Words of wisdom from the world of self-publishing


Reading the Winter 2016 issue of Authors Guild Bulletin I came across Angela Bole’s column on “Indie Publishing: A Primer”

Bole is the CEO and executive director of the Independent Book Publishers Association and her current column in the issue covers all sorts of publishing in today’s world. However, her paragraphs on self-publishing were interesting for a number of reasons.

She writes that the fast-growing segment of independent publishing is self-publishing, and that Bowker — the “world’s leading provider of bibliographic information” — reports that in 2013, 458,564 self-published titles came out, a jump of 17% since 2012, and 437% over 2008.

There are basically two kinds of self-publishing, assisted self-publishing and DIY self-publishing. She is not a fan of DIY self-publishing, saying, “Considering the complexities of the publishing business, there are almost no circumstances in which I’d recommend a fully DIY self-publishing approach.”

She goes onto write, “The best self-publishers know this and contract freelance professionals to oversee editing, design, production and distribution.”

This, of course, cost $$$. She estimates that anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per book. And she points out that 65% of the Independent Book Publishers Association’s 3,500 members are published authors and all of them indicate they use professional services to help bring their books to market.

PCWRITERS IMAGEIf you need help or advice with your book talk to Marian Haley Beil, publisher of the Peace Corps Writers imprint or myself; we’re happy to makes suggestions that might work for you.




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  • Dear John,

    I was in the Peace Corps in 1964-66 in Peru and recently completed my book, No Guard Rails. I’d appreciate any advice you can give me about getting it published.

    My memoir is a coming of age story about Evelyn, an adventurous young girl who grows up in Montana and moves with her large Catholic family to California her senior year of high school. In college, she spends weekends working in the Parlier area going door to door with with other college students taking a census among the migrant workers for Ceasar Chavez. That experience inspires her to live and work in Mexico for a summer. When she hears Sargent Shriver speak at a Catholic College Student Conference the summer of 1963, she applies for the Peace Corps and is accepted.

    Evelyn trains at Cornell University and in Puerto Rico and is assigned to the Cusco area of Peru to do Community Development work. But first, she must find a community in which to live and work. Through many coincidences she finds herself in the mountain community of Abancay. There she works in the poorer schools developing girls’ clubs and teaching P.E. She attends campesino meetings, works in a hospital and an orphanage. When she meets a handsome university student early in her 18 month commitment she tries hard not to fall in love with him. At the end of her stay she is faced with a life-altering decision.

    The theme of the book is, “You don’t always get what you want. Sometimes you get something better that you need.” There are 49 chapters and 95.000 words. Can you recommend someone, or several professionals, who would edit my writing? I have not decided on a cover but have some ideas. I’d like to get published and wonder about where to begin.

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