How To Self-Publish Your Book (A Man, A Book & A Misguided Theory)

It was the hard way, but seemingly the best way. Book sales theory always had it that if you wanted to write a bestseller, you had to first get a major publishing house on board. If you could get a deal, the rest was gravy. (So much for ‘theory.’)

My veteran literary agent and I were told continually by the major publishing houses that my book was either “too religious” or “too controversial” for broad audience appeal, and that I have no “platform” (whatever the heck that means today). It is very hard for me to take no for an answer. So when I decided to personally publish my first literary book, I felt compelled to test the traditional publishing theory.

First, I secured an account with the Lightning Source division of Ingram Publishing. Second, I went all out in the quality preparation of the book, securing a brilliant, young but hungry editor, and a quality graphic design with help from the world of Twitter and Facebook. Third, I decided to create a “new” marketing theory.

Lessons learned:

1. Lightning Source – A fairly new model of on-demand printing from one of the largest printing houses in the world.

– Superb material and printing quality.
– Inclusion in their catalog guarantees global distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major and independent booksellers.
– Fast turnaround.


– Black and white impersonal customer service (personality much like government instead of private business, i.e. you are a number not a person)
Black and white policies. It’s their way or the highway. No variations allowed. Period.
Horrible and confusing website.
– Archaic and old school (can you say unethical?) business practices. Both Amazon and Lightning Source take a huge portion of the revenue, want payment for their bills immediately, but will not pay out royalties for 3- 4 months. In effect, they are sitting on royalty payments earning interest on money that they do not ethically own, in a day when technology provides them means to make instant daily royalty payments.

2. Quality preparation of the book.

Continued tomorrow

15 Responses to “How To Self-Publish Your Book (A Man, A Book & A Misguided Theory)”

  1. Randy, as one who asists new authors in marketing and publishing methods that are available to them, I find the whole industry such a different walk. The truths you identified in payments are real…Two of my clients chose to self publish their first rounds…one is still self publishing and the other has become the publisher for others like herself. Both are currently or have attained number one positions in their area on Amazon with their self-published book. I believe Pamela Crawford is the only self published author who is carried in the big box stores consistently with each subsequent book. She’s a garden writer who began by selling her books from the trunk of her car! (see this month’s issue of Southern Living p 68)
    I believe the electronic age of publishing will make a sincere difference for authors….some of the bureacracy removed and accessibility added…its going to be an interesting ride.
    One thing I am sure of….Sex, Lies, & Religion is an important book…and one I will personally get into as many hands as possible

  2. Reading your take makes me once again very glad that I chose to self-publish and to do it through BookSurge (now CreateSpace) which is the publishing arm of Amazon. I even opted for the conversion to Kindle. They offered multiple levels of service, based on what I was willing to pay for. I chose to have someone in the business help me with designing the cover, and when I asked for a little speciality inside, they came through for me.

    It was on the advice of both Anne Jackson, author of “Mad Church Disease”, (@flowerdust) and Andy Andrews, author of “The Noticer” (@AndyAndrews) that I went this route. Sometimes, the word has to be gotten out and you can’t wait for some other human to agree with that.

    I’m interested to hear your strategy for marketing. I will have my first signing at our local library in May, but basically, it’s just blah. (Of course, I’m not much on marketing myself.

    I hope your book lands on the best seller lists and zooms out of sight. (And selfishly speaking, hope mine is right on its heels!)
    .-= rfbryant´s last blog ..Springtime! =-.

  3. Unlike the others who have replied I am not an author or publisher. As an avid reader and supporter I would like to say bravo for this risk you have taken and the choice you made. I realize the choice of company may not have been the best choice in hind site but it is working. Your book is getting out there and on the ‘wish list’ of many. I want to encourage you to be strong as you wait these next few months before getting the return on your investment. I would like to add that your investment was not merely in the publishing of the book but in each of us who have been or will be blessed in reading it. In that case I think you are finding that you are already receiving a return on that part of your investment. I’m anxious to hear more on this adventure you have been on. I am learning so much from you and feel mentored spiritually, creatively and emotionally through your writing.
    .-= Carol Asher´s last blog ..Consistency and Conditional love =-.

  4. Hey Randy,
    Have you heard of Believer’s Press? Their website is . It’s a new concept…a “one-stop-shop” for Christians looking to inexpensively self-publish their books with the help of quality, seasoned industry professionals. It’s pretty cool. I happen to work for one of the designers that does some work for BP, but even if I didn’t, I would still think it’s pretty neat concept. :) Just a tip! You might want to check it out.
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..The Birthday Party Post =-.

  5. Hi Randy,

    I am a self-published author as well. I am looking forward to hearing more about your experience. My book has not been on amazon but I would love to find ways to help those looking for truth about health and God’s love to find it. Any tips let me know. I have a blog that directs people to Lulu where I published it.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    God bless Jill
    I look forward to hearing more about your book too!
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Adonai – Am I? =-.

    • @Jill, Thanks, Jill. I did check into LuLu, but decided not to go that route. I plan to check out your blog. Thank for dropping by and joining the conversation.

  6. I’m interested in hearing more about your experiences. I have already decided against self-publishing because of the time limitations I face. I am about to finish my book on my blog, so I will be looking for an agent and a publisher. We’ll see what happens, but whatever happens, I will know that I gave my book my best effort and that it’s up to God to open doors. I’m looking forward to your next post.
    .-= patriciazell´s last blog ..#38 THE DOING OF PRAYING: VICTORY =-.

  7. Randy,
    Would you ever consider publishing a 100% digital book? If you could bypass needing a physical publishing/printer/distributor how would you change your methodology?

    Are there self-pub services out there that let you keep 100% of the royalties and focus entirely on helping an author create an excellent end product in the various mainstream digital formats?

    Just a few questions and ideas kicking around inside my brain… :)
    I’m looking forward to your next post.



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