Monday, January 27, 2014

Is Self-Publishing for You? Part 2: 10 Things You Should Know Before you Self-Publish

In part 1 of this series on self-publishing, I shared why I chose self-publishing. With the rise of print-on-demand and ebooks, it is easier then every to publish your book and do it well. However, self-publishing is not for everyone. Today, I would like to share 10 things you should know before you self-publish.

1.      It is a jungle out there. There are many services out there to help writers get published. While some of them are helpful, many of them are expensive trap. Before going with a company or service, ask around, join an independent authors group and find out as much as you can

2.      You can’t be afraid to work. Self-publishing, if done correctly, is not easy. You have to do almost everything yourself. The more you do yourself, the less you have to pay someone to do it for you and the more chance you have of making money.

3.      It can take a while to start making money. If you are counting on your books selling quickly and well, you probably should wait for a publishing contract. It can take a while for sales to really start coming in and many hours of work on your part.

4.      There is a stigma to self-publishing. Right or wrong, there are many people who don’t consider books that are self-published truly to be published. There are many people that won’t read your book simply because it doesn’t have a label they recognize. Although the number of people that feel this way is shrinking, they still exist.

5.      People do judge a book by its cover. I have learned to do every part of the publishing process myself, except the cover design. I just do not have that creative bent. My first three covers I paid for, the last one I traded formatting work for. You need to make sure that you do what it takes to have a good cover. Many people will choose to buy or not to buy your book based on your cover.

6.      You need an online presence. This does not mean that you have to sign up for every social media outlet under the sun. As an author, you should have a blog or website at the very least. You should pick at least one social media outlet to take part in. It may start out slow, but connecting to your readers is important. Many people will look you up online to find out about you to decide if they might like your books.

7.      You need to be ready to give things away. It is true of any author, but even more so in the publishing word. You will need to be ready to giveaway copies of your book in order to get reviews and to get word spreading about your books. It can be in print and digital forms but you must be willing to not make money at first and give copies away.

8.      You are in charge of the editing. There have been many a self-published book that might have been good, but little or no editing killed it. You need to make sure you have friends and family that will ready and correct mistakes in your story. If you don’t have those, you will need to hire and editor.

9.      You need to know what your story is about. I know this seems silly but sometimes it is hard to sum up your story quickly. Many people will be asking you about your book and you need to be able to tell the quickly about it. I highly recommend Jordan Smith’s book Finding the Core of Your Story if you need help with this.

10.  You need to know why you are self-publishing. If it is for fame or money, get an agent and wait for them to find you a traditional publisher. You should spend a lot of time in prayer and some time counting the costs before you choose to self-publishing.

Join me next week as we explore 10 best things about self-publishing.

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of three published books and counting. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Sarah; this was quite helpful to know. I was excited to see this post up!

    His Princess,

    1. Your enthusiasm is encouraging. I hope that the next post helps.

  2. I especially like your part about the cover. It is very true! My trilogy is not self-published, but I was still very detailed with my Design Team about the way I wanted my covers. And you know what? Most of my book signing sales came because people could see the covers from across the room and like them! :) Good point and post, Sarah.

    1. Yes, I have had a lot more people interested in my books because the covers don't look thrown together. Covers often make or break a book.


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