How to Spot a Self-Published Book

After viewing hundreds of self-published books, I can almost always tell if a book is self-published upon first glance.

While self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it did a decade ago, if you are interested in your book being part of the overall book market—meaning selling beyond Amazon—then having a book that conforms to industry standards is important.

Industry professionals—book buyers, librarians, distributors, book reviewers—all know what a traditionally published book looks like. There is an industry standard that all big house publishers use when designing their books.

These industry standards include things like:

  • A Title Page
  • A Copyright Page
  • Margins that are not too wide or too narrow
  • Spacing between body text lines not to wide or narrow

The way I can always spot a self-published book is simply by looking at the back cover. Most self-published books lack two things on their back covers:

  • A BISAC subject
  • A retail price

These are industry standard because brick-and-mortar retailers require these to sell the books in their stores—and, historically, traditionally published books were largely sold in physical bookstores.

If you are new to publishing books and are not sure of these industry standards, I suggest that you educate yourself. There are many ways to do this. Here are some resources I have created to provide this information.

  1. Watch this “10 Steps to Indie Publishing Your Christian Book” video. This is free! Be aware, there is no talking. You must read the information.
  2. Download the “Steps to Indie Publishing a Book” checklist. This is a free PDF!

 

For more in-depth information on formatting your book and making sure that it conforms to industry standards, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) with your Membership, you have access to:

  1. Video course on “How to Create a Professional-Looking Book.”
  2. Downloadable “Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.”

Related Posts:

Lessons from Self-Publishing
Is Self-Publishing a Gamble?
Self-Publishing Keeps Growing

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1 thought on “How to Spot a Self-Published Book

  1. One hurdle to selling through brick and mortar stores is that it requires the self-published author to agree to returns. When your book is Print On Demand, it makes little sense to print and ship copies to bookstores, only to have to reimburse them for any copies they fail to sell – and then have those copies binned (a wasteful practice) or returned to you at your own cost.
    A self-published author who doesn’t have deep pockets could well find themselves paying more for being in a brick and mortar store than they will ever make back.

    Liked by 1 person

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