Self-Publishing for Marketing Purposes

When I speak with people about the various self-publishing systems, they often say, “I’m not interested in writing the Great American Novel. What’s the benefit for me?”

Right, not everyone is an author (or wants to be). In years past, we used to refer to self-publishing houses with a derogatory term: “vanity press.” In other words, people who couldn’t get their books accepted at major publishing houses would pay for their printing and distribution. Yes, you can self-publish your autobiography or a murder mystery, but that isn’t the point of this post.

Let’s consider self-publishing as another potential mechanism for promotion and marketing. Now there is some overlap here with the capabilities of local printers or web-based suppliers. Your neighborhood franchise or storefront printer may be the most appropriate and cost-effective partner for producing certain types of marketing pieces (e.g., brochures, fact sheets, promotional items, and specialized marketing kits). This is not necessarily the case for substantial book-type materials, print-on-demand and short-run items, or E-books.

When I refer to books here, I’m not limiting the discussion to 200-page projects; a 24-page publication, in common or custom page sizes, is also fair game. Think in these terms:

  • Impress visitors to your exhibit booth by handing out a professionally designed, substantial booklet describing what you learned over 20 years of your business
  • Give away an illustrated children’s book or perfect-bound glossary of financial terminology, sponsored by your organization, as part of a raffle or on-line contest
  • Use an impressive book format to present your marketing materials, messages, and FAQs for use on sales calls

Self-publishing does require consideration of both design and editing. Kindle Direct Publishing, Book Baby, and other self-publishing outfits require the author to provide PDF versions of fully designed (including the covers) and edited pieces. These PDFs must be submitted according to the publisher’s specifications (including trim size, the amount of space in the gutters). They will generally offer some help with both, but these services are frequently lacking. For the best results, you will need a graphic designer and a professional editor (not editing software!).

It helps greatly to have someone with experience to help navigate the self-publishing process for you. Contact us with your self-publishing idea, and the consultation will be free!

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