Starting off in self-publishing can seem like a perilous journey. Like any new venture, it is both exciting and scary. Exciting because it is something new, yet scary because you may not know what to do first, or how to sound like you know what you’re doing. But you pick it up soon enough.
As you move forward, you have to keep your bearings. That means you must remember your original destination-your goal-and keep aiming for it until you get there.
Here are 5 things that shouldn’t surprise you about self-publishing. They are realizations that surface after you’ve decided to publish a book.
1. Self-publishing is not a get-rich-quick scheme I think that’s been proven quite a few times by now, yet many new self-publishers have that gleam in the eye. They’ve read the stories, they’ve been to Lulu.com, so why not them? But I’m willing to bet you didn’t start writing to make a killing on the internet. Your intentions were different; remembering them will guide you well.
2. You will meet many wonderful people in indie publishing Truly one of the great things about social media is that it’s so social. I’ve always been impressed by the collegiality of publishing. Maybe it’s because few books compete directly with each other, but people in publishing-particularly indie publishing-are extraordinarily helpful to newcomers. Don’t be discouraged by those who aren’t. And a bonus? They’re pretty literate, too!
3. You cannot imagine the variety of niches into which people are publishing
Just wander around Amazon for a while and take in the richness of interests displayed there. For example, here are five titles plucked almost randomly from the millions of pages on Amazon:
· The Art of Making Fermented Sausages
· Unsigned Beauties Of Costume Jewelry
· Antique Sewing Tools and Tales
· Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming
· The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History
Whatever your interests, they’re probably shared by others as well. You just have to find them.
4. Nonfiction publishing almost always pays-over time If you really do your homework and publish a book with genuine value with just an adequate job of pushing it into the world, I think you will eventually be profitable if you keep at it long enough. Of course, you have to publish efficiently to start with, but as long as you do something to let people know your book is there and that it can address a real need, often it’s just a matter of time before someone finds it. Too many people quit trying when they haven’t sold out in a few months. See #1 above.
5. The single most important thing is to ‘Be the Market’ This is the clearest path to success for nonfiction self-publishers. If you are part of the market that’s interested in the subject you’ve written about, you’re at an advantage. You know what these people need, you know what questions they’re asking, and you know what was confusing when you first got into this field. That all adds up to a book with value, if you can translate your experience into teaching that helps people new to your field or to your level of expertise.
Well, there you have it. While none of these things may surprise you, they bear repeating. And remembering, too.
Joel Friedlander is the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, a publishing services company in San Rafael, California that has launched many self-publishers. Joel is an award-winning book designer, a self-published author, and blogs about publishing and book design. To learn more about self-publishing a book, book and cover design, and the intricacies of the publishing process, please visit Joel’s blog at http://www.theBookDesigner.com today.