Being a self-published author requires a lot of hard work but offers great rewards
In the rapidly changing world of book publishing, an emerging reality is that a self-published author needs to be ab entrepreneur. Writing a great book is not enough; penning compelling content is only the first step.
Authors who desire to self-publish their work need to view their book as a product and themselves as an entrepreneur; they must develop, execute, and fund a business plan for each book they write and publish.
The self-published author, perhaps better called an indie author, becomes a production manager. This is analogous to a general contractor overseeing the construction of a house, in this case, his or her own house.
So it is with self-publishing. The self-published author/entrepreneur/general contractor needs to direct, oversee, and pay for:
- Developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading.
- Cover design
- Interior layout
- E-book conversion
- A publicist
- Marketing and promotion
They must also:
- Pay all the above vendors before any money comes in.
- Conduct market research.
- Handle book returns and technical issues with the delivery of e-books.
- Collect payments and deal with bad debt (the people who don’t pay what they owe).
- Set up a business and all that it entails, including licensing, legal structure, payment of taxes and fees, completing required forms and reports, and so forth
As these lists reveal, being successful in self-publishing, aka indie-publishing, requires a lot of work. For the non-business minded, these tasks may loom as overwhelming, sucking the life from your writing and out of your life.
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However, for entrepreneurial-minded authors, these activities are invigorating, which offers great potential and reward. The personality and strengths of each writer will determine if the self-publishing road is the right road to take.
As a self-published author, you are in control. You can pick your book title and have the final say over your cover. You set the production schedule and publishing date. You decide how to promote your book, and you can change course and adjust pricing anytime you wish. Your future resides in your hands—not with some publishing company.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.