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The Complete Guide To Self-Publishing, 5th Edition

Everything you need to know to write, publish, promote, and sell your own book.
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The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition
Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book
by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier
Writer's Digest Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58297-718-8
$24.99, paperback, 576 pages

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Read an Excerpt
In a brand new chapter of the 5th edition of this indispensible guide to the world of self-publishing, Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier discuss ways to utilize social media to build buzz and promote your book.

Read a Q&A with the authors

Self-publishing experts Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier discuss the true meaning of self-publishing, advice for marketing and self-promotion, the business of writing, and more!

About the Book

Take Control of Your Destiny!

Bottom line: You want to get published. You want to control the future of your manuscript and your writing career.

Best-selling author Marilyn Ross and publishing expert Sue Collier show you how to make your own success—whether you’re a published author, entrepreneur, corporation, professional, or absolute newcomer to writing. In this expanded and completely revised 5th edition of the ”bible” of self-publishing (over 100,000 copies sold), they empower you to publish your own work with minimal risk and maximum profits. You’ll find:

  • Complete step-by-step guidance on publishing and marketing a book
  • Ways to leverage social media marketing to build your platform and make yourself stand out from the crowd
  • A thorough explanation of the difference between POD self-publishing, subsidy publishing, and true self-publishing—and how to decide which is the best option for you
  • Practical advice on making the decision between offset printing and print-on-demand
  • How to leverage the Internet to create “buzz” and promote your book with killer PR
  • The latest information on e-publishing
  • A detailed marketing plan and timetable to keep you on track
  • Proven marketing strategies to get free publicity, reach nontraditional buyers, and sell books
  • Information-packed appendices with marketing contacts, organizations, and vendors, complete with names, addresses, and Web sites
  • Valuable case studies and examples of how other publishers excel
  • Dozens of tips and resources for publishing and selling books in Canada
  • An in-depth discussion of exclusive distributors, plus coverage of the most recent changes in bookstores and the book-selling industry
  • Thirty-one creative ideas for generating capital to launch your publishing company

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is the one book you need to take control of your writing career. Read it. Believe it. Do it. Your future depends on it.

About the Authors

Marilyn Ross is a self-publishing pioneer. Since 1978, she has helped thousands of authors sell millions of books. Sue Collier brings together a multitude of talents in the publishing industry, including several years in trade publishing. The two have been collaborating for the past decade and a half on a myriad of projects, but most recently focused their efforts on Self-Publishing Resources, a writing, marketing, and publishing consulting firm that assists authors in surpassing their personal and professional publishing goals.

Praise for The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing

“No one should dream about self-publishing without self-educating first. To learn from the best, avoid the worst and get the most out of the experience. The Guide will be one of your best guides in the process.”
—M.J. Rose, international bestseller and owner of

“Always a must-read for self-publishers, The Complete Guide has been updated to cover the many new and rapidly shifting elements of the publishing universe. Ross and Collier clearly explain such things as the difference between true self-publishing and the so-called ‘self-publishing companies’ (and why that difference makes such a difference)...the ever-changing world of social media...and the impact of new technologies on inventory and profitability. Well done!”
—Shel Horowitz, multiple-award-winning author of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, and six other books,

“If you want to earn a living by writing, read The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. It's the most complete, up-to-date, inspirational resource for independent publishers. Everything you need to know about writing, publishing, and promoting your book is here, in one handy resource. Before you sign any contracts or hire a publicist, read this book. I've referred to it for years, and the new edition is better than ever.”
—Steve Weber, author, Plug Your Book!

"A 576-page treasure trove of writing and publishing know-how--everything you need to know to self-publish successfully in today's competitive publishing market--and more."
—Fern Reiss, author, “The Publishing Game" book series, and director,

The Complete Guide to Self Publishing is one of the publishing books I keep in easy reach at my desk. It is a vital reference for authors and self-publishers and it delivers the information you need in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner. I recommend it to all my clients.”
—Pete Masterson, book designer and author of Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers

"This is a valuable reference for anyone serious about becoming a book publisher. It covers all aspects of starting and running the business, producing the book, and promoting it in the real world. The authors have years of real-world experience and graciously share with the reader, through both encouragement and warning of pitfalls. You'll use this volume over and over, whether producing your first or tenth book!"

