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Writing and Publishing Tips

Self Publishing has been around for centuries.  In the 21st Century, it is even more of a strong option to consider when looking for a publisher.  It is not to be categorized as a failure nor is it considered vanity publishing.  The big publishing houses have narrowed significantly, and since 2000, the self publishing industry has exploded.  Publisher’s Weekly will now review self published books, something they didn’t do 5 or 10 years ago. 

Unless you are a well known celebrity, you don’t stand a chance with a New York publisher.  However, with self publishing and a solid marketing plan, you will be surprised at the doors that will open being the author and publisher.  You will incur the cost of publishing, and you will also maintain control of editorial content, cover design and royalties, just to  name a few.

Some Books Originally Self Published

The Christmas Box by Rick Evans

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Fifty Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by John Muir

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard

Other well know self publishers include: Deepak Chopra; Louise Hay; Mark Twain; Upton Sinclair; George Bernard Shaw; Rudyard Kipling; Henry David Thoreau.

  • Write daily.

  • Write what you know.

  • Write using your imagination.

  • Know your message and tell it.

  • Give your writing emotion.

  • Make sure your writing matters to you.

  • Identify your audience and write to them.

Tips about Self Publishing 

  • You maintain full editorial control
  • You participate in the complete production of your book
  • you decide on the cover, layout, and price
  • you get greater royalties
  • your message doesn’t change to satisfy publishing executives
  • you join a growing number of famous authors moving into self publishing because of the publishing controls and royalty limits from big New York houses.

Recommendations for Self Publishing:

  • Have your finished manuscript edited by a professional editor
  • Unless you are highly creative, pay to have your cover designed
  • Buy your own block of ISBN numbers rather than using ISBNs offered to you for small fees from Create Space and other Print on Demand companies
  • Form a publishing company that your ISBN #s are assigned to
  • Don’t hold a lot of inventory when first having your books printed
  • As the publisher, work directly with book stores to ship books, have signings and accept returns.
  • FYI, if using CreateSpace to publish your book, bookstores may not be willing to work with CreateSpace for inventory beyond one book. Bookstores might not order books from CreateSpace for signings since CreateSpace does not offer a return policy for bookstores.  Work directly with the bookstore if you run into this problem by ordering your books wholesale and offering them to the bookstore with the standard 40-50% discount off the retail price.
  • Let CreateSpace be your print house when you run into the roadblocks of CreateSpace not offering discounts and returns to bookstores.  Yes, it means you hold the inventory, but you get into the bookstore.
  • Make sure you are participating in the Expanded Distribution when using CreateSpace as that means Ingram (who distributes to bookstores) can be the middle man to get your books to bookstores when customers are asking for your book.
  • Another option to consider… is going with Ingram Spark.  Although there are up front fees for using them to print on demand, they WILL get you into bookstores and that can be a big plus for some authors. (Not every author’s book is bookstore bound).

What is an ISBN? 

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is the most important identifier your book can have. As the U.S. ISBN Agency, Bowker is the ONLY official source of ISBNs in the United States. ISBNs provide unique identification for books and simplify the distribution of your books throughout the global supply chain. Without an ISBN, your book will not be found in bookstores, whether online or down the street from your house.

Important Note:

The publishing world is changing so rapidly, I highly recommend you own your own block of ISBN #s as I’m not sure where the business of publishing and print on demand will take us in the coming years. offers you one  ISBN for $10 – very appealing to the first time self publisher.  However, a block of 10 ISBN #s with your own publishing company’s name is $295 currently from RR Bowker.  It is a stiff outlay, but in the end worth it.  Remember, whoever the ISBN is assigned to on any book is legally the publisher.  You may still own all the rights, but the ISBN determines who is the publisher.

Although Blue Spruce Publishing has produced numerous books through CreateSpace, KDPDirect and Smashwords, Blue Spruce Publishing has it’s own ISBN numbers, sells to bookstores and has provided complimentary book copies to libraries.  We also sell books at shows, workshops and online both at different websites and also Amazon.  Remember, CreateSpace, KDPDirect, Ingram Spark and Smashwords provide valuable marketing efforts worldwide in addition to your own book marketing.

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