Advice for authors who want to self-publish
One alternative, Besser said, is the small press. Small press publishers, she said, range from an individual poet publishing a personal book for selling at readings, to a small corporation with a dozen employees that publishes 50 books per year. For authors who want to self-publish, Besser offered this advice:
- You most likely will not get rich and you’ll have to work twice as hard without any guarantee of recouping your time.
- Learn about marketing and public relations. Read a book, take classes or attend a conference on marketing.
- View book publishing as a business.
- Find your niche.
- Protect your product legally by copyrighting it.
- Sell your book in many markets, not just one, in spite of a seemingly limited academic universe.
- Develop a business plan, a set of goals and a mission statement but remain flexible to deal with ambiguity in the marketplace and fickleness of the audiences — faculty/adopters, students and readers/collectors.
- Keep a fixed, small overhead. Working with freelancers or any outside services are fine if the price and quality are suitable.
- Don’t bet the farm on one book. Longevity is the goal. You don’t get experience, contacts and reputation with early shut down.
- Look for rich content, derived from intense involvement in the topic that generates a compelling text.
- Hire a professional book cover designer. Graphics and photography are not expenses — they help sell the product.
- Test the cover, even on family and friends.
- Think about and plan details of each developmental stage in creating and producing seamless content-title-subtitle-cover design-interior-weight of paper-font-format-color-back cover for a total harmonious end product.
- When selling the book, the objective is generating exposure, telling as many people about your book as possible, and making the book readily accessible.