Authorship, Publishing, Books and More

The Business of Self Publishing


Last week, I focused on the business side of writing. I had lots of people contact me saying how helpful my tips were and that got me thinking.

These days, more writers are choosing to be self publishers…yes, I’m one of them now. Just because you’re doing everything yourself and more in control of what happens to your work doesn’t mean you need to be less cautious in business.

I’ve put together some tips if you’re thinking about self publishing.

Do you really need to pay for someone to do the work for you?

I’m not talking about writing your book, but formatting and uploading to the various platforms. I went with a company for my first self pubbed title because I thought it might be too technical for this non-techy writer to handle. A little secret is it’s gotten a lot easier since I first self pubbed. However, if you’re going to get someone to do it for you, once again buyer/writer beware. Check out their references, books they’ve worked on, even contact a few of their customers and get some feedback. Some charge a lot of money so make sure you know what you’re getting in return.

The same goes for working with editors. And don’t skip this element of the self publishing phase. It’s especially important that you get your work edited. Once you’ve got some experience, you can probably skip the more in-depth editing packages, but no one should skip line editing. Once again, check references, ask for a sample edit, etc. Do they require you to sign a contract and if so, look at the fine print?

This is your business so run it like one. You are going to take a loss with some books. Not all products are a hit, but make sure you’re not losing money on everything you publish. Think like an entrepreneur. Where can you save money without compromising the quality of your book?

And finally, the topic of promotion. I’ve lost count of the number of e-mails I get from companies wanting to promote my books. The majority of them are for people who just load the title of your book onto their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. I’m not saying that this strategy doesn’t work but when they’re loading hundreds of titles a day, the effect gets watered down. You’re better off doing it yourself and saving some money. And finally, should you hire a publicist, once again check references and get a feel for whether or not you can work with this person. I’ve been a publicist. I loved working with the majority of my clients but just like dating, the two of you end up being incompatible. Sit down and chat with the potential publicist and get a feel for how they work and if you’re both on the same page as to your goals and expectations.

I hope to post some more on business topics so let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to focus on.

Hi, don't miss anything that happens This Writer's Life. Sign up to become a subscriber and be notified every time a new post gets added.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

This Writer's Life will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.