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Self-publishing Sandstone

This House of Books self-published a book: our Sandstone anthology. It has met our expectations for success. Why? At least three reasons: In the first place, it contains work of some of the best authors in the state (thank you authors!). There are several stories in these that are worth the price of the entire book. In the second place, it was professionally edited and typeset (thank you Craig Lancaster and Precious McKenzie!), and we have a beautiful cover photo thanks to professional artist Connie Dillon. In the third place, and this is almost too obvious to mention, we are a bookstore. We do not need to worry about trying to get the book onto the shelves somewhere.

We expected to sell hundreds of copies, and we quickly met that expectation. The thing promoters of self-publishing say -- that you get to keep all of the money you take in above the cost of production -- is true. We keep a higher percentage of the money from each sale than we would have if we had found a traditional publisher.

The production was not without glitches. One of the first problems we faced was the fact that the ISBN assigned to us did not work. When Sandstone was printed we picked up several cases of books and tried to enter the title into our sales system. Ingram, one of the largest wholesalers in the world and our chief supplier, could not use it. You cannot sell a book without a working ISBN, so this became a huge distraction for many people associated with the store. We had some very book-savvy people working on this but it still became nearly a full time job for a couple of days making phone calls around the country before we got it worked out. We have seen this happen with other books, so it was not a problem unique to us.

We want our authors to be successful when they try self-publishing. Join our self-help for self-publishers group. The first meeting will be February 6 at 5:30 PM, at the bookstore.