—Tamara Dever, owner, TLC Graphics and Narrow Gate Books

Table of Contents

Should You Take Control of Your Own Destiny?
Who Can Benefit From This Book?
How to Use This Book

PART I: Today’s Publishing Scene

1 Your Portal to Self-Publishing: Enter Here

Success Stories From Yesterday and Today | The Rewards of Do-It-Yourself Publishing | Stumbling Blocks to Avoid | The Many Hats of a Self-Publisher | Identifying Your Motivation | Setting Goals

2 Alternatives for Getting Into Print: From POD to Subsidy Publishing—and Everything In Between

Traditional Publishers l Self-Publishers | POD “Self-Publishers” | Subsidy/Vanity Publishers | What to Expect—and Not to Expect | What Does Subsidy and POD Publishing Cost? | How to Check a Subsidy or POD Publisher’s Credentials | Analyzing the Contract | Working With Subsidy Publishers | Print-on-Demand | The Espresso Book Machine | Copublishing

3 Cyber Options—Reading Between the Lines of E-books

Journeying Through the E-Book Jungle | Reading Devices | Format Standards | Security Against Copyright Infringement | Getting Started in Electronic Publishing | Pricing E-Books | Who Are the Players? | Stories From the Trenches | More Adventures in Electronic Information Delivery

PART II: Start-Up Considerations to Get You Off on the Right Foot

4 Scoping Out a Marketable Subject

Capitalizing on New Trends | Researching Potential Markets | Positioning for Profit | Write What You Know | Finding Your Interests | Building on Your Platform | Alternatives for Entrepreneurial Types | Cookbooks as Moneymakers | A Case for Novels, Memoirs, and Poetry | Titles That Hook Readers

5 Product Development: Writing Your Book or Booklet

Treasures on the Web | And in Your Library | The Telephone as a Research Tool | Permission Guidelines for Using Copyrighted Material | The Easy Way to Organize a Nonfiction Book | Getting Started | Writing Tight, Snappy Copy | Tips for Writing Best-Seller-Quality Fiction | Front and Back Matter: Powerful Sales Persuaders | Planting Editorial Material for More Sales Clout | Editing Your Work

6 Establishing Your Publishing Company and Generating Capital

The Ideal Business Location l Naming Your Publishing Company | Forming Your Business Entity Licenses and Permits | Your Company Image | Thirty-Two Ways to Generate Working Capital

7 Mastering Operating Procedures

Your “How to Do It” Plan of Attack | Determining Monthly Expenses | Bookkeeping | Order Fulfillment | Monthly Billings | Returns | Inventory Control | Secrets of Proper Pricing and Discounts | Taxes and Deductions | Miscellaneous Tips for a Smooth-Running Business | Four Rules That Will Almost Guarantee Your Success

8 Must-Do Important Early Activities

Preparing a Castoff | Choosing the “Right” Publication Date | Securing Your ISBN | The Bookland EAN Scanning Symbol | The All-Important ABI Form | Library of Congress Card Number | Cataloging in Publication Program | Powerful Prepublication Attention Getters

PART III: Creating a Quality Product That Attracts Buyers

9 Wow! Design and Typesetting

The Importance of Good Cover Design | Pieces of the Interior Puzzle | Page Design and Typesetting | Proofreading Procedures | Creating an Irresistible Index

10 Affordable Book Manufacturing—The Printing Process

Traditional Book Manufacturing | Print on Demand | Quotes, Proofs, Galleys, and Other Details | Binding Options | Copyright Registration

