The basics

The late Dan Poynter was the grand old man of self-publishing. His Self-Publishing Manual is on everyone's must-read list. There is much in the book that I disagree with, particularly with regard to book production.Dan advocated do-it-yourself publishing, and I don't. Please read the book critically, and ask yourself whether you want your book to come out looking and reading like his.

Note that Dan's focus was on nonfiction, non-literary self-publishing. That is, the book is of greatest value to you if you are writing a how-to book, a self-help book, or a technical book.

Peter Bowerman wrote The Well-Fed Writer and The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, which complement Dan Poynter's book and focus more on marketing. Peter addresses both nonfiction and fiction, and he agrees with me that self-publishing does not mean do-it-yourself publishing.

John Culleton, a friendly competitor of mine, has put together an annotated list of additional books you should familiarize yourself with.

Disclosure: John has a list of book packagers on his site. He adds anyone who asks to be on it, at no charge. I got a great client through that list and sent John a box of fruit as a thank you. In return, he put my name at the top of the list, even though the sentence right above that says the list is alphabetical. Oops! Maybe he'll see this and put my name back where it belongs, but I'm not going to tell him in the meantime. Why spoil a good thing?

Midwest Book Review

Jim Cox, at Midwest Book Review, is a strong supporter of independent publishers, and the reviews he publishes are well respected. Your nonfiction or juvenile fiction book has a better chance of receiving a review from Jim's publication than from most other major reviewers. Midwest Book Review is a post-publication reviewer. They do not review bound galleys or advance reading copies (or adult fiction in any case). Send a copy of the same book you have for sale. Reviewers count on reselling books they have reviewed; that's part of the deal. Jim runs on a shoestring budget, and he appreciates donations of postage stamps, too.

I received an unsolicited email saying they'd put a link to this site on theirs and requesting a reciprocal link. I was happy to oblige, and no money was exchanged—not even stamps.


At your leisure, you may wish to browse some of the essays on my blog, listed in the sidebar under the title, "Previous Posts Specifically for Self-Publishing Authors." Creative title, I know. I add to the list from time to time, so check back. Some of the essays show evidence that I need both an editor and a proofreader myself. That's the nature of writing informally on a blog, and I make no apologies—or corrections.


Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly PMA)