Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is Self Publishing the Right Choice for You and Your Book?

Copyright (c) 2007 Gail Richards

Self-publishing, although not a new phenomenon, is now a legitimate acceptable route to a published book for an author. In the self-publishing model, the author keeps the rights to his or her book but pays all the costs for producing, printing, and marketing the book and other ancillary products.

Self-publishing is a better option than it once was because technological advances have made it easier for an author to write, design, and create her own book. In addition, it is now more cost-effective to print in smaller quantities, meaning that the initial investment in printing and inventory is now more feasible for the average person.

To self-publish, an author must have enough capital to produce the book and enough time to write, produce, market, and ship the product. In essence, he or she starts a new business around his or her book.

One of the important choices to be made by self-publishers is to select a printer. Today, a number of printers specialize in books, particularly in printing small quantities. These are known as print-on-demand (POD) publishers. They are primarily printers, but they may add editorial or marketing services.

Most authors think of the difficulty of self-publishing as the logistics of knowing how to get a book designed and typeset and how much to spend to get a book printed. But this is the easy part. What is much more difficult is getting your book marketed appropriately and distributed in some way. It is still a reality that self-published books rarely find their way to bookstore shelves on a national level, and it is equally hard to find a distributor for them.

The other drawback of self-publishing is that the printer will print whatever you send. If you send a book that hasn't been edited or proofread or that isn't commercially viable (meaning there really isn't an audience), the printer will do just as beautiful a job as if the book were an award-winner. In other words, no one will stop you from spending money on a book that isn't ready for publication.

Another approach is for the author to choose self-publishing first, establishing the book as viable in the market and then shopping for a traditional publisher. This accomplishes several objectives, one of which is to allow you to have a product to sell much more quickly since the typical traditional publisher will take twelve to eighteen months to get your book on the market after you sign the contract.

If you self-publish initially, you are likely to be more patient and find just the right publisher because you won't be in a hurry to get your book out. In addition, a traditional publisher will continue to allow you to sell your book while they are preparing your book with them. You will have a product to sell during a little over a year's preparation. The traditionally published book, in essence, becomes the second edition of your book.

About the Author

Gail Richards
is founder of a dynamic website connecting aspiring authors with the classes, audio library, tools, information and resources needed to make smart, informed decisions at each step in the nonfiction book publishing journey. Jan King is the founder of a membership organization devoted to supporting and coaching women who become successfully published nonfiction authors.

No comments: