Why I self published my new book on policies and procedures

Policies and Procedures Bandler Book Front Cover

By John Bandler

"Should I self publish my next book, or work with a publisher", I asked myself at the end of 2023.

My first book was published in 2017, my second in 2020. Each were published by quality, respected publishers, with a process for book approval, contract, a deadline for me to submit the manuscript, followed by a detailed process as we moved towards publication. Each book took over a year from start to publication and involved many different professionals working for the publisher, from project managers to copy editors and designers and all of the people that do the important and unseen things relating to publishing. The publishers controlled many parts of the process and decisions, including price.

As the years pass after each book publication, it starts to seem like a good idea to write another. The pain becomes a fainter memory. A 2024 New Year's resolution was to write the next book so I evaluated topics from my list, picked one, and ultimately decided to self-publish it.

My book topic eventually solidified into the main title "Policies and Procedures for Your Organization". It is an area I do a lot of work in, every organization needs good governance documentation (policies, procedures, handbooks, and more) in order to properly manage itself and employees. I added the subtitle, "Build solid governance documents on any topic ... including cybersecurity" to make clearer what the book covered.

I reflected about the knowledge and skills needed to write and finalize governance documents for an organization and compared them with the skills needed to bring a book to publication. I realized there is a lot of overlap.

If I was qualified to provide services to organizations on policies and procedures (and write a book on the topic), shouldn't I also be qualified to bring that book to publication on my own? Put another way; if I can self-publish a quality book on policies and procedures, perhaps that demonstrates my qualifications to provide knowledge about them and shepherd the process building them.

Some of the skills and tasks for self publishing include:

  • Organizing
  • Writing
  • Communicating
  • Evaluating legal requirements
  • Editing
  • More editing
  • Proof reading
  • Diagrams
  • Formatting and more formatting
  • Indexing
  • Cover design and dimensions
  • Book descriptions
  • Obtaining an ISBN (unique number for each book format and edition)
  • Obtaining a LCCN (unique number from Library of Congress for the book)
  • Protecting and registering my Copyright.

I evaluated if I should hire someone to do various tasks I was unfamiliar with or unsure about, those things that prior publishers had handled. I decided not to hire anyone because if I can handle a complex organization policy, I should be able to handle a book. To be clear, I didn't truly go it all alone. I had awesome help from my cousin Rob (who helps with each of my books) and from my wife and kids.

Now I am on the other side of it, and the process was great, I enjoyed it, and it came together smoothly and efficiently, from New Year's resolution to publication. All in about three months! Pain free enough that I am almost ready for the next one.

There can be a stigma to self-publication, because truly anyone can self-publish any book, but not everyone can get their book published by a quality publisher. I wondered if I should disguise the fact of self publication by creating a publisher name other than my own name. I could have made it indicate it was published by whatever-name-I-chose. That would make it harder for a casual observer to see that I really self published it. But I decided to own it. There's no shame in my game so I used my name.

Many people are going to realize that someone who knows the ins and outs of policy work also knows how to write, edit, format, and publish a quality book.

You've heard the saying,

"Physician, heal thyself."

I was hearing,

"Policy writing professional, self publish your own book."

A person qualified to give information on policy work and take the lead on policy projects should be able to self publish a quality book.

And then there is price. My prior books had a relatively high price tag -- about $70. That is more than some people are willing to pay for a book. Here, I set the price myself and it is affordable and good value no matter which version is chosen -- hardcover, paperback, or eBook. Readers will realize that the price is better for them because it is self-published.

In prior books, some things needed to be decided. Will you use the Oxford Comma Rule or not? How will you deal with punctuation in bullet lists? What type of citation format will you use? What about QR codes? I made my way. You will see the true devil-may-care aspect of self-publishing because sometimes I use the Oxford Comma, sometimes I don't. Because I can.

Before I sum up, let me emphasize that there are many respectable publishers with qualified professionals working for them. They bring a lot to the table with experience, expertise, process, reach, and marketing. Including the two publishers of my prior books. I have respect for the organizations, people, and process, and I am not pretending that self-publishing could or should replace them.

I'm just explaining some of the reasons why I decided to go this route, this time.

If you are wondering why I chose the particular topic of policies and procedures, I answer that in this article.

Working on all aspects of the book meant it could all take shape at the same time (concurrently, as they say in criminal justice sentencing). I could alternate focus and stay fresh on each and learn the details of the new areas. Writing the text, building the diagrams, working on both substance, formatting, and design simultaneously allowed multiple successive passes through the book which made it better and less painful.

Now I know I can put out another edition when I like, and I am ready to repeat the process for the next topic.

Additional reading and linksPolicies book infographic Policies and Procedures for Your Organization by John Bandler

This page is hosted at https://johnbandler.com/why-i-self-published-my-new-book-on-policies, copyright John Bandler, all rights reserved. This article is adapted from prior work in my book.

Page created 4/18/2024.  Updated 5/21/2024.