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Why self-publish? Because it's your dream! If anyone has ever told you that you are dreaming if you want to get your book published, we fervently hope that you looked them straight in the eye and said "Yes, I am -- and isn't it dreams that push the world forward?" If you are a dreamer don't worry, you're not alone. Some of the greatest books in the world may never have been published if not for the dreams and persistence of their writers. So keep dreaming. Keep writing. And if you can't get published, self-publish! Let's face it. If you are a first-time author, it may be the only way. Publishers are just a bunch of greedy businessmen, looking for a profit. They've got a bank balance to feed, so they tend to look for "tried and true" authors who are able to command a mass market. But you can still write for a smaller market -- and make a tidy profit. North Americans are hungry for information, "the inside facts" on nearly any subject. If you are a car salesman, for example, you could publish a book on the tricks of the auto trade. A plastic surgeon wrote about ways to avoid plastic surgery. Consider the Ontario woman of modest means who worked as a short order cook and decided to write down all her recipes. Her name is Jean Pare -- and she is now a millionaire and chairperson of her own company: "Company's Coming"cookbooks. The list goes on and on. So, if you're looking for extra income, look into self- publishing!


pod publishing

Today's printing technologies are advancing at an astonishingly rapid pace, giving writers more opportunities than ever. Today, even the simplest computer is capable of turning out a professional-looking book -- with the right programs and operators. When you add the Internet to all this, the possibilities are limitless! Although the downloading of books off the Internet isn't quite the overnight success it was touted to be, it's still getting more popular by the day.

But the BIGGEST TREND today in self-publishing is POD (publish on demand) publishing houses.

Today's Hot
P.O.D. Houses

Infinity Publishing
ENovel
Xlibris
Protea
I Universe
Publish America
American Book Publishing Group
Superior Books

When we say "POD" publishing, some people automatically think of the "vanity" publishers of years gone by and are dubious about the quality of the contents. But POD publishers are considerably improved over their earlier counterparts. Using today's technology, these houses will store your book on computer files, then publish your book when ordered. One book or a thousand books can be published in a matter of hours and the POD companies operate their own web pages -- affording your readers a chance to order your book over the Internet. POD companies also list their books with other book ordering companies such as Ingram Books, Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com. Once your book is listed on these web sites, any book store anywhere can order your book. POD houses will pay you a royalty from your sales (usually 20% of the retail price), which is considerably more than a traditional publisher.
  At first blush, the concept of POD Publishing was dismissed by traditional publishers (and still is by many today). The publishing/book selling industry is like "a huge ship turning around in a small port"), but there are some traditional publishers who are jumping on the bandwagon. While "traditional" publishing still has a death grip on the bulk of the country's sales, POD publishers will continue to make inroads.   
  If you do decide to go with a POD publisher, remember that the game is still "making money". So, take care when you sign a contract. Be sure that you retain all rights to your book -- such as movie rights or foreign rights. Also, ensure that POD publisher's fee is a one-time only proposition (and that there are no unforeseen charges somewhere down the line) and that you may cancel your contract at any time (not within a specified time period). Still, there are a good amount of advantages in POD publishing and they're worth checking into if every other avenue is a dead end. If you want a comprehensive picture, check out
The Complete Guide to Self Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross. Although there are hundreds of books about POD on the market, this one is the complete reference for those who wish to publish their own work.

One of the major players on the scene is a company called Trafford Publishing. With more than 5,000 titles in print, Trafford is one of Canada's fastest growing companies, ranking as fifth on Profit magazine's top 100 list. A privately-owned firm based in Victoria, B.C., parent Trafford Holdings Ltd. had sales of $6.7 million last year, up from $110,378 in 1998. That's a five year growth rate of 5,932 per cent. This year, the company expects to sell more than 400,000 books on behalf of the self publishing authors and organizations around the world. It releases 10 to 15 new titles a day. The publishing packages go from $799 (if you do the inside layout yourself) and go up to $2,549. Most authors opt for the highest priced deal, which includes distribution to online and traditional bookstores. How much can you make? Let's say your book is 100 pages with no colour inserts, with a 15-centimeter width and 23 centimeter height. The single copy print cost will be $6.38 each. Trafford insists that authors put a retail price on their books that's at least 2.5 times the single-copy cost. This allows for standard book-trade discounts and an adequate royalty for you. The best bang for your book is by selling books yourself (say at seminars), when you clear $9.57 each. If you can sell 1,000 copies through various distribution channels, your royalties will add up to just over $4,000. That helps defray the up-front costs -- and it means a tidy little sum for you. Where else can you make money from doing something you love! So start writing!



