I love helping authors realize their book dreams and, over the years, self-publishing has certainly become more popular. But, there’s still confusion around self-publishing primarily because the increased interest in going this route has given rise to the vanity or subsidy publishing industry.

However, please understand that when I say self-publishing, or independent publishing, I’m not talking about subsidy publishing.

Companies like Author Solutions (also doing business as AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Palibrio, Trafford, Balboa Press, and Xlibris) are not true self-publishing models. They are subsidy publishers that rarely provide authors with the value they are looking for or a quality end product. Just Google any of the above and the search results will include a multitude of complaints from disgruntled authors. Make no mistake, subsidy publishers profit from the authors, not for them.

What Exactly is Independent Publishing?

If you have a message or a story to share, independent publishing is truly the quickest way to get that message or story out there. You have likely worked on your manuscript for months, if not years, so wouldn’t you feel more comfortable to continue to be in the driver’s seat once you have finished writing? True self-publishing means that as the author you are also the publisher. You make all the decisions and have all the control. You also choose the service providers that work on your project, such as editors and designers, and these are one-time only expenses.

Independent publishing also means you are not paid royalties, unlike subsidy publishing. If you sell the book yourself, say at the back of the room where you’re giving a talk on your area of expertise, your profits are based on the retail price you have set, minus the printing cost, which is considerably more than royalties. But, that doesn’t mean you have to do all the selling yourself, one book at a time!

Printing or Manufacturing

For the printing or manufacturing of your book, I recommend Lightning Source Inc. (LSI), which also has a branch specifically for small and independent publishers called Ingram Spark, for one very good reason. LSI is owned by the largest book wholesaler/distributor in North America, Ingram Book Company. What that means for authors is that any bookstore anywhere in the world has access to your book, including online retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters-Indigo in Canada. If you’re a coach with clients worldwide, chances are pretty good that you can point those clients to a bookstore in their part of the world to access your book. Yes, retailer discounts need to be provided (this is set-up within your account) to make it viable for bookstores to order and sell your book in the ever-changing and competitive book industry, but fulfilment, shipping and handling are taken care of by Ingram Book Company. LSI is a print-on-demand printer so minimum quantities are not an issue should you wish to sell your book directly.

Finally, LSI’s quality is superior. A past author client was overjoyed with how his book turned out and bookstore owners made a point of telling him that his book looked professionally published. LSI is not only for self-published authors—many publishers use LSI for book manufacturing because of their top-notch services.

I hope I’ve shed some light on the independent publishing journey, however, I understand that this route can feel daunting and overwhelming. As a certified publishing professional, I can help you navigate this territory, ensure your vision for your book is realized and that you will be proud to have your name on it.