Today we are joined by Peter Bowerman, author of the book “The Well-Fed Self-Publisher” (TWFSP) reviewed yesterday.
Peter, thank you for joining us. Your book teaches authors how to self-publish and be successful at it. My first question has to be, can any self-published book be successful? I’ve read a whole lot of really substandard self-published books in my day.
I’d have to say – and this is based on my own reflections as well as a lot of feedback from readers – the biggest lesson of my book is the inherent viability of profitable self-publishing. “Profitable” is the key. I’ve got 52,000 copies of my first two books in print, and they’ve provided me with a full-time living for six-plus years. I explain all the how-to details of how I pulled that off in TWFSP.
Self-publishing as a process is obviously feasible. People do it all the time. And you’re right, in most cases, they do it like clumsy, sloppy clueless amateurs. And as a result, they go nowhere, reach virtually no one, and make no money.
Some genres do lend themselves more to successful self-publishing than others – mine in particular: “non-fiction how-to” (NFHT). Why? Because your audiences are more easily identified, pinpointed online and reached. NFHT, arguably, is the easiest genre to self-publish. In my case, using the strategies outlined in TWFSP, I was in the black in 90 days, and subsequently turned that book into a full-time living for five-plus years (more like seven-plus now with two more books under my belt).
Isn’t it expensive to self-publish? How much money am I really looking at?
I actually outline a few real-world scenarios in TWFSP, and to bring anywhere from 3000-5000 copies of a book to market, it’ll run you roughly $8-15K with all design, (cover/interior), editing, and printing. Yes, that’s not a trivial sum, but once they’re done, all the revenue you get is yours – you’re not sharing with anyone. By the way, 3000 is the number of copies you generally have to print for the numbers to work in the distribution system, given the book’s price and discounts you’ll give up along the way.
This is fascinating, Peter—thank you for sharing your expertise with us.
We’ll continue our chat with Peter Bowerman tomorrow. In the meantime, you can learn more about him here.