When you become your own publisher, the good news is that you’re responsible for deciding what to write about, how your book will look, who prints it and how it’s marketed. That can also be the bad news if you’re new to publishing. Like any business, book publishing—even self-publishing—takes time and patience to master. Become a student of the publishing industry before you launch your self-publishing enterprise.
Important factors to consider:
1. Do you have enough funds to finance your venture? Talk to a book publishing consultant or an experienced self-publisher about the costs involved.
2. Be prepared to spend huge chunks of time getting your books into the right hands. To compete with mainstream publishers, self-publishers have to become master marketers.
3. Ask yourself if your book ideas will appeal to a broad audience. If you only want to write about obscure topics that fascinate you, you’re not likely to sell many books.
Learn publishing’s do’s and don’tsGet up to speed on book publishing trends by talking to people in the field and reading the trade journals.
Consultants, ghostwriters and editorsNot sure how many books to print? Worried that you don’t have the writing skills to produce a marketable book? Book publishing consultants, ghostwriters and other professionals can help you navigate your way through this world.
Take a look at book designersA poorly designed book reflects poorly on you because it screams “amateur.” Your book’s cover and interior pages should be designed by the best professional book designers you can afford.
Contact printersDecide whether short-run offset, web offset or digital printing is best for your needs, then get quotes from multiple book printers.
Get into bookstoresIf you want your book to be available to the major bookstore chains, it needs to be carried by a trade wholesaler or distributor.
Sell to libraries, gift shops and catalogsYou don’t have to be in Barnes & Noble to generate impressive sales. There is a huge non-bookstore market that can be a boon to self-publishers.
Publicize your bookSpread the word about your book without spending a bundle.
- When you pick a name for your company, leave your own name out of it. That way, book reviewers and others won’t jump to the conclusion that your book is self-published, and therefore assume that it’s not worth paying attention to.
- If you plan to self-publish a novel, don’t expect much of a pay day. A “how-to” book is likely to be a much bigger seller. It’s easier to identify the market for a book that offers practical advice about a specific topic.
- Unless you’re a “name” author, you probably won’t sell many books at a book signing. You can generate more interest by doing a reading from your book or giving a presentation on a topic that is related to your book.