10 Secrets to Self-Publishing
Do you ever feel like you know just enough about Self-Publishing to be dangerous? Let's see if we can fill in some of the gaps with the latest info from Self-Publishing Expert Manisha Solomon of Solotext Editorial.
As an author who aspires to self-publish, there is a lot of confusing and contradicting information out there. There isn't a place where the information is standard. Everyone has an opinion on how many books you should print, where you should hire a graphic designer, and where you should get an ISBN.
As a Canadian self-publisher, it's even more difficult.
Here are a few secrets that can help you on your way to being an informed consumer as a self-publishing author:
1. Registering for copyright in Canada does not require a lawyer. It can be done for $65 Cdn on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website at www.cipo.gc.ca.
2. However, you don't even have to register copyright. This is a formality. In Canada, and 73 other countries around the world, copyright automatically protects the written word as soon as it's written. If you go through with the process of writing and publishing a book, copyright is as good as yours as long as you didn't copy someone else's book word-for-word.
3. ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is FREE in Canada. Regardless of how many you get. Many companies say that they will give you an ISBN for $50, $100, or even $200. Don't go for it. In Canada, you can register for an ISBN at the Library and Archives Canada website in Ottawa at www.collectionscanada.ca. Go to the Publishers button on the menu and it will open up to a variety of services the LAC offers.
4. A barcode should not cost you a lot of money. Many barcode companies and printers will charge you a few hundred dollars for a barcode. Don't pay it. It is a matter of placing your ISBN into their barcode software. It takes a nanosecond for the program to formulate your barcode. This is a quick way to get hosed.
If you find yourself confused by what you've read to this point, don't despair. Everything should be crystal clear by the time you finish.
5. CIP (Cataloging-in-Publication) data is FREE in Canada. Again, don't pay for this. It is also provided by the LAC at their website www.collectionscanada.ca. If you have a fiction book, you may not want to register for this, however, you can list your book in the New Books Service. This service and the CIP will announce your book to several agencies.
6. 'Print-on-demand' just means that you can print as many copies as you want. It is a digital (glorified photocopy) print of your image. Many POD companies serve authors by maintaining an electronic version of the book and only printing it when an order comes in. When it comes to bookstores, POD is as good as OOP (Out of Print) because the book does not exist until it is ordered. You may end up missing out on orders because of this technicality.
7. There are two ways to print a book: digital and on the press. Digital is explained in #6. It is a glorified photocopy that is bound together. Your options are not as many with regards to finish. You also cannot guarantee that the colour and quality will be consistent run to run. On a press, you are guaranteed that the quality of your book is exceptional (as long as you get the right printer to do it). You can get finishes such as laminates on your cover, and you have a wide range of trim sizes and papers to choose from. However, printing on a press means that you have to run about 1000 copies to get a reasonable price per unit. This means that you end up with 1000 books sitting in your garage, basement, or office. With digital, you can run into extremely high costs with little break per unit. This means that your profit margin is very thin. However, you don't have hundreds sitting around.
8. When writing, set up key words that you want to write about and then formulate them into a Table of Contents.
9. No one said that you had to start writing at page 1, chapter 1. Start where you can and then fill in the rest. It will come.
10. Marketing your book is a never-ending task and can be the longest stage of the self-publishing process. Marketing your book will last as long as you want your book to live. When you stop printing your book, you can stop marketing. This is when you consider your book Out of Print.
Manisha Solomon, Book Publishing Project Coordinator, is considered one of Canada's leading self-publishing experts. Her company, Solotext Editorial, provides book producing services for self-publishing authors. Visit the site for Solotext Editorial at www.solotext.com. The fine print: This article's coverage of the information is as complete as it can be today. But you should always leave open the possibility that future research could uncover new facts.