Every self-publisher brings their experience and expertise to bear when they decide to publish a book. This background inevitably influences their approach to publishing.
In self-publishing books I’ve looked at recently, you can see this trend at work. I thought Christy Pinheiro’s Step-by-Step Publishing for Profit was very strong on organizing your publishing business and understanding business structures. Christy is a financial professional. Michael N. Marcus’s Become A Real Self-Publisher parlays the author’s story telling skill into an amusing and entertaining way of conveying a lot of information.
Susan Daffron’s Publishize! How to Quickly and Affordably Self-Publish a Book That Promotes Your Expertise (2008, Logical Expressions, 276 pages, 6″ x 9″, ISBN 978-0-9749245-8-8, $24.95) just as clearly shows the author’s background as a technical writer and long career in high-tech. Along with her husband James Byrd, Daffron operates Logical Expressions, a publishing and consulting business, from their home in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Both have a deep background doing business online, and this has influenced their publishing efforts. In the last four years, Daffron and Logical Expressions have self-published 10 books, and used the experience to become service providers to other self-publishers in the process.
What Is Publishize?
Well, it’s a word they made up by mashing “publish” with “publicize” and it’s meant to show the system they have developed to help people publish their own books. This breaks down to:
- Write the book
- Publish the book
- Publicize the book
Publishize! covers a lot of territory pretty quickly. After going over the advantages, particularly for business people, in self-publishing, the author advises readers to start doing market research before writing the book. This is solid advice, and more self-publishers ought to follow it.
The author moves on to a section on writing your book, and follows with chapters on book production, publishing, marketing online, book web sites, online marketing and promotion (yes, that’s twice), publicity, turning your book into an “empire” (recycling your content and outsourcing are covered in this chapter).
The Publishize process itself is strictly a print-on-demand strategy using Lightning Source as supplier and selling predominantly online. This model has quickly become the favorite for many self-publishers, and Daffron is well-situated to walk readers through the process.
I think you can get an idea of the book, and the author’s approach to traditional publishing promotion—in this case, review campaigns—from this quote:
Playing a bunch of games with the publishing date of your book so you can appease a review marketplace that doesn’t actually want to deal with you in the first place has always struck me as a big waste of time. The focus of this book is about self-publishing a book to promote your expertise. That book is designed to appeal to your niche market. In my opinion, that market is where you should invest your promotional efforts.
The end of the book (almost 100 pages) are given over to appendices, a glossary and an index, as well as a good deal of advertising material for other books and programs from Logical Expressions. This use of the “real estate” within the book to cross-promote other products is another lesson many self-publishers can learn to their advantage.
Pros and Cons
As online entrepreneurs and small-business owners, Susan Daffron and James Byrd are excellent guides to the world of online commerce. It’s pretty clear that a lot of the book was originally written as online articles, and much of the advice emanates from the world of online marketing.
Publishize! is strongest when dealing with the print-on-demand model and selling online. Discussions of blogging, keywords, search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing and various other web-related topics are real selling points for people who intend to market their books this way.
The tone of the book is down to earth and without embellishment. Because Daffron’s background is in high tech, there’s little about actual printing processes and manufacturing in the book. All discussion pretty much starts and ends with Lightning Source.
This is probably the biggest weakness of the Publishize approach, and consequently with the book. You won’t find any information here on how to do an offset run of your book, a discussion of different printing processes, or any information on book design and typography, for that matter. There’s some common sense advice to go to bookstores and look at books you like, but that’s about as far as it goes.
There is also little discussion of ebooks, which the author seems to dismiss. The book came out soon after the Kindle was introduced, and before it became apparent that people were going to take to ebooks in a big way.
On the other hand, Daffron is encouraging and a real proponent of people publishing their own books, and her enthusiasm is an attractive part of the book.
A Word About the Design
Publishize! is cleanly laid out. It’s easy to read and the experience of having done 10 or so other books shows in the typography and placement of material on the page. There are few illustrations but lots of bullet lists and numbered lists, as well as two levels of subheads.
The book is generally standard in its practice of publishing conventions. The glitches are not unusual, like using running heads and folios on blank pages. By and large it’s a workable and readable book with some nice style to the display typography.
The cover is unimpressive but serviceable. The colors seem a bit at war with each other, and the stock photo and typography just don’t seem to get off the ground. This happens with covers in which no one element stands out, but I’m sure the cover is quite good enough to sell well in this market.
Great for Small Business Online Entrpreneurs
Publishize! is a great resource for small business owners who are comfortable online and want to take advantage of their expertise by publishing a book. It really delivers on its subtitle: “How to Quickly and Affordably Self-Publish a Book That Promotes Your Expertise,” although how quickly you can actually write your book is an unknown.
If you’re interested in other types of publishing, this book will be less useful. But for many self-publishers, it will be tremendously helpful, especially in understanding how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together when it comes to marketing and selling books online.
Takeaway: Susan Daffron’s Publishize! is a great introduction to self-publishing, primarily for small business owners who want to use print-on-demand distribution to sell online.
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