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To Self-Publish or Not? That is the Question

- By charlo
Publish Date : 2021-02-25 11:35:37
To Self-Publish or Not? That is the Question

Should you self-publish or get a publisher?

That question used to be easier to answer. Having someone else publish you book gave you credibility and prestige. There was someone else who had vetted your book idea and the quality of the writing and decided it was worth publishing. Self-published books typically looked cheap or were badly edited or laid out. In addition, creating, distributing, marketing and selling your book was a full-time job, with little likelihood of earning back the investment you made in time or money. (The average self-published book sells about 100 copies, according to the Print-on-Demand publishers).

All that changed with the advent of the Internet. Suddenly, distribution and sales became a lot easier (can you say Amazon.com?). Marketing was still a challenge, but again email, websites and the Internet made it easier and more doable. And outsourcing editing, cover design, book layout and publicity is much easier because you can easily find competent, affordable help for each of these functions.

Still, unless you are the kind of person who would be a good general contractor if you were building a house or remodeling your existing home, self-publishing (at least the print variety) may not be for you. It still takes a lot of work (and a substantial investment of money) to make it happen and the odds of success are not good. Having said that, some people do beat the odds and create a self-published book that is of good quality and sells well enough to make back their investment. Having a book out might also help increase your speaking career and fees or bring in more clients to buy your services. So it may be worth it even if you dn't break even on your initial investment with book sales.

 

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Much easier to do is to publish an e-book. I self-published a few print books some years ago and, to get a good price, I had to buy about 4,000 copies. Even though I can sell my books at workshops and online, it took me a year or two to sell all those books. Meanwhile, they sat in my garage. Some got damaged in shipping and distribution. I did make money on them (more money than I would have if someone else had published them). All in all though, it was a hassle.

But in recent years, I have e-published. This is much easier. You still have to have a quality product and do marketing, but you save the hassle of printing lots of books and putting out lots of money up front. You don't have the physical damage of print books. Customers can get your product instantly and you don't have to pack or ship a thing. If you set it up right, the whole thing is automated. I make good money with my e-books. Not as good as some of my print books, but better than some.

Creating and selling e-books is not that hard. It's especially easy on a Macintosh computer, which has a built-in ability to create PDFs (the most common form e-books come in) from an option in the Print menu. Selling is easy with online shopping carts and sites that specialize in selling digital products.

Creating and selling e-books is not that hard. It's especially easy on a Macintosh computer, which has a built-in ability to create PDFs (the most common form e-books come in) from an option in the Print menu. Selling is easy with online shopping carts and sites that specialize in selling digital products.



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