The Self-Publish Pledge

I've been working with self-published authors since 2009. This 'pledge' essentially sums up what I wish all authors knew before they published. I usually go through each of these in greater detail during an initial consultation.

I ________ (state your name), agree to abide by the following:


  1. To hire an editor (if not a professional editor, than a group of trusted friends or colleagues).
  2. To print a Bound Galley/Advance Reader Copy and have at least 2 other people review it.
  3. To publish an Kindle edition without an ISBN to give advance readers a page to post their review.
  4. To wait until I have positive feedback to assign an ISBN and release it for sale in print.

Title & Cover

  1. To hire a professional cover designer.
  2. To check Amazon to see what other titles already come up on Amazon when I search for my title.


You need to consider pricing at IngramSpark first because of the additional markup involved in selling through a distributor (Ingram). In the case of KDP, there is no distributor because your books are only sold on Amazon and Amazon owns KDP.

  1. For print, I'll determine my pricing using the IngramSpark book pricing calculator.
  2. To set the wholesale discount to 50% and allow returns (at IngramSpark).
  3. To never let KDP assign me one of their free ISBNs (doing so prevents you from utilizing IngramSpark to sell to other retailers & libraries).


  1. To request an LCCN from the Library of Congress.
  2. To setup metadata for my ISBN with Bowker and confirm that it is valid at


  1. To hire a professional interior designer and confirm the conversion from my source manuscript was accurate!
  2. To setup my eBook directly with the 3 major marketplaces and avoid third party aggregators/distributors.

You can also read more tips & recommendations on the AuthorDock Q&A board.

My best,
Brian Schwartz