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Dr. mOe's Self Publishing Road Map for Busy Professionals (2018 update)


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There is no better way to increase your brand awareness than writing a book. I know this from experience. I have been an author and journalist for almost 30 years. Six published books, 100's of articles, and several anthologies have my byline. My writing has led to a busy speaking career, coaching other speakers, back of the room sales at industry conferences whether I was speaking or not, and invitations to participate in major events where the intellectual exchange with other participants opened new, exciting doors for me. I wrote this in 2011 for an easy response to all the new authors who approach me for advice. I have updated it a few times but I did not publish the updates. I hope you find this version helpful. I'd love to get your feedback. Follow me @drmoeanderson

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Dr. mOe's Self Publishing Road Map for Busy Professionals (2018 update)

  1. 1. • Twitter: @drmoeanderson • Austin, Texas ©2011-2018. All rights reserved. Monica F. Anderson Dr. mOe Anderson’s Self-Publishing Quick Start Guide Step 1: Professional Editing There are many good editors who will evaluate your manuscript’s spelling, punctuation, plot, character development…and make suggestions on how to improve your work. Spell/grammar check or your cousin who taught English at the junior college is not enough. Get a referral from a published writer or look in the back of any writing magazine for advertisements. I recommend: Step 2: Hire a Book Cover Designer Unless you have a background in graphic design, use an experienced designer who will produce a professional look the chain stores won’t reject so readily. Remember, you must write (or hire someone to write) the copy for the back cover. Designers only create the artwork. The simplest approach is to find covers you like and read the acknowledgments or back cover for the name of the designer. Prices vary. Step 3: Apply for a Copyright from the Library of Congress (LOC) Fee $35.00 (online) or $45.00 (paper). The book doesn’t have to be printed before you apply. Do this early on. You must mail them a copy after it is published. Make sure you read about the “poor man’s copyright” and why you should avoid it. Step 4: Apply for a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) or LCCN from the LOC. This goes on the copyright page. It must be acquired before the book goes to the typesetter and printer. The PCN is free but you are requested to send them a copy of the book upon publication. (See the FAQ’s on their website for an explanation of the difference between a PCN and LCCN.)  Set up an account and get a password. Don’t lose this information. You may need to update or change it later.
  2. 2. • @drmOeanderson • Dallas, Texas ©2011-2018. All rights reserved. Monica F. Anderson 2 Step 5: Apply for a Cataloging in Publication (CIP/PCIP) number The CIP or PCIP number is a descriptive data block of your book. It is not required, but libraries use it for the Dewey decimal classification. It also describes features of the book i.e. African-American males, fiction.…I have used Quality Books several times for this purpose because the Library of Congress has a CIP program but it excludes most self-published work. Quality is faster, also. You will also need to supply Quality with your ISBN and PCN or LCCN in order for them to create the CIP data block, but you can email this information to them later. NOTE: The CIP program and PCN program are mutually exclusive. Read the FAQ’s from the Library of Congress for more information. Step 6: Apply for an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) logbook and a EAN-13 bar code from Bowker The ISBN goes on the copyright page and the back cover. The bar code is only on the back cover. Most bookstores require a bar code because they scan it for the price. ISBNs cost a small fee to register your account, plus $125 for a single ISBN or $250.00 for a block of 10 ISBN’s. You need a new ISBN for each book or revised edition so if you plan to publish several books, go ahead and get a block of ISBN’s. You do not need an ISBN for e-books because the online retailers like Amazon will assign one but it is a good option if you think you may want to print your book later. Bar Codes are $250 initial fee and $50 annual renewal fee for up to 10 unique barcodes. You only need a bar code if you plan to print books.  Visit Link to all their publisher services from the home page.  Also, when you’re finally ready to sell your book, register your title with the Books In Print Database that bookstores, online retailers, and libraries use to locate your book for customers. It’s free!  Use the Books in Print database to see if anyone is already using the title you’ve chosen. If so, you need to create another title. Step 7: Contact book printers and obtain quotes Generally, quotes are only good for thirty days. Contact several companies to see which one is best for you and your budget. Remember to request inside and residential delivery. Otherwise, they may stack them outside. Not good if you have several 30 lb. cases. Also, there will be additional freight charges and sales taxes added to the price they quote for printing. I learned this the hard way. Ask a lot of questions to determine
