If You Are Writing a Book, You Might Consider Self-Publishing It

“Self-publishing offers wonderful opportunities to writers who are willing to invest time, money, and effort to produce a quality book. To do it properly requires a leap of faith and the willingness to accept some risk,” explains Kim Bookless, a publishing consultant who works with authors. “Start by considering the process.” www.kimbookless.com

“If you understand the pros and cons of the process, it can be rewarding – and challenging. As a self-published author, you will have control of your book, including the retail price and how and where it’s sold. You will retain all rights to the book, and you can keep more of the royalties than you can with traditional publishing,” adds Bookless.

What is involved in self-publishing? “To do it well usually requires at least six months depending on how much editing your manuscript needs.” The undertaking can include two to four types of editing, book design, proofreading, ebook conversion, printing, distribution, marketing, and other activities. You will need help from experts; DIY (doing it yourself) is not recommended. If your budget permits, you can consider hiring a project manager to guide you through the process and take much of the work off your plate.

Two important considerations are your goals and budget.   As you contemplate self-publishing, evaluate yourself and your resources.

  • Do you have an entrepreneurial mind-set?
  • Do you have a budget that will cover the work and expert involvement?
  • Are you comfortable with risk – financial and emotional?
  • If needed, could you work with a full-service self-publishing company?
  • Do you have the time to market your book, which includes conventional marketing/PR and social media?

Three Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Kim Bookless explains, “Your answers to these questions will determine the entire publishing process, including which self-publishing method is best for you.”

  1. Why are you publishing the book? For example, if you want to put your book on the market, plan to invest more money in editing and design than if you’re writing a family history you don’t plan to sell.
  2. What are your goals for the book? For example, if you’re a professional and you want to self-publish a book to give you credibility and market yourself or your company, you’ll need to invest in top-notch editing and design and have a solid market plan for your book.
  3. How much money can you afford to invest in the book? When you add up the fees for all the services, it can cost thousands of dollars to produce and distribute a quality print book. If you’re on a tight budget, consider starting with an ebook. Even better, postpone the self-publishing process until you can save the money needed for the professional editing, design and marketing.

A Perfect Example

When asked to give an example of a successful self-publisher, Kim says Duane Scott Cerny, author of Selling Dead People’s Things, comes to mind immediately. Frustrated with pursuing a book deal from a traditional publisher, he turned to self-publishing and never looked back.

According to Kim, “Duane did everything right:

  • He had a strong author platform in place before he published.
  • He wrote a great manuscript on a marketable topic.
  • He followed all of the recommended self-publishing steps, including investing in professional editing and design.
  • He works diligently to market his book and promote himself as an author.”

Duane’s hard work has been rewarded with strong book sales, excellent reader reviews, and many opportunities to discuss his book online and in the media.

Bottom Line

Kim’s best advice: “To give yourself the best chance for success, do research to ensure there’s a market for your book then follow the steps to produce the best book possible. Accept that you’re taking a risk, educate yourself on the self-publishing process, invest in professional editing and design, and work hard to market the book.”

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