Should you press go on self-publishing your book?
Books Self-Publishing

Is Self-Publishing Right for You and Your Book?

Not every writer can get on a publisher’s roster or, indeed, wants to. Those who don’t want to, or can’t, at least now have the option of publishing their work themselves. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that self-publishing is not a panacea and it’s not romantic. Like self-employment, you are solely responsible for everything, and much of that is probably outside your current skill-set.

That doesn’t mean you are alone—there is plenty of expertise out there to help you through. You just need to be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort, and probably some funds. Even if you do all of that, though, there is no guarantee of success.

You need to be very clear about your reason—your ‘Why?’—as this will be your motivation. It’ll stop you giving up when you meet the inevitable hurdles, or feel you’re pushing a very large weight uphill.

If you get it right, though, your sense of achievement, satisfaction, and pride, will be immense.

Your motivation to publish

The very publication of a book might be the end in itself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you just want to release this material from the confines of your own mind, and to share it with others. In that case, you won’t necessarily be envisaging a ‘market’ for it. What will motivate you will be a desire to create the very best version of your book that you can. By doing so, you will do justice to what it is you want to put across.

On the other hand, your intention might be for your work to find an as-yet-unknown audience. If you want your book to have a commercial life, marketing will be something that needs consideration, time and effort. Google (or your search tool of choice) is most certainly your friend here. You will find plenty of resources online, both free and paid, to help you with your marketing plan. Also critical will be the design and presentation of your book so that it stands out in the marketplace. Your motivation, then, will be the creation of a worthy and successful product.

There is a third option—using your book to promote a product, service or brand. Here it becomes an integral part of your marketing strategy. To succeed, your book will need authenticity and authoritativeness—to be both a true reflection and a convincing ambassador. One thing it must not be, though, is ‘salesy’—that will only get the reader’s back up.

How easy is self-publishing?

Self-publishing your writing is relatively inexpensive and straightforward today. You will be familiar with the range of media through which you can publish your work. The main ones are ‘traditional’ hard-copy printed books and electronic ‘virtual’ media such as e-books for Kindle readers, tablets, etc. The gateways to these are easy to get to but the routes through the production process are more challenging.

You can choose to publish and promote your book through one source, such as Amazon KDP, or go a more ‘DIY’ route. Organising a print run of your book and promoting it yourself with your own stock is perfectly feasible.

Whichever self-publishing route you take, a book designer can significantly bolster your knowledge and technical skill. This will reduce the stress of this part of the process, and give you a more professional and satisfying result. If you’ve only got one shot at it, it makes sense to give yourself the best chance of a quality outcome. You want a piece of work that you will be proud to call your own, and to promote with confidence.

The next steps

Now you’ve considered all of the above, it’s time to get stuck into the writing process. There are many sources of help and information out there if you want to go it alone. Alternatively, you might want to contact a professional who can guide you through the writing process. For expert help, oversight and motivation, just get in touch for a recommendation.

In the next article I skip to the design stage of your book. In another, I move onto book production.