Listed below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of POD publishing:

You are your own independent self-employed business person. With a published book in your hand, you can speak to seminars, coffee clubs, business meetings -- and sell your book in the lobby.

When you get your book printed, you will call the shots. The POD presses will print your book exactly to your specifications. Traditional publishers, on the other hand, will reserve the right to determine the quantity and quality of your book. Some are skin-flints and might try to save money on illustrations and paper quality ---and your book might look like it belongs in the "comic" book section. If you don't trust them, do it yourself.

A "POD" press can publish your book in two to four weeks while it often takes up to eighteen months for a traditional publisher to produce your work. If your information is time sensitive, by all means find a faster, easier POD press.

If you walk into a traditional publisher's office with a real "book" in your hand -- and proof of sales, it'll be a lot easier to sell than just a manuscript and a well-typed query letter.

POD publishers are an excellent venue for people who wish to publish their family history, memoirs, recipes etc. They may also be worthwile for writers whose work has been out of print -- and they want to revive their old publications with some self-marketing.


Okay. So now let's look at the down side:

There has never been a "best seller" which has been published by a "vanity" or POD press. Unfortunately, POD houses still suffer from the reputation of the old "vanity" print shops. It's hard to fight the looks of scorn when you're forced to admit that you actually "paid" to have your book published. (But there are ways to fight back. Just drop a few names of the people who have self-published

See the article below).

The circulation for "vanity" or POD printed books is a lot lower than "traditional" publishers, much of it dependent on "pocket" sales such as friends and family. Many of these presses will make your book available at any book store -- but this is often by special order only. To further complicate the "soup", many bookstores are unwilling to deal with POD publishers because POD books cost more. This lowers their profit margin. POD publishing houses also don't offer bookstores the standard discount, nor do they have a 60 to 90 day billing period or a return policy on unsold books*.

The profits you do receive will be directly dependent on your ability to promote your book -- since the POD press will not assist in marketing. To be fair, the big publishing houses aren't much help in promoting your book either.

Some writers, but agonizingly few, have managed to make a few dollars out of the process. iUniverse, one of the leading POD houses point to a cookbook as its biggest seller with 8,000 copies sold.

Since the POD book is in an electronic format, there's no way that a reader can pick up the book and enjoy the pleasure of flipping through pages to make an informed buying decision. To address this situation, many POD writers set up their own web sites with a blurb about their books and (sometimes) a biography.


  If you're a writer, you already know the difficulties involved in finding a publisher. If you're like most of us, you've probably received a stack of rejection letters that are a couple of miles high There's also the chance that you've met a few so-called "agents" who have replied positively to your query letter -- only to realize that they're more interested in your money than your talent. It never ceases to amaze us that these so-called "legitimate" magazines allow these carpet baggers to continue placing their ads (hey, we're not about to get distracted, here. The whole thing is a separate issue onto itself). In any event, it doesn't matter who you run into -- charlatan or pro -- the raw, brutal fact of the matter is that writing for a living is never easy. You really have to believe in yourself and your book. So if all else fails now is the time to contact a (POD) press. Again, we hope that you will harbor no false hopes that these people are more interested in your talent than your money. Having said that, however, the chances are pretty good that you might slip away unscathed and get a good product. POD publishers have come a long way in paralleling the quality of "traditional" publishing. But be sure to shop around first! Avoid getting into bed with the first POD press you've found. Get at least three quotes -- and check their contract very carefully! You might find yourself caught in a situation with absolutely no way of getting out. Here's the lowdown on the verbiage they use:


