Why doesn’t DIY Tel Aviv have a publisher?

My very first book (an online dating guide, would you believe it?) was published through a standard publisher, and it was a terrible experience. Apart from making very little money off something that, at the time, should have made me rich, I also had no control over many aspects of the book, including the cover, which was absolutely awful.

With DIY Tel Aviv, I wanted to be 100% independent and have complete control over everything. Apart from being able to make more money per copy, being self-published means I can say what I want in my guide. I can criticise things like the occupation and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians without a lobbying group emailing my publisher (which happens with other travel guides), for example. If you’re wondering why I’d want to do such a thing, you can read more about it below.

Why are there no images in DIY Tel Aviv?

As DIY Tel Aviv is printed on demand, printing costs are much higher per copy. I like print on demand because it’s eco friendly, and also means I don’t have massive upfront costs or get stuck with any unsold copies. However, it means keeping things lean and no frills if I want to give my readers as much information as possible.

I’ve travelled all over the world with a whole load of different travel guides, and I never appreciated the added weight of the increasingly pointless photo pages. Nowadays you can look at pictures online, if you want. Then take your own while in Tel Aviv.

If you want to see some pretty pictures I took, you can check the DIY Tel Aviv Instagram.

Why does DIY Tel Aviv rely on a Google map instead of a regular map?

While Google Maps allow you to embed a map on your website for free, if you want to print one in a travel guide, you have to pay insane amounts. I’ve often searched for an alternative, but as a one woman business selling an obscure alternative city guide to an obscure city, this has been out of my reach.

As my target demographic is the type that is not afraid of using digital products, I decided to go for the next best thing, which is a dedicated Google map. You can save it to your maps and then use it to navigate around the city or see what’s available in your area.

The “International Edition” of this guide, available from this site, has a few pages at the end of the book featuring a city map with street names starting from south to north.

Why are there two versions of DIY Tel Aviv 2023 available?

Traditionally, I have always published the paperback with Lulu.com, an American company specialising in print on demand. I also published the Kindle version with Amazon. This edition, I’ve decided to publish the paperback through Amazon as well, because then I get more money per copy sold. However, Amazon’s global distribution network for sales off Amazon is only active in the US and the UK. My guide is very popular in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, so it’s important for me to have the guides for sale there. Lulu.com has a distribution network that extends globally, so I use them to distribute the books where Amazon doesn’t. However, as you don’t get to choose where in the world you want the Lulu books sold, you might see both versions for sale in the US or the UK.

If I order a book on your site, where will it be shipped from?

Paperback books ordered from this site — regardless of whether they are bundled with a digital download — are printed and shipped from Lulu.com directly. Lulu.com have printing facilities in several countries, including USA, UK, France and Poland. When you order a book through this site, it will be printed at the facility closest to you, then posted from there.

How long will it take for my order to arrive?

Digital versions can be downloaded immediately after payment. For paperbacks, Lulu’s lead times vary, depending on where you are in the world. Unfortunately, Lulu’s expedited shipping options are not that great, and, in my opinion, not worth the extra money. Orders can take up to two weeks to arrive, although usually they arrive much quicker. If you’re in a rush, you can use one of the other options listed here.

Where should I buy your book so that you make the most money per copy?

In descending order:

  1. The digital version (any format) directly from this site
  2. The Kindle version from Amazon
  3. Any bundle offer directly from this site
  4. The paperback from Amazon
  5. The paperback from Lulu.com (my printer / distributor for the International Edition)
  6. The paperback directly from this site (not a bundle)
  7. Anywhere else

Why do you sell on Amazon? Doesn’t that go against the DIY ethos?

I’m not a fan of Amazon, even though I’m glad Bezos has been visited by the ghost of Christmas future and is now going to donate most of his fortune (like his ex wife is already doing).

However, as a self-publishing author, it has made it possible for me to spread the word about Tel Aviv’s underground scene to people who would have never found out about it otherwise. It’s also made it possible for me to publish my book with no upfront costs, which meant I could publish it at all. As an author, I actually make a decent amount of money per copy sold on Amazon compared to what I’d have made if I’d gone with a regular publisher. It’s not like Spotify screwing artists.

Ideally, I could make a living selling only to independent bookstores or decent chains, but that’s not how the world works, especially if you’re not a big publishing house.

Why do you include political topics in DIY Tel Aviv? Why not keep it apolitical?

There is no such thing as “apolitical” in Israel. If you refuse to acknowledge the occupation and all the horrors it entails, if you refuse to acknowledge the Nakba and the displacement of Palestinians from their land, then you are already being political, you’re just being passive aggressive about it. I want people visiting Tel Aviv to have the option of learning more about the situation in Israel and to be able to support the people and organisations working from within the country to change things for the better. They need help and support more than ever, now that Israel has the most right wing government in its history.

If Israeli politics  don’t interest you or you don’t agree with my so-called “radical left” politics, you’re welcome to ignore the parts of the activism and politics chapter you don’t like. However, as someone whose family lived in the Tel Aviv / Jaffa area for over seven generations, I feel pretty entitled to my opinion about how my own country should be run.