A Peek Inside the Self-Publishing Roadmap Online Training Course

by | Jun 16, 2012

Yesterday I talked about all the things that come with The Self-Publishing Roadmap, the new online, video-based training program for authors who want to become savvy self-publishers.

In that post I hoped to answer the number one question I’ve been getting: “What’s in the course?” Today I’d like to look at the second-most common query:

“Is it for me?”

It seems like the best way to find that out is to look at what the course covers, and all that detail is on the Registration page, including all the modules and what subjects are covered in each one.

But how will you know whether the teaching is presented in a way you’ll find useful?

Usually, with online courses you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you get inside, but I think you deserve more. After all, this is the first course of its kind in the self-publishing field, and you have a right to know exactly what’s going on.

So to answer the “Is it for me?” question, here are some samples from “behind the wall” that you can check out.

Peeking Behind the Curtain

I’ve included a complete video lesson on ISBNs because that seems to be something a lot of people get confused about, and it will show you what the “classroom” style instruction is like.

But first, here’s what the site looks like when you log in:


You can navigate to all the modules from here, although they are being released one at a time.

Many of the videos are live action, like the sample later in this post, but there are also many screencasts. Here’s an image from a lesson using a mind map to compare different publishing paths:


And here’s an image from a video that walks you through the account setup process at Bowker, where you get your ISBNs:


Just below is the sample video lesson I promised. (Note: On the Self-Publishing Roadmap site, the videos display about 40% larger than will fit here, so they’re easier to see. If the video doesn’t appear at first please refresh your screen.)

Each video lesson comes with an MP3 audio file and is included in the transcript for that module. This allows you to study them the way that suits you best. They are all downloadable, so you can keep them or take them with you.

For example, here’s the MP3 audio file for the ISBN-1 lesson:

Last, here is one of the downloads. This “Getting an Estimate for Your Book from a Short-Run Book Printer” is from Module 3, and is just one of over 3 dozen PDFs that come with the program. If you hover your mouse near the bottom you’ll see links to enlarge and download the file if you’d like to keep it:

Registration is Going On Now

Registration is still open, so go over to the Registration page and check out the whole course description as well as all the extras, it’s quite extensive.

By doing the lessons and completing the Action Tasks that put the lessons into the real world, you’ll end up with a real competitive advantage as a publisher—you’ll know a lot more about how book publishing works than most authors know. You’ll also be ready to start creating great, professional-quality books.

You’ll make better books, and sell more of them, when you understand how to use the publishing and marketing tools you have at your disposal.

Here’s the link again so you can go check it out:

The Self-Publishing Roadmap Registration Page

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Ester Benjamin Shifren

    What an incredible amount of valuable information you’ve given us. I’m particularly interested in the variable printing costs and am paying attention to all aspects of the subject. I’m just about to self publish with CreateSpace and kindle, and have done all the homework. It’s taken ages, blood sweat and tears, and monetary outlay that now prevents me from paying for anything else! I’ve gathered masses of information from your blogs and bookmarked extensively, and I just love it all.
    Thank you so much.

  2. Deb

    Hello Joel, the Roadmap looks very interesting, but try as I may I cannot work out how you came up with a figure of $4.23 unit cost of the example book if printed by Lightning Source.
    I worked the price out as slightly more than that, but more importantly you seem to have not taken into account that they offer a discount of 35% on a quantity of 1500 books.
    Wouldn’t that bring their price down to somewhere around $3, or is there something I’m missing?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Deb,

      Not sure which sample book you’re referring to, but I wouldn’t print 1500 books at Lightning Source, I would use a short-run book printer since I’ve worked with many in the past. That’s what LSI would do, too, but I’d rather deal with the printer directly.

      • Deb

        Yes Joel, of course I see the sense in what you’re saying, and the prices you quoted from one of the short run printers you use are still considerable cheaper than Lightning Source.
        I was referring to the sample book that you used above, on this page, in your example PDF, about “Getting an Estimate for Your Book from a Short-Run Book Printer”, in which you yourself brought up the price the same book would be from Lightning Source.
        Now that I’ve bothered working it out correctly, I see you were correct to quote $4.23 as a base price, but feel you’ve been grossly inaccurate in not applying their quantity discount, which is 35% for 1500 copies, which would bring their price to $2.75 per unit.
        Still considerably more than your other quote, but I do think you should amend what you’ve stated as a fact about Lightning Source’s pricing, which was actually their single copy price. I’m pretty sure your short run printer’s single copy price would be in the hundreds of dollars… just saying… apples with apples please Joel.
        I’m a great admirer of what you do, and wouldn’t like one piece of misleading information to reflect badly on all the other great stuff you’re doing.

  3. Faye Levow

    Very informative Joel!
    Thanks for posting.

  4. Susan Troccolo

    Hey Joel, Hope you won’t give too much away while you are answering the questions folks have. You’ve already shared a ton of valuable information. Let people pay for the rest; you have been incredibly generous with your time and energy. Susie

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Susie,

      This is an unusual offer for the self-publishing niche, and I wanted to give people all the info they might need to make an informed decision about this course. But I get what you’re saying and, as always, it’s wise counsel. Thanks.

