Although I have chosen to run wildly down the self-publishing path, there are several reasons why that path is not for everyone. Self-publishing sounds easy. You write the book, then publish the book. Sit back, drink coffee and let the fame and money roll in.
I wish it was that easy. Self-publishing will take you down paths that you have never explored. Self-publishing will make you pull your hair out.
The Truth About Self-Publishing
Self-publishing requires a person to hone existing skills or to acquire an entire new set of skills. The fact is that the writer is taking on the work of an entire team to self-publish their book. In self-publishing, you are the:
- Idea Generator
- Tech Support
The Burden of Each Position
Let’s look at each of the roles that must be played. Later, I’ll writer an entire blog on each one. Today a quick summary will suffice.
- Idea Generator— when you decided to self-publish your book, you have an idea of what you want to write about. Let’s say you have a passion for cars. While that subject is too broad. You must brainstorm with yourself. So, it’s red cars. Nope still too broad. The final idea will be something like this: red American cars that were made in 1951 that are still on the road in 2018. All that specificity must come from the writer. And maybe two or three of his friends that he or she bribes with beer to brainstorm with him.
- Writer— there is only one person who can sit down and write the book. You. You must be the one to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Your mind is the driver behind your book. Your passion or need to express the ideas in your head are what make you sit for hours and hours working on capturing the words associated with your individual voice. Capturing the worlds can be a chore because our lives are so busy. Finding the time to write while making a living is a grueling task. Free time is precious, especially if there is a family involved. Who wants to spend ALL of it huddled over a desk?
- Editor-editing your book is even more challenging then working the book. Editing is not only about the grammar and spelling of the book. Editing is also about the structure and story of your book. It is about the way in which you present your ideas to challenge the reader. Editing is how you modify the book to ensure that the reader is engaged in your ideas. Editing your own book is very hard because you wrote the book. Seeing the structure another way is beyond the capability of some writers. They need help. Most successful writers have an outside editor. There are writers that can edit their own book, but they are few and far between. For my first book,“NEVER a $7 Whore,” (due out on Amazon on August 05), I choose to work with a professional editor. I was so close to the book and had worked on it so hard that I no longer saw what was on the page… I saw what I wanted to be on the page. The cost was about one thousand dollars. I gave up Starbucks to pay for the editor.
- Agent– someone must market the book. That someone in self publishing is the writer. I have found marketing to be the toughest of all the activities. Finding the numerous varied ways to get your book into the public’s eye and then exciting the public is energy draining. There are blogs, vblogs, papers, magazines, websites, landing pages, podcasts, classes, billboards, and posters for a start. Someone must contact and set up each and every “touch” for the book. That someone is you.
- Tech support- who do you think is setting up all those landing pages, websites, blogs and vblogs? Why you are of course. Nuff said.
- Banker— the money spent to write the book is only zero if you perform all the tasks yourself. If you want or need to hire out any of the task above, you will need money. While you can go out to FIVERR, you may want more controlled hires for your book. It is after all your baby. I know authors that have spent as much as $4K on their book as they pursued their dream. You’ll have to decided how much if any money you want and can afford to spend on your book dream.
Each writer must have decided how they are going to bring their ideas to the public.
Traditional publishing versus self-publishing is a hard decision. To be a successful self-publisher the tasks mentioned above must be accomplished. If you are willing and capable of performing all the tasks yourself, great. Consider becoming a self-publisher. If you plan to perform the tasks which play to your strengths and can afford to “farm out” the rest, great. Consider becoming a self-publisher.
If neither approach appeals to you, self-publishing is probably not the route for you, go the traditional route and work with a publisher.
Remember, the goal is to get your book published any way that you can. Your ideas deserve to be part of the public discourse. Writing and publishing my book has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. When I push the publish button on Amazon on August 05 for my book “NEVER A $7 Whore”, I don’t know what I am going to feel. I chose self-publishing because I wanted control, but I sometimes struggled. Choose the method that will insure your book makes it out into the world.