Are You Sure You Want to Self-Publish

By Connor McDaniel

Self-published authors are responsible for all the aspects of publishing his or her book. The author takes over the editing, printing, publicity and distribution of his or her book, not any publishing company. The author also retains all profits from his book.

If you believe youj are up to the self-publishing challenge, there are a few things you need to know. There will be competition. Have others already written on "your" topic? Aside from that, you would also have to consider the number of copies you intend to publish.

Wish the decision to self-publish come a great many responsibilities. Are you up for the challenges? If you want to succeed at self-publishing, you must ready yourself mentally and emotionally.

There are many things that you should pay attention to, like the type of cover that your book will have. How you format your book's internal pages and design its external cover will contribute to your book's overall quality. Contrary to popular wisdom, readers do judge books by their covers. Titles matter too.

Make sure your word processor is compatible with your publishing platform. Both types of software must be reliable.

What do you need to do make sure your self-publishing experience goes smoothly.

- The number of copies would direct you to what kind of publishers you would need. If you plan to produce less that 500 copies, print-on-demand may be a good choice.

- Vet manufacturers carefully, ensuring they can manage your print, formatting and production specifications. Look as other books they have produced. A good printer should be able to help you understand and feel comfortable with the manufacturing process. Each printer has a unique set of skills and limitations. Hire the one that best meets your particular needs. Can they handle your layout and design appropriately?

- Design and book format can help your book stand-out. Navigating tthe self-publishing maze is not simple or straightforward. Look for a mentor to guide you until you learn your way around. Unless you are a skilled graphic artist, it is probably wise to hire one to help with your cover and formatting.

- As a self-published author, you will be shouldering the expenses. Review all contracts and costs carefully to ensure there are no surprises. Familiarize yourself with printing costs and the price breaks at different quantities. So when shopping around for publishers, do not forget to ask about the printing cost. Aside from printing costs, you would also have to consider the photography, copy editing, requesting for the International Standard Book Number which would make your book identifiable.

- Prepare a distribution plan. If your book were published in a traditional manner, marketing and distribution costs would be covered by your publisher. Now you are the publisher, and that means you must accept responsibility for your own marketing and distribution. Many bookstores now insist on the right to return unsold books. Consider online sales.

- Marketing isn't just important; it's necessary. Self-publishing automatically translates into self-marketing and self-promotion. Hiring a publicist is always an option, however.

So, is there an up-side to self-publishing? Traditional publishers paid writers only about 8 percent of the royalties. Self-published authors receive up to 50 percent. Authors who self-publish retain creative control of their work, and, for many, that is more valuable that money or time.

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