When Self-Publishing Makes Sense

When self-publishing makes sense:  To start, self-publishing doesn’t necessarily make sense, at all, if that is your only option to get published. All too often we see books that have been turned down by publishers and literary agents due to content and/or editorial issues. Unfortunately, rather than take constructive feedback, it’s incredibly easy for authors to choose to do it themselves. Sometimes that works out. Sometimes it doesn’t. On the flip side, many authors choose to self publish because it just makes sense: they will get their book out faster and can make more money per copy sold.

Most authors reference the following reasons for self-publishing:

  1. It’s faster. They can have their book available quickly without going through the traditional publishing process which can take years
  2. They have more control. They like the idea of “owning” the publishing process
  3. No one will publish it. They’ve tried finding a literary agent or publisher but to no avail
  4. They want to make more money per copy sold
  5. It’s “easy”. With programs offered by CreateSpace and LightningSource it is easier than ever to publish a book

Many authors run in to the following problems while self-publishing:

  1. They spend their full budget on the design and editorial and end up with a beautifully packaged book but no marketing or sales budget
  2. They skimp on the editorial and design and save all of their money for sales and marketing but end up with a book that’s not marketable
  3. They price the book to make money—not to what the consumer is willing to pay
  4. They skip the “professional” steps of self-publishing including a professional edit and professional cover design
  5. They choose a format that doesn’t make sense
  6. They don’t account for the cost of printing (there is still cost with POD)
  7. They have relied on friends and family to tell them they have a good book. They might. They might not

 

These problems matter. Why? Because they go directly back to the business of self-publishing. It can be really, really inexpensive to self-publish in terms of up front costs.

 

Take this for example:

  1. You design your own cover
  2. You submit a word document as your interior file, skipping layout and design
  3. You rely on your own editorial skills and choose not to hire a copyeditor or proofreader
  4. You use one of the easy POD methods of self-publishing that require next to nothing in up front costs

 

Congratulations! You have self-published a book. The question is, can or will it stand up under scrutiny? Will you actually sell any of these books? The short answer: unlikely.  A book has to be able to withstand readers and reviewers. If you’ve cut corners, people will point it out. Or, if you’ve designed a cover that you love, but doesn’t work in your category, you won’t get any conversion to sale. So remember to put on your business hat as you determine if self-publishing makes sense for you and your book.

 

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2 Responses to “When Self-Publishing Makes Sense”

  1. Leanne Fournier says:

    With all due respect I disagree. A quality, professional and provocative cover can make all the difference in having your book stand out amidst the clutter including poorly designed book covers. It can help sell the book by giving a sneak peak of what’s inside, enticing those “skimmers” to pause and think about buying your book. I have to admit that I have access to a professional designer who I will use to design my book cover when the time comes to publish so for me, the pain isn’t quite as bad!

  2. joe sixpak says:

    editing is vital

    professional covers are a waste of money for a self published book and will never sell enough additional books to pay for the expense

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