Your rights. Their rights.Traditional publishers will categorize your rights and their rights -- in other words, the rights to additional sales through serialization, motion picture sales or promotional items, etcetera. There are some unscrupulous POD publishers out there who will try to get you to sign over the rights to your book (in other words, your copyright). It happens. When pressed upon, many writers will sell their works because they need the money. If these people get to you and you succumb to their pressure, it means that you won't own your own work for the rest of your natural-born years on the planet Earth, plus 50 years after your death (70 years in the States). That would be a piss off, don't you think? It would make you want to roll around in your grave, wouldn't it?
Royalties. POD presses usually pay higher royalties than traditional presses -- but then again, they sell less.
Editing.If you're paying for the book, you want the book printed verbatim to your manuscript, right? Don't let a POD press edit your book. To be fair, the majority of POD presses won't do this, but it's important to be absolutely sure.
Rights Reversion. Traditionally, publishers will allow an author to "buy back" rights to his or her book when it's declared "out of print". POD publishers might not do this. That's because POD books are printed as ordered and stored electronically, so in theory they're never "unavailable" to the public. Therefore, a POD press may refuse to declare a book "out of print" even if it hasn't sold a copy in years. Look for a contract with a time limit (usually three years). Better yet, there are a few POD publishing houses that are allowing the writer to cancel the contract at any time.
Future Options. Some POD presses may require you to give them the rights to your next few books (under the same conditions that applied to the first). If your first book turns out to be a huge hit, you won't want to be duty-bound to the same conditions.
Indemnity. Traditional publishers will ask the author to warranty that the book is original, that it hasn't been published before, and that no other legal complications will arise from its publication. If the author does this, the chances are good the publisher will provide counsel in the case of litigation. POD publishers, however, will not have the finances to afford you legal counsel and will likely leave you high and dry if you encounter legal problems. But, then again, if you're a legitimate author, you shouldn't be libelous or a plagiarist.

Down through history -- from Gutenberg to Robbie Burns to today's modern-day poets, the person who owned the printing press was the author. Thousands of people have printed their own work. Were they considered "hack" writers simply because they paid to get their work published? Not if you consider these people.



Adams, Scott. He is best known as the creator of the comic strip Dilbert. His book, God's Debris was an e-book for years, then he struck a deal with his publisher, Andrew McMeel, for a princely sum.

Applebaum, Judith. She self-published How To Get Happily Published, then sold the rights to Harper Collins. The book has now sold over 500.000 copies.

Appelhof, Mary. She self-published Worms Eat My Garbage. The first edition sold more than 100,000 copies.

Asgedom Mawi.
He self-published his memoir Of Beetles and Angels. The story follows his life as a refugee from Ethiopia to a dismal life in New York City and eventually his triumph as a Harvard Graduate.

Ashcraft, Stephanie Dircks. She and her husband assembled all the piece of her self published book 101 Things To Do With A Cake Mix by hand! The book eventually made it to the New York Times Bestseller list

Atwood, Margaret. She self-published her first volume of poetry Double Perspectivein 1961. Blanchard, Ken and Spencer Johnson: "The One-Minute Manager" sold more than 20,000 copies locally before they sold out to Morrow. Since 1982, the book has been printed in 25 languages and has sold over 12 million copies.

Blake, WilliamA British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books. Blake proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the 18th- century. Misunderstanding shadowed his career as a writer and artist and it was left to later generations to recognize his importance.

Bolles, Richard Nelson: "What Color is Your Parachute?": Bolles had lost his job as an Episcopalian priest. He was lucky enough to find another one, but not without considerable concern. He saw other priests in the same boat and decided to write a self-help guide for his brothers who were leaving the priesthood. The book was never meant for the general public and Bolles never promoted it, but he kept getting orders from organizations such as the Pentagon, Ford Motor Company and General Electric. Finally, the publisher at Ten Speed Press got a hold of a copy and asked Bolles if he wanted to publish it. What Color is Your Parachute has now evolved through 22 editions, 5 million copies and 288 weeks on the bestseller lists.

Brauer, Jeff. He started his own company On Your Own Books out of his mother and father's basement. He self published his first book Sexy New York which is a guide to kinky places in New York.

Brody, David.His self-published book Unlawful Deeds sold over 6,000 copies in Boston and is probably the first POD book to hit a bestseller list.

