Selfpublishing #3

There are numerous ways to go about ‘self publishing’ your work, and they all have their pro’s & con’s. For my novel, I chose to actually start-up my own small publishing company, and instead of printing books on demand (POD), I bought a block of ISBN numbers and planned to make actual ‘print runs’ of X amount of copies, as well as keep an eye out for interesting titles from other unpublished authors.

Speaking of print runs, the first one was a touch over 2000 copies, and the second (which came in just last week) was 5000+.

I worked with a company called RJ Communications that kept offices in New York and had affiliations with a small to medium run printer in Brainerd, Minnesota. RJ turned out to be a fantastic choice, but there were some obvious challenges associated with working with a company whose offices were located so far away that it was not practical to ever go there in person.

Many people choose to go with local designers and printers for just that reason—because the design & layout of your ‘book’ files is a very tricky piece of work (and unless you have extensive experience with this, don’t even think of doing it yourself!), and it is enough to give you an ulcer to just stick the whole project in a series of electronic packages and simply send it off into limbo, not knowing what’s going on with it for days at a time….

With a local designer, you can sit down in their office and have a look at the documents as they’re being formatted and make decisions accordingly—and trust me, there will be a lot of decisions to make; if it’s your first time designing a book, you’ll be blown away by how much work actually goes into making a book ‘look good’. Things that you completely took for granted while reading other books over the years will suddenly become very significant to you!

But (and you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, right?), small regional companies tend to be very expensive in the long run, this was certainly the case with my local Missoula & Helena area, and I found that I could design & print with RJ for a fraction of the cost of competing local services, and ultimately this swayed me.

Here is a free download that RJ Communications offers which I highly recommend to the prospective self publisher: Publishing Basics–Navigating the Self Publishing Minefield

This is a huge subject, and I plan to delve yet deeper in future posts!

Thanks for tuning in—more to follow….


4 Responses to “Selfpublishing #3”

  1. I am so impressed when anyone can actually conceive of and write a book. I’m loving learning not only about your adventures in mushing and the Northland, but also about the adventure of creating literature from these experiences and of getting that literature out into the world. Thanks for giving us a window into the whole process!

    • Thank you for your positive comment, Beth 🙂 I’m so glad that you are enjoying my humble attempt at joining the blogosphere!
      I look forward to keeping an eye on your writing as well; though I’m a musher from the mountains of Montana, my interests are many and varied (most of the blogs I’m subscribing to are on the subjects of literature/art/parenting/sociology/psychology), and I love meeting people & making new friends from outside my normal circles.
      Well met, and look forward to reading your future materials 🙂


  2. Great post Jason as always. I have been struggling with the prospect of self publishing my first book for years. I have it 90% complete and it pretty much sits on the external hard drive waiting for the next step. I will take your advice and look into other avenues in the near future.


    • Thanks for sharing that, Robert 🙂 Self publishing is a viable alternative to ‘real’ publishing, but a whole lot of work. Tell us about your book sometime!


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