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From the PublisherIf you're thinking of starting a home-based publishing business, you can't be without Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook or Weekly Newspaper: it tells how to not just publish a winning title, but how to make it profitable – with no money up front. All kinds of successful periodicals and what made them tops are reviewed in a title which covers circulation, readership, proposal writing, optional publication formats, niche markets and more.
I have been reading a terrific book recommended by a friend who publishes her own newspaper on Daniel Island off the South Carolina coast near Charleston. Sue calls it her "publishing Bible".
The book, "Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook or Weekly Newspaper", was written by Thomas A. Williams, who has done all three things in his title and will share with you the ideas and concepts that helped him succeed.
In the back of his book, Tom has compiled a library of forms he has used successfully in his publishing business. Several of them are stylized diaries to help you and your sales staff keep accurate records of your performance.
Several of these you may already be using.
One he recommends is a one-sheet Advertising Sales Report. It helps you and your people track who they called on, what they sold, the amount paid and their commissions. This is a simple report your sales people turn in at the end of the week to help you figure out the commissions due them. Tom recommends you pay commissions only when the advertisers have paid you.
Another is a Sales Call Report. It lists sales contacts, business names, dates and the results of their calls. This should be a help to them and you. If someone's performance is flagging, you only have to review their call reports with them to detect patterns that are holding them back.
A third is a planner, "This Week's Projected Sales Calls". This helps your people plan their days and weeks. It seems like a lot of paper work. And many sales people hate it. But it is a discipline that will help not only the rookies but your pros who may be suffering sales slumps.
All of these reports can be automated. You can set them up in any word processing program you and your people use.
There is a wide variety of contact management and other software available including spread sheets and other fancy stuff that would make an accountant salivate. Some are as expensive as they are fancy.
I recommend you keep it simple. Let the computer work for you, not the other way around.
--Jerry Bellune, Publisher's Auxiliary: August 2004
When I thought about self-publishing a book of poems a few years ago, I educated myself by reading every reference book on the subject known to mankind. I don’t consider myself to be a dummy, but I read the yellow book that was written for those types of people. I also read the book by the rich guy with the poor dad. I thought I had read enough after devouring “Poynters” from the self-publishing guru of all time Dan Poynter. However, after having read Thomas Williams’ 13th self-published book entitled Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly Newspaper, I knew I had to make room for this book on my shelf.
Dan Poynter’s blurb on the front cover entices the reader to find out more. He says, “A gold mine of unique publishing ideas, with step-by-step plans for implementing them. Use it as your introduction, inspiration and road map to becoming a successful publisher.”
Williams’ book has a list of four pertinent questions that will determine whether a self-published book will be a success. I will answer the questions for Williams’ book based on what I’ve read in his publication:
1. Does your book fulfill a distinct and definite need? Yes! The book is written from Williams’ years of personal experience as an editor of several magazines, guidebooks and weekly newspapers.
2. Is the need shared by a large enough group of readers? Yes again. Anyone with a passion to follow their self-publishing dreams will benefit from reading this book.
3. Can you reach the people who will want to buy your book? Yes. Williams has already self-published 12 other books, therefore, he knows his niche market for sure.
4. Can you sell your book at a price that will make it profitable for you? No and yes. I looked through my personal library to compare prices of other self-publishing books. One book has over 500 pages and it costs $19.99. Williams’ book seems overly priced at $24.95, yet I think the detailed information gleaned from hard-earned experience will make up the difference of the price in the long run.
Thomas Williams’ Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly can provide readers with the inspiration and basic steps to follow their self-publishing dreams.
--K.D. Greene, New Pages
Williams gives away hundreds of trade secrets, sharing with us what he himself learned by trial and error.
--Betty Hodges, Durham Morning Herald
An informative, practical compendium of experienced advice that will prove to be of immense value for anyone contemplating the creation of their own home-based publishing venture. Highly recommended!
--Midwest Book Review
A gold mine of unique publishing ideas, with step-by-step plans for implementing them. Use it as your introduction, inspiration and road map to becoming a successful publisher.
--Dan Poynter, author of The Self-Publishing Manual
A remarkably thorough guide to publishing with tips and information that will be invaluable in all publishing enterprises.
--Judith Appelbaum, author of How to Get Happily Published
A great idea stimulator. Covers the publishing of magazines, travel guides, real estate guides, weekly newspapers and directories, as well as books.
--John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
Truly one of the best books in the small press field.
--Nigel Maxey, Publisher
Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly Newspaper was the catalyst to get me going with my newspaper. I’ve read scads of how-to books. Yours is rock-solid and down-to-earth. It was clear that you had done what you were teaching.
--Peter F. Brown, Publisher
We have succeeded in several of the projects that you describe in Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly Newspaper. We have a book publishing company and now we are starting up a free circulation shopper in coastal Maine. Thanks for your help!
--Lance Lobo, Publisher, Laureate Press