Brown, H. Jackson. He self published his first book Life's Little Instruction Book. The book was subsequently bought by Rutledge Hill and went on to sell over five million copies

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. She paid for the publication of her first book of poetry.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The acclaimed author of the Tarzan series, Mr. Burroughs self-published his earlier novels.

Bryant, Dorothy. So far, she has self-published four books, all of which follow recent social trends such as gay liberation, baby boomers dealing with children and adults, middle-aged women returning to college, etcetera.

Byham, William. Self-published the best selling book, Zapp: The Lightning of Empowerment. The book has sold more than two and a half million copies.

Cashman, Cindy. Self-published her book What Every Man Knows About Women then sold the rights to Andrews-McNeel

Cassidy, John. He self-published the book Juggling For The Complete Klutz. He put the book together by hand, the seams stapled together. The book went on to sell two and a half million copies and eventually led to the creation of Klutz Press which published over fifty books and was eventually sold for $74 million.

Cather, Wila. She paid for the publication of her first book. Its modest success gave her the inspiration to go on and write One of Ours, a novel which won a Pulitzer Prize.
Chopra, Deepak.

Clark, Julie Aigner. Her company -- Baby Einstein -- produces videos, DVD's and audio CD's for babies and toddlers. Many of the poems and stories were written by her. She has since sold her company to Disney Productions for $25 million.

Chilton, Dave. He wrote the "Wealthy Barber" which was a lesson in economics from a barber's point of view. A born self-promoter, Mr. Chilton self-published his book and promoted it to a #1 bestseller in Canada. When Prima Publishing picked up the rights in the United States, the book went on to sell over 2 million copies.

Cook, Wade. Through his various companies, has self-published many of his bestselling books, including Stock Market Miracles and Wall Street Money Machine

Conroy, Pat. This well-known author self-published his first book The Boo. Finally, with this book, he was able to gain the attention of publishers and went on to write many other wildly successful books such as The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, Beach Music, My Losing Season and The Water is Wide

Crane, Stephen. Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November1, 1871, as the 14th child of a Methodist minister. He started to write stories at the age of eight and at 16 he was writing articles for the New York Tribune. Crane studied at Lafayette College and Syracuse University. After his mother's death in 1890 - his father had died earlier - Crane moved to New York, where he lived a bohemian life, and worked as a free-lance writer and journalist. While supporting himself by his writings, he lived among the poor in the Bowery slums to research his first novel. Crane's first novel, Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets(1893) was a milestone in the development of literary naturalism. Crane had to print the book at his own expense, borrowing the money from his brother. . His most famous novel was The Red Badge of Courage.

Cummings, E.E. Finally, after thirteen rejections, E.E. Cummings asked his mother to help finance his self- published book of poetry. The book became a classic. On the title page, E.E. Cummings printed the names of the 13 publishers who rejected the book. GO GET 'EM, E.E.!"

Davis, Max. Self-published his book Never Stick Your Tongue Out at Momma then sold the rights to Bantam Doubleday Dell. Even though the book had been sold to Bantam, he was still able to sell more books on his own than his publisher.

Doyle, Laura. Her book The Surrendered Wife became a best-selling book in Washington State, then went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.

Dubois, William E.. He was a co-founder of the NAACP and self-published the book The Moon in 1906. He wrote other books too, all of which promoted the advancement of colored people.

Dumas, Alexandre. His first books were self-published before going on to write The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Recently, his remains were interred in the Pantheon in Paris, in apologies for the derision he received as a Mulatto and in homage to his work as France's most prolific writer.

Dacey, Norman F. self-published his book How To Avoid Probate

Daily, Lisa. She self-published her book Stop Getting Dumped. With the help of her publicist, she garnered so much publicity that she was able to sell the rights to Penguin for a tidy sum.

Dalton, Bill. He self-published A Traveler's Notes: Indonesia. He went on to found Moon Publications which published almost 100 titles and was later sold to Avalon Travel Publications.

Danner, Craig. He self-published his book Himalayan Dhaba. When David McCormick read the book, he won the right to re-publish the novel in a hard cover.

