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Q: I'm a caterer. I've heard that having a book can help the credibility of any service business. Is there a low-cost way to self-publish a recipe book?
A: Yes, you heard right. Having a book is a great credibility-builder for any service business. It is an ideal publicity and promotional tool for getting print, radio and TV interviews; to give away as door prizes; and to send to meeting planners of conferences and exhibits where you could do workshops, seminars or demonstrations. Also, you can offer a book featuring your know-how as an incentive to new clients. You can bundle it into your service to increase value or use it as a gift to valued customers and referral sources. What's more, a book can be a potential additional income stream from clients or at booths or trade show exhibits.
There are a variety of low-cost ways to self-publish your book. The best choice depends on how many books you wish to stock and if you want help in selling and promoting the book. Here are three possible routes:
1. Print-on-demand subsidy publishers: You pay a modest submission fee ($400 to $1,700) and receive royalties (10 to 40 percent) on books the publisher sells. You buy the books wholesale at a 20 to 60 percent discount. For more information, visit www.1stbooks.com.
2. Short- and medium-run printers: You pay a setup fee and printing costs of as low as $1 per book for print runs of a thousand or more. You own the print rights and sell the books yourself. For details, visit www.bookmasters.com.
3. Print-on-demand printers: You pay a setup fee and then order as many books as you want printed at a time. The price for printing is lower the more books you order. Printing 100 books, for example, might run $6 per book. Log on to www.bvg-opm-books.com for more details.
You can also self-publish your book and make it available as an e-book on your Web site through an e-publisher like www.booklocker.com.
For the full scoop on all these methods and for lists of additional publishers of various types, visit Dan Poynter's Web site (www.parapublishing.com), or check out his book The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book (Para Publishing).
Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards have written 15 books, including Working From Homeand Finding Your Perfect Work. Send them your start-up business questions at www.workingfromhome.com or in care of Entrepreneur.