My Introduction to Self-Publishing

A number of years ago, my husband and I wrote a children’s inductive Bible study on the Book of Mark. I don’t recall what inspired us to do it, but we had a lot of fun: the lessons, the questions, and the illustrations. We did not really have an audience for it, other than our own kids, but the idea of having it published became foremost in our minds.

Submitting it to a publisher didn’t seem realistic, but when I found an ad in a magazine for a printing/publishing company, I wrote for information. I believe it was a standard deal for the time; the writer paid to have it printed and for a minimum number of copies. I don’t remember what that minimum was, but I remember that it would have cost us $6000. We didn’t have $6000 so that was the end of that.

Since I have started blogging, I have learned about online print-on-demand publishing. There is nominal upfront cost and no minimum books to order. The books are printed “on demand,” i.e. as they are ordered. The publisher retains the printing cost and has either a precentage they keep on each book, or an annual fee to keep the book listed in their catalogues.

On the plus side of self-publishing is being able to retain the rights to one’s own work including content and format, higher royalties, and no middle man (agent). On the negative side, the self-published author is responsible for delivering a print ready product, which, I am discovering, is a lot of work. Advertising and promotion fall to the self-published author as well.

In spite of all the work involved, I find that I love the process. It is a creative process every step of the way. I don’t feel like I’m writing a book, I feel like I’m building a book. Step by step it is beginning to take shape.

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