Eddy, Mary Baker. Founder of The Church of Christian Scientists, she self published her book On Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures

Franklin, BenjaminWhen Benjamin was 15 his brother started The New England Courant the first "newspaper" in Boston. Though there were two papers in the city before James's Courant, they only reprinted news from abroad. James's paper carried articles, opinion pieces written by James's friends, advertisements, and news of ship schedules. Benjamin wanted to write for the paper too, but he knew that James would never let him. After all, Benjamin was just a lowly apprentice. So Ben began writing letters at night and signing them with the name of a fictional widow, Silence Dogood. Dogood was filled with advice and very critical of the world around her, particularly concerning the issue of how women were treated. Ben would sneak the letters under the print shop door at night so no one knew who was writing the pieces. They were a smash hit, and everyone wanted to know who was the real "Silence Dogood."

Gutenberg. He started it all by publishing The Bible

Grisham, John . He sold his first work "A Time To Kill"out of the trunk of his car.

Hay, Louise

Joyce, JamesJoyce was an Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as ULYSSES (1922) and FINNEGANS WAKE (1939). During his career, he suffered from rejections from publishers, suppression by censors, and attacks by critics, and misunderstanding by readers. Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel included an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions. From 1902 Joyce led a nomadic life, which perhaps reflected in his interest in the character of Odysseus. Although he spent long times in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zurich, with only occasional brief visit to Ireland, his native country remained basic to all his writings.

Kipling, Rudyard English short-story writer, novelist and poet, who celebrated the heroism of British colonial soldiers in India and Burma. "It is true that Mr Kipling shouts, 'Hurrah for the Empire!' and puts out his tongue at her enemies," Virginia Woof wrote in 1920. Kipling was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907). His most popular works include THE JUNGLE BOOK (1894) with such unforgettable characters as Mowgli, Baloo, and Bagheera. The book was adapted into screen by Zoltan Korda and André de Toth in 1942. Walt Disney's cartoon version was produced in the 1960s.

Lawrence, D.H.(1885-1930), English novelist, storywriter, critic, poet and painter, one of the greatest figures in 20th-century English literature. "Snake" and "How Beastly the Bourgeoisie is" are probably his most anthologized poems.

Nin, Anais. Anais was born in Neuilly, just outside Paris. She spent her childhood in various parts of Europe until, when she was eleven, her father, Spanish composer Joaquin Nin, abandoned his family. In the same year, her French-Danish mother, Rosa Culmell, took Anais and her two sons to New York. On the boat that brought Anais away from Europe and from her father she began to write her journals. In 1923 she married Hugo Guiler, who had studied literature and economics and had acquired a good position in an international bank, allowing them to live comfortably. The couple moved to Paris in 1924. There they lived in various apartments, among them a beautiful house in Louveciennes, but Anais also often had a studio for herself and lived in a houseboat on the Seine for a while. In Paris she and Hugo supported various avant-garde artists, among them Henry Miller with whom Anais started an affair and exchanged hundreds of letters. The book A literary passion includes a great number of the letters these two artists exchanged over the years and provide an interesting documentary of their struggle for recognition as writers as well as their relationship. Anais moved back to New York just before the outbreak of World War II. After a turbulent time in New York she divided her life between New York and Los Angeles, between Hugo and Rupert, a much younger lover and friend. From being a cult figure of the early feminist movement, Anais later rose to international prominence with her writing. She is best known for her diaries but also produced a number of novels and a prose poem in surrealistic style as well as wonderful erotic short stories, published posthumously. Characterized by the use of powerful and, at times, disquieting imagery, her work reveals great sensitivity and perception. In 1973 she received an honorary doctorate from Philadelphia College of Art. She was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974.

Nixon, Richard, "Real Peace".
Poe, Edgar Allen.
Peters, Tom, "In Search of Excellence" In its first year, 25,000 copies of the book were sold directly to consumers. Eventually Warner decided to publish the book and 10 million more copies were sold.

Pound, Ezra Ezra Pound is generally considered the poet most responsible for defining and promoting a modernist aesthetic in poetry. In the early teens of the twentieth century, he opened a seminal exchange of work and ideas between British and American writers, and was famous for the generosity with which he advanced the work of such major contemporaries as W. B. Yeats, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, H. D., James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and especially T. S. Eliot. His own significant contributions to poetry begin with his promulgation of Imagism, a movement in poetry which derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry - stressing clarity, precision, and economy of language, and foregoing traditional rhyme and meter in order to, in Pound's words, "compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome." His later work, for nearly fifty years, focused on the encyclopedic epic poem he entitled The Cantos.

