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Self Publishing in 2014

Let’s discuss the present self-publishing side of things. I hate to say it but Amazon’s CreateSpace has an edge because you get an Amazon page. The toughest thing (out of many tough things) in self-publishing is finding a way to let readers know the book exists and then giving them a convenient way to buy a copy. While I regard Amazon’s voracious appetite as a real danger, they have an advantage. But you might also explore the Barnes and Noble self-publishing operation, NOOK Publishing. Both operations can deliver a book in print (paperback usually) and ebook format. I do know some superb professionals who can do it from copyediting through interior and cover/jacket design, to actual printing. But they are expensive and, of course, can’t distribute your book. You can consider iUniverse, Xlibris or Author House (all part of the same umbrella company) all of which will put a postage stamp-size picture of your book’s cover and a small amount of copy, usually in the New York Times Book Review or The New York Review of Books. But the author pays for these ads and I often wonder if anybody realy looks at them. I have helped authors navigate the systems of CreateSpace, iUniverse and Xlibris. Amazon claims their system is easy and pain-free but it certainly is not. My best experience was with XLibris, which produces a very handsome book in both hardcover and paperback editions. Overall, you have to ride herd on these outfits to make sure they give you at least reasonably attractive page and cover designs. (Authors generally forward the PDFs sent to them by these outfits. I try not to get directly involved with any of them, preferring to coach authors as necessary, but I have had to get involved in directly in several instances, Amazon being the most klutzy, frustrating and error-prone system.)

But these are only a few of the self-publishing services out there, some of them offered by established trade publishers. We’d be interested in getting comments from authors who have had experiences (good or bad) with the services discussed above and the other services being offered. When you put “self-publishing” into a Google search, you’re going to get a Niagara of hits. What the vendors had to say is one thing; what customers (authors) have actually experienced is quite another. Let us hear from you. —James Wade

—James Wade

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