TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- Ron Pramschufer has seen it all in the world of publishing. Last year, he and his business partner, Dana Cole, moved their business from New York City to Tuckahoe, where they are ready to help Westchester County authors get their books published.
“Now we’re right smack in the middle of two of the most literate zip codes in the country,’’ said Pramschufer, whose business, Self Publishing, Inc., opened at 93 Lake Ave. in Tuckahoe last spring. “We were hidden on the 12th floor in our office in New York. We always had the idea that we wanted a storefront. We’re still basically a web-based company, but now we can help people who come in to visit.”
Self Publishing helps authors to publish their books, and works with clients in various stages of book publishing.
“The first thing we’ll tell them is to read our book 'Publishing Basics,'’’ Pramschufer said. “Then we’ll have them take a quiz on what kind of self-publisher they would be, whether it’s as a hobby, serious hobbyist or professional.”
After the introductory phases, Pramschufer said the business is set up like a Home Depot for self publishers. Self Publishing will assist authors who wish to self-publish as much as they might require.
One of the initial tasks might be to help the author acquire an International Standard Book Number. “It’s basically a finger print of your book,’’ Pramschufer said. From that point the author might select one of three levels of editing. One of Self Publishing's graphic artists will help put the author's work into book format, arrange for a cover design and set up the printing process.
“Writers can use us or find their own person to design the cover,’’ Pramschufer said. “The cover is going to sell a book. And you don't need to spend a pile of money on any of these things. Then we’ll determine how many books to publish and how it will be published, either in a digital or offset format.”
The final piece of the puzzle, Pramschufer said, is often the hardest. “Then they have to go about selling it,’’ he said. “Fiction books are the toughest. A non-fiction book, written by someone who is qualified to write, has a built in audience. Getting people to notice it can often be the biggest challenge."
Pramschufer compared his business to a wheel. “At the hub is printing,’’ he said. “All of the other components are the spokes. At the end, we’ll ask people if the final project matched their expectations. We usually get a 9.5 on a scale of 10.”
Pramschufer said average expenditures for self-publishing services are about $1,500, while writers can spend up to $10,000 and beyond to get their book published.
“The biggest mistake is people get in over their head,’’ he said. “Very few people are coming right out and selling or making a lot of money. For the average person, it’s going to be a happy experience. You have to have fun. The worst thing to do is have something that was supposed to be fun and you get in over your head financially and organizationally. There’s no cheap way, there’s no fast way. It’s going to require work.”
Pramschufer has seen all sides of the publishing and printing industry. He has worked in press rooms, binderies, production offices, estimating departments and sales. Dana Cole's experience includes being VP of production at a major New York City art book publisher. They were among the first, however, to recognize the value of the web and how it would affect the printing and publishing industry. The business was started in 1997, and it has helped thousands of customers print and publish more than 100 million books.
They have also helped writers publish books for children, education, business and a host of other topics. “Anybody over 50 owes it to their family to write down their history,’’ he said. “Once you’re in the ground, it’s over. These books are still in their heads. You have to get it out of your head and on to paper or else it’s going to go with you.”