Donald James Parker

Donald James Parker is a rebel with a cause and is the author of nine novels, seven of which he considers culture-flash fiction. His goal is to promote God's kingdom and tear down strongholds of the enemy while he provides entertainment. He writes for The Christian Pulse, Examiner.Com, and The ebooks of all his novels are available for free download from his website at All of Don's books promote sexual purity, but two are especially focused on that topic - Love Waits and Homeless Like Me. The novels that attack the theory of human evolution include More Than Dust in the Wind, All the Voices of the Wind, and All the Fury of the Wind. Reforming the Potter's Clay is an attack on the occult. All the Stillness of the Wind is a spiritual odyssey which spotlights cheap grace and lukewarm living.

POD and Self-Publishing

This is the first installment of a series which hopefully will help teach people the ropes of publishing books without a traditional publisher (aka self-publishing). As with many things in life, there are a multitude of facets and complexities to this endeavor. I'm certainly not an expert in any one of these areas, so I'll have to scramble to augment my knowledge as I arrive at each facet.

To compensate I'll supply you with a plethora of web addresses each month that will allow you learn from some authentic gurus. One of those is Dan Poynter, who wrote the equivalent of the Bible on self-publishing. Visit the Para Publishing web site for details at Another great site to check out was created by Christy Pinheiro. She has a ton of resources, many of them freebies, at I will be reviewing her book in the near future. She has a short ebook with quick tips on self-publishing which she gives away for free.

Since we don't have the capacity to ask and answer questions on this site, I've created a group on a Ning social network called Self-Publishing Community. You can browse to it at and sign up for free. Then join our group called Christian Fiction Online Magazine. If you have questions about what I write here, create a new discussion in that group. I'll try to help the best I can, but I must reserve some time for my own writing.

Here are the topics I plan on covering: Writing, Editing, Formatting, Cover development and Illustrating, Publishing, Distribution, Promoting, and Marketing. If there are any items which I've omitted, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'll touch base on all of these eventually, some more heavily than others. It seems to me that I need to start toward the end of the process because people who have already written their book don't want to wait six months or more for a column dealing with their main topic or interest. So I'm going to start with tips for actually getting a manuscript published.

Let me warn you that there may be some disagreement on meanings of terms and classifications used. Be aware and make sure you're comprehending. The term self-publishing might seem nebulous or slippery, so let's clarify. The term is usually applied to anything published by an author outside of a traditional publishing house which chooses to publish the work based on a combination of merit and marketability.

There are four basic types of self-publishing: Vanity Publishing, Subsidy Publishing, True Self-publishing, and Print On Demand See this Wikipedia page for definitions: You need to decide which route to take, depending on your goals, skills, and expendable finances. If you were ready to completely self publish, I don't think you'd be reading this column. I recommend that no one use a vanity publisher (who will probably deny they are a vanity publisher). Subsidy publishers might reject your manuscript and they will own your book, so I'd rule them out too, especially if they require you to buy a bunch of books from them. I'd suggest the POD option.

If you read my blog entry at, you'll see how to get the best of both worlds by starting your own publishing company by using the tools of the publisher Lulu for almost no cost. also allows this type of do-it-yourself with tools scenario.

If you don't want to take that route, there are a plethora of companies ready to take your money. Not all of them are created

equal. You must go through a list of features and compare the cost of each. After I took this route the first time, I decided to roll my own. It didn't make sense for me to pay someone to create a cover and format a book when I was capable of doing that myself through Lulu.

POD publishers usually offer multiple packages with the Cadillac version costing the most and then perhaps a Yugo version to get you in on the ground floor and maybe some in between. I went for the top of the line at the company that had the cheapest deluxe package. That did not include custom cover design, but it did include a cookie-cutter cover with just a picture, background color, and the words. The package was $1000, but I ended up paying close to $2000 before I finished. I had to buy the final cover and finished PDF so I could print my own books. And I had to pay 50 cents a word to make corrections after the manuscript was submitted for formatting. The editing process was a nightmare, not only cost-wise but also in effectiveness. So beware of potentially hidden costs.

Many of the POD publishers offer ala carte services not included in their packages. You might be able to get a full edit or a custom cover or a marketing campaign – you just have to shell out extra dollars to do so. If you have money lying around that is burning a hole in your banking account and you only have one book to lavish all your love and attention on, you might want to go with all the whistles and bells. It's your money.

Here is a site that has free downloading of a POD database which contains all (or almost all) of the leading POD publishers and their offerings.

In my opinion, these are the elements that should decide who you choose to publish for you: Cost to you, cost of the book on the retail market, amount of control you have as author, ownership of book and movie rights, the level of services you receive, percent of royalties, exclusive or non-exclusive contract, and distribution channels penetrated. Before you do business with anyone, you might want to check out this site which gives you the scoop on agents, publishers, and other businesses associated with selling books: Learn from others' mistakes and misfortunes. And do the math!

Love Waits