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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is Self-Publishing Right For You?

Have you ever thought of self publishing? If so, you'll want to hear what my guest has to say. Bill Benitez is the author of a book about self publishing.  Bill, tell us why you decided to self publish and why you think it's a good idea for other people to do it.

Many years ago I worked for government in the housing field and a national organization asked me to write a book on housing rehabilitation. There was no money in it but valuable national recognition. I wrote the book and it was edited and designed entirely by someone else. In all honesty, the end product was a good book but it wasn’t my book even though I got credit. After this I knew that I would write many more books but I would control every aspect of the publishing.

Before the advent of POD, when self publishing required a significant investment, I wrote and published a half dozen books and a monthly newsletter on housing. These books were not as slick as the first one but they were popular and sold well within the niche.

Based on that experience I self publish because I wish to write what I choose and present it to my readers in the form they would appreciate. I’ve been fortunate to get many good reviews but that isn’t as important as keeping my own voice in my books. That is the reason I believe it’s a good idea for others also.

There are many people out there with interesting life stories, valuable knowledge, and excellent skills they would like to share with others. Most of these individuals could write a book alone or with some help and the take the time to learn about self publishing and publish their book.

Many are defeated because they fear failure or criticism because their book doesn’t meet certain standards. Just remember that the only real standards are set by your readers. If they buy and like your book, the opinion of the gatekeepers is irrelevant.



Frustration With Traditional Publishers Leads To Self Publishing


In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.


As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.


After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.


After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.
Planning The Book - The Outline
The Plan
Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise
plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some
knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little
concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for
your book.
The Outline
You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to
your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing
them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on
individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have
listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic
logically follows the previous one.
Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add
whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t
worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as
much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all
these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move
them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the
section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full
advantage of an outline to create your book.
Your Objective
If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more
appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the
market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your
book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.
Knowing Your Market
While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a
book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your
book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those
interested in your book and how to reach them.
While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self
publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so
it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a
strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is
in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased
sales before you even publish.
The Final Format
In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to
be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some
books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is
considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is
the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that
work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for
the Kindle in chapter fourteen.
Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with
both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be
part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage
of them is covered in other chapters.
When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my
wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through
similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s
books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use
for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very
interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way.
There were some similarities but many more differences. The important
thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were
obviously many ways to do that.
There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the web
site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will
have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going
to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are
also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe
that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your
book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as
there are publishers.
If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design
blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved
in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things
that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining
professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose
the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so
helpful, at least while publishing your first book

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
From age twelve I spent my summers and weekends working with my dad, a general contractor, building homes and buildings. I contracted my first home at age nineteen and built my own home by age twenty. For more than 30 years I have operated one-person businesses. Twelve years of my life were spent working for local government managing federally-assisted housing programs. I started as an inspector with a three month assignment and was Director of Community Improvement with 78 employees when I resigned to do writing and consulting.
Writing, Publishing and Consulting
During the 80’s I established Rehab Notes Library a publishing company that published a monthly newsletter (Rehab Notes) with subscribers in all 50 states, Canada and England. I also did consulting and public speaking on housing related topics for agencies and organizations in cities across the country and testified before the U.S. Congress on housing issues.
I wrote and published nine guidebooks on the subject of housing rehabilitation. After 1980 when most federal funding was pulled from housing activities, I took advantage of my construction and business experience and started a handyman and woodworking business.
Over Twenty Years of Woodworking
For over twenty years, first in Tampa, Florida and then in Austin, Texas, I built hundreds of small and large cabinet and furniture projects for individuals, companies and government agencies. During these years I began writing books about my woodworking business experiences.
Positive Publishing
In 2007 I established Positive Imaging, LLC, to publish a children’s book for my wife and then begin publishing my own books and that of other using methods I call positive publishing. To date we have published twelve paperback books, a half dozen ebooks, and presently have several books in various levels of completion.
Computer Experience
My computer experience dates back more than fifteen years and began in response to poor technical support for our computers.   I used home study to acquire A+ and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Certifications.
I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and moved to Austin, Texas in 1986, where I now live with my wife, Barbara Frances. We have three adult children, eight grand-children, and two great grandchildren.
1.       Self Publishing Book Sales Pages
a.       Main Sales/Info Page –
b.      Createspace Fulfillment Page -
2.       Main Positive Imaging, LLC Site –
3.       Self Publishing Support Blog -   -
4.       PublishingSimplified Blog -
"Hey, Nikki, guess what Bill's giving away?"
"Tell me."
"He's giving a $5 Amazon gift certificate at EVERY blog as well as a $50 gift certificate to a grand prize winner."
"Hurry, Elizabeth, we have to comment. I want to win this thing."






Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Bill Benitez said...

Thanks for hosting my book. I hope your readers will comment or ask questions. I will be glad to answer them.


bn100 said...

Good advice to share

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Mary Preston said...

There is the control aspect that would appeal.


Emily said...

Great advice, I know I'm scared to publish my book, and I've thought of self publishing myself.