NY Times reporter Alina Tugend told readers of her article, Options for Self Publishing Proliferate Easing the Bar to Entry,“…until recently I turned up my nose at authors who published their own books” but as there was more buzz about self publishing she decided, “The phenomenon was worth a second look.”
Tugend’s exploration of self publishing focuses upon a relatively new phenomenon in the publishing world. Kevin Weiss, President and CEO of Author Solutions, which is the umbrella organization for Author House, iUniverse, and Xlibris, all of which offer services to authors who want to publish books, refers to the process as “assisted self-publishing.”
It’s too bad that Tugend’s look at self publishing stopped there. The dramatic increase in interest in self publishing is not only for those seeking to emulate Amanda Hocking whose self published, paranormal romances led her to a $2 million contract with St. Martin’s Press. The number of people seeking what was once called private publication is growing at least as rapidly. Authors of memoirs, family histories and local histories are all seeking ways to get their books into print.
Unfortunately, these self publishers who seek to print and distribute only a small number of books to a limited audience of family, friends or community members too frequently find themselves dealing with “assisted self publishing.,” Companies offer self-publishing packages which may include editing, book design, placement in bookstores like Barnes & Noble, and ultimately marketing which the authors may not need.
“As with many things in life, there are often hidden fees,” said Lorraine Shanley, president of Market Partners International, a publishing consulting firm.
Tugend estimated these fees “…as starting as low as $400 and going as high as $15,000.”
That’s a big ticket if you want to publish non-commercially for a limited audience. It doesn’t have to be.
The thing you should understand if want to create a small number of books is that you don’t need a publisher. You need a printer. The difference is that the printer has a single job, physically creating the book. You pay only for that service. CreateSpace, Amazon.com’s self publishing arm, offers the “assisted self publishing model”, but it will also print your book for only a few dollars a copy if that’s what you want. There are printers across the country which will provide similar services. Printers have specifications for the file formats they will accept, but some DIY authors may be able to create and upload their own files.
If you need help getting a manuscript ready to send to the printer you can contract with independent editors and book designers, like us, usually at a rate well below what “assisted self publishing” companies charge.
If you have decided to self publish a book take the time to explore your publishing options. We have worked with a number of printers. We’ll be happy to advise you on your path to publication.