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Before publishing my first book in 2007, I studied the entire process of getting a book in print.
 
Publishing, especially self-publishing, can be described as a "financial minefield," according to Ron Pramschufer. Deciding to self-publish, I almost went with a vanity publisher. A little research kept me from paying more and getting less. That publisher prints at the same  printer I eventually used (as do 95% of online publishers) and would have charged me more to print my own book. 
 
The difference: I paid 50% less to print my book at the same printerRead our Publishing Tip for May 11, 2009.
 
My research gave me the tools and know-how to get a book professionally (and economically) edited, cover-designed, formatted, printed, and listed with every online bookstore.


SHORT LIST OF TRUE SELF-PUBLISERS:

*Indicates publishers that will let you use your own ISBN
. (Okay, if you want to be technical they are all vanity publishers in the sense that you will pay to get your book published, but the companies listed below will not own any part of your book.) A typical vanity publisher typically owns the cover design and the interior layout. They will definitely own the ISBN and the publishing rights. You, the author, won't own didly beyond the copyrighted manuscript itself. The vanity gang can't legally own your written words.
 
Owning the ISBN (therefore the publishing rights) guarantees the vanity publisher a piece of every book printed, no matter who buys it. They don't deserve a penny because they have no investment in your book—you paid for everything. It's like paying a contractor to build your house, then selling it twenty years later and giving that same contractor half the profit.
 
"I would never do that!" you protest. If you go with a vanity publisher and buy one of their enticing "publishing packages" (that always includes an assigned ISBN), you will do just that. Don't give your hard-earned money away.
 
selfpublishing.com*  Self-publishing division of rjcom.com.Published my first book. Superior results. Prints using digital or offset printers (offset printers for larger print runs). Download free ebook, Publishing Basics.
 
artbookbindery.com* Free layout and cover design (if they print your book).  (They printed my last two books—top quality.) 

bookmasters.com* In-house digital and web offset printing. Talk to Nathaniel Lanzer, Sue Bray, or Tim Leonhart. Book samples show great quality.
 
bethanypress.com* Features books by Christian authors. Their self-publishing arm is called Believers Press.
 
morrisonpublishing.com* Economical digital printing only.

True self-publishers/facilitators will own no part of your book. You paid for it; you own it—all of it. There are several more self-publishing companies other than the five I have listed here, but I have personally communicated with reps from each of the above and found candid honesty and transparency.

 
For writer's of Christian books. Check out this list of traditional publishers who accept query letters from authors who write Christian fiction and non-fiction.
 
 
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Below is a select list of my favorite websites and books that new authors will find informative and beneficial. (Again, please feel free to contact me with any questions you have. I don't have all the answers, but I know where you can find them.)

publishingbasics.com  An invaluable source of articles  for self- publishers and authors. (My favorite)
 
agentquery.com  Perhaps the most thorough Website out there for self-publishing, traditional publishing, query letters, book proposals, literary agents and publishing in general.

writerbeware.com  A very candid source for writers.

bowker.com  Official ISBN agency.  

myidentifiers.com 
Bowker link for self-publishers (single ISBN purchase).

booksinprint.com  Call Bowker toll free at 1-877-310-7333 to list your book after you publish. They will show you how to set up your own self-published author account.

US Copyright Office  Register copyright before or after you publish.

godaddy.com  Buy your own domain name here if(Don't let your Web designer buy it for you.)

visionresources.net 
Great source for ministries and reputable businesses needing a Website. *Five stars. Warren Drake teaches you how to build and maintain your own site. This website is a prime example. I have complete control and make changes at a moment's notice.


Free Online Spider Simulator  Check your Website's effectiveness and optimization with search engines.
 
writershelper.com  Great writing tips for aspiring writers. Vanity publishers advertise on this site as well.

thewriter's friend.net  Full of help for aspiring writers. *Five stars.

hiwrite.com  Excellent source for cover letters and book proposals.

michaelhyatt.com  More great advice, especially for first-time authors. (CEO at Thomas Nelson Publishers)

publishinggame.com  Fern Reiss is, perhaps, the leading expert in book promotion.

 
Advice from 3 professional literary agents:

http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/  Terry Whalin
 
 
Check out Terry Whalin's book proposal tools at:
 
 
 
 
GOOD BOOKS FOR THE SELF-PUBLISHER:

1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer


Publishing Basics, by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr. with Ron Pramschufer

Beyond the Bookstore, by Brian Judd (Updated version: How to Make Real Money Selling Books)

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, by Mark Levine


U-Publish.com, by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow


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Updated June 10, 2015