Why and How to Publish a Book

Since the release of my latest book, I’ve been asked numerous times about how to get a book published. It’s no secret that having a book makes you an authority on your subject matter. In fact, the word author is contained within the word authority. Both words are derived from the latin word, Auctoritas. In ancient Rome, Auctoritas referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Roman society, and, as a consequence, his clout, influence, and ability to rally support around his will. Today, the #1 authority builder (no matter what niche you are in) is to have a book. Having a book is almost a prerequisite for being a public speaker (another powerful authority builder).

The reason for being an author and a public speaker is not to make that your career. Very few authors and speakers make a living through their writing and speaking. but lots of people greatly expand their business because they are an author. Quite simply, a book is the best business card you can have. Imagine that you are selling swimming pools. You hand your prospective customer a book about “10 things to be aware of when hiring a swimming pool contractor.” You are the author. You tell them that regardless of who they decide to hire, you believe that this is information they will probably find useful. Guess which pool contractor is likely to get the job?

Having a book used to just be a “pipe dream” for most people and something that everyone wanted to do “one day”. But now there are countless ways of getting a book of your own. I am not going to talk about traditional publishing, as that is unlikely for most people simply looking to establish credibility and becoming recognized as an expert in their field. Here are the publishing methods that I will talk about:

  1. Vanity publishers
  2. Publishing through Create Space
  3. Being your own publisher

I have used all of these methods (as well as traditional publishing). This is what I recommend:Vanity Publishers

A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. The fees can range from $1000 to many thousands of dollars, depending upon your book specifications and distribution. Mainstream publishers derive their profit from sales of the book to the general public. Because vanity presses are not usually selective, publication by a vanity press is typically not seen as conferring the same recognition or prestige as commercial publication. A vanity press may assert control over rights to the published work and provide limited or no editing, cover art, or marketing services in exchange for their fee. Many vanity publishers require you to purchase a minimum number of books in order to fulfill the contract, in addition to the fees you pay them to get your book published, and as a result are often considered to be predatory. As an author, you are unlikely to make any money from the sale of your book if you use such a company, but remember, making money from the sale of your book is not the goal – making money because you have a book is the reason you wrote the book in the first place. If you don’t want to learn anything about publishing and are willing to spend the extra money, a vanity publisher may be what you are looking for.

For most business owners today, self-publishing is a better option. Self-publishing provides even less prestige athan a vanity publisher, but you contain more control over the entire process. The two most common ways to self publish are:

Create Space

CreateSpace.com is a fully owned subsidiary of Amazon. It is super easy to use, and they provide template for both the inside of your book and for the cover. They also provide you with free ISBN numbers. An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006, but since 1 January 2007 they now always consist of 13 digits. The great thing about Create Space is that since they are owned by Amazon, your book will be available for sale on Amazon, which controls the vast majority of book sales today. You can also have your book kautomatically formatted as an ebook and sold on Kindle. All of this costs you nothing! And you get paid directly by Amazon, often making significantly more than you would with a Vanity Publisher. This is a Print on Demand (POD) service, so you can order as few or as many books as you want, and the cost is incredibly reasonable. As a side note, there are other print on demand publishers out there, such as Lulu.com, that give you some formatting options that you do not get with Create Space.

The disadvantage of Create Space is also that it is owned by Amazon. because of this, traditional bookstores, while they can order your books, typically won’t. If your book has a Create Space – assigned ISBN number, physical bookstores will probably not carry it. You may not care – Amazon controls most of the book sales, and again, your real reason for having a book is to establish credibility and let you be recognized as an expert in your field. But if you do care, here is how you overcome this:

Be Your Own Publisher

Being your own publisher is not nearly as scary as it sounds, but it does require some additional work over just using Create Space. The first thing you need to do is to buy your own ISBN number(s). You do this through a company called Bowker. A single ISB will cost you $125, but you can buy a package of 10 for $295. I recommend doing the latter, as each format of your book must have its own number. Here is a link to their site: https://www.myidentifiers.com/get-your-isbn-now

Once you have your own ISBN, head over to Ingram Spark (http://www.ingramspark.com/). Ingram is the distrbutor used by most book stores (including Amazon), to purchase their books. Set up an account an use Ingram’s print on demand services to publish your book. This also gives you the advantage that you can create hard cover versions of your book (which Create Space does not provide). So, besides requiring more work, what’s the downside to Ingram? It costs more than a comparable book on create Space. Their templates are harder to use, so you may have to be a little more technical.

But, you will not only have the option of selling in bookstores, your books will also be available on Amazon. As it turns out, you can use both Create Space and Ingram Spark for the same title. With create space, you can upload your own ISBN numbers and use them to print your paperback versions, then upload a different ISBN number to Ingram and use them to print your hard cover versions. Both will be available on Amazon, and you will have the best of both worlds. This is what I did for my book, The Influencer Effect, and what I recommend.

Recommendation

Remember, the reason for publishing a book is to set you apart from your competitors and establish your self as an authority on what you are selling. There are way too many books out there that are not worth the paper they are written on. While a book makes a great calling card, it whould be substantial enough that it actually looks like a book, and not a sales brochure. As such, it should be at least 100 pages when printed at 6″x9″ (about 50 8.5″ x 11″ pages). Make sure the book provides real value with actionable information and isn’t all sales hype. If you write a credible book, it will set you apart from your competition, whether you are a dentist, an accountant, an insurance salesman, or you are selling widget in a brick and mortar store.