This essay has a total of 5488 words and 32 pages.
"CREATE YOUR OWN INFORMATION PRODUCTS!"
Millions and millions of full sized books and small booklets are
sold each year. Most are produced by the large publishing
houses. However, there are also several million books sold
every year by small, unassuming, one-person publishing
companies. Many of these one-person publishers operate from a
home-based office. And, surprisingly, some home-based publishers
earn excellent incomes. (What's more, some are even becoming
In this report you'll learn how to succeed as a home-based
publisher, producing books, booklets, reports and manuals on
nearly every subject imaginable. And, if you have no desire to
write your own material, you'll learn how to get authors to
write for you.
Many authors have chosen to by-pass the usual publishing routes
and, instead, self-publish their own books. Admittedly, this
requires more work, but it could also mean more profits. There
are many reasons authors decide to self-publish, including:
1. It's very difficult to get a manuscript accepted by the giant
publishing houses, unless you are a personality in some field,
or are already a successful author.
2. Often, the large publishing companies will want to edit a
manuscript in such a manner that is unacceptable to the author.
3. Often, the author can market his own book more effectively
than a large publisher will. This is especially true if the
material is of a non- fiction or of "how-to" nature.
4. Self publishing allows the author to keep all of the profits.
5. There is plenty of opportunity for the author/self- publisher
to set up other profit center products that are related to the
topic of the book.
So, as you can see, there are many compelling reasons why
thousands of authors have chosen to self-publish. Also, the
availability of low cost microcomputers have made
self-publishing much easier than in past years. This report will
give you a step- by- step approach to self-publishing your own
Note: this report is not about writing. It is assumed that you
will write your own booklets, or hire a ghostwriter to do the
job for you. So the following information will focus only on
the steps you need to take to succeed (make money) as a self-
HOW IT WORKS AND HOW TO DO IT STEP-BY-STEP
(1) Generate book ideas and proposals, either your own or by
(2) Evaluate these ideas and proposals as to the feasibility of
producing a valued book, and reaching a large group of
(3) Evaluate the size of the market and determine how you'll
reach that market. Also, research any competitive books.
(4) Consider various related products that you could sell to the
people who buy your book.
(5) Write and edit the book, pay royalties to an author, or hire
a ghostwriter to do it for you.
(6) Produce a camera-ready copy for the printer.
(7) Begin your marketing effort by designing ads and brochures.
(Often, this step comes before, or during, writing the book.
Your sales material can give you something to "live up to.")
(8) Launch a full scale marketing and publicity campaign. (A
"full-scale" roll-out should follow a test marketing campaign.
You want to make certain you have a truly salable product, and
should spend little money to test the waters.)
(9) Get printing quotes and have the final version of the book
ready to print and bind as soon as you're sure there will be
sufficient sales to warrant these costs.
(10) Sell follow-up products to your customers.
All of these steps can be carried out quickly. You could easily
have a fast-selling book on the market within 6 months, or less.
SELECTING A TOPIC
The best, and easiest, subjects for self-publishers to produce
are of the "how to" genre. Books, reports and manuals that tell
readers how to do something are among the liveliest sellers.
It's very difficult for a small publisher to be successful with
novels, or poetry books. So this report will focus on "how to"
books. However, you can apply many of the techniques discussed
here to market other kinds of books as well.
To begin, you should publish material on topics which you are
most familiar. You should also have a market targeted and a plan
for reaching that market. Example: you may have in mind to
produce a book about how to make money with crafts -- to be sold
in small craft shops, craft fairs, craft magazines and through
direct mail to people who make craft items.
It's not necessary for you to be an expert on a topic if you
aren't writing the book yourself. But you do need to be
knowledgeable enough to evaluate the book proposals that are
submitted to you. Otherwise, you'll have to hire an expert to
evaluate the manuscript for you.
Most small publishers specialize in one general topic. For
example: crafts, income opportunities, computers, a particular
hobby, gardening, health and others. A home-based publisher,
like you, will then produce several books on the same subject.
Thus, greatly increasing sales because you'll have related books
to offer to the same customer.
Once you have a few potential topics, these ideas must be
evaluated. The most crucial question is, "can I sell a book
like this and, if so, how will I sell it?" First, you need to
evaluate the size of the market. If there are only a few
thousand people who would be interested in your book, you may
want to reconsider.
