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Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book

Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book

4.5 11
by Dan Poynter

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The Self-Publishing Manual explains the publishing process step-by-step, from idea through manuscript, printing, promotion, and sales. Dan Poynter, a leading authority on self-publishing, shows readers how to use innovative techniques to write books faster, produce books for less, and promote books more effectively. This revised edition covers all of the latest


The Self-Publishing Manual explains the publishing process step-by-step, from idea through manuscript, printing, promotion, and sales. Dan Poynter, a leading authority on self-publishing, shows readers how to use innovative techniques to write books faster, produce books for less, and promote books more effectively. This revised edition covers all of the latest publishing technology such as downloadable books, print on demand, CD publishing, and electronic books. A 52-page appendix of valuable resources is included.

Editorial Reviews

Be unfazed by Poynter's tone<-->he's a stranger to humility (an attribute of no value to a marketer). Although weak on the history of the book, the provides a strong, concise account of editing, manufacture, various registrations, copyright, publicity (especially), promotion, negotiations with the big house that takes note of the self-published gem. An ideal text to introduce the beginning bookseller, librarian, publisher or curious reader to the basics of commercial or self-publishing. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Para Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Fourteenth Edition; Revised
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.88(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Everyone wants to write a book. Most people have the ability, some have the drive, but few have the organization. Therefore, the greatest need is for a simple system, a road map. The basic organizational plan In this book will not only provide you with direction, It will promote drive and expose ability no one thought existed.

Magazines devoted to businesspeople, sales reps and opportunity seekers are littered with full page advertisements featuring people with fabulous offers. Usually these people discovered a successful system of business in sales, real estate or mall order, and, for a price, they are willing to let the reader in on their secret. To distribute this information, they have written a book. Upon close inspection, one often finds that the author is making more money from the book than from the revealed original enterprise. The irony Is that purchasers get the wrong Information; what the reader needs is a book on how to write a book.

Writing a book is easy! If you can voice an opinion and think logically, you can write a book. If you can say it, you can write it. Most people have to work for a living and, therefore, can spend only a few minutes of each day on their book. Consequently, they can't keep the whole manuscript in their head. When overwhelmed and confused, it is easy to quit the project. The solution is to break up the manuscript into many small easy-to-attack chunks (and never start at page one where the hill looks steepest). Then concentrate on one section at a time and do a thorough job on each one.

People want to know how-to and where-to, and they will pay well to find it. The information industry, the production and distribution of Ideas and Information as opposed to goods and services, now amounts to over one-half of the gross national product. There is money in information. To see how this market is being tapped by books, check the best seller lists in the back of Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

Your best sources for this salable information are from your own experience, plus research. Write what you know. Whether you already have a completed manuscript, have a great Idea for one, or need help in locating a suitable subject, this book will point the way.

Since poetry and fiction are very difficult to sell and, even when sold, have a short sales life, we will concern ourselves with nonfiction. Writing nonfiction doesn't require any great literary style; It Is simply a matter of producing well-researched, reorganized, up-dated and, most important, repackaged information. Some of the recommendations here may be applied to fiction, just as the chapters on publishing, promotion and the mail order business may be taken separately and used elsewhere. However, all the recommendations are written toward, and for, the reader who wishes to become an author or an author/publisher of useful Information.

The prestige enjoyed by the published author is unparalleled in our society. A book can bring recognition, wealth and an acceleration in one's career. People have always held books in high regard, possibly because in past centuries they were very expensive and were, therefore, purchased only by the rich. Even 150 years ago, many people could not read or write. To be an author then was to be an educated person.

Many enterprising people are using books to establish themselves in the ultimate business. Usually staffing with a series of non-paying magazine articles, they develop a name and make themselves visible. Then they expand the series of articles into a book. Now with their credibility established, they operate seminars in their field of expertise, command high speaking fees and issue a high-priced business advice newsletter. From there, they teach a course in the local college and become a consultant, advising large corporations and commenting on legal briefs for lawyers. They find they are in great demand. People want their information or simply want them around. Clubs and corporations fly them in to consult, because it is cheaper than sending all their people to the expert.

This dream product is the packaging and marketing of information. Staffing with a field you know, then researching it further and putting it on paper will establish you as an expert. Then your expert standing can be pyramided with Interviews, articles, TV appearances, talks at local clubs, etc. Of course most of this activity will promote your book sales.

In turn, all this publicity not only sells books, but opens more doors and produces more invitations leading to more opportunities to prove your expert status and make even more money for yourself. People seek experts whose opinions, advice and Ideas are quoted in the media. Becoming an expert does not require a great education or a college degree. You can become an expert In one small particular area if you are willing to go to the library, read up on it and write down the important elements.

A book is like a new product design, similar to an invention but usually much, much better. A patent on a device or process runs only 17 years whereas a copyright runs for the authors life plus 50 years. Patents cost thousands, of dollars to secure and normally require a lot of legal help. By contrast, a copyright may be filed by the author with a simple two-page form and $20; there Is no waiting period. Once you write a book, It Is yours. You have a monopoly and there is no direct competition.

