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Do You Have What It Takes to Self-Publish?

row of books where one stands outLast week we talked about the three publishing models — royalty publishing, self-publishing and subsidy publishing — and how they’re different. With pros and cons to each, it can be difficult to decide which route is best for you and your book. Our next few posts will share more detailed insights about the three models, starting with self-publishing.

Self-publishing has become an increasingly viable way to get your book into print. It used to be that you had to shop your manuscript around to publishing houses, hoping for some interest. Now you can guarantee yourself a finished book. But that guarantee doesn’t come easy. Sure, you can get your book into print, but creating a marketable product and getting the world to pay attention can take a lot of dedication and time, not to mention money.

Download An Author’s Guide to Publishing Options, a free report that includes details on each of the three publishing models plus a 10-question quiz to help you identify the model best suited to your goals.

Ready to learn more about self-publishing? Let’s talk about the big issues: money, creative control, timing, sales and marketing, credibility, and chances of getting published.

Self-publishing a book requires cash. You’ll have to foot the bill for editing, cover design, layout, and printing, as well as marketing and administrative costs such as shipping, inventory storage, legal filings, flyers, press releases, and so on. Be realistic about the expense and crunch the numbers before you commit. Despite the upfront money required, when properly managed, self-publishing profits can amount to much more than the 7-10% royalties you would make from a traditional publisher.

Creative Control
As a self-publisher, the decisions are all yours. You retain complete control over your intellectual property. You choose the title, content, style, cover art, paper stock, and everything else that goes into making your book. But with such decision-making power also comes responsibility. Do your homework. Familiarize yourself with industry conventions, conduct your own competitive analysis, and learn what product, at what price, has the best chance of succeeding in the marketplace.

Self-publishing is great for authors with a very timely topic that needs to get to market quickly, or for those anxious to see their book in print as soon as possible. Books published though the traditional model often take years to hit the market. Self-publishers can turn their raw manuscript into a finished book in under a year.

Sales and Marketing Support
With self-publishing, the entire business end of publishing is up to you. While many authors are good writers, some are less confident about the administrative side of the business. Successfully selling your book demands you do the following: secure distributors and sales channels, set rates and terms, issue invoices and collect payments, perform bookkeeping, and handle packing and shipments. Oh, and marketing your book will be entirely up to you, too. You’ll need to get creative to think of ways to tell people about your book.

Self-publishing carries something of a stigma with many members of the traditional book trade. As a result, you’ll have to work twice as hard to prove yourself with reviewers, distributors, and booksellers. It isn’t enough to produce a book. You have to publish a superior product.

Chances of Getting Published
Chance doesn’t factor into self-publishing. If you decide to make it happen, it will happen.

Self-Publishing: The Pros
o Greater earning potential
o Complete control over the project
o Can publish quickly
o Guaranteed to be published
o A project manager can make things easier

Self-Publishing: The Cons
o More expensive than royalty publishing
o Business and administrative tasks are all yours
o Gaining credibility with traditional book trade can be an uphill battle

Next up: royalty publishing. Check back soon!

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One Response to “Do You Have What It Takes to Self-Publish?”

  1. First Issue Blog » Blog Archive » Subsidy Publishing: Managing The Minefield Says:

    [...] far we’ve discussed self-publishing and royalty publishing, and why you might choose one over the other. There is, however, a third [...]