  5. Leonard Rattini, CCP

    Joel, I don’t agree with the numbering format that is used to identify books. I spent 30 years in the computer field of which the last 23 years was with an international corporation called Caterpillar. That “CCP” after my name states that I have credentials.

    As to what I think should be in included as to the items across are: 1.) publisher code, 2.) language, 3.) (specific) book name title authored, 4.) medium, 5.) check digit.

    I don’t mention the position lenght of each of the five items that constitutes the total ISBN number. Of the first four, each is sized as to the number of . . .

    What doesn’t make sense to me is my number 4 item that has a direct relationship to the number 3 item. For example, lets save the name of a book is: “Art for Left-handers” (fictious name) and is given a number (using 6 positions as an example) as 527829. Then because that story “medium” can appear as a hard cover, and/or softcover, and/or E-Book. They could be number as 1,2, and 3 respectively. So if a person order the art book in softcover for example then to order the book keeying in on items 3 & 4 (only) would look like this: 527829-2. If the art story is odered as an E-Book its (3 & 4) items would : 527829-3. Note Item 3 hasn’t changed becoause its the same worded story which is identified as 527829, which is the basse number. The story’s words hasn’t changed, Yet with different mediums to order by, Bowker comes up with a total new base number for different mediums ordered. I wrote and told them theire method doesn’t make sense. Nuff said. Lenny

    • Leonard Rattini, CCP

      To clarify, my stated E-Mail is not a complaint towards Joel, its towards Bowker. Also I apologize for my typing errors as I don’t quite look like my image shows anymore. I have less hair, and its white too along with many wrinkles, sorry girls.

    • Joel Friedlander


      Have you heard of the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) that Bowker and others had proposed for identifying the underlying text rather than the published versions of that text? That sounds similar to what you’re proposing. There’s info about it here:

      Andy Weissberg Presentation

      • Leonard Rattini, CCP

        Joel, thanks for your feedback. No I hadn’t heard of the ISTC and if they’re on the same idea. I’ll google them to research what they’re up to, because like I had mentioned, Bowker comes up with an entirely new number when the same book story is avaialble in a different medium. No wonder that had to expand to 13 positions. As an aside, you have a lot of good information that has me leaning heavily to do my own self-publishing. I’ll be signing up for the road map before ther wekend is out. Regards, Lenny

        • Thad McIlroy

          The international ISBN agency, that decides on these issues, has recently grappled with the challenge of identifying digital formats as part of the ISBN system. ISBN came into being when there were generally no more than two formats for a book, hardcover and paperback (and sometimes a trade paperback as well as a mass-market paperback). Then audiobooks grew in popularity. ISBN could still cope.
          Ebooks broke the system. Most people, reasonably enough, think of “ebook” as a single format. But in fact ebooks can be one of many formats, including text, PDF, EPUB 2, EPUB 3, Mobi, KF8, RTF and more. That wouldn’t matter if all ebook formats contained the same text and graphics, but they’re generally quite different. At the extreme, the “text” format cannot include either graphics or typographic information, while PDFs can contain movies and music on top of the book text and full color illustrations.
          So last December the officials in charge of administering ISBN in various English-speaking countries issued new guidelines for the use of ISBN with different digital formats. It made sense to recommend that each digital format receive a different ISBN because the difference between formats can be even greater than the difference between hardcover and paperback. You can find the recommendations here: https://www.bisg.org/news-1-709-bisg-bulletin-extrastatements-of-support-bisg-policy-statement-on-identifying-digital-products.php
          The fly in the ointment is that ISBNs cost money, as little as $1 each (for 1000 ISBNs) to as much as $125 (for one). https://www.myidentifiers.com/isbn/main
          As a result few small publishers are following the recommendations…it simply costs too much money, and for an uncertain benefit.
          The ISTC would go a long way towards alleviating the problem. Unfortunately they are too new for publishers to have yet adopted very widely. http://www.istc-international.org/
          Stay tuned!

  6. Mary Gutmann

    We used McClain Printing COmpany in Parsons, West Virginia to print my husband.s two booke. They did all the ISBN registry and copyright and set up book signings. They warehouse and distribute the books, they got them on Amazon and B&N and are generally helpful. Michelle McKinney is an excellent proofreader and copy editor (she reads every word). THeir prices compared very favorably to other companies and their service is prompt and personal.

    The first book is a compilation of stories about my husband’s patients and is nearly sold out, the second is a memoir and marketing it is more difficult–even though it is a subject of interest to many (fleeing Nazi Germany, losing almost everything, taking up farming in NJ and making it a success, etc.). It is a slice of history written in a peersonal style, with much affection.

    Information about marketing such a book is interesting and welcome.
    Mary Gutmann

    • Joel Friedlander

      Congratulations Mary on getting those books into print. Memoir is usually a hard sell but if you keep identifying the themes that would be of interest to other people, you’ll keep finding more readers interested in the story.



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