The Ugly Truth About Self Publishing

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Regardless of what you may hear or read elsewhere, self-publishing is here to stay! Independent authors are finding a lot of success self-publishing, and the entire field of self-publishing seems to keep evolving. A field that was once ruled by the big publishing houses, is now being more and more even thanks to internet marketing, eBook publishing, and social networking sites that have allowed self-published authors to get their books in front of potential book buyers.

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But alas, everything isn’t all unicorns and rainbows in the world of self-publishing. You should be aware of the pitfalls that are around so that you can do as well as possible. When self-publishing, your success is squarely in YOUR hands.

So instead of sugar-coating everything, here are some of the things you should definitely be aware of…

Self Publishing Is Easy!

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What’s so ugly about “easy”? Well, it’s so easy that everybody, and their mommas, is doing it. This means that you may face a ton of competition in whatever genre or niche you enter. It also means that there are a huge number of crappy books out there as well. But that may actually be a good thing for you if you take the time to polish your book and give it enough shine to stand above the trash.

It’s a Numbers Game…And The Odds Are Against You

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So while there are all of these bad books being put out every second, there are also a lot of good ones that you will have to compete with. And just because a book is good, this includes yours, it doesn’t mean that it will become an international best seller. Everyone won’t become the next 50 Shades of Grey. It’s more likely that you may sell less than 50 books.

Just know that it isn’t a matter of how good the book is. There are very bad books that sell 10’s of thousands of copies, while excellent books toil in obscurity. The main thing what will help turn the odds in your favor is MARKETING. Remember, you are a MARKETER who just happened to write a book. You need to make sure that you are constantly finding ways to publicize your book. Books do not just sell themselves.

Self-Publishing Can Get Expensive

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If you decide to self-publish and you find that your skills are lacking in certain areas, you will probably end up hiring someone else to do it. What is “it” that you are hiring people for? Well, maybe you want to hire a ghostwriter because you don’t have the time to write. Or maybe you need a developmental editor to help your book along. There is the copy editor who you need to go through your book and make sure everything is formatted appropriately. Let’s not forget the proofreader to catch all of those typos. Did I mention the graphic designer for your book cover? There are fees for ISBN and copyrighting. Once all that is done, you probably want to pay folks to review your book (yup, people PAY to have their book reviewed), and of course we have to pay for marketing and advertising. I think my calculator just exploded.

Okay, let me not get carried away. While many of those things are necessary to put out a good product, if you do your research you can find low cost/high value ways to get them accomplished. You can end up paying a few hundred dollars to get your book out up to tens of thousands. If you have more time than money, do your research and you will come out on the low end of the scale. If you have more money than time, then you can pay to get the best services available to you. Just know you will pay one way or another.

Don’t Be Afraid, Just Be Aware

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Let me reiterate, none of this is meant to scare you, it’s meant to inform you. The better informed you are the better you can prepare yourself to enter the world of self-publishing.

Have you written and self published a book? What tips would you share with would be self-publishers? Are you writing a book? What questions do you have about self-publishing?


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Son, Husband, Father, Brother. Used to be a fighter, now I guess I'm a just a Lover. Jack of a FEW trades....Master one some. Come fly with me!

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