What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is a different approach to publishing – one in which the author coordinates all publishing-related activities, such as editing, typesetting, cover designing, printing and book distribution, that are needed to successfully produce a book and ensure its sales. The author bears the cost of production and decides the rate of royalty, while retaining all rights to the book.

The decision to self-publish must be a well-thought one. You should be aware that you are bypassing the traditional publishing route and are almost on your own. You need to shop around for the best publisher/printer for your work and be prepared to work very hard to promote your book. As an author, you must be aware that self-published books rarely hit the best-sellers list and, unless backed by a well laid out marketing strategy, frequently fail to recoup the initial investment. That said, we have had many instances where the author has made good on his investments and even earned a bit for himself. Self-publishing should therefore not be taken lightly, and requires a lot of work to make it work.

Once you decide to self-publish, you become responsible for all aspects of your book’s publication, promotion and sales. Most self-publishers either take care of the details themselves or pay someone to do it for them. We strongly support self-publishing when it is done for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The subject of the book is one that you, as an author, consider important but caters to the tastes of a small group of people. Examples of this are books of poetry, experimental fiction, autobiographies, genealogies, essays, academic writing, books that focus on solving a specific problem or those that appeal only to a specific region. As an author, you must be realistic about the commercial appeal of your book as doing so will help you manage expectations.
  • You want to use your book as a tool for publicizing your skills. Such a course of action is frequently used by authors who want to build their reputation in a chosen field by getting their name out – a business card of sorts.
  • You have written a book that needs constant revision. One of our earliest publications was a series of textbooks for an astrobiology class. Each year, as new discoveries became known, the textbooks were updated to include new material.
  • It’s your book the way you want it. Self-publishing gives you complete control on the final shape of your book. The cover, content and layout are all set according to your wishes. What’s more, you can change any aspect of your book with each copy (subject to ISBN-related rules).
  • You wish to retain all rights to your book. These include rights to translate, convert to other formats and media and the right to reprint. Traditional publishers usually retain all rights to your book and you are unable to get copies reprinted if the publisher does not approve of it. When you self-publish, you decide when the next copy of your book gets printed.
  • You have already established a market. This is often the case with people who write business or self-help books and use them in coordination with seminars and workshops. Others use their blogs or their facebook and twitter pages to estimate the number of people who might buy their book.
  • You are prepared to market the book yourself and believe that you can make a profit. If you plan to market your own book, take the time to learn about marketing and to develop a marketing plan. This is important because your book will not sell if you do not market it adequately.

Major publishers have little interest in books that aren’t going to make them a substantial profit. Smaller publishers are often satisfied with less profit, but publish only a few books a year. It can be hard to find a suitable publisher. The costs of self-publishing are much less than they once were, but publishing a book is still a substantial investment of both money and time. Consider such a move carefully.

(adapted from text by the Writer’s Resource Center) How Should I Proceed?
  1. Itemize Your Costs: Possible costs include: your time, type-setting, editing, permissions for quotations, proofreading, barcoding, printing and binding, distributing, publicity, selling, handling and storage. CinnamonTeal offers all the services mentioned above at reasonable rates. We can therefore be a one-stop shop should you choose to write your own book.
  2. Get an ISBN: An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique, 10- or 13-digit identification number that allows publishers, libraries, and book dealers to locate books. Having an ISBN means that your book will appear in bibliographic databases that booksellers refer to help them locate the publisher of a book so they can order it. For your book, you may use an ISBN obtained by you or you may use one issued by us. If you use an ISBN that you have obtained, the book will be “published by you”. If you use one that belongs to us, the book will be “published by CinnamonTeal”. Please note that we will issue an ISBN only after the manuscript is reviewed for content and layout.
  3. Consider professional editing, design, indexing and proofreading: If your book must be taken seriously, it needs to be properly edited and laid out. We offer all of these services but you could arrange to have this done yourself.
  4. Plan distribution: Ensure that your book is distributed widely, both through offline and online media. If published by CinnamonTeal, your book automatically qualifies for distribution through several offline and online channels. This, distribution, service is provided as part of our marketing services.
  5. Get your book printed in desired quantities.
  6. Plan publicity: You are your book’s greatest champion and we want nothing to hold you back while you market your book.

For authors serious about developing their own book, on their own terms, self-publishing offers some exciting prospects. This without compromising at all with the quality of the finished book.