Let’s face it. Self-publishing can seem like a lucrative path — you have control over every aspect of your book, marketing, and you don’t have to share profits with anyone, or there’s no advance to pay back. There are no barriers to getting your book out there, such as agents or acquisitions editors in publishing houses. You’ve dreamed of all those book sales and the money and prestige you’ll earn with self-publishing, or simply of just putting your work out there. What’s not to love?
Honestly? There’s a lot not to love. To really succeed as a self-published author, it takes a lot of hard work, effort, time, and money. It’s a long, hard slog to get anywhere in self-publishing. You need marketing know-how, connections, and knowledge of what really makes a good, quality book that people will want to read.
Here are three things to consider before you take the self-publishing route:
- Money/Investing in Your Book
To make a quality book, one that meets the standards of the publishing industry, it takes money. You’ll need to hire a proofreader at the very least, not to mention a cover designer. (Trust me, I’ve tried designing my own covers. It doesn’t work unless you’re a Photoshop guru with an eye for book design.) You’ll also need to invest in the interior design. Plus, you’ll want to order copies of your physical book, which you’ll at least order at cost typically. Oh, and don’t forget e-book formatting when you get so fed up with the programs not cooperating when trying to do it yourself. You may also want to pay for advertisements of your book. Overall, it can costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to create a quality product.
Overnight success doesn’t happen in self-publishing. It just doesn’t. It takes time to build an audience, time to market your book. Not to mention all the time it takes to get your book edited, proofed, designed, and printed. You’re not suddenly going to get fifty interviews in just a couple of weeks. No, it takes time to build up to it.
- Effort and Know-How
Okay, yes, so I’ve listed considerations number three and four, but they go hand-in-hand. Not only does it take a lot of time to produce a quality product, but it takes effort. Writing that novel was just the first step. Let’s be honest: Marketing is hard, and it’s a pain in the ass. Trying to network with other authors, creating endless social media posts, building a quality website, trying to get your book featured on various websites to get it seen. It’s a lot of work if you want to make even a dime off of your book. And let’s not forget the know-how! When I first looked into self-publishing, I had no clue what I was doing, especially when it came to ISBNs, barcodes, and distribution. Sure, you can research it all on the internet, but it can be quite confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That’s not to mention the “stigma” that comes with self-published books. Some people believe self-publishing just means you weren’t good enough for traditional publishing. (Which, I know, is not the case at all. I’ve seen some fabulous self-published books.) There are a lot of people who are reluctant to invest in self-published books.
If you’re still up for the challenges that come with self-publishing, more power to you (and I wish you the best of luck). It requires you to put a lot of your time and effort into it, with very few results. I’m certainly no marketing guru; hell, I can barely keep up with my own personal social media accounts. But if you’re into it, go for it!
What are your thoughts on the self-publishing path?