Publish Your Own AR Book or Magazine
As you may know, I'm a writer/ghostwriter/editor. That's how I've made my living for over 20 years.
My clients have always been a combination of experts who already have book deals with large publishers, and entrepreneurs who say Why on Earth would I let them take so much of my potential profits? The latter form a publishing company, get their own block of ISBNs (like Social Security numbers for publications of all kinds), and print and distribute the books themselves (or outsource those parts). Sure, it's a lot of work, but if you're already an entrepreneur, and you have a bunch of products that could be made into books, workbooks, CDs, and DVDs, why not self-publish? (And just for clarity, I'm not talking about using Xlibris and the like, which are print-on-demand companies.)
Many vegans and animal rights activists "have a book in them" but soon discover, despite their well-crafted book proposal and sample chapters, that most mainstream publishers aren't interested. Unless you have already published a book that has sold well, you're too big a risk, and in their minds the market is way too small and specialized to roll the dice on you. The book publishing business is not doing well, and taking big risks on unknown authors with tiny markets isn't on a publisher's Top 10 list of things to do.
In my experience, what holds back most authors from self-publishing is one word: ego. They want the approval of the "real" publishing world (usually meaning New York), and regardless of the reality that the real publishing world probably isn't going to lift a finger to help sell their book, they'd choose that over making an e-book or self-publishing and selling a bunch of books on the Internet.
But what's the goal? Isn't the goal to spread your message, whatever it is, in the most effective and efficient way possible? Sometimes the goal is indeed to get a big NY house to publish your book, as perhaps your career trajectory requires that. But if you have something to say that you'd like the world to hear sooner rather than later, and you have an Internet connection and maybe some layout software, you don't need much money to get started creating your own books and magazines.
The big secret of self-publishing is that you can figure out what you need, sample different paper and fonts, find an artist for your cover, and do all of the work yourself, or you can write your book and have someone else do all the rest very inexpensively. You can even have someone else write it, though that's not so inexpensive.
Check out Booksjustbooks.com, which is one-stop shopping for all of your self-publishing needs. They have already negotiated prices for you, they have designers and editors, and links and articles that answer every possible question you'd have about the self-publishing process for every kind of book you'd want to produce.
And if you want to produce a magazine (or even a longer brochure), check out MagCloud, which enables you to print your own magazines from a pdf for as little as 20 cents per page. I've been thinking about revising Thinking Critically About Animal Rights, as I gave away the 1,000 I printed, and they were very, very expensive. Cost prohibitive in a major way and I'm not sure what I was thinking. They sure looked great, and the paper was fabulous, but I won't even tell you how much they cost because you'll mock me for the rest of my natural life for doing something so stupid that wasn't even tax-deductible. (Though I'm not sure about that–it might have been–I'll find out next week. Been delaying going to the accountant as long as possible.)
So all of you authors-in-waiting, start writing and publishing. We're all waiting to hear what you have to say!