Is self-publishing worth it?
This is what I call a ‘fear-based’ question. It also needs much greater clarification. Is self-publishing worth it financially? Is self-publishing worth it from a marketing perspective? Is self-publishing worth it from getting your book out to a new group of readers? Is self-publishing worth it from the amount of work you do? With greater clarification it makes the question so much easier to answer.
Let’s look at the finances first. This is an author’s greatest fear. How much does a book cost to publish? That varies from free to a few thousand pounds. What about marketing costs? They will always be present if you want to sell more books. But what if I lose all that money? And at this point the thought of self-publishing looks terrifying. Because it’s the wrong question. The right question is how do I make self-publishing worth it? Too many authors approach the idea of writing a book as getting their ideas onto paper, wrapping it up in a nice cover and then waiting for the readers to find them. Huge mistake. As big as the shop assistants in ‘Pretty Woman’.
Your book is a product. An invention. A thing to be admired and bought. So entice the reader to part with their cash. Make them want to swipe their card. Seduce them into becoming your fan. In other words, work at being an author. There is a great fallacy in the world of authorship and it’s this: that the Stephen King/JK Rowling/Philip Pullman’s of the world have this idyllic life where they sit at home at their keyboard letting the words flow and then their publishers do all the marketing and selling. It’s not true! They are hustling. They’re on social media, they are in meetings, they are doing readings and going to events. They are a business and each book is a product. As such each has to be promoted. The quicker you get your head around this, the faster you’ll get to grips with the right questions.
Let’s answer the question from two perspectives then. Is self-publishing worth it for the novelist? Your goal is to sell as many books as possible. This means building an audience and a fan base i.e. people who love your writing and characters. That means a well-written, well-produced book that readers will enjoy enough to tell others about. This will lead to lots of reviews and more sales.
The second perspective is the non-fiction author. This is usually about establishing your brand and a book can help this immeasurably. Business books are abundant and finding a new angle can be challenging, but do it well and it can help your business tremendously. This would be true of all non-fiction authors. A book makes you an authority; the clue is in the word.
In all of these cases, the perspective is the same. To be a successful author you have to work at it. Every day. Marketing. Reading. Writing. Selling. And self-publishing fits in with this mix. And you know what the best bit about self-publishing is? You get paid monthly. This means if you’re royalties were lower than last month you know you have to do things better and if they increase you know that you’re doing things right.
Being a writer is a fantastic job. It’s still the most sought after job there is. But do it right. Treat yourself right and respect your readers. Be professional and chase the dream. Do it with all the passion you have for writing and watch your books sell, your profits increase and your readership grow. Ask better questions. Get better answers.
As always if this has inspired more questions contact us at 3P Publishing on 01536 560410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.