Many small publishers recommend that you have a potential market
of at least 50,000 people who would be interested in your topic.
Next, you need to determine if these people are easy to reach.
Are there magazines, trade associations, or mailing lists that
you can use?
Example: Book -- HOW TO USE LOTUS 1-2-3 SOFTWARE Market -- 2
million owners of Lotus 1-2-3. How to reach -- mailing list of
Lotus owners, special magazines for Lotus users, computer
You'll find that most self-publishers suggest that you find a
market niche that is not being adequately covered. Here's a
sampling of marketing model railroading, self-publishers,
writers, Apple computer owners, computer programmers, gardeners,
health enthusiasts and hundreds of other narrowly defined
interests. Each of these topics may only have a potential market
of 50,000 to 200,000. But this is often enough for you to be
successful. It's especially true if you have a good way to reach
these people, and if you publish several books about the topic.
Most publishers are recommending that you stick to special
subject books rather than broad coverage books. It seems as if
the day of the high page count, broad topic books are about
over. There are also many groups of people who are interested in
all kinds of narrow, specialized topics.
Other factors to evaluate include: are there any similar books
already on the market, how is your book different (more
valuable), are there people who really want your book, is your
information up-to-date and can you produce exciting promotional
material to sell your book?
It's important to consider your book's selling points. If it's
easy, write an ad for the book, that is, your material has many
selling points, the book will be easier to market. More about
book marketing later.
The title of your book can have a big effect on sales. A good
title will often result in increased interest as well as higher
HOW TO GET RICH IN MAIL ORDER is much better than HOW TO GET
STARTED IN MAIL ORDER.
Here are a few more good examples of lively book titles:
HOMEMADE CASH, CASH FROM YOUR COMPUTER, IS THERE A BOOK INSIDE
YOU, QUICK CASH -- (129 WAYS ANYONE, ANYWHERE CAN MAKE $200
RIGHT AFTER DINNER), HOW TO WRITE A MILLION- DOLLAR OPPORTUNITY
BOOK, WHY S.O.B.'S SUCCEED AND NICE GUYS FAIL IN SMALL BUSINESS,
CASH COPY, I'LL BUY THAT!, HOW TO MAKE PVC FURNITURE FOR FUN AND
PROFIT, CASH IN BY CLEANING UP, $200 A DAY WITH YOUR PICKUP, ADS
THAT SELL, HOW TO MAKE YOUR ADVERTISING MAKE MONEY, HOW I MADE
$1,000,000 IN MAIL ORDER, HOW TO MAKE MAXIMUM MONEY IN MINIMUM
TIME, SECRETS OF HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL MAILING LIST BROKER,
HOW TO WRITE A HIT SONG ... AND SELL IT!, HOW TO ADVERTISE FOR
LESS THAN THE COST OF A POSTAGE STAMP! And so on.
A good book title should: grab the attention of the customer,
clearly reveal the book's subject, arouse interest, define the
area covered by the book and promise benefits to the
buyer/reader. Many books also have a subtitle. The subtitle is
usually about 6 to 15 words long and should reveal even more
about the book. For example:
QUICK CASH! How Anyone, At Any Time, Anywhere Can Make At Least
$200 Right After Dinner.
One more thing about book titles: If you're planning to produce
ads or direct mail pieces to promote your book, you should
consider a snappy, upbeat title which can be also used as your
headline. The above book title, along with its sub-title, in
national full-page advertisements has sold thousands of copies
of the book, Quick Cash. It's attention-getting, informative,
captures the imagination of the proper prospect and offers a
There are several basic decisions you must make concerning the
layout of your book. These decisions will influence the cost you
pay for printing. For example:
(1) Stick with standard sizes -- 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches or 8 1/2 x
11 inches. (Some printers may have slightly different book
dimensions.) But just make sure that you request a standard size
that your printer can easily produce. Odd sizes will increase
the overall cost of printing.
(2) Number of pages -- All book printers have optimum number of
pages that they can produce. These are usually increments of 4,
8, 16, or 32 pages. You'll want to make sure your book falls on
these increments or you'll pay extra for blank pages. The page
count does not include the cover. Example: It may cost 10% more
for a 161 page book than it does for a 160 page book. Therefore,
you'll want to reduce your manuscript by one page.
