before…

      “The second lesson is that your book needs to read and look like it came out of a New York publishing house.  That means spending the money to have it properly edited and designed…

“The third lesson is that you need to spend time and money marketing the book…

      “The fourth lesson is that, above all, you need to get lucky – or else the first three lessons might not even matter.”

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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