Self-Publish an Illustrated Art Book, Part 3

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So – let’s say you’ve finished the manuscript of your illustrated art book. Now what? How do you transform your manuscript from a file on your computer into a real-life book that’s available for you to buy and sell yourself, or for the public to buy from Amazon.com?

The company discussed in the video is actually the printing firm owned by Amazon. They can take your PDF file and have it available within a few short weeks. And your book’s listing will always say “Available for Immediate Shipping” because Amazon’s printing company will print it as soon as an order is placed on their website.

The book I mentioned in the video is Aiming at AmazonSelf-Publish an Illustrated Art Book, Part 3, by Aaron Shepard.

You can find CreateSpace.com here.

The printing company that will be printing our own book is Lightning Source Incorporated. They work only with publishers. Now class – how do you become a publisher? That’s right – you purchase your own ISBN.

CreateSpace has lower printing costs for books with interior color, Lightning Source (LSI) is less expensive for black and white books. Books printed by LSI are available to online and offline bookstores — they even sell directly to Amazon.co.uk, something that CreateSpace doesn’t do even though they’re owned by Amazon.

The downside of LSI, even for black and white books, is that they will give you very little help in creating your files and setting up your account. They don’t want to work with people who don’t have good computer skills, and they aren’t set up to offer much technical assistance. This is the company that prints all the books for author services companies like AuthorHouse and Lulu.com.

Edit, 9/21/2019: This post was written several years ago, and CreateSpace is now part of KDP Direct Publishing. You can find more up-to-date information about self-publishing here.

4 thoughts on “Self-Publish an Illustrated Art Book, Part 3”

  1. Hi Jonni~

    Thanks for providing such a good introduction to self-publishing for artists ~ I thought your readers might like to know that several of Aaron Shepard’s books on self-publishing are now available as free downloads in his website:


    He’s no longer updating the older books, I think that is why they are free now, but they are still full of very valuable info.

    • Thanks, Jo. You’re right – just about all of Aaron’s books are well worth a read, although the technical stuff changes so often it’s hard for him to keep them up to date.

  2. Well, and whew – what a wealth of information! There is just one catch – the budding author/self-publisher has to have one or more wonderful, original, artful creation(s) that he or she is pretty sure that everyone will be just dying to make, buy and/or own one of.

    I can’t believe that I am just catching up with you and reading this now, but it certainly stirs the thoughts to the possibilities of bigger and better, and in these days of most people struggling to make ends meet – I can tell you, Jonni, that these videos are greatly appreciated by me. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has written to thank you for all this insight and sharing on your part.

    From now on – it is the thinking cap for me – now I’m trying to come up with that one original thing that everyone will want. Yours, Joanne (*possible future self-publisher of art books).

    P.S. – I have always been encouraged by my brother (who is a true artist by the way) to think up something that would sell my artistic talents, something small that could be placed on clothing or some such thing, and now you are starting to do the same thing!

    • One of the most important benefits of writing a how-to book, in my opinion, is the requirement for organizing one’s thoughts. Before I started writing the books I would tend to try one thing, then another, without really thinking seriously about how I was doing it. Then when I wanted to make another one, it was almost like starting over from scratch because I hadn’t built a system that I could use to improve my craft. When you write a book, you’re always thinking “what am I doing, and why?” Of course, I really got started when I put this blog together, and the books are really something that came out of that.

      If you do pursue this, let me know – so far, I don’t think I’ve talked anyone else into doing this, but it is so much fun I can’t imagine why everyone isn’t doing it.


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