Do you have an idea for a book? Unless you can find a traditional publisher to fund you (no small feat), your only alternative is self-publishing. Essentially, there are no standards for what can be self-published. Of course, you finance the project yourself.

There are several companies that offer packages in the order of $4,000. Among the leaders in the business are:

• Lulu, a very popular self-publishing platform.
• CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon.
• Kindle Direct Publishing.

For your investment, vendors provide the book ID (ISBN), carefully edit the text, set the style, and deliver a print-on-demand (POD) copy. An alternative is to print offset, a process that runs in quantity. With this you enter the business of inventory management.

Few authors get by with the standard package. All of the publisher’s marketing resources cost more and I feel like they were a total waste. With compensation there are also warehouse fees.

Among the marketing packages offered were services such as professional reviews, Google marketing, and ads in Publisher’s Weekly (PW). Paid reviews tend to be positive whether the book is good or not. PW is a major resource for library purchases.

Still, ultimately, you are the head of marketing. Establish a marketing budget and develop a marketing plan. Get closer to potential buyers, to the target market. Assess what works and what doesn’t.

The average self-published book sells 250 copies over its lifetime. Also, the eBook competes with the hard copy. I mistakenly printed 2,000 copies of my book.

After realizing the mistake, I tried to take it back, and the provider was completely uncooperative. I took them to small claims court and they gave me almost half of my purchase back.

Social networks can be very useful. I have over 500 friends on Facebook and over 1,100 connections on LinkedIn. You should post comments and articles and occasionally become a “consumer” on these sites, making comments, asking and answering questions.

I write a lot of articles and have a library of past articles. These I submit to the EzineArticles site. Make sure to use keywords that are relevant to your book.

So what advice would you give him? Do not print offset. Live with the POD even if the profitability is lower. Research more than me; There are less expensive alternatives, especially if you’re comfortable managing your own marketing. Pick a neglected topic; mine is about starting a business and the selection is huge.

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