Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick

By Ekta R. Garg

March 4, 2015

Even before I decided to jump into the indie publishing game myself, I spent a lot of time reading about the publishing industry and in particular about the changes and updates in self-publishing. After I published Two for the Heart I realized it was more important than ever for me to understand from the ground up the business of becoming my own publisher.

Publishing isn’t hard, but it is complicated in the number of items that an author has to track. Like all other indie authors I appreciate any resources to help with that tracking process. That’s where the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen Sedwick comes in.

Sedwick is an attorney and a self-published author herself, and she had many valuable pieces of information to share in her book. Don’t let the short length fool you; even though the book clocks in under 200 pages in paperback it contains so much information that an indie author might feel the need to take a breather between chapters.

One of the book’s greatest strengths comes in the fact that Sedwick wrote the chapters so that they can function without the others if need be. Indie authors don’t necessarily need to read the book cover to cover; they can pick and choose the topic they need for the time being. This user-friendly functionality of the book allows it to stay approachable.

Sedwick takes indie authors from the base bricks of starting an indie publishing company to dealing with taxes and avoiding lawsuits. Indie authors definitely need to add this book to their shelves and allow it to guide them. In making the decision to publish our own work, we’ve essentially decided to start our own businesses. Writing comprises the artistic portion of publishing, but indie authors can’t be artistic all of the time. We also have to use common sense to sell books, because after all that’s what publishing is: the business of selling books.

In the book Sedwick repeats several times that she’s writing it as a resource, not as a final answer, and that authors should always double-check with an attorney before making a decision about a matter that raises several questions. Despite this reminder, though, authors would do well to start with the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook for any big questions.

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