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Monday, September 3, 2012

Author Jo Linsdell on Self-Publishing

Meet Author Jo Linsdell

A lot is being said about self-publishing a book. Readers of BookOrBust write asking questions about self-publication all the time. Their questions run the gambit from, is there a stigma to that self-publishing thing, to will they be considered real authors if they do it, and what about ebooks -- Has print publication, that real in-your-hand book gone by way of the Guttenberg Press?

Here to clear up some of this confusion is author Jo Lindsell.
Please share with readers a little about yourself and the names of all those books you have written. Are any of your books self-published?

Thanks for inviting me Linda. It's a pleasure to be here. It's always hard to know what to write when someone asks you to tell a little about yourself but here's me in a nutshell...I'm originally from the UK but came to Rome, Italy back in 2001 for 3 days and ended up staying. I live here with my Italian husband and our two wonderful little boys. Although I've had a passion for writing since I was little I only started taking it seriously in 2006. Since then I've written articles for clients all over the world, won several awards for my blogs and self published 3 books (Italian for Tourists, A Guide to Weddings in Italy and most recently the best-selling children's book Out and About at the Zoo). I also organise the online event for people in the writing industry called Promo Day that takes place annually in May at

What was your reason for self-publishing your books?
I choose self publishing for my first book Italian for Tourists because I wanted to learn as much about the publishing process as possible and as I'm a hands-on learner going the DIY route was the perfect solution. It went well and I haven't looked back since. I love having complete control over every aspect of my books.

What is the average price (is there such a thing) for a book? Your book? How did you come to decide that price? 
Out and About at the Zoo is priced at $8.99,  Italian for Tourists is $13.02 and A Guide to Weddings in Italy is $10.95. All are competitive with other books on the market in their respective categories. 

The final pricing depends mainly on the production costs and of course how much you want to make off each sale. I used Lulu to publish my first two books but went with CreateSpace for Out and About at the Zoo because it meant I could make the book available at a much cheaper price to the public due to lower production costs. 

You also need to consider your royalty percentage per sale. I personally prefer to earn a lower amount per sale and keep my price to the public in line with my competition than to try for a bigger amount and have to struggle to get sales. Selling 1 copy and getting a royalty of $5 is great but selling 1000 copies and getting $1 for each is better.

(all prices listed here are the price and may vary through other retailers)

Different self-publishing companies offer different packages, along with different prices. What was your choice? Which company did you select to publish your work? Were and are you satisfied? Would you use them again? 

Like I said before, I used for my first 2 books. I've very pleased with the quality and both books have earned me royalties every month since being published. The whole interface was easy to use and my experience with Lulu has been nothing but positive.

For Out and About at the Zoo I opted for CreateSpace for a few reasons. 1) I wanted to try a different route to see the differences 2) They offered lower production costs so I could make my pricing more competitive 3) I'd heard great things about them and given the direct connection with Amazon was curious to see how they worked. I'm thrilled with the results! Amazon have the best customer service I've ever come across and although the process was a bit more involved (they have strict rules about formatting and acceptable files) the end result is high quality. They also have a great online community for tips and advice regarding both the publishing process and book marketing. 

I didn't spend a cent to publish through either platform and although both offer a variety of packages I opted to go it alone.

I'd have no problems recommending either but will probably continue to use CreateSpace for future releases.

What is your personal recommendation -- Traditional Publishing, i.e., agent-editor-publisher route, or self-publishing?

I don't have anything against Traditional Publishing and if I was to get an offer for a multi million dollar contact I doubt I'd say no... but I love self publishing. I love everything about it from writing and illustrating my books to the marketing side of things. Maybe because I'm a bit of a control freak or maybe because I find it fascinating to follow the whole process. I'm also a frugal type and don't like paying out for something I can do myself just as well. That being said if you're going to self publish you need to do it right. It shouldn't be obvious that your book is a self published one. You need to produce a quality end product.

Got any tips for new authors -- something they need to be aware of when selecting a package, best publishing house, ones to avoid?

1) When deciding how to publish your book you need to carefully consider your own skills and what you are capable of doing yourself. If you're lacking in a certain area it might be worth looking into packages that cover that area for you.
2) NEVER pay to be published. Whether you choose to self publish or go through a Traditional Publisher, they will earn money through royalties when your book sells.
3) Which ever route you take you'll be expected to put in time and effort into marketing your book. There's no point in publishing a book if nobody knows about it.

One last question, Jo, and then I'll let you go: What sage words are there for writers insisting real writers don't self-publish their own work.

The reputation of self publishing has changed drastically in recent years and some famous authors are ditching their publishers to go it alone. A few big name self published authors include John Grisham, JA Konrath, Joan Collins and Amanda Hocking but there are hundreds more. With Kindle books now out-selling print versions self publishing is likely to increase even more over coming years. The marketplace is changing. I don't think it's important how a book is published as long as it's published right. It's the quality of the end product that counts.

Thank you, Jo Linsdell, for filling in the blanks for readers of BookOrBust. All best wishes for continued success. 

You can learn more about Jo Linsdell and the books she writes by visiting the following sites:

Website URL:
Blogsite URL:
Contact Information:
Facebook URL:
Twitter URL:

Jo Linsdell's Books


Jo Linsdell said...

Thanks for inviting me to do this interview Linda.

If any one has any questions for me just post a comment and I'll get back to you.

LindaDellaDonna said...

Jo, the pleasure is all mine.
Thank you again.


Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hey, Jo and Linda,

Great tips for self-publishing. I think one of the most important things for writers to consider is whether they can self-publish their book at a price that is competitive. Good that you pointed that out, Jo.

Happy writing - and publishing!

Jo Linsdell said...

Thanks for dropping by Suzanne. Pricing is very important. You need to be in line with your competitors if you want to make sales.

LindaDellaDonna said...

thank you, Suzanne, for stopping by BookOrBust and for leaving a comment. Jo did a superb job of sharing information. Good catch on pointing out "competitive" pricing.

See you in print.