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The Essentials New Publishers Need to Know

The Essentials New Publishers Need to Know
by Fern Reiss, CEO,

So you’re ready to publish your first book? Keep in mind the following tips, and you’ll find the path to success much smoother!

  • Bookstores don’t buy POD books. Rather than taking on all the details of self-publishing, many wanna-be publishers are opting for the heavily-advertised Print-On-Demand companies, which promise publication at low fees. For the right project—a niche book with an easily-found audience, such as a church cookbook—POD can indeed be a great option. What the POD companies won’t tell you, however, is that neither bookstores nor libraries will generally buy a POD book. So if you’re planning to sell your books directly through a website or via speaking engagements, POD may be a fine option. For writers who are hoping to see their book in bookstores and libraries, however, better stick with true self-publishing.
  • You can judge a book by its cover. And that’s what most people do. So if you’re not going to spring for a professional, polished cover, you might as well not bother self-publishing the book. You can get a decent cover for as little as $500 and a fantastic cover for around $1000 and up.
  • Don’t use a Ma and Pa print shop. Use a printer that specializes in printing books. Not only will you have fewer problems with production, but the prices will be much less expensive. (You can find a good list of printers in my book, The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days.) You should be able to print 3000 copies of a 250-page softcover book for under $2 per copy.
    • Get 100 ISBNs. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and every book sold in bookstores or on Amazon must have an ISBN. In the U.S. ISBNs are available only from, and you can buy them in blocks of ten, 100, or 1000. The fewer you buy the less it costs—but buying just a block of ten marks you as a one-book publisher. And everyone in the publishing industry can figure out how many ISBNs you’ve purchased by looking at your ISBN number. So be a player; spring for the $800 block of 100.
    • Don’t wait to start marketing. Many first-time publishers focus on the nuts and bolts of the publishing process, and put off thinking about the marketing until they have books in hand (or garage.) Bad move. Your book will succeed or fail on its marketing plan. So before you start your self-publishing project, sit down and figure out who your audience is, and where you will find them. Only once you’ve mapped out the marketing should you move forward on a publishing project.

Self-publishing can not only be extremely lucrative, it can be a lot of fun. But follow these five simple rules, and you’ll be enjoying the publishing game. Good luck!


Fern Reiss is CEO of ( and ( and the author of the books, The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days, The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, and The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days as well as several other award-winning books.  She is also the Director of the International Association of Writers ( providing publicity vehicles to writers worldwide. She also runs The Expertizing® Publicity Forum where you can pitch your book or business directly to journalists; more information at  Sign up for her complimentary newsletter at

Copyright © 2011 Fern Reiss


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