Review: Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook: 10 Steps to Self-Publishing Success

POSTED ON Jan 6, 2010

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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A new publication from Good to Go Media looks like it can be quite helpful for new self-publishers who are trying to get a grip on what is a sometimes confusing process.

Good to Go Media is Lisa Alpine and Carla King, who offer books, workshops, courses and consulting on self-publishing.

I know them from the frequent Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workshops they run at nearby Fort Mason in the San Fransico Marina district.

Born in the Workshop

The book grew out of their experiences leading the workshop for prospective self-publishers. The authors use their “10 Steps” to organize the 90-page workbook. The idea here is that they walk you through each of the tasks necessary for each step, and the workbook becomes a place to both plan your actions and record your results.

Here are their 10 Steps:

  1. State your mission
  2. Develop your platform and start promoting
  3. Take care of business
  4. Finish writing your book
  5. Design your book
  6. Get your book into the system
  7. Print your book
  8. Sell your book
  9. Distribute your book
  10. Ongoing promotion

This is a pretty complete roadmap of the steps necessary to becoming an effective self-publisher.

What You Get

The Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook has lots of practical guidance, checklists of tasks, tips and worksheets. Since this is a workbook, the checklists and worksheets will be the most useful.

The authors also have a very encouraging tone, helping the hesitant and encouraging the reader to develop a budget, work on their “elevator speech,” choose paper stock and register with Bowker Link. Where appropriate, they provide web addresses for relevant resources.

As you move through the book, you get a brief explanation for the particular area, along with a checklist of tasks to complete.

It’s also notable that Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook is the best-designed self-publishing book I’ve come across. The careful typography and clean look to the pages make the run-of-the-mill books on self-publishing look very amateurish. It’s a pleasure to read and use.

The spiral binding, heavy paper stock and laminated covers show the authors have thought about the book’s usability, and made good choices.

What You Don’t Get

Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook is best suited for use in a workshop, or by very motivated self-publishers who can source the rest of the information they will need outside the resources provided in the book. It’s really intended to be used, rather than referred to.

Although a good deal of information is provided, most of the pages are dedicated to worksheets and checklists. You won’t be able to find here a lot of the necessary information you will need when you publish your own book, like the elements that go into a press kit, how to package books for reviewers, addresses of pre-publication reviewers, dealing with book returns, or many other topics you will eventually need to know about.

The book will work best in conjunction with a book like Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, which has all the detailed information this workbook lacks. And that’s okay, because they fill two different needs.

Takeaway: The Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook is a terrific way to organize your tasks and progress as you travel the path of self-publishing your book. If you are naturally organized it will clarify everything you need to do. If you are disorganized, it may help you stay on track. You’ll get a real sense of accomplishment as you use the opportunity to plan your publication with the help of experienced and trusted guides. And if you get motivated by checking off items from a list, you are really going to like this book.

New: If you order the Workbook and enter code JoelFBK in the code bar on the order page, Carla and Lisa will take $1.00 off the price of the book.
If you sign up for the workshop itself, enter the code JoelFWS and they’ll take $5.00 off the price. The next workshop is scheduled for January 30, 2010, so if you’re in the San Francisco area, and you are thinking about self publishing, give this some consideration.

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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