Becoming an independent publisher

The main topics covered in this blog are how I (1) decided to self-publish my book and (2) chose CreateSpace in getting this task accomplished.

I completed the first draft of my autobiography about a year ago. Because I knew nothing about publishing, let alone self-publishing, the progress thereafter has been very slow – until I finally decided on a self-publishing company, CreateSpace, for support.  If I knew then what I know now, I think the book would have been out in the market for several months by now. Since I signed up with CreateSpace, things have been moving along like clockwork.  Thank goodness!  Of course, I have been committed – to the best of my abilities – not to be the bottleneck to the whole process of getting the book published.

Here is how I came to choose CreateSpace among several other self-publishing companies that I was considering.  As part of my research, I came across a statistic which indicated that Amazon sells 70-80% of all e-books in the United States. There was no question in my mind that I would be selling my book through Kindle, in addition to paperbacks using print on demand. Given this direction, I thought, “Why not go with the company that is wholly owned by Amazon?”  Was my decision-making process risky?  Possibly, yes. I did take a risk, but a calculated one. The gentleman from CreateSpace talked to me for about 3 hours, kindly answering every single question that I had. I was impressed. By the end of our long conversation, I felt comfortable that I would get what I needed. And, so far, I have been extremely happy with the support of the project team assigned to my book.

Here is a list of my thoughts and actions that brought me to the point of getting the book finally published effective March 11, 2012.

In the beginning, I looked into publishing through traditional channels, starting with hiring an agent.

  • I learned that you never pay an agent up front. If anyone demands an up-front payment, run as fast as you can. They are to be paid only when your book is published.
  • After much research, I decided against going through traditional channels. The main reasons were as follows.
  1. I would have to locate an agent that believes in my book. This could mean a lot of my precious time spent looking for the right agent, while nothing is happening with the book itself. I believe in my book. So why not self-publish and make things happen right away?
  2. Unless I’m already a well-established author, I would be responsible for the success of the book in the market place.  So why not self-publish and get busy marketing my own book through my family, friends, and colleagues?
  3. If I’m not careful, I can lose control over my own book’s destiny – because the publisher is in control, not me. So why not self-publish and retain the control over my own book?
  4. My cut of the profit is miniscule compared to the efforts that went into writing the book. So why not self-publish and be paid more in line with what I think I’m worth?
  5. Lastly, I learned that the publishing landscape is changing so fast to the point where if I successfully self-publish my book, and if I develop 1,000 true devoted fans (those who are willing to buy your book) through my website, agents/editors will approach me, not the other way around.  So unlike in the past where I would have had to choose one avenue or the other in terms of publishing, I could do both by starting out with self-publishing. So why not self-publish and get things moving?
  6. While trying to decide which way to get the book published, I also attended an evening class (two 1.5-hour sessions) on “Get your book published.”
  7. Hired a professional editor. He is a professor of journalism, who also taught the class on “Get your book published.”
  8. Reviewed several publications on self-publishing, while my book was being edited.  Among them, I found “Successful Self-Publishing: An Independent Study Course,” published by Writer’s Digest, to be quite helpful. There is an accompanying book entitled, “The Indie Author Guide” by April L. Hamilton.
  9. What I got out of the reading materials consistently on the topic of self-publishing from several sources was the following:  While you could do many things on your own as a self-publisher, there are certain aspects for which most authors would need support. They are:
      1. Cover design
      2. Interior design
      3. Formatting – for both POD (print on demand) and e-book
      4. Printing
  10. I signed up with CreateSpace to receive support for these four items.

Before I uploaded to CreateSpace what I thought was the final draft, I reviewed the entire document one last time and found some flaws. That shook me. So I asked the editor to do a second review, to which he agreed.  As it turned out, the manuscript needed even more iterations because I kept making small (yet very important to me) corrections.

The next blog will cover the topic of the overall cost as well as my timeline involving CreateSpace from the initial contact to published book.

I hope you found some useful information.  I’d love to hear from you.




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3 Responses to Becoming an independent publisher

  1. kjmckendry says:

    Great write-up! Thanks for all the info on why you decided to go the self-pub route. Good luck with your book! 🙂

  2. Irene Rogers says:

    Hi again Reiko
    I just red your article about publishing you are help to me because I really dont know where to start? Do you know journalists that are familiar with the holocaust stories. I need somebody that will edit the book and knows history. It is a good idea about writers digest.
    I like to know you better.
    Irene Rogers

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