Payne, Thomas

Redfield, James, "The Celestine Prophecy". His manuscript made the rounds of the mainstream houses, and then he decided to publish it himself. He started by selling copies out of the trunk of his Honda - more than 100,000 of them. He subsequently sold out to Warner for $800,000. The #1 bestseller in 1996, it has now sold more than 5.5 million copies.

Rombauer, Irma, "The Joy of Cooking": this classic was self-published in 1931 as a project of the First Unitarian Women's Alliance in St. Louis. Today Scribner sells more than 100,000 copies each year.

Ringer, Robert It was the early 1970s. A dealmaker named Robert Ringer had written a self-help book no one would publish—the theory of how not to be intimidated by the likes of lawyers (a.k.a. Legal Boys), mothers-in-law, do-gooders, and sundry other manipulative graduates of "Screw U"—entitled Winning Through Intimidation. The book went on to become a best-seller.

Sandburg, Carl.Sandburg honed his writing skills and adopted the socialist views of his mentor before leaving school in his senior year. Sandburg sold stereoscope views and wrote poetry for two years before his first book of verse, In Reckless Ecstasy, was printed on Wright's basement press in 1904. Wright printed two more volumes for Sandburg, Incidentals (1907) and The Plaint of a Rose (1908). As the first decade of the century wore on, Sandburg grew increasingly concerned with the plight of the American worker. In 1907 he worked as an organizer for the Wisconsin Social Democratic party, writing and distributing political pamphlets and literature. At party headquarters in Milwaukee, Sandburg met Lilian Steichen, whom he married in 1908. The responsibilities of marriage and family prompted a career change. Sandburg returned to Illinois and took up journalism. For several years he worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News, covering mostly labor issues and later writing his own feature. Internationally Recognized Author Sandburg was virtually unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine. Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim. Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots. More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children's tales. That book prompted Sandburg's publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children. Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children's book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg's first financial success. He moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to completing four additional volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1840. Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, a second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers. In 1945 the Sandburgs moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina. Sandburg's Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there. top of page

Shaw, George Bernard

Strunk, William, Jr. and E.B. White: "The Elements of Style" originally self-published by Strunk and his student White for classes at Cornell University in 1918. It has subsequently become a standard reference source for writers, with millions of copies in print.

Henry David Thoreau,

Whitman, Walt In the fall of 1848, he founded a "free soil" newspaper, the "Brooklyn Freeman" and often contributed poems to the text. He developed the style of poetry that so astonished Ralph Waldo Emerson that when the poet's Leaves Of Grass reached Emerson as a gift in July, 1855, the Dean of American Letters thanked him for "the wonderful gift" and said that he rubbed his eyes a little "to see if the sunbeam was no illusion." Walt Whitman had been unknown to Emerson prior to that occasion. The "sunbeam" that illuminated a great deal of Whitman's poetry was Music. It was one of the major sources of his inspiration. Many of his four hundred poems contain musical terms, names of instruments, and names of composers. He insisted that music was "greater than wealth, greater than buildings, ships, religions, paintings." In his final essay written one year before his death in 1891, he sums up his struggles of thirty years to write Leaves of Grass. The opening paragraph of his self-evaluation "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Road," begins with his reminiscences of "the best of songs heard." His concluding comments again return to thoughts about music, saying that "the strongest and sweetest songs remain yet to be sung."

Woolf, Virginia Virginia Woolf's books were published by Hogart Press, which she founded with her husband, the critic and writer Leonard Woolf. Originally their printing machine was small enough to fit on a kitchen table, but their publications later included T.S. Eliot's Waste Land (1922), fiction by Maxim Gorky, E.M. Forster, and Katherine Mansfield, and the complete twenty-four-volume translation of the works of Sigmund Freud.

So if someone tells you that conventionally published books are somehow superior to books from independent publishers, ask them if they recognize any of the authors and titles above!




