Self publishing books:
a guide to self publishing companies

Self publishing books . . . especially novels . . . is akin to riding bareback and naked on an unbroken bronco through a vampire-infested jungle under a full moon.

Soda Springs cover

Not a good idea. They say self published books are . . .

    Hard to market.
    Hard to sell.
    Money down the drain.
    A ton of books left to molder in your garage.

In short, if the vampires don't get you, the mosquitoes will.

So . . . having weighed the above carefully . . . I've decided to self publish a book . . . in fact, a novel . . . Soda Springs, a story of love, sex, and the fight for civil rights in the Sixties.

MLF* [*My Literary Friends]: "Self publish a book? A novel? You're crazy!"

Me: "Yeah, exactly my first thought."

Nevertheless, I'm forging ahead. This webpage will be an on-going saga of self publishing a book . . . also a guide to self publishing companies.

I'll check out the print on demand publishers, one-by-one . . . study their websites . . . write for their literature . . . look at books they've published . . . talk to them . . . weigh one against the other . . . chat with authors who have self published . . . then, I'll share what I learn.

Do we call such a saga a blog?

I'm not sure. I like to think of it as a journey. Maybe a path to success. Let's hope its not an exercise in frustration. We'll see.

Whatever we call it, I'm dedicating this space to a simple question: "What's involved in self publishing books?"

I've read the dismal stats about minuscule sales that result from self publishing books -- especially novels. I worry about how to promote and market. I agonize over imagined slights from the literati. ("So he isn't good enough to get a real publisher, huh?")

But self publishing books offer options that most traditional publishers don't. In Soda Springs, for instance, you'll find:

  • A creative map of Soda Springs . . . you can find Concha's house in the barrio . . . the White House . . . the church where Rick and Ginny Sue so shame themselves . . . and La Casa de Esperanza, where Mexican-American farmworkers rally and hatch the plots that will shatter the town's patina of harmony.
  • An equally creative map of the Sangre de Cristo Valley . . . you can pinpoint Soda Springs in relation to Apache Flats, Whisky Creek, Sanders' Farms . . . and Cementerío Cañoncitos in the foothills where Tomás' burial brings Concha and Rick Sanders together.
  • Pen-and-ink drawings by artist Chuck Asay: you can see the original Soda Springs -- the artesian well that Spanish explorer Oñate named Los Ojos Chispeantes de los Santos ("sparkling eyes of the saints") in 1647 . . . Concha's petroglyphs . . . Tinkum's pond, where Rick and Ginny Sue so often go for solace . . . and others.

Still, I've got a bundle of questions about self publishing a book:

  • What are the pitfalls? The benefits?
  • Which print on demand publishers are the best for me? Xlibris? Dog Ear? Rose Dog? Outskirts? iUniverse? CreateSpace? Mill City? They're out there by the dozens. How do I choose?
  • How do I market? How do I find readers? More importantly . . . buyers?
  • How do I create a compelling cover?
  • How do I build a website that will bring readers to my book?

So why this written journey . . . this blog?

To record my progress in a way that:

  • Helps other writers answer their own questions about self publishing books.
  • Encourages readers to chip in with their thoughts on who the best self publishing companies are.
  • Offers useful tips on how to avoid the vampires . . . and the mosquitoes.

The journey starts with a bit of background . . . tomorrow's entry, How I got here: my long road to publishing a book.

Move on to "How I got here: my long road to publishing a book"
Move on to "The search for a print-on-demand book publisher"
Move on to The search for self publishing companies
Move on to A comparison of set-up packages

Return from Self Publishing Books to homepage, An invitation to fiction writing.