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The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living    by Peter Bowerman order for
Well-Fed Self-Publisher
by Peter Bowerman
Order:  USA  Can
Fanove, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Peter Bowerman, author of The Well-Fed Writer series (advising free-lancers on how to succeed in commercial writing), now brings us the next step in The Well-Fed Self-Publisher. His basic message is that 'When your profit per book (after all expenses) is three, four, five, or more times what you could make with a conventional publisher, you can generate a nice income stream with much lower sales numbers.' He tells us that self-publishing success is more about process than aptitude and explains process in some detail in following chapters. But he also warns early on that it's much tougher to succeed with fiction than non-fiction.

Bowerman calls the Internet the Great Equalizer that 'has made self-publishing exponentially more feasible than it once was.' He emphasizes the importance of the book's physical appearance, design and cover. Just as he did in The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds, Bowerman demystifies sales and marketing - with the objective of 'reaching those people who are in the market for your book.' He gives examples of what works, what doesn't, and explains why. He discusses what makes a book viable, how to put together a book proposal, and offers Seven Steps to a More Readable Book. He also reminds us that, even when working with the big publishers, most authors are still expected to do a great deal of the marketing themselves

Process is covered in detail including: Cover; Title & Subtitle; Back Cover Copy (e.g. Landing the Big-Name Blurb); Numbers, Forms, Registrations (like ISBN); Editing; Typesetting; Indexing; Binding and Pricing; and Print Runs. He includes several sample scenarios of book production costs. Next comes what's involved in building demand for the book including creating a website (mandatory), getting reviews, distribution (how to get your books into bookstores), dealing with mainstream media (including how to write press releases and get radio interviews), book signings, and offshoot businesses. Specific topics include how to set up a merchant account on a website, what fulfillment companies do, how Google book search works, Hacking Through the Jungle, and the viability of print on demand (caveat emptor!)

Anyone who's toyed with the notion of self-publishing or is seriously considering it, will find The Well-Fed Self-Publisher a useful, down to earth resource, full of pertinent tips from someone who's done it successfully several times now, and is still well-fed.

2nd Review by Deb Kincaid:

I'm a person who likes stuff spelled out for me. I don't like guessing, I get in trouble for presuming, and am highly allergic to risk taking. Normally, I'd approach a book like The Well-Fed Self-Publisher with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I know this author. I earlier reviewed Peter Bowerman's other title, The Well-Fed Writer. True to form, Bowerman not only spells out the publishing process item by item, he's also an exuberant cheerleader bent on convincing you that, yes, you can do this. And you'll believe him.

Right off the bat, Bowerman lets the hot air out of the self-publishing versus conventional publishing argument. In today's publishing environment, far more profit goes into your pocket with self-publishing, and you keep control of the process as well as the manuscript rights. Ultimately, according to Bowerman, 'Success as a self-publisher is far more a function of a process than an aptitude.'

The author explains the mysteries of ISBNs, PCNs, CIPs, PCIPs, and copyrights. He discusses copyeditors, interior book designers, indexers, as well as the importance of a good graphics designer and a killer cover. He gives the lowdown on costs, and what to handle yourself, versus what to outsource. Then, he tells you how to get it distributed to booksellers. Plus, there are more resources listed in appendices and available online. The Well-Fed Self-Publisher is the complete package. Real stuff from a straight shooter who's been there and done that.

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