  3. 3. • @drmOeanderson • Dallas, Texas ©2011-2018. All rights reserved. Monica F. Anderson 3 exactly what is included in the estimate they quoted. Request extra copies of the cover (“cover overruns”) to use for marketing or framing. Finally, digital printing is much less expensive than offset for small print runs. It is also faster. However, offset printing has a slight edge in quality and color adherence. Most printers have gone digital but ask to be clear you are given all the options, pros, and cons. I suggest a small initial print run of 500 books, maximum 1,000. Then, you can make corrections when you reprint. No matter how well your book is edited there will be typos or minor things you want to change. That’s why a small first run makes sense. They will not take the books back because of errors after you have received the order. Here is a link to a company I have used multiple times. They are responsive and the quality is good but there are many so check out several to decide what is best for your needs.  Transcontinental Metrolitho in Canada  2015 Top Twenty Book Manufacturers Step 8: Typesetting/e-Book Conversion This is the person who designs the interior of the book. They do not edit. They select chapter headings, fonts…. Prices vary from $1.50 and up/ per page. Ask for a final version in: pdf, epub, and Word files. You need .pdf for printers. You need ePub and Word files for digital/e-Books upload. (You will not get good results if you upload .pdf files for Nook or Kindle. The lines will not flow properly on the eReaders.) Recommended e-book conversion companies, include:, EBookIt, iBooksAuthor, and Amazon KDP. Step 9: Find a Distributor (for paperbacks) Most large bookstores won’t purchase the book directly from an author. This minimizes the number of checks they have to write every month. You need a national or regional distributor for the larger, chain stores. I suggest asking the bookstore managers who they buy their books from first, then contact the distributor. If the stores do get the book directly from you, they retain 40% or more of the price and give you the rest after the book is sold. Sometimes it’s months after the book is sold! The largest book distributor in the U.S. is Ingram. They do not accept titles from small or self-publishers but they do provide a list of their reputable partners that take small clients at For e-books, I suggest setting up an account with the major online book stores and uploading the material yourself.
  4. 4. • @drmOeanderson • Dallas, Texas ©2011-2018. All rights reserved. Monica F. Anderson 4 Step 10: Set Up Your Business While everything is being designed and printed, select a business name, get a company logo, PO Box, website, business cards, sales tax permit (yes, collect and pay the sales tax on the copies you sale and the comp copies you give away for marketing), home-based business permit or license if required in your state. Check with the SBA or local Chamber of Commerce in your city for specific requirements. Remember, start from Day 1 with good accounting software and keep a record of all business-related expenses, including mileage, and income. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Finally, here are a couple of very helpful, highly recommended books and websites on the subject that provide more detail and expert advice about every step of the publishing process:  A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing With Amazon and Other Online Retailers by Chris McMullen  Self-Publishing Manual (Volume 2) by Dan Poynter (highly recommended)  Independent Book Publishers Association Disclaimer: This quick start guide is a brief overview of the publishing process. Please read books on the subject, attend workshops/conferences/classes, and consult a literary attorney, if necessary. Publishing is a constantly evolving industry. The data provided, fees, and websites are subject to change. I have no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned, nor am I paid to represent any of the businesses mentioned in this guide. Happy Writing! Monica “Dr. mOe” Anderson Prescribing Success Daily™ Professional Speaker & Bestselling Author of: Success Is A Side Effect: Leadership, Relationships, and Selective Amnesia, Sinphony, I Stand Accused, When A Sistah’s FED UP, Mom, Are We There Yet?, and Black English Vernacular.