In the last post I discussed a checklist for determining if your manuscript is ready for self-publishing. Now I’d like to take up this question: Are you ready to self-publish?
You might think I already covered that territory, but having your manuscript in good shape is only half the battle. Assuming the writing is up to snuff, the following points are worth your consideration before you take that final leap into the publishing world.
Do you have the funds to pay for it?
From an attractive cover design to formatting your pages (and that entails formatting for both print and ebook) to purchasing hard copies of your masterpiece, do you have the money to buy the book you’ve envisioned? It’s a hard question but one you need to sort out before you rush headlong into publication. Decide what you need help with and what you can do yourself–if you are competent to do such skills, that is. Compare prices and services for those companies that help writers publish their books. Read customer reviews. Do a thorough job of researching all that goes into making your manuscript into a book.
And don’t forget the marketing expenses. Purchasing promotional materials like posters for book tables and swag for potential customers, buying Facebook ads, and using book promoting sites–these are some of the ways you’ll be investing more funds into your dream book. And that’s okay–as long as you do your homework and enter into these ventures with eyes wide open.
Are you ready to market your book?
I’ve had this discussion with so many writers, and the answers vary. Introverts (and many writers, including this one, are introverted) tend to hate the idea of hawking their wares from book signing to book signing. Some even balk at beefing up their online presence. They simply want to write the darn book and move on. Other writers nod sympathetically, hiding the gleam in their eyes. They like the idea of self-promotion and visiting with potential fans. Yet even these author-marketers ride the waves of up and down sales. Trying new marketing strategies can be exciting when they pay off in positive reviews and purchased books–and frustrating when a book launch falls flat and all that hard work seems wasted.
Be realistic. If you’ve written a book and you want it to do well (find readers for it and potentially make a profit), you need to decide what you’re willing to do to make that happen. What can you deal with and what is non-negotiable? For example, you might pass on addressing school assemblies, but you’ll agree to a book signing with other writer friends. Or maybe you don’t feel competent engaging with people in person, but setting up an author’s website and regularly blogging and interacting with readers that way feels comfortable.
I should mention here that writers going the traditional route to publication are also expected to do their share of marketing.
Do you have the time and energy it takes to go through the process?
It took a lot of hard work to write the book, and it will take more of the same to see your creation through production, printing, and sales. How much time can you commit to the project? Do you have the necessary energy and enthusiasm to devote to each step along the way? What’s your timetable for launching the book? Know what to expect and prepare for the duration.
Don’t be in such a rush to get your book out there that you neglect the necessary research to do it right. Ask other authors about their experiences, and if they have any recommendations.
Do you have people to support you?
Do your loved ones believe in you and your writing career? While not absolutely necessary, the encouragement of friends and family will go a long way in helping you keep your sanity. They’ll understand sandwiches for supper and retrieving their clothes from a laundry basket instead of a drawer. And, if you’re really lucky, they will cook supper and fold the laundry.
Do you have writing peers cheering you on? Fellow soldiers of the pen who understand what you are going through? That can make a huge difference in keeping you on track. If you are fortunate to find a supportive group of writers to share your victories and to commiseratecwith, you’ll have a weapon in your arsenal when the going gets tough and you feel like quitting.
The path to publication is not easy, but it is rewarding. Your dream is worth pursuing. But know what that dream entails.
Are you in the process of self-publishing? Tell us about it in the comments.
Related posts: Is Your Manuscript Ready? A Self-publishing Checklist