I have written and self-published about 60 books counting multiple editions of some. My first book was published by Harcourt Brace so I have been there and done that, too.

In retrospect, it does not seem that hard to me to succeed as a self-publisher of how-to books. Here are the things that matter most:

You will get orders typically within hours of creating your Web site. Very simply, people type into a search engine the subject of your book (hopefully) and find your site. Then they visit, like what they see, and order. That’s it. I have found that you need no other promotion than your Web site. Furthermore, your Web site does not need to be jazzy. About once a week, someone tells me mine sucks and offers to upgrade it for free books. No thanks. The Internet changes everything. If you write about a subject that people are interested in and searching for on the internet, you will sell books. The better your book, the more you will sell. Ultimately, the quality of your book will rule. Laymen think promotion is the key. Nah. Book quality is. Publishers Group West told me that in response to my asking when I started with them. I did not believe them. But as time went on, I found they were right. Self-publishing is a pure meritocracy. If you do a good job, you will be paid well. If not, you won’t. Isn’t that what you want? If it’s not, go become a bureaucrat where you can advance according to your office politicking skills.

John T. Reed