Self-publishing—easy. Right?

Self-publishing—easy. Right?

Write a book. Submit to a print-on-demand/book distribution service. Reap fame and fortune.


I’m a self-publisher. I’ve self-published three books—two novels and a technical programming book. I’ve co-published three Japanese-style mangas. I have more books in development. I can assure you. Self-publishing? Easy it’s not.

But it is challenging, gratifying, and heaps of fun. And, with wit and effort, a source of passive income.

If you’re serious, that is.

As serious self-publishers, we confront three daunting challenges:

Writing books that people want to read
Designing, typesetting, and publishing trade-quality books
Successfully marketing our books

Writing a book that people want to read is challenge enough. But consider the book publishing cycle:


  • Idea
  • Research
  • Propose
  • Draft
  • Edit
  • Revise

Book Production

  • Photos
  • Illustrations
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Interior design
  • Typeset
  • Proof
  • Revise

Marketing and Sales

  • Price
  • Cover blurbs
  • Pre-pub reviews
  • Cover copy
  • Cover design
  • Print
  • Distribute
  • Sell
  • Returns

We need to manage:

  • Creative projects
  • Tech
  • Consultants
  • Book production
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Web presence
  • Readings and Events
  • Consignment sales
  • Cashflow

We may need to publish several books to develop loyal readers and profitable cashflow.

We wear many hats:

  • Researcher
  • Storyteller
  • Copy Editor
  • Book Designer
  • Typesetter
  • Marketing Manager
  • Copy Editor
  • Web Master
  • Book Seller

Yes. We can hire consultants. But that takes capital and cashflow.

Indeed, we’re a small business owners with all that implies. Accounting and taxes matter.

Fact is, we CAN bring our creative work to market and succeed. Many self-publishers do just that.

I believe it and strive for success. Why not you?

This newsletter is a deep dive into how to tackle the all of self-publishing and succeed. It’s a quest, a learning adventure, and a vision.

You bring:

  • Love of books
  • A talent for writing
  • Creative energy
  • A passion for learning
  • Discipline to strive and succeed

The quest:

  • Best-of-breed tech tools
  • Razor-honed tech skills
  • Efficient self-publishing workflow
  • Profitable book sales

The learning adventure:

Self-publishing is a learning adventure in and of itself. I’ve learned much. Pick up skills and insights at every turn. Here I’ll share all that I’ve learned and what I’m currently striving to learn.

  • Managing research
  • Craft of fiction
  • Craft of nonfiction
  • Book design
  • Precision typesetting
  • Precision marketing
  • Publishing automation
  • Managing for profitability
  • Managing for growth

The vision:

A publishing empire in a box.

As a self-publisher it all falls on my shoulders. I need to push my computer hardware and software to the max. I need to automate my workflow. I’m hard at it.

And that’s what this newsletter is about.

Next post: Books that people want to read