How to Self-Publish Your Own Book – Lesson 1: Why One Should Consider Self-Publishing

Lainey had worked as an executive assistant at a local software company for the last 15 years. Both her children had received scholarships to good colleges, and Lainey knew that she could now take a break from work. However, she did not want to take a complete break and thought it would be a good idea to work from home as a Virtual Assistant. Lainey was very successful in getting clients who knew her from their previous interactions with her, but soon found that working from home was not as easy and smooth going as she had thought. Gradually, Lainey worked out methods and techniques to get work done at home without distractions and without missing deadlines. She was so successful that she slowly expanded her business and hired people to work as virtual assistants. Her success made many of Lainey’s friends and family members suggest to her that she should write down her experiences as a ‘How To’ guide for those who wanted to start their own virtual assistant business.

Lainey thought that was a great idea and since she had kept a journal through all those days of setting up the business, she could easily write about the challenges she had faced and mention with pride the solutions she had found. Very soon, she had her book ready that she titled ‘Finding Success in the Virtual World: Guide to becoming a Virtual Assistant.’ She sent it to many publishers and was not surprised when she received rejection letters from all of them! Lainey did not lose heart – she kept trying to sell her book to various publishers but the rejection letters kept coming in. Finally, some of her friends suggested that she try the option of self-publishing.

Initially, Lainey thought that they were merely pulling her leg. However, when her friends explained to her how she could seriously start a publishing company and write and sell not just this one book but also many more, Lainey was intrigued. She knew that it would not be easy but then that had never stopped her before. Slowly, she became excited at the thought of publishing her book and decided to take it up in full earnest.

If like Lainey, you think you have written a bestseller but are disappointed at the lack of interest shown by various publishing houses or if you think you have a talent for writing and fear of rejection is stopping you from writing, self-publishing could be the ideal avenue for you. Through this ebook, we will first introduce you to the brave, new world of self-publishing, and then guide you through the steps to be taken to publish your book.

Before we begin the journey, you need to understand what we mean by self-publishing.

What is Self-Publishing

If you are an author, you know how difficult it is to convince a publisher to invest money in your book towards editing and designing, printing, publicity and eventually, selling the book. It may take years before any publishing house agrees to publish your book and even then, the main party making any kind of income from the sale of books will be the publishing company. From the income generated by the sale of your book, the publishing house typically gets to keep about ninety percent! Of course, they will justify this by saying that they will need to cover the expenses involved in publishing the book, like staff expenses, cost of printing, publicity and marketing, office bills and so on. This is when the hard reality of the publishing world hits you. Unless you churn out a huge bestseller, the money you make as royalty is not going to be good enough for you to be able to do the one thing you have been dreaming of – saying goodbye to your day job to continue writing.

Which brings us to the topic of our discussion. What if you were told that there was a way in which you could act not only as an author but also as a publisher? By self-publishing, you will get to keep the entire income from the sales of your book to yourself! What could be sweeter than that?

In the self-publishing business you, as the author, have to invest the money and also manage all aspects of the publishing process from editing to actual sales. You can decide what form your written word has to take. You may choose to go in for a traditional form of the printed and bound variety or the more recent, non-traditional form of ebooks that can be bought and then easily downloaded through your website.

Whatever form you choose to publish your book in, you will need to first start a publishing company. If you start as a sole trader, you may not have to worry too much about complex legal formalities or tax issues. Similarly, getting your book printed is also not too difficult – you merely need to contact a local printing firm to do that. You may then feel compelled to ask – if self-publishing is so easy, why do I need your book to do it?

Writing a book is not difficult – writing one with content attractive enough to make thousands want to read it is difficult. Even assuming you have written on a topic of great current interest, and many people have already expressed a desire to read it, marketing and then selling your book so that there is more visibility and more people buy your book takes some doing. You will, therefore, need to know what to write about so that people will want to read your book, how to give it a catchy title and get a good cover designed, and finally how to run a successful marketing campaign. Our book will guide you through all these aspects.

However, please be warned that self-publishing will require you to invest your time and money. And since there is risk associated with any financial investment, there can be some risk associated with the business of self-publishing. While you could be immensely successful and make tremendous financial gains, you could also end up losing what that you have invested.

Why One Should Consider Self-Publishing

Ask any author – even the most successful one, and he or she will tell you that the process of getting a book accepted by any mainstream publishing house is a slow, frustrating process. Very often you wait with great anticipation for a response from the publisher only to be told that your book has been rejected. This can really test your patience and worse still, dampen the enthusiasm you feel for your book.

In that sense, self-publishing removes the need for someone else to like what you have written. More often than not, even if the editor in charge of your book loves the motivation behind the writing of the book, loves the ideas and simply loves the way it is written, it does not prove sufficient enough to merit publication. The decision about whether or not your book should be published will depend on a number of other factors over which you have no control like what kind of a market will the book cater to, what has been the success rate of similar books in similar markets, what is the budget of the publishing company and what the management thinks about the saleability of your book.

Self-publishing will certainly allow you to drastically reduce the time between finishing the final version of your book and bringing it into bookstores. This also means that you may make more profits than as an author being paid royalty. Instead of having to be satisfied with the ten or fifteen percent of the income generated from sales, you can pocket the entire income made by selling your book.

If you are seriously considering turning into a self-publisher, you must be warned that you can start earning profit only after you have made enough to cover the costs of designing, typesetting, printing and marketing. If, unfortunately, your book does not do well, you may barely earn enough to cover these costs, in which case, you would have been better off taking the royalty money offered by a publishing company. An author being paid in terms of royalty will almost always be given an advance which is non-returnable, however badly the book fares. On the other hand, there have been cases of self-publishing where the author has lost all the money invested.

If you are confident of the success of your book and are willing to take a risk or two, self-publishing may well launch you on your way to literary success!