The VERY Quick & Dirty on Self Publishing
Here, at LearnWritingEssentials we have been getting a lot of questions relating to self-publishing, and whether or not it’s worth taking the risk, investing the money, and doing all the work. Now, even though we aren’t in the self-publishing industry, we aren’t shy or scared of a little hard work. Sometimes there is no other alternative to working alone and going to bat for ourselves to get the work out there. There is so much online about self-publishing so trust us when we say, you will easily be able to pool a ton of resources aside from this quick and dirty post. But here’s what we dug up just for you:
Top questions self-published authors are asked:
Is self-publishing a lot of work?
The answer is a resounding yes, but it has become easier and cheaper with new digital technology. Self-publishing will indeed take up a lot of your time as you are not only the writer, you are the editor, publicist, and publisher—all at once. Oh the hats you need to wear! If being organized is not one of your strong points, self-publishing might not be for you. If you can’t multitask, you may struggle with the hat wearing.
Here’s a little tidbit to chew on before considering if self-publishing is the route for you:
You need to redefine what “success” means to you. If you want to have your book go around, and sell thousands and thousands of copies, then you should probably go with traditional publishing. But if you want to publish right away, maintain all creative control, or want to use your book as a way to bolster your business or speaking career, then self-publishing could be just what you and your book need.
Do I need to be good at marketing?
Yes. You have to figure out how to do everything on your own, and outsource where necessary. Speaking opportunities are key, but again, YOU become your own publicist and you are in charge of making sure you are out there and that people know your book exists. Not sure what a publicist does? You are in luck. ZG Communications is having a book marketing seminar on April 30 (aka, tomorrow). We highly suggest you check it out.
You can also use the tools you already have and are familiar with such as Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to get the word out about your book and events where you will be featured as a speaker. I do caution you to be careful about over-promotion by providing a balance between the professional and the personal. I don’t care how good your book is, no one wants to see a hundred Tweets featuring your book if they aren’t invested in you as you as a human being. Throw in a picture of your dog! Share bits and pieces about you. Promote other writers too! If you see an announcement featuring a writer you know and love, show them some support too. Community is a massive part of being a professional writer.
Do I need to have money?
Um. Yes. There is no publisher going to bat for you here, so you sort of need to have the money to write your book, print it, and promote it. Dig deep into those pockets because if you do not possess skills in substantive editing, copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, and design, then you will need to pay the professionals.
You can spend as much or as little as you want self-publishing your book, but you have to decide on what you think is the most important thing for your book. If you invest a little money, you’ll break even on the cost of your book faster. But if you invest more, you’ll create a better product and improve your craft with the help of a professional. Unlike years ago, you can control your creative choices (including the budget), and that’s a liberating place to be for most indie authors.
Will I make money?
In terms of royalties, authors can earn as much as 35 percent for print books and up to around 70 percent for ebooks (as of this writing, Amazon Kindle ebook publishing), depending on the platform used, but you will need to sell a lot if you want to make a living out of self publishing books as you may be spending money marketing your book on your own.
Is it worth it?
Well, we obviously cannot answer that for you. But we do hope that we have given you a little something to think about and that maybe just maybe you’ll feel a bit more validated about your decision. To self-publish or not to self-publish? Yes, that is the question.