PART IV: Killer PR—The Great Equalizer

11 Initiating a Nationwide Marketing Plan With Publicity Pizzazz

Developing a Pow! Marketing Plan | Facts of Publishing Life | Getting Reviewed | Advance Activities | Special Literary Publicity Opportunities | Publicity for Fiction Writers and Poets | Writing Effective News Releases | Where to Obtain Free Listings

12 Using the Web to Rally Buzz and Business

Creating a Web Site That’s a Surfer Magnet | Getting Positioned for Traffic | Using Internet PR to Start a Buzz | Eight Ingenious Ways to Use to Your Advantage

13 Provocative Promotional Strategies

Getting Newspaper Coverage off the Book Pages | Recycle, Recycle, Recycle | More Creative Print Angles for Writers on a Budget | Start Locally, Grow Nationally | Generating Radio and Television Interviews | More Promotional Tactics to Create Momentum

14 Turning Book Signings Into Stellar Events

What to Expect | What to Do Before Your Book Signing | Preparation for a Successful Experience | Actions to Take While You’re in the Store | Other Useful Advice | Less Common Venues for Signings

PART V: Selling Books the Usual Ways

15 Milking the Standard Channels of Distribution

Getting Your “Baby” Into Bookstores | Reaching Wholesalers and Distributors | Understanding Exclusive (Master) Distribution | Tapping the Lucrative Library Market | Going After Educational Sales | Using Commissioned Sales Reps

16 Crafting Ads That Reel In Results

The Trade Publishers’ Approach | Developing Sales Materials With Punch | Advertising to Target Audiences | Point-of-Purchase Sales Aids | Co-Op Advertising | Innovative Advertising Maneuvers | Mail-Order Classified Ads That Sell | Tracking Results | Graduating to Display Ads | Some Final Thoughts …

17 Direct Marketing Smarts

An American Tradition | The Offer | The Package | Finding Your Market | The Fine Points of Mailing Lists | More Strategy | Success Story

18 Tapping Into Lucrative Subsidiary Rights

What Are Subsidiary Rights? | Selling Your Book in “Pieces” | Tapping Into Book Clubs | Licensing Paperback Reprint Rights | Making Money on Foreign and Translation Rights | Other Ways to Profit From Sub Spin-Offs

PART VI: Nontraditional Venues for Generating More Sales

19 Social Media Marketing—New Rules for Added Revenue

Overview l Social Networks | Avoiding Mistakes in Your Social Media Marketing Plan | Promoting Your Book Via Vidoes, Podcasts, and Blogs | Virtual Author Tours | Online Communities

20 Originating Extraordinary “Out-of-the-Box” Opportunities

Creative Thinking Pays | Other Retail Outlets Will Carry Your Product | Premium Books and Merchandise Tie-Ins | Hitting the Catalog Jackpot | Become a Paid Spokesperson? | More Maverick Sales Opportunities

21 Seminars, Classes, and Trade Shows Can Multiply Your Profits

Giving Talks and Seminars | Readings for the Literary Inclined | How to Develop a Free Author Tour | Self-Sponsored Seminar Strategy | Working Conventions, Trade Shows, and Book Fairs

PART VII: Propelling Your Business Through the Stratosphere

22 Bagging the Big Game: Selling Your Self-Published Book to a Goliath Publisher

Insider’s Sources for Finding the Right Publisher | Launching a Compelling Sales Campaign | Negotiating Contracts in Your Best Interest | Getting Your Share of the Marketing Dollar

23 Enlarge Your Kingdom: Move Up to “Small Press” Status

Good Growing Pains | Various Tips and Techniques for Thriving | The Winning Combination: Niche Publishing and Backlist Books | Putting It All Together

Self-Publishing Timetable
Appendix A: Piloting Your Successful Marketing Plan
Appendix B: Organizations and Other Information Sources
Appendix C: Canadian Resources
Appendix D: Selected Book Manufacturers
Appendix E: Marketing Contacts
Appendix F: Other Helpful Information
Bibliography/Recommended Reading
Glossary and Definitions of Acronyms

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