What questions do you have about publishing? (Ask away in the comments section below, or message me at

It’s nearly every day now that I get asked a question or two about publishing–specifically the pros and cons of self-publishing. For those of you out there with books and ideas for books, wondering whether you should get an agent, or submit your manuscript to a publisher, or to just do it all on your own…this next project is for you.

So, ask away! If you’ve been working on a book, then you definitely have questions about publishing. I’m putting together what I hope will be a helpful and informative, easy-to-follow guide on the subject.

  1. Mark Molchan says:

    Hi Jess… I have plans to take some of my kids drawings and stories and make short picture/story books with them. Any insight as to how to put them together (programs) and get these from my computer out to the web or even printed would be super helpful. I guess that is not a specific question, other than I look forward to your guide! mark m

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Hey, Mark! Thanks for writing. Just a few questions for you: how many books would you like to print? Would you want to make the books for family only, or would you like to sell them?

      • Mark Molchan says:

        Those are good questions! If we made actual books, I’d love to sell them. But I suspect up-front costs would be high. That would lead me to look into ebooks or internet comic book formats. Either way, I need to look into resources and processes, so I know what I am getting into. I grew up on marvel and dc in the 70’s/80’s, and have always dreamed of creating stories and illustrations.

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        You might want to look into a print-on-demand (POD) service, where books are printed only as they are ordered, and you pay little to no costs upfront. So, if five people order books now, then they would only print 5 copies and you would get a cut of the sale. (Lulu and Blurb are two of the most popular POD services. Check out this article for more info:

  2. Nellie Kitchen says:

    Hello again, Jess!
    One of my goals with self publishing is getting my printed work carried in local book and comic stores. I know I need to meet with the store owners, convince them carrying my book would be worth their space and money, but I have no clue how to put together such a presentation. Or what the standard comic book store needs/expects from their distributors, for that matter.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Ah! Good question. Most local comic and book shops that are willing to sell your books on consignment are happy to talk with you straight, without a sales pitch. If you want to get into shops around the country (or world), you’ll want to look into registering ISBNs to your work, which will also allow you to sell online via Amazon. As far as comics distribution goes, you’ll have to look into Diamond. There are also smaller publishers that have connections with big distributors, and it might be worth your time to talk with them about what they could do for you in the way of distribution.

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