Self Publishing - More

Feb 2 2011

There are many self publishing houses on the internet, some of them just opportunistic printers, some who make their money through value adding their evaluating, editing or marketing services and a few who take you through the process of publishing your book and are more of the real deal. Be warned that nothing in this whole wide world is for free and most of the above simply print your book, send you a certain number of copies and then you are on your own. They don’t really care whether you sell one copy or a thousand copies because they already have covered their costs and made some profit. The first book printed is the most expensive book and any book after that is, for the printers, pure profit.
So buyer beware. Do your research. The trick is to work out what you want and to choose the publishing house that will sell it to you.
In our case, I had a book that had been self published and printed locally, but it had sold well, far better than anticipated and so it became a bother having to re-order from the printer and deliver to the book shops. We used this book as a litmus test for our recently released novel.
We chose Book Pal, an internet publisher based in Brisbane. We already had the PDF, all the artwork and a ready market. It was their job to make the book print on demand and available to be sold to booksellers through Angus and Robertson, on their website and on amazon.com. They did this and so we went with them for ‘Lover Husband Father Monster’.
This time the process was from scratch and was certainly more arduous. It took about three months. At each stage they provided a U-tube set of instructions delivered in a heavy, mechanical Chinese accent in cartoon form. Very non-personal.
We are both professional writers, have excellent sub-editing skills, know what is required and the importance of accuracy in spelling and grammar, so it was do-able. Beware if you are a novice. They give no advice regarding suitability of blurbs, acknowledgements, grammar and spelling; you are on your own and it is all up to you.
At one stage during the process Book Pal introduced an advisor whose job it was to call and check how we were going, to answer any questions and to help problem solve. This was an excellent innovation, but only lasted three weeks – we never heard from her again. Please bring her back!
The person who did the artwork was excellent. He/she took note of our instructions, the summary of the story and some of our ideas, thought about them, added his/her magic and the result was fantastic.
The staff is very approachable but busy and it appeared to us that they had too much on their plates to do anything but trouble shoot. We believe they were not pro-active. After several requests and reminders we are still waiting for the password for the PDF that is to be the eBook and that’s nearly four months ago!
The process is OK but would benefit from a little tweaking here and there to make it more user friendly. The book is out. Now for the hard part – the marketing, distribution and promotion.