Self Publishing versus Do-It-Yourself Publishing

If you read some of the advertising written by some online publishers these days, you’ll hear that you can now publish a book for virtually no money and have it available for sale within a few weeks, or even days. This do-it-yourself approach is possible, but is it really right for you?
That depends on your skill level in a variety of areas as well as what you want to do with your book, and what you want your book to do for you.
What is Self Publishing?
Self Publishing is a marketing technique for authors who want to by-pass many of the typical delays and roadblocks put up by the old-line large publishing houses. Self publishing does not mean that you can, or should, handle every step yourself, or that publishing a book will not cost you any money.
Self Publishing with a reputable publishing house means that you use the services of professionals: an editor who will help you polish your book and make it the best it can, a graphic artist who will design an attractive, marketable cover, and a realistic marketing assessment of what you can expect in the way of sales.
You should also make sure that the interior of your book will be formatted by a professional who is familiar with publishing conventions, rather than simply printing a Word document or PDF that you have uploaded to a website. Your completed book, not just the manuscript but the final, formatted copy, should be read by a proofreader who not only excels at grammar, but who is also familiar with publishing style conventions.
When you choose your publisher make sure they are clear about where your book will be available. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Chris Rickert, the general manager of Joseph Beth Booksellers, in Pittsburgh. She told me how often authors who have uploaded their own books to various do-it-yourself websites come to her expecting her to purchase their books for sale in her store; something she is not usually able to do.
“They don’t seem to understand that by uploading their books onto certain bookselling websites they have uploaded them to our competition. I’m not going to buy books at full price from our competition to sell them in our store. We can’t make money that way,” she explains.
It would be rather like walking into Burger King and expecting them to sell you a Big Mac.
There are dozens of reasons why you should be careful when signing a contract with a do-it-yourself book publisher. If you’d like to know more about the difference between self-publishing and do-it-yourself, contact Open Door Publications at

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