More about self-publication

More about self-publication

Everything you need to know about self-publication

The Ministry of Poetic Affairs is not only here to promote poets. We also give tips for aspiring writers and poets. We have some tips for you about how to get your work published as a book.

Is your work worth it?

The most important step when it comes to writing a book, is to ask yourself the question if your book will be read. This is a difficult question to answer. You should ask yourself the question Is your work worth it?

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Most of us think of this, when it comes to paintings. But, poetry is art as well, so what the one considers beautiful, the other dislikes. The first step is to find someone who will proofread your book. Pick someone who you know does speak out and gives you the right feedback. If you have any trouble finding someone, consider the editors of The Ministry of Poetic Affairs.

The topic on what you write is very important. If you are publishing a certain type of poetry, find out if there are enough who will read this genre.


The basics of a good poem are very simple:

  1. Don’t overdo it.
  2. Don’t write about things people cannot relate to
  3. Write using metaphors

Remember, that some of the poems you write could be based on events that take place as you write them. You should be careful with this. News items can change, even on the same day.

What is your budget?

There are some publishing companies, that offer a free publication of your book. This is called printing on demand. In some cases, you will still have to invest. Every book needs an ISBN – International Standard Book Number. This identifies the book, so that companies who sell these books can find them. Without a number, it isn’t possible to publish. It depends form the country the publisher works from, what the price of this ISBN is. Prices vary per country.

In some cases, the publisher can register this ISBN. You should be careful with this; the ISBN now belongs to the publishing company and not to you. They control this number, not you.

An ISBN is needed every time you change your book. If you publish a book called My poetry collection and decided there will be a reprint of the original version, that will include more poems, a new ISBN is needed. If you publish the book without any changes, you need no new ISBN the second time.

Publish the book yourself – Is that the way to go?

An important reason, that you might consider to publish the book yourself (using a third-party), is the possible rejection of the manuscript by publishing companies. When you are determined to get published, no matter what, this option is the way to go. But, you will still have to invest.

There are companies that allow you to publish on demand (only printed when the book is sold). They will take a certain percentage of the price of the book. There is also something else to consider. When you decide to use companies, who offer this kind of service, you will have to do the promotion yourself. This doesn’t only take time, but it demands an investment.

Therefore, you have to decide if this is the option to go with. If you are fine with this, plan your promotion carefully.

Designing your book

Publishing a book isn’t all about writing. The design of the book is very important. This can be a significant amount you have to reserve in your budget. The amounts vary between 250 to 8,000 dollars.

Who can you turn to?

If you are determined that publishing yourself is the option for you, then you have a few options to consider. There are many companies offering the option to publish your books. It is impossible to list them all.



This company was founded in 2005 and has offices in San Francisco (USA) and London (UK). Their printing facilities are located in The United States, The Netherlands and Austria.

You can decide to sell your books as well using Blurb. Other options are Amazon, IngramSpark and Apple iBooks Store. You can also sell your books as a project on Kickstarter.

Take a look at the website for more information about pricing




The company IngramSpark works together with external print distribution partners and online retail partners. They offer some services as it comes to promotion of your work. The prices are clear and start from 29 USD for an e-book.

The company was founded in 1997, long before the Internet made it possible to self-publish books more easily. The Ingram Content Group is one of the leaders when it comes to printed and electronic books, worldwide. The offices of this company are located in The United States, Australia and The United Kingdom.



Publish for free is one of the slogans of this American based company. This company offers the chance to print books in six languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch).

Lulu was founded in 2002 and offers the possibility to publish conventional books and e-books. Per sold copy, the authors receive about 8 dollars for an average sized book. You can also apply for your own ISBN on this website. On the website, you will find the best clarification of what this company receives for every sold copy of your book (click here for the examples).



It’s probably one of the biggest publishing companies : Amazon. You cannot only publish your books in Kindle format, but also as a conventional book. The best thing about Amazon, is that they really offer a global distribution of your work. You should ask yourself the question: Is this what I really want?

Based on the information on the website, the authors receive royalties for each sold copy of their book up to 80%.

Unfortunately, all the important information is hidden behind a login screen. This doesn’t make that part of the company very transparent.



There is not really such a thing as to freely publish your work. It will demand some investments or settling for a percentage of the price of each book you sell, reserved for the company that publishes your work.

If you have enough patience and courage, there is also the possibility to contact publishing companies that do things in the more conventional way; approving manuscripts and then starting the classic book printing. For those of you, who cannot wait or who are turned down, self-publication is the best option.

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