Publishing Your Own Book

May 24th, 2011

Author James Altucher has a cool post at Freakonomics about his experiences with self-publishing. Here is his process:

  • I created an account on They are owned by Amazon. Great customer service. You have any question at all you hit a button that says “Call Me” and within 30 seconds they have a customer representative calling your phone.
  • I downloaded a Microsoft Word template they provided. This template took into account whether a page was a left page or a right page, it helped build the table of contents, kept the page numbers accurate, etc. In other words, the template used by any publisher in the world when they format your book.
  • I made a cover. Createspace had over a million options when you combined their templates with images, fonts, etc. I used one of their photos.
  • I saved it as a PDF and uploaded it. I let them pick the ISBN number.
  • I picked a price of $7.95. This was the minimum price I could go if I wanted them to distribute it to bookstores, libraries, etc along with Amazon. I get about a $2 royalty per book at that price. But if you chose a price of $20 then you would get about a $14 royalty. Much higher than any publisher will ever give you. I chose a low price because I’m trying to get as many copies out as possible. I have many books to go and want the audience to be happier and happier with each product.  Personally, I would prefer if you get the free book – directions below to get it.
  • They sent a proof. Once I approved it, it was officially published at About two days later it was on
  • I hit a button to format it as a Kindle book. Up until now everything was free, but formatting for the Kindle requires some work and costs $69. Three weeks later they sent me the documents formatted for Kindle and I had to use Amazon Author Central to upload the Kindle version. Again, I priced it as low as they would let me. $0.99. Within 48 hours it was on Amazon.
  • I also created my Amazon page, linked the RSS feed of my blog to it, created a video and uploaded it, linked my twitter feed to it, etc.
  • I’m also giving out my book for free (the PDF, which basically looks like the Kindle version). As of today I’m setting up an automated email to get the free version, but if anyone wants to email me direct feel free to contact me through the Contact button on my blog at and I’ll respond.

–          Here’s how to get a FREE version:

  • Email this address: [email protected]
    The subject line has to be:  Luckiest Person Alive Free Book
  • You’ll get an email within seconds. There won’t be an attachment but there will be a link to the full PDF on Google Docs. You can read it as a PDF there. OR If you want it as an attachment you can then click “Share” on the right and EMAIL it to yourself (or whomever) as an attachment. All for free.

I’m pretty sure this is the way to go. Working with a publisher generates no advance, negligible revenues, provides no marketing budget, and takes forever. Publishing yourself takes no time at all, and you still have access to Amazon and Kindle. Plus, you can set your own price, earn your own royalties, and market yourself (something I could do well).