Publish like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing is a concise, insight-filled book of advice, ideas, & tips for authors considering self-publishing their book.
In less than 80 pages, Michele DeFilippo, a fee-based professional book designer, provides a welcome, fresh perspective on the role that quality plays in self-publishing success.
It’s a book that needed to be written, to alert authors considering self-publishing to the pitfalls that can trap the unwary who hire self-publishing companies that often focus on high-volume, automated, template-driven solutions rather than custom design and consultation.
The quality difference
In her Acknowledgments, Michele DeFilippo salutes those in the self-publishing community “who have the courage to stand for quality work.” She continues:
“It’s not easy to tell people what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear.”
Along the way to educating readers to the marketing benefits of quality book cover and inside page design, Michele DeFilippo tells an interesting story that happened early in her firm’s transition from a professional designer serving traditional book publishers to a designer serving self-published authors. Self-published authors are generally unaware of:
- The role that design plays in selling more book by creating a visually magnetic cover that attracts attention, projects an appropriate image, and sets the book apart from its competition.
- The steps involved in designing a book cover and layout for the inside pages, which must reflect the book’s content and style.
- The proper procedures for efficient editing in order to save time and minimize unnecessary changes during book layout and production.
Publish Like the Pros contains and Introduction plus 6 tip-filled chapters:
- Before You Start provides an overview, including The Truth About Self-Publishing and Six Steps to a Quality Book, a timeline and parable.
- About Your Cover. This chapter emphasizes the importance of your book’s title and back-cover copy, plus tips describing how authors can help their book designers do the best work possible.
- Editing. This chapter describes the different types of editing, such as the difference between copy editing and substantive editing–which focuses more on the words you use and the sequence (and completeness) of your ideas.
- Interior Layout. This chapter may surprise you, with the many design and production nuances that result in attractive, easy-to-read pages. Word-processors and templates do not eliminate the need for care and craftsmanship.
- Proofreading. How and when your book is proofed can play a major role in the costs of layout and typesetting. The key is to get your book professionally proofed as early as possible, in order to avoid paying for changes after your manuscript has been formatted and laid out. Simply adding, deleting, or editing, a sentence can create problems that ripple through dozens of following pages.
- Distribution, Pricing, and Marketing. One of the biggest takeaways from this chapter is the difference between distributing a book (which can refer to merely adding it to a online database) versus marketing a book (creating an ongoing demand for your book and making it easy to buy).
Other important takeaways from Chapter 6 include the importance of making your book available in multiple formats, i.e., both ebook and print versions to satisfy all buyer preferences, and a discussion of pricing.
Availability versus sales
In Chapter 1, Before You Start, Michele DeFilippo quotes an alarming statistic. She writes:
While it may be tempting to use a vanity service that promises to do everything for you at a price you can afford, there are more important numbers to consider, namely book sales. The largest of the so-called “self-publishing companies” report that the average author sells fifty books.
That’s a fairly alarming statistic, which contradicts the whole idea of writing a book to drive your business.
Available from Amazon.com for under $10 in both print and Kindle versions, Publish Like the Pros offers an attractive and readable introduction to the importance of design for self-publishing success, along with dozens of ideas and tips. It’s a bargain price to pay for access to decades of professional design expertise and advice. After you’ve read it, please share your comments, below!