Tips for Self-Publishing Books

Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich says that the secret to being successful is knowing that, "Within every adversity is the seed of an equal or greater benefit." It's up to each one of us to make that seed grow. This is certainly the case with my book, "Crystal Reports .NET Programming". I originally wrote it for Apress publishing and we all felt it would be a best selling book. Unfortunately, the market took a turn for the worse and book sales in general really dropped. So Apress cancelled my book contract. I was pretty disappointed and I tried getting other publishers to take it. No one wanted it. To make the best out of a bad situation I put the whole book on the internet for free so that at least people could benefit from my hard work. After having the book online for a year I got so much great response from people that I decided to self-publish it. I had no idea what I was about to get into, but I figured that it was worth the risk. It was the best decision I made. It was a great learning experience (as well as profitable) and I decided to never use a publisher again. As Napolean Hill said, this adversity carried the seed of a much greater benefit.


After becoming public knowledge that I self-published, I've gotten various emails from existing and prospective authors considering self-publishing. This is obviously a hot topic, so I decided to post all my notes here so that everyone can benefit. Self-publishing isn't easy, but if you have the self-discipline to write a book, then the final steps will be a piece of cake!


Note: If you find this page helpful and you have a website or blog, PLEASE take a minute to link to this page so that it can be Googled by others in the future. That's the only way people will find this information.

Who is this page for?

I wrote this page for two audiences. The first, and largest audience, is the person considering writing a book for the first time. It's exciting to think about having your own book and its important for you to get as much information about the subject as possible. Since it can be difficult and intimidating to find a publisher to accept a book from a new author, self-publishing can be a more realistic alternative to getting a publisher. However, I think that if you are a brand new author, then getting a publisher is the best means of attaining success. Self-publishing is very intensive since you have to do everything yourself. Writing the book is hard enough without having to worry about editing, type-setting and printing. Another benefit of using a publisher is that they have experience working with first-time authors and they know the tricks of keeping authors on a schedule, cleaning up your work, and making sure that the book is bookstore worthy. Publishers provide a great stepping-stone for first time authors. So its nice to think about self-publishing a book, but having a publisher will help you out when you make mistakes and they can keep you on the right path.


Since writing a book requires an almost herculean effort, 99.9% of the people reading this page will never write a book. It's fun to think about being an author and it helps pass some time during a slow workday. In fact, I was in this category for the past 15 years. I would daydream about how fun it would be to write a book and see it in bookstores. I knew it was unrealistic to think that it would ever happen, but it was fun to play with the idea. 15 years later various things happened which gave me the opportunity to make this dream come true. Now I'm considering making book publishing a fulltime career. Life is funny that way. Hopefully, something similar will happen for some of you. You might not see your name on a book cover this year or next year, but if you keep the dream in your mind and don't let it die then one day you might be able to see it come true.


The second audience that I wrote this page for is the experienced author. If this is you, you already know the ropes of how the publishing industry works and what kind of money you make from your existing books. You are at the point where you feel confident enough to consider branching out on your own and seeing if you can make a viable career out of self-publishing. This can be a little scary since you are used to using a publisher to do most of the work for you (except marketing which is always the authors job if you want it done right). For you I hope that this page educates you on the risks and rewards of self-publishing and maybe even convinces you to break out on your own. Consider that I am a little known author and new to the field of writing. I worked on two books for Apress and Wrox (then Wrox went bankrupt and the title was acquired by Apress) so I really don't have much experience in this field. However, my self-published book on Crystal Reports consistently ranks between 5,000 and 10,000 on Amazon. I have made considerably more money than I would have made if I had a publisher. Assuming that you are an established author with a solid track record, you could do exponentially better than I'm doing just by doing a little more work and assuming more risk. The rewards for you could be great. I know some authors who are so successful that if they would have taken the self-publishing route then instead of making a decent six-figures in royalties they could have literally made a million dollars (I'm not exagerrating). These are the authors that I truly hope read this page. Why keep giving all your royalties to a publisher when you are the one who is responsible for all the success your books have had? If nothing else, self-publishing at least one book teaches you so much about the book industry that you will be a much more informed writer and have a better understanding of what your publisher does and doesn't do for you. Open your mind and take a little risk and see how much better you could be doing financially if you self-published.