Chronicles Of A Broke Self Publisher

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After getting the same questions over and over again about self-publishing, I finally decided to write an article about it. I really do hope that the information below will help someone realize their dreams of a book. Please feel free to share the article with anyone that might benefit.

1. What did you learn most from the experience of writing a book?

Everyone wants to write a book and everyone can write a book, Only a few will because of misconceptions about writing a book…it’s not hard at all. Just keep track of all your writings. Read the article HOW TO WRITE A BOOK WITHOUT WRITING.
My next book will be on marketing, I have 6 chapters, I need to get 4 or so more done…

2. How long did it take?

Below is a time line from the point I finished the first Manuscript:

  • The manuscript I finished on February 10th ($0)
  • I began searching for an editor February 22nd on (best site to find affordable editors, designers and lots more)
  • I found someone I was comfortable with and she began work on April 8th ($550)
  • The editing was the most cumbersome part for me. We finished editing on April 26th (opportunity cost of sleepless nights and headaches…plus I was working a 55 hour work week at that time…so yeah if I can do that…then you can do it!)
  • I also completed the book layout ($25 cheap book layout software, ISBN numbers ($250 I bought 10, I will expand on why I did that later but in the meantime you can visit to get your ISBN number) and cover page design ($0 but I am blessed that I can do this, if you are not good enough pay someone! Your book cover is the most important part of your book view this video THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IN WRITING A BOOKto see why) during the editing period, so they were both complete by April 26th also.
  • I sent to a printing company on May 3rd and they sent the proof copy to me on May 10th. ($30 which was a waste of money if you ask me)
  • From May 10th the book was ready for print. But I had to wait for copyright approvals and garner testimonials. The final testimonial came in on June 1st and book was approved for print the next day. ($720 for 150 copies using + copyright permission from that cost $507 <- I think they stole from me)

$720 was for 150 copies, I Initially got a quote of $1400 for 500 copies! Even though the price per book was way better…I still decided against it. I felt the 1st edition might have a few corrections and I was right…I released the 2nd edition within months! Moreover you want to gauge the interest of your book so you are not stuck with 2000 copies in your garage. So I would say go easy on the first purchase, no matter how good the 2000+ copy deal is.

3. What would you have done differently and what lessons are you taking into writing your next book?

I would have begun seeking copyright permissions earlier as it took a long time to get them. I would also have started looking for testimonials early also as they are not that hard to get…all you have to do is ask, but in the right way….I can tell you the right way.
Lastly, I would have read the free ebook “PUBLISHING BASICS: Navigating the Self-Publishing Minefield” much much earlier! I discovered this amazing resource half way through my writing progress and it made a world of difference. You can download the ebook here for free DOWNLOAD EBOOK

Others will gain from your questions so don’t hide them…put them in the comment box below and I will answer it and might even include it in the article =)

4. I’m curious about the price of the book ($23.97). Why $23.97 and not, say, $25, $20 or $15?

I learned this from a marketing class I attended in Vegas…online prices that end with “7” sell better. Don’t ask me why, they just do =/
However, for physical sales I would charge $20 or $15….just because people don’t like messing with change and I don’t have to bother with shipping cost and other online fees!

5. How come you are not listing it on Amazon or any other distribution channel?

Listing on Amazon is strictly an ego thing, unless your selling in the thousands you are not making any real profit. Selling the book on my own I can get profit anywhere from $15 to $20 per book. Selling on Amazon my profit is $1 to $2 per book. That does not mean I have not looked at Amazon as a distribution channel View the book on Amazon or learn how to put your own book on Amazon via Amazon Advantage. But your book has to reach a certain status before you can expect a meaningful return on investment. Thus, I focus on other ways to promote and market the book…especially via speaking! With a book people look at you as a celebrity speaker. I was able to get 2 big speaking engagements the year my book published worth $2500…simply because I had a book. Additionally, I can sell it to the schools in bulk for their students (I was able to sell 500 copies of my book at a speaking engagement at the University of Houston).

Thus my main focus is speaking and not amazon or barnes&nobles. And that is why I self published. Now, if the book performs well, I would begin looking for publishers and distributors but until then I will be focused on self-promotion and speaking engagements.

NOTE: One thing that Amazon is really good for are their ebooks. I created a kindle version of my book during my 7 day vacation in Canada (she was not happy). The process was a bit tricky at first but with consistency I pulled it off and the sales have been coming in. You can view the amazon kindle version of my book here KINDLE VERSION

6. How can I get your book?

OK I admit I was the one that came up with that question. But if you want to buy it you can do so at Which brings me to my last and final point! Books do not sell themselves! You have to be continually marketing and pushing the books at any opportunity you get. If you don’t no one will.
OFILI is an award winning motivational speaker and life coach, who blogs about life, success and excellence. He is the author of the inspiring memoir HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE and has been featured in magazines and radio stations across the globe including CBS radio. Ofili is currently in Nigeria working on his second book KICK-ASS MARKETING how to knockout the competition without hurting your clients. To get a copy of Ofili’s latest book on success visit



Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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14 comments on “Chronicles Of A Broke Self Publisher

  1. #AspiringAuthorInNaija# on said:

    Thank you so much for this and I’m looking forward to your book called “Kick-Ass Marketing”. I have a few questions though:
    1. You said you were blessed enough to create your own book cover, did you use a special software for this? Or did you use some graphics feature contained in the book-layout software that you bought?

    2. Does the book layout software put the book in a unique format that is then sent to the printing press? Or was it just a formatted MS Word or PDF File?

    Clearly I have a lot to learn but I’m seriously thinking of self-publishing.


    • Hey Aspiring Author!

      Congrats in advance on your new book. Here are the answers to your questions.

      1. I used MSWORD to design the book cover. And then I converted it to PDF to maintain resolution before converting to JPG.

      2. The layout is done in MSWORD, very simple to utilize. And once you are done you convert it to PDF and send it out to the printing press.

      PS: let me know if you have more questions =)

  2. Turberholler on said:

    Great information you have here. Thanks for making this available. just out of curiosity, i dont think you mentioned why you bought 10 ISBN numbers?

    • Ofili on said:

      @e8d7b30be42e3fd4535f8c707f45ece5:disqus  sorry for the late response! but more importantly thanks for the catch! I bought 10 ISBNs because of the price difference. For one ISBN people charge up to $100…so 10 ISBNs for $250 is a still as long as I write a 3rd book…so that is an added incentive =)

  3. Helpful info but the cost are all scattered on the post so i can really say what the cost of writing to publishing is. Understand the Amazon aspect. I have a Journal on Amazon and it is not doing well.
    I have a question, is it possible to change your publishing company even though it is a self publishing firm? I feel the price i got for my journal was to pricey?

    • As long as you have not signed a binding contract you can change to a self-publishing firm. You can even ditch both options and self-publish yourself. Hope that helps =)

  4. *sigh of relief*  I think most of my questions were answered here, and your cost got me excited, i was looking at spending much more than that… Thank you!!!