Thursday, March 27, 2014

Self Publishing Ready Reckoner

In my research into getting as thorough a background on self publishing as I could, I recently came across this book - Self Publishing Books 101 by Shelly Hitz. I specifically want to write about this book because it is one of the best books that I have read on the subject of self publishing, and it's so short that you can get through it in less than an hour.

Now if you're the sort of person whose interested in good English prose, then this may not be your cup of tea. To be perfectly frank, I felt that the author kept repeating information throughout the book. And I don't get what's with the constant upsell for CreateSpace.

CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, comes first in almost anyone's list and probably doesn't require any upsell from anyone. The book leaves you wondering why the author does this because it seems quite a stretch to think that she's actually getting something out of promoting CreateSpace.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a professional book critic and I should probably be the last person to be criticizing any piece of literature, but in the interests of giving an honest review, I'm just writing down what struck me, and the impression that I came away with was that there is a lot of useful stuff in the book, but the book as such could do with a little more polishing.

And this is where I come to what I want to tell you all, which is that there really is a lot of good stuff in the book. It gives you all the information that you will want to know as a first time self-publisher, and you get it all quickly. You don't have to go through 200 pages of in-depth analysis, because you really don't need it. All you want is general information and that's what this book gives you.

I'm sure that no self respecting author (and I consider myself one) will ever just follow instructions given by another author without checking for themselves. In fact, most of the information available in the book is also freely available online. All you need is some time and you can get all the information that you want from your browser itself.

The problem is that until you publish your first book, you really don't know what to search for. You find the answers to one set of questions only to find another set of questions cropping up. This book is a sort of ready reckoner that gives you all the information in one place.

The parts that I really liked were the ones that gave me pricing details on how much it costs for everything. In fact, the author goes on to say how she published her first book for $7, and that too only because she bought her first copy herself. She tells you how you can basically publish your book without spending a dime for it, and as an author who doesn't have too much of cash lying around, this is very important to me.

You also get a lot of down to Earth advice on what you need to do to get your book published, and how you can format it. You also get a number of templates that the author gives for free if you are willing to subscribe to her newsletter, but then she tells you how to do it yourself. So unless you're really lazy, you don't even need to download the template.

Also the author gives you options on free software that you can use. Once again, this is in the interests of saving you money.

Granted, the book does not give you any in-depth details and barely skims the surface, but I really don't
need anything more. It did a good job of showing me the way, and I've been able to follow up on it.

For example the suggestion to use free software prompted me to do a bit of researching into the subject and it opened a whole new world up for me. I'll write about this later, but you get my meaning, right?

The book does not do any hand-holding. What it does is point you in the right direction and give you a shove.

And who could ask for anything more?

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