Self-Publishing: Helpful Hints and Bewares

Well, everyone, I feel like I’ve been to school this past month, trying to get a handle on self-publishing. Remember that joke about how to eat an elephant? Well, I think I’ve worked my way through the trunk so far.☺

I started several discussions on LinkedIn in the Self-Published and Indie Authors Networking Group, one about publishing packages offered by various companies and one about publishers and printers writers can choose from when they are ready to print their books.

I learned that Wisconsin writer Joel D Canfield has an informative e-book out called Getting Your Book out of the Someday Box. I downloaded a copy for $4.16 and contacted the author, who – bless his heart – says he’s willing to give step-by-step guidance to newbie writers like me who want to begin this process; he also sells a complete publishing package if someone wants one.

I realize now how naive I was when I signed up for my publishing package for Silver Morning Song. I thought I’d thoroughly read and understood the contract, but I didn’t realize just what all WASN’T written there until I began the process.

For example, I assumed editing would be included – that I would work with a professional editor – and I may yet, to some extent but the actual editing is an extra cost. Had I taken advantage of the publishing company’s editing service, the rates are:
Content editing 3.9¢ a word. Minimum $2000
Copy editing 2¢ a word. (I think there was a minimum charge here, too.)
Line edit or proofreading 1.5¢ a word.
So my 36,320-word book would have cost at least $3275 if I’d agreed to all that editing.

I hired a friend.

I also found that I had to buy all the pictures and artwork– even for the cover. (“Cover design” itself is included in the package, layout and typeset.) When I stop to think about it, this makes sense. I just assumed too many things; I thought the publisher would have a choice of simple Print Shop type graphics or some special deal with a graphics company. So the book has cost me $220 for graphics so far. Then there’s postage and handling when the books are printed. Approximately $2000 initial layout (say $5 per book if I sell 400) plus I’ll have to buy my books for $7.65 each if we set a retail price of $16.99.

Anyway, looking for options for my children’s book, I contacted Joel and he has patiently explained a much cheaper way of self-publishing, using CreateSpace’s print-on-demand system. And he’s allowing me to quote him. I know that some of you are interested in publishing your own books, so I thought you’d be interested in reading this.

For his step-by-step instructions, see tomorrow’s post.

Joel has articles on the self-publishing process posted on his blog, too. You can begin this learning process yourself by checking out his site at


4 thoughts on “Self-Publishing: Helpful Hints and Bewares

  1. I have used CreateSpace for my book “Glass People” and found it to be a wonderful self-publishing service. It really didn’t cost me anything other than some time and energy. If I remember correctly, there are some options that require money, but they are firmly that–options, and are not mandatory. I will use it again.


  2. And furthermore, to work with CreateSpace and have them release 100% of our royalties, we need to apply for a US TIN (Tax identification number.) To do this we need to present two certified documents, one with photo ID — the application must be accompanied by a valid CDN passport and birth certificate. CreateSpace will release 70% of a Canadian writer’s royalties and withhold 30% unless we register a TIN with them.


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