Two Non-Fiction Authors on Self-Publishing: Part 2 of a Series

In last week’s post, business owners Christine Cowley and Garth Rustand shared how publishing non-fiction books had boosted their professional credibility and benefitted their companies. They are certainly not alone in this view. “A book is perhaps the ultimate piece of content marketing that can position you or your company as a leading expert in your industry,” says the Content Marketing Institute in “11 Keys to Writing a Book when You Have Absolutely No Time to Write a Book.”

But why go to all the trouble of self-publishing? That’s today’s question.

Confidence and control

Garth, who in his book revealed insider truths about the conventional investment industry, was pretty certain he wouldn’t be able to attract a publisher, despite his having a pretty good story on his hands. “My sense was that there wasn’t a lot of upside in getting a publisher,” he says. “In the financial book market were a few monster [authors], but otherwise the books were pretty small. I didn’t think a publisher would pay much for mine.”

But Garth was confident in his material and in the contributions that a book would make to building his independent advisory organization beyond the revenue the book earned directly. “I was doing investment seminars and courses, and the book was like currency that I could give away to increase the value of my product,” he explains. He also liked the idea of having full control over the publishing process and schedule as a self-publisher, and so he plunged into the process and never looked back.

“[The publisher] had 70 books to pay attention to. I had one: mine.”

Having full control was also what appealed most to Christine. “I had a publisher interested in Butchers,” she says of Butchers, Bakers and Building the Lakers, a history of Collingwood, Ontario. But when the publisher expressed doubt about releasing the book in 2008 — Collingwood’s 150th anniversary — she gravitated to the idea of taking charge and getting the book out on her schedule and according to her own vision. “He had 70 books to pay attention to. I had one: mine. I don’t think Butchers would have been what it became had I gone the publisher route.”

Lining up the right partners

Neither Garth nor Christine was intimidated by the self-publishing process — neither the task of finding and managing the professional help they needed to produce their books nor the financial investment required. Both were experienced business people accustomed to managing projects and people. And there was a lot of information available online (though not nearly as much as today) about the publishing process that steered them in the direction of the editing, design, and printing partners they required to produce professional, high-quality books they could be proud of.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll take a look at how Garth and Christine managed each of these aspects. “I had to kiss a lot of frogs and make some costly mistakes,” Christine warns, but the results, at least for these two authors, were worth it.


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