The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide
Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent
The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide is the first and largest collection of curated and verified resources for independent authors who plan to publish their own books. Produced by a team with long experience in both traditional and independent publishing, the over 850 resources are listed in an easy-to-use format that includes live links, phone numbers, email addresses and brief descriptive copy. The Guide makes vendors and other resources easy to find by separating them into 33 distinct categories within the 3 main tasks the self-publisher must deal with. How to Prepare, Publish, and Promote their books:
PREPARE Content & Developmental Editors / Copyeditors & Proofreaders / Indexers / Cover & Interior Book Designers / Image Sources / Illustrators & Cartoonists / Translators / Writing Software / Writers' Conferences & Workshops Offering Scholarships / Grants and Funding for Writers / Professional & Trade Associations / Best Books on Writing
PUBLISH eBook Conversion / Print-on-Demand (POD) Printing & Distribution Services / Subsidy Publishers / Short Run Printers / Book Production Software / Best Books on Self-Publishing / Helpful Links
PROMOTE Website Design for Authors / Social Media Consultants / Book Review Services / Press Release Services & Sources / Best Blogs on Self-Publishing / Book Blog Tours / Marketing & Publicity / Sites to List eBooks / News & Views / eBook Aggregators & Book Distributors / Major Retailers / Writing Contests, Fellowships & Prizes / Book Awards for Self-Published Authors / Consumer Protection
The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide ebook version is updated regularly to provide current information and links in the fast-changing indie publishing world, and the authors are actively soliciting input to keep listings current and comprehensive.
I received this as an advanced review copy, as did nearly everyone reviewing before 1 February 2015.
I am surprised by the number of 5-star reviews and also by the glowing accolades in the front of the book. I’m afraid I can’t agree with them. Here’s why:
The title: There is nothing ultimate about this; and it is a directory, not a resource guide.
Listings: I couldn’t see anywhere an explanation on how these people and businesses were chosen to be included in the listings. They are mainly, as you would expect from US authors, from the US. But there are a handful of Australian entries and a smattering of UK ones. (There are none from Ireland.) If all the entries were from the US, I could understand it, but these few from other countries popping up every now and again is bizarre. You can send submissions for inclusion in the next edition; I see this as a way for hundreds of editors/designers/marketers etc. to get on the listings (do those included have to pay?), in which case they will become as difficult to use as a search engine result (I’d say they are already, actually). How will the authors make the listing manageable in the future?
Curation: This is supposed to be curated content. The authors say this “means that we have checked each link at the time the book was created to make sure that the person or company listed is in business, open to working with self-published authors, and is not a scammer looking to rip you off.” What does this mean – the authors admit they don’t know everyone in the lists, so how do they know they are not scammers? How have they checked they are open to working with indie authors? They are not providing endorsement. So what exactly are they curating? They are verifying only that the links work. However, …
Of the 850 entries, I clicked web links to about a hundred. Of these hundred, five links were broken, one page was not found, a number of links went to a portal or organisation homepage rather than to the individual named in the listing (it was possible to go to the individual listings, I created my own link and tried it), one of the pages for an editor had spelling errors, several web addresses given in the book jumped to a site of a different name, and my browser blocked one site because of “potentially dangerous content”.
The authors also say that a condition of being included in the book is “A current, informative, interactive website” – there are several entries (four out of the hundred I looked at in detail) with only an email address and no website. Worse still, several of the authors’ own links do not take you to their details – the Twitter one tries to get me to share a link rather than takes me to the author’s Twitter account; the Pinterest one tries to get me to pin something (which I can’t because there is no picture) rather than takes me to the author’s Pinterest pages; the Goodreads link takes me to the page for this book, not the author’s page.
Incomplete listings: Of course, something of this potential enormous size cannot include everybody and everything, but there is no mention of the SFEP in the UK, AFEPI in Ireland, or EPANI in Northern Ireland (and I think no professional organisation for Australia). Again, I’d understand it if this was a resource specifically for the US, but there are those UK entries throwing me off course again. Also, there are people from the UK who have written glowing testimonials (under the heading of “Advance praise”) on the usefulness of the book, so you would expect them to be thinking of its usefulness to their compatriots. There are no UK/Ireland entries for writers’ conferences, grants and funding for writers, or professional and trade associations. There are no contact details for UK ISBNs.
Many of the entries under book review services are for paid reviews. A warning needs to be given here.
Introductory paragraphs to each section: These are badly written and have spelling mistakes. The introductions would be much more helpful if they said why you might need an expert in this field and what specifically to look out for to avoid being ripped off. In fact, a short section on the publishing process and where each category fits in would be useful.
Money: It is so easy for unsuspecting indie authors to be ripped off. I think it would be helpful for the authors to give warnings and signs as to how this could happen and what to look out for.
I have a lot of respect for Joel Friedlander (I'm not familiar with Betty Kelly Sargent), and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to be more positive about this book.
Editorial Input & Design
It needs an edit, a proofread and a link check. A book of this nature by these particular authors cannot afford to have errors.
Cover: It is in keeping with the type of reference book, but nothing that will make it stand out from the crowd. In fact, it blends in rather well and you are likely to overlook it in a listing of thumbnails.
Internal design: It looks a bit messy. And it’s not very easy to use on a Kindle. I would have liked it better without all the quote marks. It would be fine on a Fire I presume, but I gave up on my e-reader and looked at it on the app for my laptop. It's also available as a paperback, but as it's going to be regularly updated, you might find the life of your paperback is limited; it's also more useful to have the clickable links found in the ebook.
Book Clubs & Reviews
It is not relevant for book clubs.
There are many on www.amazon.com (fewer on the UK site) – read them all and make your own mind up. Personally, I'd be wary of the glowing ones. And I wouldn't give much credence to the "Advance praise" in the front of the book (you can read these with the Look Inside feature on Amazon). Just my opinion, of course.
Let me know if you agree with my review, by the voting buttons on the left. And do let me know your views in the comments below.
Article filed under: