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Self-Publishing-Things to Look For, Part Three

Roland Cavanaugh

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This article contains information for those who decide to self publish their own book. There are certain things that should be included in the package offered. It is the last of three articles.

We discussed eight things in the previous two articles to look for in a self-publishing package. This article completes that train of thought.

Ninth: Is editing included in the package? Most of us would like to assume that our final manuscript is flawless—after all, we have personally read through it twenty times, maybe more. The manuscript probably needs some help, however, based on a couple of things. For one, the more we read something, the less objective we become. We are less able to see the errors in grammar, structure or spelling each time we read it. You need an objective eye to look over the manuscript. Also, this is your “baby. " As such, it is easy to become protective and even defensive of any critical comments a person may make about it. After all, you would fight to the death anyone who said something bad about your child. The same is true here. Most self-publishing packages do not offer editing as a part of the deal; if they do, expect to pay about fifteen cents per word for a good edit. You also need to educate yourself on the different levels of editing, i. e. copy edit, proof reading, etc. Each one seeks to accomplish a different result. At the least, find an English professor from the community college in your area and let them look it over. Offer them a copy of the finished book as a token of appreciation. Finally, you may choose to find an editor who does not work with the publishing company. Many freelance editors can be found on various writing based websites. It is money well spent. The last thing you want is to give a copy of your book to someone, only to discover that it has errors that could easily have been prevented with a good editing job.

Tenth: Are graphics included with your contract? Depending on the genre, your book may not require graphics. But, if you would like to include a chart, or a photograph, make sure you know what is included—and what is not. Most companies will include a limited amount of graphics within the package. If you need to add more, it will cost you, but is usually reasonable. You will also be required to get the scanned graphics to the publisher, using the protocol they require for submission. This will vary from publisher to publisher. Most print-on-demand graphics are only done in gray scale. If you want color, do the extra research required before choosing your publisher.

Eleventh: Is the copyright of your book included? If not, this can easily be done by going to the U. S. copyright's website and submitting copies of the book and the fee. The fee is less than $50 per title. Realize that the moment you publish your book, it is considered copyrighted material. If you are concerned about copyright infringement, make sure yours if legally copyrighted, either through the services your publisher provides or by doing it yourself.

Twelfth: What types of promotional materials are included in the package you choose? Mass emails are generally ineffective. Media outlets receive them by the thousands—every day. Press releases are helpful, if you have a good one. Posters and bookmarks may help you to personally market your book; it is your call. All of these things are normally included (at a price) with your package. Read the fine print and do some research in your area with other self-published authors and find out what works—and what does not. There are other creative ways as well to help create a buzz about your book. Remember, you want to start local and work from there. You never know, you might just have a best seller on your hands.

Roland Cavanaugh is on staff at a large church serving as the Pastor of Congregational Care and Sr. Adults. He has self-published a book about his late father, “For As Long As I Can. " You can find ordering information at


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