A History of Self-Publishing

Thomas Paine anonymously published "Common Sense" in 1776. Within 3 months, he sold 100,000 copies, making it the best-selling work in 18th-century America.

Benjamin Franklin self-published "Poor Richard’s Almanack" and sold about 10,000 copies per year.

Beatrix Potter was turned down by six publishers in 1902 for "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," so she self-published 250 copies.

In 1908, Ezra Pound self-published "A Lume Spento" and sold 100 copies at 6 cents each.

Virginia Woolf started her own publishing company, Hogarth Press, in 1917 with husband Leonard, and self-published her work.

E.B. White originally self-published "The Elements of Style" for his classes at Cornell.

Irma Rombauer self-published "The Joy of Cooking" as a project of the First Unitarian Women’s Alliance in St. Louis in 1931. Now, Scribner sells more than 100,000 copies yearly.

"The Plant" was released on Stephen King’s own website in 2000 as an eBook and was sold for one dollar per chapter.

99-year-old Toyo Shibata self-published a collection of her poems, "Don’t Be Frustrated," in Japan in 2010. She has sold 1.5 million copies thus far, and topped the best-seller list in Japan for two weeks.

Nordin made 18,400 dollars at the end of 2010 on her self-published ebook romances.

Amanda Hocking wrote 17 unpublished novels in her spare time. In April 2010, she began publishing her own books. As of March 2011, Hocking has sold about one million copies of nine of her books, earning her two million dollars in sales.

Steve Almond self-published "This Won’t Take But a Minute, Honey" this year and he encourages all writers to self-publish.

Thanks to Huffington Post, “Heroes of Self-Publishing


You Have a Book in You!

Even if you are not an author, you can still “write” a book! Particularly if you are a public speaker or a minister. For example, every week, a minister writes and delivers a potential book chapter when preparing his or her weekly sermon. If you speak publicly on a particular issue, every lecture you give can be a chapter of your book.

Randall Friesen Self-Publishing (RFSP) recently designed and produced a book by a minister who has never written a word, but who wanted to create a publication for his congregation. This minister had transcripts of all his sermons for the past few years. He collected 20 of these transcripts and compiled a document, each sermon making up a chapter. RFSP edited the transcripts into a manuscript, and now the minister has a powerfully structured and beautifully produced book.

As a public speaker, your lectures and talks are perfectly suited to become chapters of a book on the topic for which you are speak. Letters of correspondence and blog entries can also be compiled and edited to make manuscripts for a book that you can author. If you have letters of your ancestors, these can become the basis for a book on your family history or a document on a particular era in history. The possibilities are endless!

You have a book in you. And Randall Friesen Self-Publishing would love to help you bring it to reality!

To discuss your book project,
call Randall at (818) 648-8599
or leave a comment below, and we’ll contact you!

Foreword, Preface or Introduction?

Foreword, preface, and introduction are terms for the “pre-chapters” of your book. Every book is different, so not all books will include all three of these elements. It is the author’s prerogative to have all, some, or none of them. Since these terms can be confusing, we offer you an explanation so that you can decide which, if any, you want to include.


The foreword is usually written by someone other than the author. It extols the author’s work and credibility and is intended as an assurance that the author knows what he or she is talking about.


The preface is written by the author. In this section, the author would explain why and how you wrote the book. It does not discuss the topic of the book. Sometimes, this is where the author thanks friends and those who have given support, in lieu of an “acknowledgement” page.


The introduction, as its name implies, introduces the topic of the book. It can be a brief summary or teaser, telling the reader just enough to whet the appetite. The introduction is more an extension of the actual text of your book. Often, when picking up a book off the shelf, a reader will look to the introduction to get a sense of what the book offers.

To discuss your book project,
call Randall at (818) 648-8599
or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


The font you select for your self-published book is more than simply a vehicle for representing the words you’ve written; it conveys a feeling, one that embodies the tone and intention of your ideas. A book that utilizes Times Roman, for example, will feel more serious and scholarly than one that uses Bembo, a font that is lighter and more thoughtful. Likewise, using a sans serif font (one that does not have the small features called “serifs” at the end of strokes, such as the one you are reading now on this web page) can make it feel more contemporary and business-like, whereas a serif font conveys a sense of tradition and conversation.

Readability is paramount when selecting the right font for your book. Factors in a typeface’s readability include the size of the type, the length of a line of text, the leading (space between lines of text), and the texture and color of the paper on which the type is printed.

Randall Friesen Self-Publishing finds the font that most appropriately conveys your intention as an author. We take into consideration the paper stock you will be using and the dimension of your pages. We offer a wide selection of typefaces for every mood you wish your book to convey. When we design your book, we evaluate your content and then give you at least two samples of your book pages using the fonts we believe will best serve your words. You can print out the samples and decide which font most appropriately embodies your intention and reflects your voice.

With so many considerations when choosing a great font for your book, you can rely on the expertise of Randall Friesen Self-Publishing to work with you on selecting the perfect font for your book.

To discuss your book project,
call Randall at (818) 648-8599
or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!