Self-Publishing Is Not Your Parents’ Vanity Press

self-publishingI admit that in the fall of 2007 I was resistant to the entreaties of a colleague that I consider self-publishing my long-gestating novel MRS. LIEUTENANT.

But in December of that year I had an epiphany.  I was about to reach a “significant” birthday and I couldn’t wait any longer for someone to say yes to me.  And at that moment I was finally open to hearing what my colleague had been saying for months:

Self-publishing today takes many forms but it is definitely not restricted to the old vanity press model where you paid for thousands of books that you then stacked in your garage.

Today one of the easiest options is a print-on-demand (POD) publisher – only the books ordered are printed.  That’s right – even one book at a time I learned.

I signed up with BookSurge, the POD unit of Amazon, and away I went.

Now in fairness to the people reading this guest post, I’ve taught copyediting at the college level.  So I was pretty confident in my proofreading abilities.  But earlier I had hired a book consultant to find the missing element in my book.  (People read the manuscript and liked it but kept saying something was “missing.”)

He was expensive and worth every penny even though the basic problem was the confusion of the timeline of events.  I worked on fixing that, then rewrote once again, and proofread again.

The other advantage I had is that I’d studied advertising design a long time ago.  Thus I knew how important the cover would be.  And while I paid to have a cover designed by BookSurge, I had very strong opinions which were honored.  I wanted the faces of four very different women on the cover representing the four protagonists of the novel.

If you don’t have the background for your own proofreading and cover design, I strongly urge you to get professional help in both these areas.  I’ve read self-published books that haven’t had professional editing – and you can really tell!

Next then comes perhaps the hardest part – marketing your book.  I was lucky in this arena because, while my book was going through the BookSurge stages, MRS. LIEUTENANT was named a semi-finalist in the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  We were each given a page on Amazon, and I spotted that another semi-finalist had a blog on her page.  I wanted one too!

That started my intensive quest to learn everything I could about internet marketing.  And the result of that intensive quest led me to becoming an internet marketer and sharing what I’ve learned with others.

And FYI – while some book reviewers still treat self-published books as a stepchild, other reviewers have embraced the wider diversity now available.  Plus the proliferation of blogs that review books means that there’s so much more opportunity to get your book reviewed than there was when print media controlled which books got reviewed and which didn’t.

If you’re a book author and you truly want to see your book published, do consider self-publishing – as long as you have your book professionally edited, get a good cover design, and are prepared to learn how to do the marketing yourself.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a National Internet Business Examiner at as well as a book author, and her company provides internet marketing information with easy-to-implement solutions to promote your brand, book or business. On July 1st her company launched the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program.