Take the self-publishing quiz: Is it for you?

Posted By on January 19, 2011

It’s a question only you can answer. Today, more and more writers choose the do-it-yourself method for getting into print. Many have learned that even if they are accepted by a traditional trade publisher (which is becoming more and more difficult), the vast majority of promotion and publicity still rests on their shoulders if they hope for success. Why do most of the work, then settle for a lousy 10% royalty? Additionally, these same trade publishers are rarely willing to take on a no-name author; they want guaranteed bestsellers. That said, publishing your own book is not for everyone. Take this self-publishing quiz and ponder your answers.

1. Do you want to be in control?

People who self-publish like to control their own destiny. They want to decide what the title is, how the cover will look, what the interior design is like, how the content will be edited, what ways the book will be promoted and sold. They want to be in charge of the whole enchilada.

2. Are you willing to educate yourself?

You’ll likely spend thousands of dollars on this venture. Surprisingly, many people will investigate all aspects of a summer vacation . . . yet jump into self-publishing without a clue. That’s bad news. You need to be willing to read books like The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, to attend writing and publishing meetings in your area, to seek out and attend relevant national conferences. This kind of preparation helps you avoid costly mistakes and gives you insider knowledge on what works best.

3. Do you have persistence? Tenacity?

Are you willing to follow through doggedly? Writing is just the beginning. Book marketing should begin the minute you get an idea for a book — and never end! You must be willing to pursue hot leads and persevere five, six, even seven times. (Of course, every author must be willing to do this if he or she hopes to sell books.) Self-publishing allows you to get off to a fast start (just a few months versus a year and a half [or longer] with traditional publishers), but you must have staying power.

4. Do you have the time?

If you think writing was a chore, double or quadruple that if you truly want to be successful. Book production details take hours and hours, and marketing is never ending. We’ve had clients who got up at 5:00 a.m. to work on their projects before they went to their daytime jobs. Others block out three hours in the evening to pursue their publishing project.

5. Can you afford it?

While you can put something together via print on demand (POD) for just a few hundred dollars, if you are planning to make serious money and change lives with your book — be prepared to invest more. The returns can be enormous. Some successful self-publishers make as much as 80% of the retail price of their book when they return for second, third, and fourth print runs.

6. Are you willing to discipline yourself to be a “business person”?

Writing books often attracts creative souls. Successful self-publishing requires a business mind-set. They are not mutually exclusive. You can learn to hire and supervise suppliers, do bookkeeping, fill orders ,and  organize and execute marketing campaigns. While many of these things have creative aspects to them, they are much more right-brain than left-brain. When you self-publish, you are going into business.

7. What’s your passion level?

You’ve got to have a huge commitment to your book. No one cares about it as much as you do. You’ve got to love it, and nurture it, and raise it to outstanding adulthood. Is what you have to offer important enough for you to get — and stay — supremely pumped up? There are few professions that allow us to touch lives . . . to make people happier, healthier, or wealthier . . . to actually enrich the world with our words.

About The Author


10 Responses to “Take the self-publishing quiz: Is it for you?”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Young. Amy Young said: RT @SueCollier: Take the self-publishing quiz: Is it for you? http://bit.ly/fvwUEI #selfpublishing [...]

  2. Sue, your readers may want to review differences between traditional publishing and self- publishing in aspects such as book distribution, royalties, etc. at http://AuthorAssist.com/publish.html.

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  5. You’re an inspiration, Sue. It takes much more effort, time and persistence to self-publish your book but you put it in a limelight. Self-publishing does take a huge while but the results are more valuable. If you can start on writing that book, why not do the rest of the steps?

  6. Thanks for commenting, Judith! I completely agree — and really, there has never been a better time for authors who decide to self-publish.

  7. well, one thing is for sure. self publishing is for me. I love the control and the challenge. This is really convincing especially for people who are still on doubt of self-publishing.

  8. I have self publsihed my first two books now, at little cost in cash, compared to some companies. There are many things that could be improved but I’m truly proud and pleased with my first two books!

  9. Pretty good, as far as it goes. Raises some of the right issues. But one of the things prospective self-publishers ought to understand up-front is that self-publishing is not about a cheap, DIY alternative to traditional publishing. It’s about taking a worthy manuscript and making the investment of time and money, and taking initiative and responsibility for making a great book. At least if you want to reach a real audience and sell mor than the 100 or so copies so many self-publishers wind up selling to family and friends.

  10. Congratulations, Adam!

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