Book Review: The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, Fifth Edition by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier

I hope you have a brand new pack of highlighters handy, as you’re going to need them! This massive title filled with must-have information is one that will be underlined, highlighted, dog-eared and referenced many times over.

Most authors I meet who “self-publish” should have done their homework and read this book first. In the very beginning, Ross and Collier expose the truth about self-publishing and how the term has been skewed in recent years. They offer success stories that will inspire anyone to drop everything and just go for it, but they also give you their honest opinions about just how much work it takes to become one of those success stories – and more importantly, how to do it right.

The comprehensive descriptions of virtually every different way you can get published will help a newbie author avoid critical mistakes and make the decision that is right for his or her situation.  There are so many options available, aspiring authors often get confused. Part I of this book eliminates any confusion as to what to expect with each option. (I have already highlighted the bulk of this section!)

Authors sometimes get so caught up in the excitement of having their book in print that they neglect the most crucial of aspects: marketability. Part II of this book dispels marketing myths and gives authors the ammunition they need to sell their books – before it is even written. From choosing a title that will hook the reader to how to actually sell poetry, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing has it all!

If you want your book done right, independently, maximizing your chances for a traditional publishing outlet later on, you must get this book. Independent publishers have a lot more to think about than just writing the content. They must learn how to track sales, invoice drop-ship orders, handle their own registrations, find a good typesetter and cover designer, choose the right printing method and more.

And like any author, they need to know how to generate PR buzz for their book (most traditional publishers don’t offer much in the way of marketing to newbie authors either). Any published author will tell you they thought writing was the hard part – until entering the publishing process. Then they will say that publishing is not nearly as hard as marketing the book. With Part IV through VI, Ross and Collier give any author a warehouse of ideas to generate positive publicity, unique ways to make sales and how to set in motion creative marketing plans. They dedicate three parts of this book to marketing and PR for a reason – it is necessary. There is enough information in these sections to keep sales rolling in for years!

For those wishing to expand on “true” self-publishing (independent), the last section of the book discusses ways to sell your book to a “Goliath” (traditional) publisher and how to negotiate the best contract. Ross and Collier also explore the option of an independent publisher moving up to “small press” status and becoming a bona-fide “real” publisher.

This review would not be complete without a mention of the extensive Appendixes jam-packed with helpful information. Everything from marketing plans to the authors’ favorite book manufacturers is at your fingertips. And just in case that wasn’t enough, they included another appendix of “More Helpful Information” and a large list of other recommended reading should you possibly think you can learn more about this industry after reading this book.

Overall, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is more than just self-publishing. It is a must-have resource for any writer aspiring to be an author. It is also a book that should not remain on a dusty bookshelf, but should be kept within arm’s reach as it will be referenced time and time again. So go buy a pack of highlighters and grab your copy of this book before you make a single hasty publishing decision!

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  • C. J. - The Metal Motivator
    March 8, 2013

    I work personally with the co-author, Sue Collier, and her commitment to equipping potential authors is exemplary. She contributes to my blog, and I intend to utilize her expertise to help build awareness of the great possibilities for self-publishers in the near future. This is a good review. Thank you!

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