Have you thought about starting your own publishing company but don’t know how to start? I’d like to introduce you to Michele DeFilippo, owner of 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that assists authors in self-publishing their books. She has written a guest post to help you answer some questions.
A Guest Post by Michele DeFilippo
It happened to other bloggers and it finally happened to me: I convinced myself that if I had enough words in me to write a blog then I had enough words in me to write a book. Several months later, I self-published my first book Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing (and an Insider’s Look at a Misunderstood Industry).
Self-publishing is not a simple process and many authors don’t know where to start. I confess: I own 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that assists authors in self-publishing their books, so I knew exactly where to start and I had a terrific team at hand to help me. But many authors—viewing self-publishing as very complicated—are stymied from the start by the question: Just who is the publisher?
The answer might seem obvious, but to many people it’s not. Traditional publishing companies are held in awe. They are the gatekeepers, determining who gets published and who doesn’t. Also, there are many “self-publishing companies” out there who know exactly how to capitalize on the confused author’s emotions, promising “easy” (and ultimately, expensive) solutions that are nothing more than classic bait-and-switch schemes. But authors don’t need a self-publishing company at all, so be savvy and steer clear. Remember, if you are self-publishing, YOU are the publisher!
The name you create for your independent publishing business (or “indie” publisher) is the “imprint” – the brand name under which the book is published. Having a logo created for your imprint will add a lovely professional touch to your book cover.
OK, so you’re an indie publisher; now what?
First, treat your endeavor like a business with you as the CEO and your book as your product. Your product should be the result of a lot of research. Hopefully you have researched the market potential for your book. Unfortunately, many authors write a book and then try to find a market for it. Instead, authors should determine a need in the marketplace and write a book to meet that need.
After your book is written, it needs to be polished and packaged into a high-quality product that meets industry standards and is attractive to buyers. No CEO can do this alone, and this is where your team comes in, which at a minimum, should consist of a book designer and an editor and proofreader.
A great cover and well-designed interior pages are essential to a quality product. Anything less will scream “self-published!” and surprisingly, a goal of self-publishing is to create books that don’t appear to be self-published. Your cover should deliver a compelling message and stand out from other books. The pages should be visually appealing, hold interest, and be easy on the eye. Consciously or subconsciously, these are factors that buyers consider when deciding to purchase a book. Book designers are trained professionals, and as such you should hire a book designer rather than attempt to do it yourself. In addition, your book designer can help you with your barcode, your logo and other aspects of the publishing process. Note that you can obtain your own ISBNs from Bowker (www.myidentifiers.com). Beware! Don’t allow a so-called “self-publishing company” to provide you with one of theirs!
An editor is also critical to the book’s success. Writing a book is much different than writing a blog! At a minimum, an editor will:
- Check the order, flow and consistency of your material.
- Ensure the content is not repetitive or redundant.
- Edit for mistakes in terminology or logic.
- Smooth out your writing, correct your errors, fix your typos and check your grammar.
You will also need a company to print your book. We suggest Lightning Source and CreateSpace as print-on-demand solutions, and yes, you can and should open your own account with them, putting you firmly in control. Print-on-demand services are a cost-conscious way of printing only enough books to meet current demand. You should also consider producing an eBook edition.
Once you’ve hired your team, you can think about marketing and distribution. You may wish to hire a marketing consultant; in fact, you can bring in a marketing consultant during your research stage to help you define the target market before the design process begins. Other services are available to help you along the way, such as a book title consultant, a copywriter to write your back cover copy, someone to index your book, a designer to create your press kit, and more.
Many companies offer self-publishing packages, with book design, editing, printing and other services bundled together at a reduced price. Personally, I think that being your own publisher puts you into a position of strength, where you get to choose the professionals that you want to work with. Good luck!
Michele DeFilippo owns 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that works with authors, publishers, business pros, coaches, consultants, speakers . . . anyone who wants a beautiful book, meticulously prepared to industry standards. After helping almost a thousand authors make their books a reality, Michele has just self-published her first book Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing (and an Insider’s Look at a Misunderstood Industry)
Sonia Marsh says: After researching what goes into creating a professional looking book from various sources, including the book designer, Joel Friedlander, an expert in book design, I started my own publishing company, “Gutsy Publications.” I also looked at many design and formatting companies, and finally selected 1106 Design.
1106 Design did a fantastic book cover for me, ( my book cover,) a company logo and interior formatting as I could never have done such a professional job myself.
Michele DeFilippo is the author of Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing
In case you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of 1106 Design. I’m so glad I discovered them for my indie-publishing needs.
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Sonia Marsh says
Thank you Michele for your helpful advice on indie-publishing. I’m grateful to you, Ronda, and 1106 Design for your professional cover and formatting of my memoir: Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island.