How Self-Publishing Makes Writers Much More than Authors
It used to be true that most authors who went the self-publishing route did so because they had nothing but a pile of rejection letters to show for months — or even years — of work. While that is still true in some cases, many authors are taking on do – it – yourself publishing for other reasons, such as the potential for more profits or to maintain control of the creative process.
Whatever an author’s reason for going “indie,” he or she needs to remember one very important aspect: Publishing is a business, and it needs to be treated as such if the author plans to be successful. Authors can go it alone, or they can draw on outside help for them to do their books. But regardless of how they proceed, there are quite a few hats they will need to wear—or pay others to do it for them.
Here are the roles that will need to be filled:
The basic foundation for your enterprise is writing. Study your craft and refine your product. Good, readable works sell much more readily than disorganized garble or lofty dissertations.
This is one area where many self-publishers miss the mark in their eagerness to get their book out. But this is one area about 99.9 percent of authors cannot afford to skimp on. If you expect people to buy your book, they will expect that you have done your best to create a quality product. Don’t assume that if people like what you’ve written, they’ll be happy to overlook typos and other errors. I know some will argue with me, but I don’t buy “self-editing” as an option; it’s impossible to be objective with your own work. And you’ll open yourself up for bad reviews if your book is wraught with errors.
Many books and book covers are self-illustrated or designed. This is a great idea—if you have experience designing books. You want your book to stand out, but not because the design is amateurish. If you decide to get professional freelance help, make sure he or she has book experience—and you should stay involved personally throughout the process.
When you use a computer to prepare printer-ready files, you become a typesetter. If you aren’t proficient in InDesign, hire a pro for the same reasons mentioned above!
Ten years ago, there weren’t a lot of options when it came to book printing. Now there is offset printing, print-on-demand, ebooks…. Decide which option—or options, in most cases—makes the most sense for your goals and your budget.
It doesn’t matter how well all other hats fit if you don’t wear this one well. Be imaginative and creative. Go ahead and slip into flamboyance when you don this hat. Shrewd promotion and sales strategies will do much to ensure your publishing project’s success. And it’s never too early to start planning.
Last — but certainly not least — you have to manage your publishing business well. A study once conducted by the Small Business Administration showed that 93 percent of the businesses that failed did so because of poor management practices. The job of business manager can be a piece of cake or an absolute nightmare — it’s up to you. Many jobs fall under this umbrella—accountant, janitor, operations, IT, chief bottle washer…basically anything that keeps your business running smoothly and successfully.
Be prepared to fall and skin your knees occasionally. No one has all the answers; certainly not a new self-publisher. Don’t be afraid to get some professional help. As in anything, there are pitfalls, but there are also many pleasures. Move ahead with passion and conviction, and you will succeed.
Is Self Publishing a business you run? Do you find the same scenario when it comes all the intricacies involved in self publishing and the business side of things?