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Passion, People and Principles

Self-Publishing: Becoming a Publisher

post # 422 — August 24, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post

Last week, Adam J Fein commented in one of my self-publishing blogposts. He asked:

Are you using your primary company as the “publisher” or are you setting up a separate publishing company? (Actually, I don’t know your corporate structure, but I have heard that LS only works with “publishers” not individual authors.)

Did you hire people to perform the services normally provided by a publisher, such as an editor, designer, or publicist? If so, any tips on finding these professionals? If not, why did you decide to go it alone?


Adam, you’re right that Lightening source only deals with “publishers”, but I found out that all it takes to become a publisher is to purchase some ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) from www.bowker.com It cost me about $450 to get 10 numbers (just in case I want to publish books other than my own.)

I also had to get a certificate from my City Hall (Boston,MA) to let them know I would be trading as “The Spangle Press” (a sole proprietership.) It was bureaucratic, but not very time consuming. I just needed a form notarized. But it keeps the costs and income from the books separate from the consulting business, which I wanted just for clarity.

I have the best support team in the world: www.stresslimitdesign.com They found me a great person to design the book, and I plan to split my publicity between two people — an online person to promote to bloggers (Julien Smith at http://inoveryourhead.net ) and a “real world” PR person to promote to traditional media. Mark Fortier, Fortier Public Relations (www.fortierpr.com) has been highly recommended to me — which is the ONLY way to find any professional provider, right?

Note that I would have had to hire the publicity folks anyway — publishers don’t spend money on marketing. So, the incremental costs have been the design and editing, but I expect to earn a much higher percentage of the book’s cover price by self-publishing. I expect to “earn back” the fixed costs of setting it all up within the first month!


Duncan said:

David – I have been meaning to thank you for your generosity in sharing all that you are learning about self-publishing. Thanks very much.

Having seen them in action, I would have to say that the team at StressLimit are truly incredible.

posted on August 24, 2007

Coert Visser said:

I second what Duncan says: thanks a lot, David, for the information about ‘self-publishing’. I haven’t been too pleased with a publisher I have worked with. Seems like a good plan to publish a next book myself.

posted on August 25, 2007

Nettie Hartsock said:

HI David,

Great stuff. I would also recommend that anyone interested in how all this works as far as self-publishing read Peter Bowerman’s book, “The Well-Fed Self Publisher.” And join the Independent Publisher’s Association – http://www.pma-online.org/ -.

Those are both resources I give to anyone I work with or take on as a client in terms of publicity if it’s a self-published book.

Great luck on all that you’re doing!

posted on August 27, 2007