THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER by Peter Bowerman: “…I hoped to raise the bar on self-publishing by giving authors a doable game plan…”

With a pretty cool track record of profitable self-publishing under my belt (52,000 copies in print and a full-time income for five-plus years) with my first two books, The Well-Fed Writer and TWFW: Back For Seconds (, I saw a juicy opportunity with my third title, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living (…

I won’t kid you. With a full-time publishing income from the first two books, along with a pretty strong following, I saw a few dollar signs – the chance for Lucrative Self-Publishing: The Sequel. If I stuck to my formula for “well-fed self-publishing,” no reason TWFSP couldn’t pay the bills for a few more years.

That proven formula was the key to the second reason for writing TWFSP: I had devised a successful blueprint for profitable self-publishing, and I knew there were tons of authors out there banging their heads against the wall trying to get in the doors of conventional publishing houses – to no avail.

Not to mention countless others who had been admitted to The Publishing Kingdom only to discover that the emperor truly had no clothes. We’re talking anemic royalties, 18-24 months to publication, loss of creative control, surrendered book rights and the unpleasant realization that even after giving up all that, authors are still expected to shoulder the lion’s share of the book promotion burden themselves! All to earn – in most cases – far less than a buck a book.

As I saw it, for most authors (especially those in the non-fiction and non-fiction how-to genres), there were precious few reasons to go the conventional publishing route. Add to that all the authors who’d self-published – how can I put this delicately…oh the heck with it – like sloppy, clueless amateurs. It was frustrating to see good books tank because their authors stopped short of taking the relatively simple steps necessary to dramatically enhance the competitiveness, marketability and profitability of their titles.

As I saw it – and had empirically proved – it just didn’t take that much to do a book right. And through TWFSP, I hoped to raise the bar on self-publishing by giving authors a doable game plan for crafting their own self-publishing success story.

But, weren’t there a lot of books on self-publishing already on the market? Yes, there were some classic well-established titles, no question, but I believed there was room for one more, especially since mine had several key points of difference: a focus on painlessly developing a sales and marketing mindset; a real-world “case study” approach vs. a more theoretical approach; a radically different book promotion strategy vs. the increasingly ineffective reliance on mainstream media; and of course, a fun, lively, irreverent tone that’s been the hallmark of my books.

No, there are no guarantees of success, and yes, these steps involve some investments of time and money. But, in my experience, any money invested in a half-assed self-publishing effort will likely yield closer to zero results, and hence zero ROI. Invest more money and more of yourself (Remember: no one will ever care about your book as much as you), and your return could potentially dwarf those investments.

Self-publishing isn’t easy, but thanks to the Internet, a bit of creative thinking AND, I’d like to think, books like TWFSP (, it’s more feasible that ever before. Good luck!

Peter Bowerman is the author of THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER: HOW TO TURN ONE BOOK INTO A FULL-TIME LIVING. You can visit his website at

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3 thoughts on “THE WELL-FED SELF-PUBLISHER by Peter Bowerman: “…I hoped to raise the bar on self-publishing by giving authors a doable game plan…”

  1. Pingback: Pump Up Your Book Promotion June Authors on Tour - Day 17 « Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours

  2. Hello everybody,

    Delighted to be here on The Story Behind the Book. Hope to generate a lively discussion on the subject of self-publishing. The subject is a hot one these days as more and more authors are starting to realize, 1) how hard it is to land a publisher, 2) how much easier the Internet has made the process of self-publishing, 3) how lame the conventional publishing model actually is in most cases: anemic royalties, 18-24 months to publication, loss of creative control, and loss of book rights.

    And even after giving up all that, authors who HAVE been given the keys to “The Publishing Kingdom” then discover, to their dismay, how much of their own book marketing they have to do themselves – and usually for a buck a book or less!

    With that paradigm, many are understandably saying, hey, if I’m going to have to do most of the work myself anyway, I might as well be making most of the money!

    I wish you all the best on your own self-publishing journeys. Know that there are plenty of tools out there (including a few of my own at


  3. Hello, Peter
    I have written and self published a book (The Serpents Among Us) about how child predators operate in our society to gain access to children. The book was written as a community project to raise parents awareness and is based on my twenty years experience as a police investigator in a major crime/special victims squad. I have been a police officer since 1983. All the proceeds from the book go into a not for profit organization called Millstone Justice Children’s Advocacy Organization for the purpose of paying for additional printings and promoting its message. The book has received a lot of local public support and the financial returns have been very good. Since releasing the book last May, we have sold approximately 1500 books and generated approximately $21,000.00. I still have 1,000 books left from our first printing of 2,500 books. Presently, we give the 360 page book away for a donation of any amount. People have been very generous. I have yet to place it in a retail setting, however I am moving in that direction.

    I have purchased and read your book, The Well Fed Self Publisher. I found it to be very helpful and inspiring. I am considering working with a distributor and have consulted with Book Masters. I have a few specific questions I would like to ask you (if possible). I am retiring from police work later this month and will be able to devote more time to promoting and marketing the book and its message. I also plan on writing more. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to converse with you about my options, either on line or over the the phone.

    Thank you for your time. Keep safe.

    Patrick Crough

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