Thursday, June 02, 2011

Self-Printed: a Review, a Revelation, a Resolution

I am just about finished reading Catherine Ryan Howard’s book, Self-Printed.  This is the book I should have read before I self-published More Postcards From Across the Pond.  Turns out, not having read it was not due to any oversight on my part; it wasn’t out at that time—this is a brand new book.  And lucky you, if you are thinking of self-publishing, have the opportunity to read it first.  And I highly recommend that you do.

Even my belated reading did a world of good: the book was so thorough and so inspiring that I had a revelation while reading the early chapters, and made a resolution while reading the bits on cover design, but writing about them will take up too much space in a single post, so I will leave them for later and just write the review for now.

This is a one-stop shop for all your DIY publishing needs, covering everything from formatting text and getting accounts on all of those different web sites to how to navigate the often intimidating world of social media.  Originally, I was disappointed at not having had the opportunity to read the book before mine was published, but despite coming at it after the fact, there was still a wealth of critical information to be gleaned.  Because the book is so comprehensive, it filled the void left after reading half a dozen “Twitter For Dummies” type books and did so with simple, concise and easy to understand directions.

In addition to this, the book is almost frighteningly readable.  Catherine’s writing style, which I was first introduced to in her self-published travel memoir, Mousetrapped, is so captivating and comical I literally had a hard time putting the book down.

The other unique appeal of this book, making it—to my mind—the quintessential self-publishing guide, is that all this information is served with a heaping portion of delusion-busting, real-world common sense.  “…[Amanda Hocking’s] success has been truly amazing...but there's only one Amanda hocking, and if there's ever another one, the odds are you won't be it.”

Catherine does, however, point out that, while dreams of millions should remain dreams, the idea of earning a respectable amount is clearly within your reach—if you do it right.  And ‘right’ is not what she purports to teach you; she is merely showing you how—and just as importantly, why—she self-published Mousetrapped and sold over 4,000 copies in the first year.

If you are thinking of self-publishing, you must read this book.  If you are as confused about social media as I was, you could do worse than read this book.  And if you are tired of the “How to Make Millions Publishing Your Own Books While Sticking It To the Big 6 Publishers” manuals, and are ready for some real-world, real-life advice that will leave you chuckling, you definitely should read this book.

Catherine’s books are available as both print and ebooks.  Visit her website for more information, and a few more chuckles.

Catherine Ryan Howard's blog:

Self-Printed website:

POSTSCRIPT:  I uploaded a condensed version of this review to Amazon just now and had another revelation.  I do not consider myself a good book reviewer; I never think about reviewing a book unless it really makes an impact on me--a good impact.  Therefore, all of my reviews are 5-star, which makes me a rubbish reviewer--the suspect type who appears to be reviewing books for his friends.

Rest assured Ms Ryan Howard is not a friend, nor an acquaintance, even;  we have never so much as exchanged e-mails.  I simply, and honestly, think she is a good writer and that Self-Published is a great book.

But, in order to build up some credibility, it seems I'm going to have to find some books I don't like and post a few "this book is crap" type reviews on Amazon.

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