(3) Typeface -- This is the style and size of the letters that
make up the text. The most used typeface for books is Times
Roman at 10 point size. If you use 12 point size, more pages are
required, 8 point size will require less pages but will be
harder to read. Don't use some offbeat, out of the ordinary
typeface. Make your book easy to read.
(4) Type of cover -- You can decide to use a plain, one- color
cover or a glossy, 4-color cover. If you're planning to sell
through bookstores, you'll need to design a fancier, eye-
catching cover. For mail order sales, customers are buying
information, not a pretty cover; so you can put less emphasis on
(5) Other factors that you may need to consider are: pictures,
photos, an index, size of chapter headings and subheadings.
You can explore various book layouts simply by examining
different books. Pick one that you like and discuss it with your
Once the book, or booklet, is written and edited, your first
concern is to prepare a "camera ready" copy for the printer. The
printer must have a good master copy of your book in order to
prepare plates for the printing press. The pages of this master
copy must appear exactly as you want the final copy of the book
to look. In other words, it should contain: headlines, subheads,
margins, justified text, any graphics or pictures and, ideally,
proportionally spaced letters (typesetting).
The only way to get all of the above features is by having your
book typeset. Unfortunately, typesetting can be expensive. You
may pay $20, or more, per page if you hire a commercial
typesetter. However, microcomputers can reduce the cost of
typesetting. Here's what I mean:
(1) Produce the book on computer and deliver a floppy disk to a
typesetter who can typeset from your disk. This saves the cost
of having the typesetter key in your book's text, word by word.
(2) Send the disk to a computer owner who has a laser printer
and desktop publishing software and have him/her typeset the
book for you. They will often do this for a reasonable fee of $1
to $3 per page.
(3) Use a modem to transfer the text of your book via a
telephone to a typesetter who can handle modem transmissions.
(4) Buy your own laser printer and desktop publishing software
and typeset the book yourself.
If you already own a computer and are going to publish several
books, then option #4 is the best way to go. This gives you
complete control over the typesetting. It also allows you to
perform editing changes quickly.
There are two other options for typesetting your book. The first
is to use a high quality typewriter to produce the text. You can
also use the rub-on headline type that can be purchased from any
office supply store. Unfortunately, this will not produce a very
good looking book. And, with today's competition and readily
available desktop publishing systems, this approach will leave
you a step behind other publishers.
A slightly better option is a computer system together with a
high quality (24 pin) multi-mode dot matrix printer. This will
produce near letter quality text, justified margins, columns and
proportionally spaced text. These are features you cannot get
with a typewriter. So you'll end up with a fair quality book
(but not near as good as that produced with a laser printer).
My advice is to get, or rent, a full desktop publishing system
to produce several books. However, if you just want to
self-publish just one book, then consider using the services of
a commercial typesetter. Or hire someone who owns a desktop
publishing system. This will allow you to produce the best
master copy for your printer. And will result in a professional
looking book. At a minimum, you'll want the book's cover to be
There are two phases of book editing. The first step is to edit
the book before typesetting, and before a printing master is
produced. This step is designed to eliminate the majority of
The second phase is to complete a final editing of the book
after a master copy has been typeset. The purpose of the second
phase is to eliminate any remaining errors. A second purpose of
this step is to cut out or add material and to adjust the length
of the book, if necessary.
You may also wish to adjust the length of a chapter so that each
chapter will begin on a right hand page. You may wish to adjust
the length of the book to save printing costs. For example: as I
mentioned earlier, most book printers operate in set increments
of pages. Many offer 16 page signatures. Therefore, a 160 page
book would take 10 signatures. A 164 page book would take 11
signatures and cost extra because of those additional pages. So
if you can eliminate 4 pages, you'll save printing costs.
Editing a book takes a considerable amount of time. There are
many things to check for, including: spelling errors, sentences
that are too long, misuse of words, punctuation errors, capital
letters, nonsense sentences, factual errors, omissions of vital
material and so forth. Eliminating spelling errors is usually
the easy part. If you have a computer, you can use a spell
checker program to catch most mistakes.
I usually make about three passes through the entire book
looking for errors. When an error is found, I'll mark it with a
red pen so it is easy to find. When the entire book has been
edited I return to the computer and make t
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