Thoughts on publishing, self-publishing and books in general

Self-publishing myths that hinder a good publishing experience

December 9, 2014 No Comments Other Matters

Many author, unaware of the potential of self-publishing, as also of its demands, harbour notions that may render the entire self-publishing experience an unpleasant one for them. This post is to dispel some of those notions.

a. Self-publishing is a free-for-all platform where rules do not apply.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the intense scrutiny that self-published authors and books are subjected to necessitates that the generally accepted rules of publishing should be followed even more diligently. The book should therefore be properly edited, it should be nicely presented, and laws relating to copyright issues should be followed. Like in the traditional mode of publishing, it is not advisable to cut corners while self-publishing too. So get your cover professionally designed, if you must.

b. I can rest, now that I have submitted by manuscript to a services provider

There are many service providers who offer a wide selection of self-publishing services, even promise instant books. It helps the author to know what services are being purchased, what will be delivered in each case and what is required from the author to ensure that a good book is published. An author who stays away from the process and cares little about how the book progresses is almost sure to be disappointed by the end result. The author would do well to think of the whole self-publishing process as an investment that must be carefully nurtured and monitored to ensure that the product, the book, is well produced, and that the money is well spent.

c. People will buy the book that I have written

Chances are they won’t - if they have not heard of it, if it doesn’t look appealing and if it is not easily accessible. Many authors shy away, or are downright dismissive, of their marketing duties. With so many books published these days, it is important for the author to do everything in her power to ensure that those who might read the book know about it. This is not to be confused with peddling the book, which can be done through retail outlets, whether online or offline. However, the author is almost always expected to market the book aggressively, whether through online forums or by ensuring that the book has sufficient exposure in the local press and in circles frequented by the readers of the book.

d. I can pay for publicity

This follows from the earlier point, and is usually a method employed by authors who are either shy of speaking about their book or by those who feel that it is beneath them to speak about it. It is important to understand that few will speak about your book as passionately as you will. So why leave it to someone else to do what you can do best? Besides, publicity agents will have many projects on their hand, just one of which is your book. They will have to divide their resources among these many projects and devoting more resources towards the publicity of your book will cost you more. Moreover, your book should communicated to your readers not in one burst, but in many small messages spread over a period of time. That only you can do.

e. I can make quick money

Many authors calculate how much they have spent on the book, and divide that number by the number of copies they have printed to arrive at the price of the book. Others factor in a huge royalty payment into the book’s retail price. Such impatience in attempting to recoup the costs of publishing can only backfire on the author. With public opinion already loaded against the self-published book, and the print-on-demand model already adding to high costs, any attempt to further increase the price will only alienate retailers and buyers alike. A more prudent approach would be to build a readership around the book and allow more copies to sell.

An author is advised to take the self-publishing process seriously, and ensure that everything that can be done to deliver a good book to the reader is done. Such an effort will ultimately pay off and ensure that the book is a roaring success.


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