Cover Design.Traditional publishers have always retained the right to design a cover for their authors' books. -- for two reasons. The most important is that people do judge a book by its cover. Publishers are savvy to the fact that a book's cover is the "proscenium arch for the delights that await within" --even if the book itself doesn't live up to its splashy cover. They also know that authors are writers by trade -- not designers (they have a tendency to fill up empty spaces with words). A book's design must be given to a designer (they're the people with the long hair and sandals). POD publishers, on the other hand, are less concerned about the book's cover. Perhaps this is because there is no hard copy sitting on a bookshelf and, therefore, the cover is less important. As a result, POD publishers are inclined to allow the author to design his own cover. If you've been given this right, take the hint from the traditional publishers. Hire a good artist (or get someone who knows cover design). You'll be better off in the long run.

P.S.: Whatever you decide to do, remember that the cover of your book is as important as the book itself. Consider how people shop for books. Normally, they look at the spine first. So make sure your spine is easy to read (i.e. the lettering stands out) with the title and the author's name in large type. The customer will then flip the book over to examine the front cover. So make sure your visuals are clean and powerful. (i.e. eye grabbing) and that they are indicative of the contents therein. You might also want to consider the psychographics of the buyer. For example, if your book is about computers, you might want the cover to look uncluttered to give it a simple quality. By doing this, the customer might assume that the text will be simple and easy to understand, which is a major advantage in the complicated world of computers. The customer will then flip the book over and look at the back cover. So make sure there's a good picture of yourself there (professionally-taken) and a list of your credentials. People want to read a book written by somebody who they could respect, somebody who knows their stuff. Some authors will do mock ups of their covers -- just to get their idea across to a publisher. If you do this, pick up a book from your local bookstore that's the same size and width of your book. You can easily do your graphics in a computer, then print out a dust jacket (usually it's the twice the width of the book cover, plus the width of the spine, plus 1/7" for the thickness of the cover itself). A tip: the thickness of the paper determines the width of the spine. But, in many cases, the publisher will use a different type of paper than the one you had in mind. So make sure the spine has a "white" or "full colour" area where the publisher can add or delete space to accommodate the new paper thickness. Understand that? If you do, you're good!

Since your e-book won't be on display in a "brick and mortar" store, you'll need to find every possible route to get your inspired prose to the public. One way is through POD publishing. If you go that route, consider making your book available as a download from an E-zine. Similar to a POD publisher, an E-zine will charge you a nominal fee for storing your book -- then offer it as a download in Adobe's PDF format (Portable Document Format). Your readers can download these files to be read on Palm Pilots. See E-Books on this web site for more information.

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create your own website

Think about promoting your book with your own web site. You can post a description of the book's content (similar to the back cover on a conventional book) and a short biography. If you're creating your own web site, you'll need the following:

  

a feedback system which allows you to gather orders and shipping addresses. This is getting easier by the day. Get in touch with a CGI server. Many are around and they're usually free. They will provide you with a servlet which will turn your customers' instructions into readable English, then e-mail the order back to you. If you wish, you can also get in touch with us (Robertson-Taylor). We'd be happy to set up a nifty little system for you at a bargain-basement cost.

  a service which collects payment for your book. The Canadian Copywriter uses
Paypal.com. They will check credit records, approve transactions and send you a cheque for the money collected.

  

a mailing/courier system to deliver your book. That's simple enough. Just call Purolator.

  

A shopping cart e-service. Two companies that offer shopping cart services are Book Zone and MultiCards

start your own e zine and publishing newsletter

Do you have a favorite topic in life? Do you have a lot of information on that topic that you would like to share? Consider opening your own e-zine. If you have a little web site knowledge (or a friend does. We could do it, too, at nominal cost.) your web site can be up and running in a day or two. Once you have your audience, you can follow through by soliciting subscriptions to your newsletter...which is when you start making money...with the advertising!

Sounds too simple to be true doesn't it? But it can be done (with a lot of guts and enthusiasm). Believe it or not, thousands of people have left their regular jobs (or they're moonlighting) to start up their own e-zines and newsletters. It makes sense! People today aren't really interested in wading through mountains of information to discover the information they need. They prefer small nuggets of information tailored to their needs. Once you can prove to potential advertisers that you have a captive audience (people who are dedicated to your topic), you can start charging a profitable rate for your ads.

