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Are You Working on Your Book Yet? (Part Two)

Our last blog started a conversation about the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing and today we’re going to look into the self-publishing option in more detail. 

While getting your book published with a traditional publisher has become extremely difficult these days, with self-publishing there are no barriers to entry. Anyone can write a book and get it published, as long as they have the money to pay for the printing. A number of organizations have sprung up over the past few years to help people get their book printed, and they offer such options as book development consulting, cover design, layout and editing, as well as printing.

Other businesses provide assistance in helping your book become an Amazon best-seller. There is a formula and it involves a lot of coordination but for a price you can learn what you need to do and game the system so that you can honestly claim that (for at least a few brief moments) you were an Amazon best-seller.

Be careful! If you’re contemplating publishing your book yourself, investigate as many options as possible and compare what different businesses are offering and for what price. Ask about the qualifications of the people who will be editing your book or laying it out and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to ask for samples of their work, either. Your book is your calling card: you want it to reflect well on your reputation and there’s nothing like shoddy editing and production to make an expert look like they can’t communicate.

I highly recommend you get the book “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing” by Mark Levine. It gives an excellent analysis of the the Contracts & Services of 48 Major Self-Publishing Companies and if you’re planning on self-publishing I recommend you go into it with as much information as possible.

There are some big wins possible with self-publishing: a guarantee that your story will see the light of day, cheap printing costs, substantially higher profit margins and total control over editorial content, chief among them.

A lot of people are concerned that the explosion of self-publishing opportunities sounds the death knell for traditional publishing companies but I’m not so sure. I think, rather that this is a positive thing for the reading community and that publishers – and would-be authors – will have to respond to the market and move ahead with opportunities to meet demand.

Quality is something we all recognize. Quality of ideas, of expression, and even of paper. It communicates subliminally to an audience. I doubt anyone has ever stopped while reading a book I’ve edited and thought, “My goodness, what an excellent editing job!” But they certainly notice when they read a book that has been poorly edited (or not edited at all) and the result is a degrading of the reputation of that author.

If you want your book to stand out and make a difference – to your audience and to your business – then make sure that book bears the hallmarks of craftsmanship: that it’s well thought out, well structured, well written, well edited and well produced. Expect the best.

Need help with any of that? Just email me at


  • Hi Susan,

    I always look forward to your posts on writing and publishing. Since you’ve been in the mucky-muck trenches, you write from hard-earned experience. Keep up the great work.


    Mark Fodchuk

    • Thanks for your comment Mark! With being in the writing and publishing industry for over 3 decades, I sure have collected a lot of interesting experience – and happy to share it.

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