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The Self-Publisher's FAQ

Miscellaneous Questions Answered

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May I Trademark-Protect My Book Title?

Unfortunately not. Titles are not subject to Trademarks. However, certain aspects may be--as in the "for Dummies" line. Check with the U.S. Trademark Office for full clarification.

Make sure you search for your possible book title over the Internet, in Amazon and going through open databases like Border's in-store title search program. Even if you do this, there are no guarantees that someone won't come out on the market with a title exactly like yours. It's up to you to create a marketing plan to make people want your book and no other.

Do I Need a Letterhead?

Yes and no. You will look professional if you have one. Letterheads and business cards (see below) help give your business the look of legitimacy.

You can go to your local printer, upload a file with your logo on it, pick out lettering that pleases you and have a few hundred sheets printed. It will look very nice. It's also not inexpensive.

However, it's perfectly acceptable to create your letterhead in Word and print them as you need them on nice bond paper. Put your logo, your company name, address, phone and fax number, e-mail address and the URL of your website at the top. Make sure to pick a font that is easy to read.

What Should I Have on My Business Card?

Your logo, your company name, address, phone and fax number, e-mail address and the URL of your website.

Do not print this out from your computer onto those nasty forms you can buy at the office supply store. That's like wearing plaid Bermuda shorts to a business meeting (unless you're in Bermuda—but even then, plaid won't do). A business card is an impression you leave with people long after you've left their presence. People keep cards. You want them to think well of you.

Do I Need Publisher's Liability Insurance?

Sometimes. If you are publishing a cookbook (you might accidentally publish a harmful ingredient, as Gourmet Magazine once did) or a book mentioning someone or something that might cause enough offense for someone to sue you, then yes, you need it. You also need to consult an attorney.

Should I join APSS or IBPA?

Yes. If you can afford to, join both.

What Is APSS?

Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS) is an organization that provides many membership benefits and some educational opportunities. It's focus is on small presses selling in bulk. Spannet.org

What is IBPA?

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has many membership benefits and offers a yearly "Publishing University" at BEA (Books Exposition America—the huge book trade show). The focus for this group is the small press. IBPA-Online.org

Are There Any Publisher's Associations I Can Join?

Loads! Check out http://www.bookmarket.com/pubassn.htm

Does Anyone Ever Succeed at Self-Publishing?

For a bit of a boost, discover the kind of company a self-publisher keeps—from Ben Franklin to E. L. James. Go to John Kremer's website selfpublishinghalloffame.com

Useful Websites

Chicago Manual of Style is the best book for editorial (grammar, usage, style) questions, as well as some great knowledge about the finer points of putting a book, journal or magazine together. They have since gone online, but you'll need to subscribe to access the information; $35 per year. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

The Oxford English Dictionary can be bought in one volume with teensy text (it comes with a magnifying glass). Or you can subscribe for $29.95 a month. http://www.oed.com. An especially helpful resource for those writing historical fiction.

Writer's Market is still sold annually. If you still want to try traditional publishing, this book/website will help you find an agent or publisher who specializes in your genre, this is still the go-to source. The website is $39.99 per year and will have up-to-the-minute information (whereas the book's info is already at least a year old when you buy the book). http://www.writersmarket.com/

Gropen Associates has the best information about accounting and finance for publishers. http://www.gropenassoc.com/TopLevelPages/reference%20desk.htm

Want to know what that publishing word means? Rainwater Press maintains a nice internet dictionary http://www.rainwater.com/glossary.html

Registrations of All Sorts

To set up a corporation, go to the Company Corporation http://www.incorporate.com/ (Disclosure: We are an affiliate, and we have used them many times)

To get an ISBN, go to the MyIdentifiers website https://www.myidentifiers.com/isbn/main

Go here to put your book in Books in Print http://www.booksinprint.com/UI/Pages/SignIn

The Library of Congress Copyright website http://www.copyright.gov/

The Library of Congress site to get an LCCN http://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/

The Library of Congress site to get a CIP http://www.loc.gov/publish/cip/

Go to this website to get your BISAC categories http://www.bisg.org/what-we-do-0-136-bisac-subject-headings-list-major-subjects.php

Books to Help You Publish -- General

Aiming at Amazon by Aaron Shepherd. Also by Aaron Shepherd: POD for Profit

Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual

Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual (Volume 2)

The Self-Publisher's Companion by Joel Friedlander

Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers by Thomas Woll

Books to Help You Publish -- Legalese

Kirsch's Guide to the Book Contract

Incorporating Your Business for Dummies

Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers by Tad Crawford

Books to Help You Publish -- Book Design

Bookmaking: Editing Design and Production by Marshall Lee

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

The Non-Designer's Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice by Robin Williams

Perfect Pages: Self-Publishing with Microsoft Word by Aaron Shepherd

Typography Workbook by Timothy Samar

The "WOW!" Factor: Discover the Secrets to Book Covers that Sell by Kristen Eckstein

Books to Help You Publish -- Marketing

Be Your Own Best Publicist Jessica Kleiman

Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers by Shel Horowitz

Guerilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman and Michael Larsen

Guerilla Marketing Goes Green by Jay Conrad Levinson and Shel Horowitz

Sell More Books! Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors: Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions

Trashproof News Releases by Paul Krupin

   
   

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