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Guest Post: Self-Publishing Issues by Hank Quense

Today I’m pleased to bring you yet another bit of authorial assistance from Hank Quense. Today’s focus: self-publishing. If you haven’t seen Hank’s other posts on children’s writing workshops, helping children create stories, or creating a professional webpage, check them out! Enjoy…

Self-publishing Issues
by Hank Quense

I’ve been self-publishing my fiction and non-fiction books for over ten years. I have also met and dealt with many authors who struggle to self-publish a book for the first time. These struggles are especially acute when the self-publishing involves an ebook.

While the potential problems are many, four areas stand out. These areas are:

  • Not understanding the self-publishing concept
  • Ebook formatting considerations
  • Understanding who the book’s customers are
  • Scammers

Let’s start with the first issue. The concept behind self-publishing is this: the author is the publisher. That means the author has to do all the tasks a publisher would do if the author sold the book to the publisher. In other words, the author must get (and pay for) a unique cover, have the manuscript professionally edited and format the manuscript in accordance with the Epub3 standard and complete other tasks before the book becomes available. Unfortunately, as the author uses the web to research how to go about the publishing chores, he will be subjected to a wealth of mis-information and bad advice. The most serious mis-information will lead the author to believe all he has to do is finish writing the manuscript and upload it. Ebooks that are published this way are the reason self-publishing has an unsavory reputation.

The second issue has to do with the Epub3 Standard. This standard dictates how ebooks must be formatted. It’s written to make reading an ebook a pleasant experience for the reader and it doesn’t have the author in mind. The problem for the author is that what they see on the screen of their computer is what a print book will look like, not an ebook. Word processor default settings assume the material will be printed and these defaults conflict with the Epub3 Standard. As an example of the changes that have to be made to satisfy the Standard, all page breaks have to be removed as do page numbers. Another big issue is indenting the first line of a new paragraph. Using the tab key or the space bar to indent violates the Standard and that violation has to be corrected throughout the manuscript.

The third issue refers to marketing. Understanding who the book’s customers are isn’t as straight forward as one may think. For instance, if you authored a children’s picture book, you may think the customers are the kids. But kids don’t have money or credit cards. Kids don’t browse in book stores and on the web. So, the customers for a picture book are the kid’s parents, grandparents and other family members. When it comes to book marketing, your marketing plan has to start with a strategic plan. Identifying the customers is just one aspect in that plan.

Finally, newbie self-publishing authors will soon run into scammers who “offer” service packages to help the author format the book, publish the book, market the book, etc. The simple fact is that the scammers swarm all over the web looking for new authors who are struggling to publish and market their book. Fending them off is constant concern.

Although the issues mentioned do exist, thousands of other self-publishing authors have successfully published their book and so can you. It helps enormously however to be aware of these issues as you start your self-publishing journey.

~ ~ ~

For those who are considering self-publishing a book, but aren’t sure how to go about doing it, I recommend you check out my Self-publishing Starter Kit. The Kit is a bundle of four lectures to get you going on the right track. You can find the Self-publishing Starter Kit at this link: https://bit.ly/2OVOgjp.

You can also visit the Fiction Writing and Self-publishing Solutions page at: https://padlet.com/hanque/rph7u51miayn

About Hank Quense

Bio:
Hank Quense writes satirical fantasy and sci-fi. Early in his writing career, he was strongly influenced by two authors: Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Happily, Hank has never quite recovered from those experiences.

He lives with his wife in northern New Jersey, a mere 20 miles from Manhattan, the center of the galaxy (according to those who live in
Manhattan). They have two daughters and five grandchildren all of whom live nearby.

For vacations, Hank and Pat usually visit distant parts of the galaxy. Occasionally, they also time-travel.

Besides writing novels, Hank lectures on fiction writing, publishing and book marketing. He is most proud of his talk showing grammar school kids how to create a short story. He used these lectures to create an advanced ebook with embedded videos to coach the students on how to create characters, plots and setting. The target audience is 4th to 7th graders. The book’s title is Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids.

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