Is Self-publishing for you?
The answer will depend on your goals, your resources, your book idea, and the marketplace. There are many factors to consider.
The main factor being that you are completely in charge - and responsible. You have to do the tasks required or hire someone to do them for you.
Take this quiz to see if self-publishing is right for you.
1. Is your book written for a narrow and easily targeted market?
Self-publishing works best if targeted for a specific market niche or group of people. It's more difficult to promote a book to a wide general audience, and marketing costs are far less when the target audience is definable and accessible.
2. What is the motivation for self-publishing your book?
Is your purpose clear and well enough conceived to sustain you through the publishing experience? If your motive is profit, and you treat the venture as a business, generally you can make more per book.
If you think that by self-publishing the book you'll get enough exposure and recognition to improve your chances of finding a traditional publisher for subsequent work, that will only work if you garner exceptional sales figures.
3. Are your expectations realistic?
If you don't have realistic expectations about your likely income and the time that marketing your book will take you may fall very short of your expectations. Of course you want to get your work published and get some recognition for doing so, but is your book going to achieve this? The question you must answer is: Can you and will you sell enough copies?
4. Can you sell at least 500 copies?
95% of all books published sell fewer than 7,500 copies. Most self-publishers initially print 500 - 3,000 copies. The cost of printing less than 500 copies may be higher than a realistic retail price. So it is important to have realistic expectations as to how many books you are likely to sell. Developing a solid marketing plan will give you a more accurate estimate of how many books you may sell and what your costs will be.
5. Are you willing and able to aggressively promote your book?
No matter how your book is published, today the author is responsible for creating the demand for the work. Typically, a writer will spend 10% of their time writing the book, 15% publishing it and 75% marketing and promoting the finished book. You must be willing to spend a great deal of time, energy and creative resources to market your book.
6. Do you have a way to sell your books direct?
The most profitable way to recover your publishing investment is selling books directly to your target audience. If you can find alternative ways to distribute your book, such as organizations, associations, fund-raisers, conventions, etc., you will have a far better chance of success than simply using the standard route of wholesalers and bookstores.
Self-publishing does work. Other writers have been very successful, but it does take energy, focus, determination and good writing to reap the rewards.
If you are up to the challenge you will be in good company. Some famous self-published authors include; Richard Nixon "Real Peace" and John Grisham "A Time to Kill", others include, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, E.E. Cummings, William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, Benjamin Franklin and Walt Whitman to name a few.
It's really not as daunting as you may think - and the rewards can be great, both for your pocketbook and for becoming a known entity. The Internet has plenty of information sources, and you can start right here in our Self-Publishing section.
Below are a few books offering needed information and wisdom to get you going...
The Fine Print of Self-Publishing
The Fine Print has helped thousands of authors understand self-publishing companies' services, including contract terms, printing markups, and royalty calculations.
Independent Self-Publishing: The Complete Guide
The authoritative book will take you from selecting a subject and title, through writing, design and formatting, picking a printer, selecting designers and editors, developing and operating a web site, getting blurbs and reviews, and publicizing the book. It will be useful to all authors.
Read ePublish by Steve Weber, and get the advice you need to get started now -- at the lowest possible cost, with the lowest possible risk, and highest possible chance of success.
The Well-Fed Self-Publisher
How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living
The Indie Author Guide: Self-Publishing Strategies Anyone Can Use
Back To Self-Publishing Page
This book offers aspiring self-published authors a roadmap to success by giving them exclusive insight to the latest technology and step-by-step instructions for making the most of it.