*these factors are why many POD houses are still yet to break through to the big time. The per-unit cost of their books is still too high. However, bright lights are twinkling on the horizon. Superior.com, for example, is hinting at a number of spectacular ideas, one of which is reducing their book prices, providing marketing and publicity for the authors and doing more for the bookstores (such as taking back unsold books). Infinity Publishing has also announced that it will take bookstore returns. According to their press release now you will never have to hear "Sorry we won't stock your book because it is non-returnable".


Book Publishing Career Directory: A Practical, One-Stop Guide to Getting A Job in Book Publishing. Bradley J. Morgan. Visible Ink Press: 1993, 5th edition. Directory Publishing, by Russell Perkins. Morgan-Rand: 1987. A Practical guide on how to succeed in directory publishing. How To Get Happily Published, by Judith Applebaum. Harper-Collins: 1992, 4th edition. How To Publish A Book And Sell A Million Copies, by Ted Nicholas. Enterprise-Dearborn: 1993.
In Cold Type, by Leonard Shatzkin. Houghton-Mifflin: 1982. Insider's Guide To Book, Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents, by Jeff Herman. Prima Publishing: 1994. If you are looking for a trade publishing contract, pick this book up! The Publish-It-Yourself Handbook, edited by Bill Henderson. Pushcart Press: 1987, revised edition. There are some great stories about people (now famous) who decided to self-publish. Self-Publishing Manual, by Dan Poynter. Para Publications: 1993.

Writer's Guide To Book Publishing, by Richard Balkin. Hawthorn/Dutton: 1981, 2nd edition.
Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
260 King Street Est, Toronto, Ontario, M5A 1K3 (416) 361-1408.
Book and Periodical Council
35 Spadina Road, Toronto, Ontario. M5R 2S9; (416) 975-9366.
Book Promoters' Association of Canada (BPAC)
care of 585 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario. M6G 1K5; (416) 534-6125.
Books In Canada. 130 Spadina Avenue, Suite 603, Toronto, Ontario; M5V 2L4
A periodical dedicated to the Canadian book scene.
The Book Trade In Canada 5606 Scobie, Manotick, Ontario; K4M 1B7; (613) 692-2080. Canadian Authors' Association (CAA)
275 Slater Street, Suite 500, Ottawa, Ontario. K1P 5H9; (613) 233-2846.
Canadian Book Marketing Centre
2 Gloucester Street, Suite 301, Toronto, Ontario. K1P 5H9; (416) 413-4390.
Canadian Book Manufacturers Association (CBMA) 5805 Whittle Road, Suite 210, Mississauga, Ontario; L4Z 2J1; (416) 568-0333.
Canadian Book Review Annual
P.O. Box 280. Adelaide Street Station, Toronto, Ontario; M45C 2J4; (416) 463-0313.
Canadian Books In Print
University of Toronto Press, 10 St. Mary Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2W8. (416) 978-8651.
Canadian Conference Of The Arts
189 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, Ontario. K1N 6P1; (613) 238-3561
Canadian Copyright Institute
35 Spadina Road, Toronto, Ontario. M5R 2S9; (416) 975-1756.
Canadian Telebook Agency (CTA) 301 Donlands Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. M5R 2S9; (416) 467-7887

CANCOPY (Canadian Reprography Collective)
379 Adelaide Street West, Suite M1, Toronto, Ontario. M5V 1S5; (416) 366-4768
Cannon Book Distribution
3710 Nashua Drive, Units 5 & 6, Mississauga, Ontario. L4V 1M5; (905) 678-7688.

Centax Books and Distribution. 1150 8th Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4R 1C9; Distribution (306) 359-7580. Publishing (306) 525-2304.
League Of Canadian Poets
24 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. M5T 2P3; (416) 363-5047
National Library Of Canada
395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario. K1A 0N4; (613) 995-9481.
Quill and Quire
70 The Esplanada, 4th floor, Toronto, Ontario. M5E 1R2. (416) 360-0044.
Soundhill Book and Marketing
1270 Ellis Street, #99 Kelowna, BC V1Y 1Z4; (604) 763-1406
The Writers' Union of Canada
24 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2P3; (416) 703-8982