Tag Archives: Amazon

Considering Self-Publishing Your Book?

Because of the changing attitude towards self-publishing (from red-headed stepchild to respectable offspring), this publishing alternative is being considered more often by writers around the world.  Especially with POD book outlets (Print on Demand) such as lulu.com, cafepress.com and amazon.com (to name a few of the better known POD book companies, the cost of producing such a book can be minimal.  I have self-published a few books, with great success.  None of them were POD, but the quality of the printing was outstanding, and all four books are a paper monument to the improved printing techniques of this rising industry.  If you have ever thought about publishing your own book, read some of the following tips offered by longtime publisher Sheryn Hara.

Considering Self-Publishing Your Book?
Longtime Publisher Offers Tips for Making Choices

Published books

Published books

Self-published books have transformed both the reading and writing landscape, with hundreds of thousands of authors now eschewing traditional publishing routes. Once reserved for distribution to a writer’s close family and friends, these books are now respected as an affordable option with every bit as much potential for becoming best-sellers as those produced by the New York houses.

“Countless books published this way have gone on to become best-sellers, from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to ‘Still Alice’ to ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad,’ ’’ says independent publisher Sheryn Hara, founder of the 30-year-old Book Publishers Network (www.bookpublishersnetwork.com) and author of the new how-to, “Self-Publish Successfully.”

“But it’s important to note that these don’t look like they were just spit out of the inkjet printer in your bedroom. You have to have a good product if you want even a shot at success. That means good content that’s well edited; a good cover; good layout; and a good print job. Additionally, you can expect to spend a lot of time and/or money marketing, promoting and getting publicity for your book.”

So, where to begin? First, of course, is getting the book written. But once you’re ready to publish, you can easily be overwhelmed with options: Do a Google search for “independent publishers” and you’ll get nearly 8 million results!

To help sort through the options, Hara offers these tips:

• Decide how you want your book printed. Consider your budget, time frame and individual preferences when evaluating options. They include Print-on-Demand (POD), which involves lower up-front costs and is beneficial if you need only a minimum number of books. However, there are quality issues with POD, and you must pay close attention to your contract, which may assign the copyright to the publisher. Most POD publishers do not provide editing services. Digital printing is another option for small print runs, and comes without many of the pitfalls of POD. Finally, there’s standard printing, which utilizes web-fed or sheet-fed presses. 

• How to choose a printer. Get quotes from at least three printers, and ask for samples of books and papers. Use only a printer whose main job is printing; most of these are located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The most economical size books to print are 5.5 by 8.5 inches; 6 by 9 inches; or 8.5 by 11 inches.

• Covers. People do  judge books by their covers, so make sure yours is fantastic. It’s worth the investment to have it designed professionally. Now you must decide whether you want soft cover, hard cover or both. You may have a choice of gloss lamination or matte. If you go with matte, check to see whether the printer has a scuff-free version; otherwise, books returned from bookstores may look beat up.

• Paper.  For most books, you’re probably safe going with the “house paper” recommended by the printer. If your book has a lot of pictures, you may want to use gloss paper.

• Bindings.  “Perfect bound” is the norm for soft cover books; a layer of adhesive holds the pages and cover together. Most bookstores don’t like “saddle stitch” – staples used in the center of the book, or comb or wire binding, because you can’t print information on the spines. “Layflat binding” is used for computer, music and cookbooks, which often need to lie flat for functionality when in use.

If you plan to work with an independent publisher – a company you’ll pay to shepherd you through all the details, Hara suggests talking to former customers about their experience. Did the company follow through on everything promised in the contract? Did it meet deadlines? Were representatives accessible, especially if there was a problem? Was the customer satisfied with the final product?

“Decide on your budget, and then look at the quality of books produced by publishers you’re considering. Frankly, the better the quality, the more the book will cost,” Hara says.

“Your pocketbook and your goals should help make the decision easier.”

Sheryn Hara - Complies with Hara Publishing terms of use

Sheryn Hara – Complies with Hara Publishing terms of use

About Sheryn Hara

Sheryn Hara is founder and CEO of Book Publishers Network in Seattle, a 30-year-old company whose clients have produced award-winning books. Hara’s new book, “Self-Publish Successfully,” co-written with Paul S. Carr III, covers all aspects of self-publishing, from writing and editing to marketing, including internet and social media marketing.


Witchcanery…now LIVE on Kindle

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Yup, it’s true.  My first novel, Witchcanery, is now available on Amazon’s Kindle as an e-book.  As I understand it, you need a Kindle reader (or similar device) in order to read it.  The good news is if you don’t have a Kindle reader you can download one from Amazon.com for free.  Or you can buy one that you can hold in your hand for a reasonable price (new from Amazon, around $130).

If you would like to have a look at the ad for e-book Witchcanery, you can go here.  That’s also where you can purchase it ($2.99).  If you have read Witchcanery before, it would be a great help if you would give your review of it at the Amazon link, same as above.  The more favorable reviews the book gets, the higher it goes on the Amazon listings.  Thank you in advance.

If you haven’t read it, I’ve been told by independent readers that you are in for a treat.

Witchcanery is a fantasy adventure about Shelley Kesinkowsky, a modern-day witch with a technological advantage that other witches in the past have not had…a computer…and the internet.  Much tidier than getting messages from ravens…and no droppings to clean up, although she has observed that you don’t usually have to reboot a raven.

She also has an unusual talent that even she doesn’t know how it works.  However, she is going to need that talent to help save the planet from utter destruction by Mother Earth’s bad-hair-day golems.  And she is also going to need help from her former enemy, High Wizard Jason Jeph, whose deadly incantation might just get them both killed.

In the course of this adventure, you get to meet memorable characters, such as Jason’s familiar, Byching, the brilliant blue hyacinthine macaw; Blue Eyes, the amazingly caring golem that Shelley creates for the adventure; Mother Earth, the lovely but fiery demi-goddess put in charge of the welfare of the planet by the Maker; and many others.

Containing a mixture of adventure, romance, humor, suspense, and, surprisingly, ecology and the preservation of planet Earth, this novel is something that some readers have said they couldn’t put down…even those who previously maintained they didn’t care for fantasy.