For many authors, the hardest thing about writing and publishing a book is knowing how to do it right. And when it comes to self-publishing, cutting through the confusion is a challenge. Most new indie authors also worry about making costly mistakes. I certainly made my fair share when I started self-publishing back in 2002.
I’ve been a successful independent author and writer’s coach for fifteen years, and I’ve helped over 150 clients achieve their writing and publishing dreams. Recently, I released a powerful online tool called Self-Publishing Blueprint to teach others how to successfully write, publish, and promote their books. Using detailed videos, checklists, and worksheets, I help you find the right path for you and your book. It all starts with understanding your goals and your self-publishing profile.
Your Self-Publishing Profile:
Before you undertake self-publishing, answer these questions:
1. Is there one book inside you, or do you want a career as a writer?
2. How much time, on a weekly basis, can you devote to writing, publishing, and marketing your book?
3. How much, realistically, can you afford to spend on this project?
4. If you publish your book and don’t make money, will you still feel satisfied just having your book out there, or do you want to make a profit?
Next, you must be clear on your goals. Do you want to produce a book just for friends and family: a family memoir, a book of Grandma’s recipes, a bedtime story for your grandchildren? Or is your book for a small or niche audience: a book on your town’s history, a how-to manual for parrot owners, a book specific to your clients’ needs? Or is your book suitable for a wide-range of audiences?
Some other questions to ask:
1. Do you want to self-publish in hardcover, paperback, e-book, or all of the above?
2. Will you need illustrations or artwork for your book?
3. Do you want your book to be sold in bookstores, online, or both?
4. Do you wish to sell directly to buyers (like teachers, clients, gift shops)?
5. Do you want marketing support for your book?
Your Self-Publishing Options:
Once you have identified your goals and your profile, you can look at your options for publication. I go into more detail on this in the Self-Publishing Blueprint, but in a nutshell:
Print-On-Demand (POD) Companies:
I recommend these companies only if your goals are simply to make the book available for purchase: if you have written a book for friends and family, if you want to make an out-of-print book available but do not intend to promote, if you need to produce a workbook for a class you teach, etc. If you do not wish to spend a lot of time marketing your book, and making money is not your goal, these companies can provide the services you need.
CreateSpace & IngramSpark:
Though technically POD publishers, these two companies are a cut above the average subsidy publisher. Many authors, regardless of their goals, go this route.
I recommend these companies if your goals are modest, or if you want to go big but need help with the writing, or if you prefer working with a team. I also recommend them for “hard-to-sell” books like poetry or essay collections. Choose a hybrid publisher that vets their projects, is owned by people with backgrounds in publishing, and employs or contracts with professional editors and designers.
Start Your Own Press:
This is the route to take if you are serious about your self-publishing journey. It provides the most credibility and control, and it’s not hard to do. I recommend this route if you want to produce a high-quality product, work with professionals of your choosing, have more access to library and bookstore sales, earn more money, and be treated with more respect. Do this if you are willing to work hard at the production and marketing of your book.
I especially recommend this route if you are a newer author and have a book in a popular genre, like Romance or Sci-Fi/Fantasy, or if you want to “test out” your book before doing a print version. It also works well if you have short, instructional books.
To create your own Self-Publishing Profile, and choose the best publishing options, consider purchasing the Self-Publishing Blueprint to walk you through all the steps. Readers of this blog can get $50 off the already low price, by clicking on www.spblueprint.com
Teresa Funke is the author of six award-winning works of fiction set in World War II. She is the owner of Victory House Press, and successfully produces and markets her own books. She is a nationwide speaker and writer’s coach, and the creator of Self-Publishing Blueprint, the only tool you will need to cut through the confusion of self-publishing and save yourself from costly mistakes. Self-Publishing Blueprint is an online tool loaded with videos, PDFs, and worksheets to help you customize your self-publishing journey and move forward at your own pace. Visit www.teresafunke.com to learn more about Teresa and access additional resources for writers, or to read her motivational blog “Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life.”