Monday, May 18, 2015

Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent, The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide

AUTHOR: Joel Friedlander (coauthor is Betty Kelly Sargent, but  Joel is answering the questions)
BOOK TITLE: The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide
GENRE: Nonfiction/Directories/Resource Guides
PUBLISHER: Marin Bookworks

Please tell us about yourself.

I have a long history in graphic arts, design, and book publishing. Many years ago I operated a design business in New York’s Flatiron district servicing the direct response industry. In the 1980s I was working in the book publishing business and decided to self-publish my first book Body Types: The Enneagram of Essence Types because I knew how to publish books and that no traditional publisher would be interested in this niche title. Publishing the book opened up many opportunities for me and gave me a real education in how books are made and sold, and how to sell to a niche market. This proved invaluable when I started my own publishing company, Globe Press Books, where we eventually published about a dozen books before we closed our doors. I then moved to California and started Marin Bookworks, a book design and consultancy in northern California, and which I continue to operate today. These days I write a high-profile blog on book design, production, and the future of the book at, sell predesigned book templates and other tools for authors at, and train authors in the publishing business through an online course given at I’m a past president of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association and frequently speak to writers and publishers at industry events. I’m also the author of the 2011 book A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I’m a professional blogger and have written over 1,400 articles in the last few years, although in 2014 I began to turn the blog into more of a media site, and content is now created, in addition, by a staff of Contributing Writers. I’ve used my blog articles as the basis for a book and have also put a lot of writing into creating books by writing blog articles. I set aside mornings for writing time and prefer public environments where I can write without the distractions of my office space, and find that a low level of activity—think Starbucks—helps me to focus and be very productive, and I can frequently produce a 1,000 word article or book section in about 40 minutes.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had been in a group that studied human psychology with unusual tools, and one of those was a system of human typology that I had never run into anywhere else. There was no book on the subject, and I was moved to write one in response to fairly constant requests for information on this typology. I spent a year writing it, then another year researching and writing a second edition, which is still in print today, almost 30 years after that initial publication.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I was completely blocked for many years and didn’t do any writing other than “corporate” writing, which was frustrating. In 2007 I started studying free-writing with writing coach Suzanne Murray, and that changed everything. I learned how to tap into the unending flow of ideas, images, and imaginal worlds that reside just below the level of consciousness, and I’ve never been blocked since. Free-writing is an amazing discipline that many authors could benefit from, and I highly recommend it as a practice.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

Despite the fact that I was working in the publishing industry at the time, I decided to self-publish my first book even though the practice was much more uncommon in the 1980s than it is today. Although I’ve been approached by traditional publishers in recent years due to the popularity of my blog, I haven’t received an offer that offered a better publishing path, so I’ve kept publishing and marketing my own books.

What is your marketing plan?

My marketing revolves around the platform I’ve built in the indie author community since 2009. Through blogging, presenting to trade groups, being active on social media, running free educational events for authors, and aggressively building an email list, I’ve been very lucky to acquire a pretty sizable following and that is at the core of my marketing plan. This network has given me many opportunities to spread the word about my book through guest articles on other blogs, interviews with industry leaders and presentations about the idea behind the book. It has also allowed me to gather almost 150 book reviews by giving away more than 500 copies of the book during our book launch.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a series of tools for indie authors that are designed to take a lot of the mystery, frustration, and unnecessary expense out of creating and marketing indie books. There are over 6 separate projects in process, each being developed in partnership with an industry expert, and I’m very excited about bringing the results of these collaborations to authors in the coming months.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

The best way to find me and find out about new projects, new tools for authors I’m developing, and read really helpful articles on indie publishing is to sign up at my blog for article updates, and that’s at I also offer a free 24-page PDF that’s proven massively helpful to authors thinking about self-publishing, and your readers are invited to get a copy for themselves. It’s called 10 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing and it’s been downloaded over 25,000 times: I also spend a lot of time on Twitter, where I’m @JFBookman. 

Tell me a little about your book.

The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide is a compendium of resources that are useful to authors planning on publishing their own books. It’s divided into three sections—Prepare, Publish, and Promote—and then further into 35 categories so listings are easy to find. All 850+ resources in the book have been curated and verified, and I think it’s going to save authors a massive amount of time and energy sourcing the experts they will need to create a truly professional quality book.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?

My coauthor, Betty Kelly Sargent, suggested the topic. When she described it to me, I realized instantly that she had a great idea because no such directory existed. This isn’t too surprising since Betty had a 30+ year career at the top levels of traditional publishing as an editor and executive editor at a variety of publishers.

What types of writing do you prefer, and why?

There are two types of writing that I practice, and enjoy. One is the kind of instructional writing I do on my blog and in recent books. The other is memoir, where I get to look back at my life and gain amazing insights into events in my own past.

What about your book makes it special?

It’s the only resource of its kind for indie authors—there simply isn’t another place where authors can go to access this kind of carefully curated content.

What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

They both work. It’s up to you as an author to figure out which one works better for you, and this decision is best made on a book-by-book basis. Some books absolutely require the wide distribution offered by traditional publishing, others don’t and will be much more profitable if self-published. Authors today have the information available to take charge of their own publishing careers, and that’s a fantastic development in my opinion.

What book are you currently reading? What do you like or not like about it?

I’m currently reading In An Unspoken Voice by Peter Levine, a remarkable book about recovering from trauma. I particularly like the author’s personal story, which animates a lot of the book, and his development of a therapeutic modality to treat trauma survivors without re-traumatizing them. What I don’t like is the poor editorial work on the book, which isn’t well targeted to one audience and which contains many simple errors that should have been corrected by any competent editor.

Describe your writing space.

Have you ever been to Starbucks? I write there because it’s more sane than my office, and there are fewer distractions, if you can believe that!

What was your most embarrassing moment as an author?

I was offering some advice to an author at an event at which I was speaking. After thinking about what I had said for a moment, he looked at me and quoted (from memory!) a passage in a book I had written several years ago that contradicted my advice. Ouch!

Book summary:

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 35 distinct categories within the 3 main tasks the self-publisher must deal with. How to Prepare, Publish, and Promote their books.

Content & Developmental Editors
Copyeditors & Proofreaders
Cover & Interior Book Designers
Image Sources
Book Shepherds & Publishing Consultants
Illustrators & Cartoonists
Writing Software
Writers’ Conferences & Workshops Offering Scholarships
Grants & Funding for Writers
Professional & Trade Associations
Best Books on Writing
Helpful Links

eBook Conversion
Print-on-Demand (POD) Printing & Distribution Services
Subsidy Publishers
Short Run Printers
Book Production Software
Best Books on Self-Publishing

Website Design for Authors
Social Media Consultants
Book Review Services
Author Assistants
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.

Betty Kelly Sargent is the founder of BookWorks, the Self-Publishers association (, and writes a monthly column on self-publishing for Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the Independent Editors Group (IEG) and has spent more than 30 years in the traditional publishing business, most recently as editor-in-chief of William Morrow, where at one point she had three books on the New York Times best-seller list at once. She has also been executive editor at HarperCollins, executive editor at Delacorte Press, Fiction and Books editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and book reviewer for CNN. She is the author of seven traditionally published books and one self-published book. She moderates panels and workshops in New York City and Los Angeles and is passionate about helping indie authors learn to navigate the ever-changing landscape of self-publishing.

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