Self-Publishing Is a Business

More people are asking me about self-publishing, not only for my thoughts about my own experiences in publishing my novel “The Rectory”, but how my friends and colleagues are doing with their own self-published books.

This is not by chance. Self-publishing is increasingly publishing itself.

Self-publishing is not a means of last resort in getting your book out before the public, but a valid publishing choice. It’s no longer something you do when traditional publishers have rejected you or not offered you a deal to your liking. It’s something you think of to begin with as a business decision regarding your book.

But success in self-publishing doesn’t happen by itself.

I suggest everyone who’s interested in and eager to begin self-publishing take a look at the blog that writer J. A. Konrath has been writing, which contains a lot of very useful facts about self-publishing, through his own history and success with it (he’s sold over a million copies of his novels that way). One of the best things he says in his most recent post is this: Self-publishing is a business

Now, as someone who is probably here because of an interest in publishing, or who is in the process of creating or using a platform to expand an audience of potential readers, you’re probably aware that nothing gets done by doing nothing (except inertia). Konrath urges self-published authors to look at numbers to see what works, what sells, what prices are best for what kind of book or story, to seek out the help of professionals for design and editing. In short, to consider it part of your business to conduct business and not consider your job done when the writing is finished.

This is true for traditionally published authors, too, of course. Even authors who are signed to book contracts with a publisher need to do more than they might expect to promote their work. This would seem to be self-evident – but it bears repeating. You’ve got work at becoming known.

Many publishing options are available for authors and entrepreneurs who wish to retain control over their works by the self-publishing option – Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobe, CreateSpace, to name just a few. Most have easy-to-follow processes.

But the point is, that getting your book into digital print (or print on-demand) is the easy part. It’s always going to take extra effort to make sure you’re heard, and that your book will be found. A few tweets won’t do it. You’ve got to think in terms of a long-term process, as if your book were part of an overall business plan.

Which, of course, it is.

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  • Anonymous

    Great points, Bob. Writing the book is really the easy part. But it sure is exciting to see how much the self-publishing field has opened up with so many options for authors to build their platform. I’ll check out Konrath’s posts. Thanks for the recommendation.

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