Many people work hard at a job for 40 years and have nothing to show for it but memories and pay stubs. Some take their knowledge and write a book, the result is a tangible product for all to see. A book lasts forever like a painting or a sculpture, but there are many copies of the book, not just one. Whereas a sculpture can only be admired by a limited number of persons at any one time in the place where it Is displayed, books come in multiple copies for all the world to use and admire simultaneously.

The next secret is to cut out the middlemen by by-passing the commercial publishers to produce and sell the book yourself. You can take the author's royalty and the publisher's profit. You get all the rewards because you are both of them. Now, in addition to achieving the wealth and prestige of a published author, you have propelled yourself into your own lucrative business: a publishing house. This shortcut not only makes more money (why share it?), it saves you the frustration, trouble and time required to sell your manuscript to a publisher. You know the subject and market better than some distant corporation anyway.

Publishing doesn't mean purchasing a printing press to actually put the ink on the paper yourself. Nearly all publishers leave the production to an experienced book printer.

In addition to the writing and publishing of your book, you will want to investigate its distribution. Today, more books are sold through the mail than through book stores. In fact, books are the leading mail order product. One-third of all these books are in the how-to category. Mall order is considered one of the best ways for the beginner with no previous business experience to start a venture of his or her own. Selling books by mall is a good, solid day-to-day business opportunity. Your book will be sold in bookstores but you will sell even more books through the mail.

Mail order is not only the simplest way to distribute books, it is an Ideal way to build a second income or a new life. You don't have to give up your job, there Is little overhead, there are tax breaks, you work for yourself and the business can be operated anywhere: you need only be near a Post Office. No one knows about your age, education, race or sex; your opportunities are indeed equal.

Direct mail marketing is like fishing. You throw out a line by promoting your products and you find out almost immediately if you have made a sale. Everyday Is like Christmas; opening envelopes and finding checks Is great fun.

Initially, you will warehouse your books in a closet or your garage, and will slip them into padded bags for mailing. It is quite easy and starting out Is not expensive or time-consuming.

Your writing/publishing/mail order company Is actually combining three profitable fields and concentrating on only the best parts of each. A business of your own is the great American dream and it Is still an attainable possibility. In your own business, you make the decisions to meet only those challenges you find interesting. This Is not goofing off, it Is making more effective use of your time; working smarter, not harder. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and only one day at a time for each of us. You have to concentrate on the good areas if you are to prosper.

Running your own enterprise will provide you with many satisfying advantages. You should earn more money because you are working for yourself rather than splitting your efforts with someone else. You have job security and never have to worry about a surprise pink slip. If you keep your regular job and moonlight your own enterprise as recreation, it will always be there as a fall-back position should you need It. You start at the top, not the bottom, in your own company and you work at your own pace and schedule. You will meet interesting people because, as an author and publishing executive, you will be sought out by them.

In your own small business, you may work when and where you wish; you do not have to go to where the job is. You can work 'til dawn, sleep 'til noon, rush off to Hawaii without asking permission: This Is flexibility not available to the clock punchers.

Before you charge into literary battle to attack your keyboard, you may wish to review Chapter Twelve. It describes how your life will change once you become a published author. You may like to know what you are getting into.

Being an author-publisher sounds like a good life, and it can be. Working for yourself requires organization and discipline, but work doesn't seem so hard when you are counting your own money.

You cannot avoid making decisions. Every time you fail to act on a question, you have, in effect, made a decision to do nothing.

What People are Saying About This

Jack Canfield
One essential ingredient to our Chicken Soup success was consulting with Dan Poynter In the early stages.
John Tullius
For nonfiction, Dan Poynter is the top coach for writing, publishing and, most important, promoting.
Robert Mikeller
Dan Poynter has generously guided thousands to authorship. Their books make this a better world.

