has the name every author solutions service would love to have got their hands on. Company founder Ron Pramschufer, a veteran of the print and publishing industry and author of the widely popular self-publishing guide, Publishing Basics – a Guide for the Small Press and Independent Self-Publisher (Navigating the Self Publishing Minefield)
, proved to be the first to spot the huge potential of the Internet as a communications tool in 1997. Selfpublishing.com actually started out as RJCommunications (http://www.rjcomm.com/
), before evolving into http://www.booksjustbooks.com/
, and finally in 2009 into www.selfpublishing.com/
. Though each incarnation of the original company is still in operation, Selfpublishing.com is now the recognised and dedicated wing for authors looking for self-publishing services. The other two company brands focus on the corporate print sector for publishers and business as well as Resell Book Printing.
Selfpublishing.com is based in New York City and the core principal and by-line of the company is ‘Helping Authors Become Publishers’. This is certainly demonstrated by the company’s dedication to provide online guidance, two-way discussion and a website crammed with educational information on self-publishing. I don’t think I have every come across an author solutions service so committed to providing an insight into the strengths as well as the pitfalls of becoming a self-published author. In fact, Pramschufer’s book, Publishing Basics, is available as a free e-book for download on their website.
When impresses me most about Selfpublishing.com is their openness to disclose a full listing of their key staff and detail their experience in the print and publishing industry. If there is one thing poor author solutions services all have in common, it is a complete lack of experience in the industry. Selfpublishing.com lists amply skilled managers and staffers from Abbeville Press, Alfred A. Knopf, iUniverse, Doubleday Publishing, Random House, Modern Publishing, and McGraw-Hill Publishing with careers in Print, Design, Graphic Art, Marketing, Sales, Book Project Managing, Web Design, Researchers and Book Coaching. The list of credentials would make many medium-sized independent publishers envious.
It is important to emphasise at this point Selfpublishing.com are not a publishers, nor do they present themselves in any way as publishers. What they do and provide for authors is in their company by-line. They make authors publishers
. Selfpublishing.com fit more neatly into the group of author solutions services I term DIY Printer/Publishers, like Lulu, CreateSpace and York Publishing Services. There are no tailored publishing packages on offer here, but rather a menu of individual or collection of services appropriate for what a particular author may be looking for to produce, publish and market their books. It is why they break one of my rules regarding the presence of books on the main website page. But then, Selfpublishing.com do not profess to sell books—rather they give authors the education, guidance, means, tools and services to do exactly that—sell their books. That said, there is a link to the online bookstore at http://www.justbookz.com/
and that is presented much in the way you will expect to see any good online bookstore. It features many of the books by authors who have used Selfpublshing.com’s services as well as the listings of micro and small independent press publishers.
Selfpublishing.com approach the process with authors in four key steps—education, preparation, book printing, and finally marketing and distribution. In this regard, I am going to break with normal tradition in these reviews and follow the allocated four steps Selfpublishing.com have adopted as the model of business for authors using their services. That way, I can give a better account and assessment of the services they have to offer and how they will be suit authors considering Selfpublishing.com as a serious option for their book project.
Step One – Education
“Step one is “Education”. This is where you are going to learn as much as you can about what lies ahead. Our book, Publishing Basics – A Guide for the Small Press and Independent Self-Publisher will help get you started. You can either order it through the www.JustBookz.com bookstore or send me an email with your address and I will mail you a copy for free. You should also spend some time at www.publishingbasics.com and read the current newsletter as well as prior issues. They all contain valuable information that will aid you in your publishing effort.”
The Publishing Basics free e-book is the core of step one, but that also goes along with a highly informative website full of candid information on self-publishing, including their online FAQ
pages, the Publishing Basics Newsletter
, links to their own radio podcasts
and articles on avoiding the pitfalls of self-publishing and vanity publishers
. The company are also contactable through email, question forms and direct telephone lines.
Step Two – Preparation
“You have finished your manuscript. Your ten best friends plus your mother have told you your book is GREAT. You have made up your mind that there is a market for your book beyond your ten best friends. You have decided to self publish your book and hopefully become the next Tom Clancy. Your Tenth Grade English teacher has read over your manuscript caught a few typos and gave you further encouragement to self publish. Do you really need a book editor? Yes, No and Maybe.”
Selfpublishing.com presents the author with the option of using editorial services if they see their book as more than just for family and friends. I tend to strongly concur with the advice provided regarding what level and expense should be afforded to editing services at this stage of a book’s inception. At the very worst, an author can use a combination of MS Word and the input of an academic friend versed with some basic editorial skills, and at best, a full edit of the book by a professional editor.
Selfpublishing.com are pretty much in line with market costs per word, with a basic proofread of a 200pp 80k book coming in at $800, rising all the way to a full substantive edit at $1360 for the same book. These are base starting prices dependent on the amount of work needed. The proofread looks a little higher than I might expect and the substantive, if anything, a little lower. I’d have expected a substantive edit to come it at $2000+, but again, these are starting prices. Quite why per word quotes are given, and described as ‘starting’, puzzles me. The either are per word, or they are not!
Selfpublishing.com provides free templates
, direction and guides on designing internal layout with MS Word
, and other useful design articles. They provide a full breakdown of individual design services of anything the self-publishing author could possible need from single barcodes, registered to the author or their imprint name at $25. They are recognised as an official selling agent of Bowkers, the national ISBN agency. The following is just a sample of some a la carte services at the design stage.