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Links > Business Articles > Communication >

Anyone Can Self-Publish a Book – Right?

By: Wendy Smith, Editor and Wordsmith, Jewel See Editing | Saturday 3 August, 2013

Have you ever dreamed of being a published author? Maybe a novel on the bestseller lists or evidence in print that you are an expert in your field? But how will you get your book published? WENDY SMITH explores the possibilities and pitfalls of self-publishing your book.

Not too long ago there were only two ways to get a book published, by a traditional publisher or to self-fund a rather expensive print run via what was condescendingly referred to as a Vanity Press. Sure, some of these publications were pure vanity – not all of them by any means – but it did mean that only the wealthy or well connected could publish independently.

The last few years has seen the world of publishing turn upside down.

Many traditional book publishers are trying to find their place in this new world as publishing houses around the globe fold or amalgamate. One such example is the proposed merger of Random House and Penguin. Once this merger is completed later in 2013, this new partnership of German and British multinational companies will create the world’s largest book publisher and control about one quarter of the global market, effectively reducing the traditional book publishing field to five major players.

Alongside the traditional publishers, self-publishing is growing at an astronomical rate and self-published books are starting to hold their own against books published by the publishing giants. Today there are so many options for indie authors and self-publishers.

Advances in digital printing technology have opened the way for shorter and less expensive print runs. Print on Demand (POD) technology means an author/publisher or a customer can print one, 50 or 500 copies of a book. And what about ebooks? Or interactive book apps?

So, can anyone publish their own book?

In theory, yes! These are exciting times for publishing and for authors!

Before you go charging off to release your new book, there are a few things to consider when making decisions about self-publishing. Given that you are possibly running a business, working long hours and most likely have other commitments too, do you have the time and the expertise to:

  • Learn the process and all its ins and outs? Or will it be trial and error?
  • Avoid the pitfalls? Why fall into the same holes as others who have gone before you if you can avoid them?
  • Find and choose the best options for your unique book project and your specific circumstances?
  • Track down and contract the best people, suppliers and service providers to assist you to reach your goal? These include editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, book designers or formatters/typesetters, printers, POD providers, ebook specialists, distributors etc.
  • Project manage the entire process? Note that this may take many months. Produce a professional result? Will it be a vanity publication or a well-presented quality book that readers will eagerly recommend to their friends and networks?
  • Promote and sell your book once it is published? Unfortunately, books do not sell themselves…

Do you have a book manuscript filed away in your desk draw? Perhaps it is time it saw the light of day? Maybe you have courageously tried submitting it to a publisher, or several, and are feeling a little rejected and dejected? Or is your manuscript a work in progress? If so, then be encouraged to finish it or revisit it and polish it up, as there are many options out there for you.

Yes, you can do it all yourself but be aware of the investment in time and expertise required and that there are skilled service providers and self-publishing specialists and consultants who can help you along the way with part(s) or all of the self-publishing process.

So, do your homework and/or seek advice from an expert, and you will find the best way forward for you and your book in the midst of a myriad of new and exciting publishing options.


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