The Questions

Self-Published book – Identify Them When They Are In Your Hand

Know a Self-Published book when you hold one

The question – How to identify a Self-Published book – came across my desk today, so I decided this one is important to answer. Why? Because you need to know if a book is going to be worth it or not.

Understand, not all traditional published books are worth while either. So keeping that in mind, here are the first things to look for when looking at buying work.

1 – The Cover



When you look at the cover of a book you can spot the people who just don’t care if you know they are self-published or not. This one, for example, screams self-published. There is no way a traditional publisher would put this on a shelf. Think I’m wrong? Well, if you search in Goodreads, you’ll see a publisher called Gunner Star Productions, and searching for them you’ll find it leading back to the author’s site. There you go, self-published. And looking at the Goodreads profile for the book you’ll see the author actually left a 5 star rating. Nice, thanks for letting us know what you think of the book.

But there’s more!

When looking at the author’s website you’ll see how it screams self-publishing.

2 – The ISBN Check

If you put the ISBN into Booktopia you’ll find the the following information:

ISBN: 9781979140294
ISBN-10: 1979140294
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 180
Published: 25th October 2017
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.0
Weight (kg): 0.25

The big thing is the publisher – Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. Now a lot of small micro presses use Createspace, but they actually don’t use the Createspace ISBN service, and that is what is used for this book.

This explains it is “Self-Published”.

3 – Copyright Page

When you look at the copyright page you’ll notice a complete absence of a publisher, this is just a simple review of the preview section of Amazon. There is also an absence of any ISBN on that page which tells you the same. The copyright page should contain more information, for a publisher will place a lot of information, including either a notice of the edition or a counting up.

4 – Structure

Just on the first page you can see the structure of the text is only left justified, and the Microsoft extended EM-dash is used. The first page of the book itself, the actual story, is listed as page 3 of the novel. There are also spaces between the paragraphs and indents on each, another common mistake done by self-published authors.

This is a simple explanation on a way of seeing if a author is self-published or not. There are other markers, but these are the most obvious in a case like this one.

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