Thursday, May 31, 2007


PMA, which bills itself as the independent book publishers association, is a valuable resource that anyone serious about self-publishing should belong to.

Yesterday I attended the first day of their PMA University (PMA-U), which they run in conjunction with BookExpo America each year. (This year, BEA is in day-trip distance for me, and I’ll be there tomorrow). Today, I’m tired, my feet are sore (not as sore as they’ll be after a day at BEA), and I have a lot of work to catch up on; so I’ll keep this brief.

My best client is an educated client. I am not interested in preying on the ignorant. If you are contemplating self-publishing a book you should read everything you can about the process–on this blog (see the list of posts in the sidebar), on my site, and in books about self-publishing (I’ll post a list on my site in a few days). And you should join PMA and attend their regional and national events when you can.

One of the points driven home repeatedly yesterday, one that I keep trying to make with my clients, is that you, the author, are the “self” of self-publishing, but you, the publisher, are the “publisher” of self-publishing. That means that once you’ve written your book you have to stop thinking like an author and start thinking like a publisher. What is your marketing plan? Who is the audience for your book? (As one of the speakers said yesterday, if the words Oprah or everyone turn up in the responses to those questions, you do not have a marketing plan.

Publishing is about selling books. Once your author self is done writing, your publisher self has to take over. That’s when you call me. I’ll take your draft manuscript and, after a series of steps, get a finished, professionally edited, professionally produced book in your hands. But it’s up to you to convert that finished book into an income stream. Doing that takes a lot of hard work on your part, and if you’re not ready to commit to that hard work, you’re not likely to succeed as a publisher.

But don’t take my word for it. Join PMA. Take advantage of the resource.


Stephen Tiano said...

Another great post. I really like operating as a freelance book designer/layout artist from my own desk and not having to get up, put on dress-up duds, and head off on a trip to talk with clients or prospective clients. And I'm busy enough where I've never felt compelled to do so. But there's always the nagging feeling I'm missing out on networking opportunities that could lead to more work.

For the last few years I've wanted to time a trip to see my stepdaughter in northern California's Bay Area with Bookbuilders West's Crash Course in Book Publishing. And just this past week, I was tempted to make time for BEA, although, recovering from a broken leg, I actually have a legitimate reason for not making hour-plus-long trips that require time on my feet (crutches, at first, just now a cane, along with a brace). Especially annoying since who knows when something so on the money as the way you described PMA-U will take place again right in my backyard?

But you've definitely convinced me I need to make a start by attending one of these events ... soon.

Steve Tiano

Dick Margulis said...


PMA's Publishing University is offered every year in association with BEA. Next year is Los Angeles. 2009 is New York again. They also offer a mini-U from time to time in association with regional events. I went to one in St. Louis last November. Check the PMA site for their calendar.