Lessons from the Self-Publishing Revolution

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Book publishing vet and self-publishing success story
Dr. Jan Yager reveals the good, the bad, and the expensive
from within the center of the “DIY” game for authors
Self-publishing is a huge trend in book publishing that has not been taken
seriously—until now. Just how big is this trend? In 2017, the number of self-published books crossed the
one million mark for the first time. (By comparison, commercial houses nationwide—including the
“Big Five” major publishers, all based in New York City—publish only a few hundred thousand books a
There is actually a long heritage of self-publishing, going back to Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s
and including such notables as: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass;
the international best-seller The Joy of Cooking; and the professional editor’s mainstay, Strunk and
White’s The Elements of Style. Two other self-published books—Andrew Weir’s The Martian and Lisa
Genova’s Still Alice—were each turned into award-winning motion pictures over the past decade. It
would seem that the book trade’s long-held prejudice against self-published books is starting to vanish.
Don’t be fooled though, cautions longtime book publishing vet and self-publishing success story
Jan Yager. As she advises in her new book How to Self-Publish Your Book ($19.95, Square One), a
self-published author has quite a steep learning curve when it comes to “making sure your self-published
book doesn’t look like it has been self-published.”
Jan Yager knows her topic firsthand. In addition to working in publishing as an editor—first at
Macmillan, then with publishing legend Barney Rosset at Grove Press—she has authored award-winning
books published by four of the “Big Five” houses. She has also self-published through her own small
press, Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc., which she founded more than 20 years ago.
In addition to the many “Write a Bestseller!” scams out there, Yager also warns self-publishers
against those who make unrealistic promises. “If a publicist tells you ‘I can turn your book into a
bestseller,’ then you need to run—don’t walk—away. And that’s because no one, not even the most
expensive publicist in the world, can guarantee a bestseller. Those who self-publish can succeed, but they
need to know the rules before they can play—and perhaps event change—the game.”
Dr. Yager—who has appeared over the years on major national programs such as: ABC’s The
View, Oprah, Nightline, and Good Morning America; NBC’s Today Show; and CBS’s Sunday Morning
and weekday Morning Show, together with segments on CNN and MSNBC—is a media-savvy guest who
knows how to convey useful information to viewers. Feel free to visit Dr. Yager’s website for more at
www.drjanyager.com. (Reviews, talking points, and interview questions are available upon request.)

BOOK SPECS: $19.95 USD ($28.95 CAN) / 272 PAGES / 2-Color Format
ISBN 978-0-7570-0465-0 / 7.5 X 9-INCH QUALITY PAPERBACK


Contact Info: Anthony Pomes, VP – Marketing/PR/Rights
Email: apomes@squareonepublishers.com / sq1marketing@aol.com
Phone: 516-535-2010 x 105
Below are some key topics and concerns that Dr. Yager addresses in her comprehensive new book, How to
Self-Publish Your Book ($19.95 USD, Square One), which has already gone to a second printing:
 From there to here—Dr. Yager’s career in traditional book publishing, first as editor and then author,
and what led her, in the mid-1990s, to take that first step towards a new world with self-publishing.
 Initial expenses—both money and time—that a new self-publisher should expect to incur.
 Necessary “first steps” that a self-publisher needs to take in order to get things off on the right foot.
 Realistic—vs. unrealistic—expectations regarding book sales for the self-published author. (Yes,
there are inspiring examples of successful self-published books—E. L. James’ erotic hit Fifty Shades
of Grey and William P. Young’s Christian-themed The Shack, to name but a few—that have become
bestsellers and were made into hit movies, but these are exceptions to the rules. Folks need to know
what’s typical in this particular game.)
 Cited examples from what Dr. Yager calls “The Ten ‘Tells’ That Your Book Is Self-Published.”
 Having booked herself as a self-published author on national TV shows like ABC’s OPRAH and
THE VIEW, along with NBC’s TODAY SHOW and CBS SUNDAY MORNING, Dr. Yager can
explain the toughness of the process but also the exhilaration of making it happen more than once—
and what she learned from it all.
 The three formats of book—print, e-book, audio—and whether a self-publisher should do all three.
 The # 1 expense self-published authors cannot skip if she/he wants her/his book to stand a chance.
How to Self-Publish Your Book has already received praise from trade book publications such as Publishers
Weekly (“invaluable”), Booklist (ALA) (“realistic, accessible, and thorough”), and Library Journal, whose
“starred review” declares the book “highly recommended to everyone hoping to self-publish a book that
won’t look self-published.”