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Self-Publishing Manual; How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the author of two self-published personal finance books, I attended a seminar in 1995 given by Dan Poynter in Orlando, Florida, on how to publish your book. We followed his advice and used The self-Publishing Manual as a step-by-step guide. It worked well and we're coming out with a 3rd book this summer, MONEY Rx for Physicians, and are using the 12th edition of this manual to launch this book. I believe Poynter's book is the best book on how to self-publish. It's definitely worth $19.95 not to make some of the costly mistakes outlined in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Dan Poynter's 'Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book' guides you through the entire self-publishing process -- from start to finish. Not only does Poynter tell you how to self-publish your book, but he reveals the marketing process as well. In addition to Poynter's informative text, he also provides samples. Some of Poynter's samples include: a review request, press release, invoice, returns policy statement, request for quotations and other samples. The 'Self-Publishing Manual' includes an organized glossary and index to help you understand what terms mean, and to aid you in finding what you're looking for. Before receiving this book, I was considering self-publishing the second edition of my writer's reference book, and I was scouring the Internet for all the self-publishing information I could find, but now that I have Poynter's self-publishing manual I have everything I need right in front of me, and I've learned a whole lot more about the process of self-publishing, such as why I should self-publish, the costs involved, how many books I'll need to print, where to find bar code suppliers, how to analyze my market and so much more. 'Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book' is a valuable guide for any writer looking to self-publish his or her own book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book became one of my preferred guides in my self-publishing career. Buy this manual, and be thoroughly informed from the beginning to the end of the self-publishing process. A must-read for first-time authors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't jump into self-publishing without this manual! If you have ever felt that self-publishing is similar to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, have no fear! 'The Self-Publishing Manual' is your parachute! On your way to 'landing' your first published book, you will learn everything you need to know. I think of Dan Poynter as the ultimate 'how-to self-publish expert! He will teach you all the tricks of the publishing trade. As an author of more than 80 books, he also has a proven track record of success. He will convince you that you too can succeed. The strength of this encyclopedic reference is the author's experience in publishing. Dan Poynter is also on the leading edge of technology. He welcomes the new era of book publishing and prepares writers by giving a 'New Book Publishing Model.' If you are looking for a complete reference on writing, printing, publishing, promoting, marketing and distributing your new book, look no further. Whether you just have the concept for your new book or have already advanced to the promotion stage, the information you will need to make your efforts more successful is here! The 'Your Book's Calendar' section is like a true gift for the busy author. This section is vital to keeping your goals and progress in check. It will allow you to digest volumes of information in small sections. You can start with what you have started to accomplish, check the suggested readings and then check off your goals as you reach them. I especially enjoyed reading the section on professional reviewers. The glossary of publishing terms was so revealing. The 'resources for publishers' section was detailed and informative. This source book also has a companion web site. You can find information kits, great book promotion mailing lists, links to useful Web sites and hundreds of downloadable documents. If you are still searching for an agent, sending out manuscripts to publishers, or writing those endless query letters, it may be time to take off that seat belt which is trapping you in that airplane seat! Then, read this book and jump! There are people who want your book. There are people who need your book. Believe it! Then, free fall to success!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book explains what you should and shouldn't do. What I like best is that the author explains what he did wrong and how you can prevent doing it yourself. He pulls no punches and tells the truth. There are so many details you won't believe they all fit into one book. Being in the business myself, I know this book will help you in so many ways.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard about Dan Poynter in 1996 when a speaker/author client of mine told me about him. I read The Self-Publishing Manual then and began recommending it to my clients. As a marketing consultant it is important to have a team of experts to recommend. Dan's latest edition has the necessary information for self publishing non fiction and now includes electronic book publishing, promotion information and appropriate url's. This edition is current, up to date and very useful. He is the guru of self publishing, in my opinion. Smarketing Consulting *Infinite Possibilities
Guest More than 1 year ago
As traditional publishers get larger and even less friendly toward unknown writers, The Self-Publishing Manual is the finest guide for not only publishing your book but selling it as well. Dan Poynter takes you through every step of the process, from writing a good book that people will buy, through design and printing, to marketing and distribution. The well known 'bible' of book information is now even better. Now available in its twelfth edition, over 30% of the book was changed.

The Self-Publishing Manual really hits its stride as it details a time-tested system for following through after the book is done¿to let potential readers know the book exists. Dan tells you exactly how to set up your business, what materials and tools you will need and where to find them. His straight-forward style pulls no punches about how much work it takes, but Dan also makes you believe you really can do it!

Of the myriad of books now available about self-publishing, The Self-Publishing Manual has, by far, the best combination of practical advise and comprehensive coverage of the industry. No other author has kept their finger on the pulse of the whole publishing industry¿from production to promotion¿like Dan Pointer.

Dan has successfully predicted trends for many years. Now he is among the first to tout the 'New Book Publishing Model' which uses electronic production and promotion to write, produce, sell and promote books faster, easier and cheaper. The new edition includes a fully updated and expanded chapter on electronic book publishing and promotion. Writers will discover how to build a book rather than just write it. Dan also tell you how to sell your book in download, CD and ebook versions. Dan shows you how to promote your books with email, book reviews, autographings, feature articles and radio/TV interviews.

This is one book you will read many times, as you return to it again and again for practical instruction and sage advice.

Guest More than 1 year ago
Six years ago I decided to self publish my book on how to beat speeding tickets titled, 'Beat The Cops, The Guide To Fighting Your Traffic Ticket And Winning,' and a friend recommended 'The Self Publishing Manual.' I bought it, read it, highlighted it, underlined it, dog-eared its pages, followed it's directions and pretty soon it looked more used than my phone book. Since then I have sold well over 100,000 copies of my book and my sales continue to increase. If you have any intention of self publishing, you must read this book. The latest edition encompasses a lot of new information as far as electronic publishing and the internet. Dan has always accurately predicted trends in publishing and you would be well advised to pay close attention to his latest recommendations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Required Reading for A Self- Publisher Reviewer: Robert Adjemian from Hollywood CA I've been in the publishing business for over 20 years. There was no 'Self-Publishing Manual' when I started. It took me years to learn what you can learn today with one reading in Dan's book. If you have written a book and want to publish it, and you believe in your book - and you should - read Dan's book. At the Bookseller Convention, I have met many publishers who achieved great success because they were willing to take the time, read Dan Poynter's book, and follow his directions. Dan Poynter was awarded 'Publisher of the Year' by Publishers Marketing Association. He is widely regarded in the business as an authority on publishing your own book.