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.

Business Manager

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.

Your Turn.

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?

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About SueCollier

Self-publishing expert SUE COLLIER is coauthor of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition and the forthcoming Jump Start Your Books Sales, 2nd Edition. Her expertise has been featured on such places as, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and Bottom Line Personal. Visit her blog at Self-Publishing Resources.

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28 Responses to “How Self-Publishing Makes Writers Much More than Authors”

  1. Wonderful and worthy post. I read post completely and like the ideas which you mentioned about publishing but self publishing is not an easy task but your post give us lot of useful information.
    Thanks for sharing the knowledge.


    Keira Watson
    Technology Guide recently posted..What is Windows dwm.exe & What Does it Do?My Profile

  2. Hi , the post is really very informative , you have written pretty good ideas about self publishing and its uses , i really enjoyed reading this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. The beauty of it actually is that writers can learn more and be equipped with knowledge necessary to the success of their succeeding books. Their first books may be tough given the greater list of tasks they need to do but think of it as a learning process.

  4. Thanks for the great introduction, Ivin! I’m looking forward to adding more to the conversation. I appreciate everyone weighing in!

  5. I’ve been doing it. It is hard work but it is pleasurable work. Everything mentioned above is correct. What is not in your budget to have done, learn how to do it. I still can’t get my pages to start where I want them to. ;)

  6. Hello Danyelle. I’m glad your learning and that’s what we set out to do. Self publishing isn’t easy and it’s hard work – but the rewards are worth it.
    Ivin Viljoen recently posted..Kindle Publishing System: Finding a Balance between Mainstream and NicheMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the visit Ashley. Very few become millionaires through this, but it’s a great way to diversify and supplement your income.
    Ivin Viljoen recently posted..Kindle Publishing System: Finding a Balance between Mainstream and NicheMy Profile

  8. Thank you for sharing your video and substantial information. Yeah, you are right you will be a good writer and having this as a business is great.

  9. Danyelle Franciosa Reply May 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I’m not in Self Publishing business but I really appreciate those person who use to have it because being a self publisher form me is actually not easy for me. I learn so much from you and thanks a lot!
    Danyelle Franciosa recently posted..blogMy Profile

  10. It’s the best thing you can do if you really believe in yourself – make yourself a one man company! :)
    Janice recently posted..Healthy Trim Reviews – What User’s Really ExperiencedMy Profile

  11. OK, I love your idea, writing and self-designing, self-typesetting, self-publishing. But sometimes it can be very hard. You first need to build your reputation before thinking about self-publishing a book.

  12. After a couple of years of trying to publish myself as a freelancer architect I have to say that self-publishing is the hardest way to make a living.
    Katrin recently posted..Das neueste Gebäude unserer StadtMy Profile

  13. youre an inspiration, thanks, i{m in the middle of writing my first one, scary but really exciting too

  14. You are an inspiration! I am a newbi writer by the way
    Lyna recently posted..Mother of the bride dress plus sizeMy Profile

  15. I’m a self-published author and extremely happy about it. It’s a different type of accomplishment, that of taking charge of a project, learning all you can about it to make it the best you can, learning new skills, expanding your horizons.
    candice michelle recently posted..רב לייטמןMy Profile

  16. That is an awesome post. You have really layed out your points in great detail.
    Becca recently posted..Carpet Cleaning WoodbridgeMy Profile

  17. Thanks a lot for sharing this information! I’ve learned a lot of good things about self-publishing and how it works in business. Do you also engage in this kind of business?
    Jamaica recently posted..articleMy Profile

  18. Publishing is good business but never start it without any experience. I have seen successful publishers are earning a lot.
    Azam recently posted..Silpada CataloguesMy Profile

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