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Suggested Interview Questions for

Dr. Jan Yager
How to Self-Publish Your Book
(Square One Publishers, June 2019)

1. You’ve had a successful career, both in the worlds of traditional book publishing and
self-publishing. When did you decide to enter into the world of self-publishing—and
what persuaded you that self-publishing books was a reliable and viable venture?
2. What do you believe is the number-one reason for writers to self-publish their work?
3. Who are some of the more famous and well-known writers whose self-published books
have gone on to become classics and/or financial successes over the years? Of those
titles, which has stood out for you as an especially strong “success story”?
4. What have you seen as some of the most common misconceptions about self-publishing?
5. For those in our audience who are not already book experts, what is an ISBN number—
and is it absolutely crucial for every self-published book to have one? If a book lacks an
ISBN number, what are the consequences?
6. What format is most important for a self-published book to be offered in these days—
print, digital (“e-book”), audiobook—or all three? Why?
7. In your book, you talk about “tells”—for those in our audience who may not play poker,

what exactly is a “tell”? And what are some of the biggest “tells” that distinguish self-
published books from those published by traditional book publishers?

8. What are some of the most prevalent scams out there that self-publishers need to know
about so they are less likely to fall for those kinds of schemes?
9. Your book is divided into three parts: Writing the Book; Getting it Published; and
Promoting It. Please let our audience know one key “take away” from each part.
10. Is it possible for a self-publisher to do everything her- or himself? If not, what are the
steps a self-published book needs to go through that even the best self-publisher cannot
do entirely on her or his own?
11. If someone came to you at this point and said, “I want to self-publish my book,” what
would your response be?
12. Where can folks find your book? How to Self-Publish Your Book can be purchased on
Amazon DOT com, or you can go to the publisher’s website at www DOT
squareonepublishers DOT com. It is also available through Barnes & Noble or from
any/all other bookstores near you.

Advance praise for

How to Self-Publish Your Book (Yager)

“Realistic, accessible, and thorough . . . Yager’s advice on everything from
margin size and elements of a cover design to a sensible approach to social media
and press coverage is useful and clearly laid out . . . [a] solid choice for authors

who have written a book and are ready for the next step.”

–Booklist (ALA)

* * * * * * * *

“What distinguishes Jan Yager’s How to Self-Publish Your Book from other
books on self-publishing are the sections on writing, editing, getting permissions,

creating sell sheets, and designing your book—
all key elements in the success of any book.”
–John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books
and editor of Book Marketing Tip of the Week (newsletter)

* * * * * * * *

“I enthusiastically recommend How to Self-Publish Your Book. It covers all the
bases from writing and getting the content ready for publication to publishing it in
various formats. It goes on to describe promoting your self-published book,
including selling foreign rights. This comprehensive guide is a gift to
every book author who is considering self-publishing.”
–Brian Jud, book marketing consultant, Executive Director of APSS

(Association of Publishers for Special Sales),

and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Square One)


DR. JAN YAGER received her MA in criminal justice from
Goddard College, and a PhD in sociology from the City University
of New York Graduate Center. Beginning at the age 23, she began
her publishing career first working at Macmillan Publishing
Company, and then at Grove Press working directly under the
company’s founder, Barney Rosset. There she learned to do
everything from selling foreign and subsidiary rights to acquisitions, publicity, and
sales. Jan’s life has been all about writing and publishing books. She is the author
of more than 40 books published by such major houses as Simon & Schuster,

Penguin Random House, Scribner, Wiley, and Doubleday, as well as self-
published by her own company, Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc.

Dr. Yager has been interviewed on such major TV shows as Oprah, The View,
the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CBS Sunday Morning,
CNN, MSNBC, and BBC television in London. Dr. Yager’s award-winning titles
include Foreign Rights and Wrongs; Effective Business and Nonfiction
Writing; Career Opportunities in the Publishing Industry (with Fred
Yager); Business Protocol; Victims; When Friendship Hurts (translated into 29
languages); Friendshifts; The Pretty One (a novel); Untimely Death (a novel, with
Fred Yager); The Quiet Dog (illustrated by Mitzi Lyman); Work Less, Do More;
Put More Time on Your Side; and others. Dr. Yager and her husband, Fred, reside
in Stamford, Connecticut.

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