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Review: Self-Printed – The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard

self-printed

“Do you think that no one has the right to stand between you and your published writer dreams? That the publishing industry is going down in flames and self-publishers are going to rise like a 99c phoenix from the ashes? That all literary agents are interested in doing is blogging sarcastically about the rhetorical question at the start of your query letter, that editors will just use your submitted manuscript for kindling and that you’ll be senile before you hear back from either of them? That once you’ve uploaded the book you finished yesterday afternoon to Amazon, it’ll be mere minutes before the money starts rolling in and you can quit your day job? Do you say things like “gatekeepers”, “The Big Five”, “E.L. James”, “legacy publishing” and “indie author” a lot? Are you self-publishing to “show them all”?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions then I do apologise, but this isn’t the book for you. This book is for writers who consider self-publishing to be a good Plan B, or even a sideline to traditional publication. Who want to do it the cheapest and easiest way possible while still producing a quality product. Who understand that much like Starbucks outlets and Nespresso coffee machines, traditional and self-publishing can peacefully co-exist. Writers who know that they don’t have to sell a million copies of their book to start earning a living from their writing, but that they do have to work hard and treat it like a business. Who are blessed with common sense and live in the real world at least most of the time. Who find my jokes funny…

If this sounds like you, then Self-Printed may be just the “How To…” guide you were looking for. It will tell you everything you need to know in order to publish a Print On Demand paperback and e-book, and (crucially) sell them, without sounding like anti-Big Publishing propaganda produced by the Ministry of Truth.

Be warned: you are now entering a No Saying “Gatekeepers” Zone…”

What I thought:

As with so many books these days I came across this one in my library. The only difference being that this time, I was actively searching for a book on how to self-publish. Since we don’t have many books on the subject this one stood out rather easily so I took it out, read the whole thing and went on to buy my own (updated) copy.

If you’re a writer and you want to self-publish your book, this is the guide for you. It’s informative, covers everything you need and it’s funny. She has a brilliant sense of humour and speaks the same dialect of sarcasm as me, which made this entertaining on top of informative. It’s a great combination, let me tell ya!

Self-Printed was and still is a treasure-cove of information for me. It takes you through everything – from what to do once you’ve got the first draft done, over how to use Amazon to self-publish (and how to know whether you’re ready to take that huge step in the first place) right on to what to do afterwards. There are great ideas in there, including how to promote your book, how to use social media to your advantage, how to design your blog so that it doesn’t hurt the eyes of your readers, and how not to look self-published even though you are. Readers can be suspicious of self-published writers and often with good reason, so the last thing you want to do is look like you don’t know what you’re doing. You want to look like you’ve put in the same amount of effort a traditional publisher would put in, and this book tells you how to do that (without spending more money than necessary).

Oh, and did I mention she’s hilarious? It’s worth reading every single page just for the humour alone.

This book has answered a lot of questions for me. I’m pretty sure I owe her a coffee should I ever meet her in person, as well as a voucher for Starbucks. So, if you’re a new writer unsure about this self-publishing thing, this is the book for you. If you can’t afford to spend the money maybe you’re lucky and your local library has a copy or two. Having said that I do recommend you get your own copy – this is the kind of book you’ll keep coming back to and that’s much easier to do when you have a copy handy.

(it’s also pretty funny)

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Have you read Self-Printed? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

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