Deciding to self-publish should not be taken lightly. There are so many factors in play when you take on the work of marketing, promoting, building your brand, and writing the books. The idea of self-publishing can feel like too much of a task to take on. Think of this as your cheat sheet for deciding whether or not this is an option for you. Here are five key ways to know that you are ready to leap into the self-publishing world.
Since the creation of Kindle, Nook Press, Kobo, Smashwords and so on, the self-publishing world has been ripped wide open. Literally thousands of books are published daily by those of us who woke up with a book and dream, and took the leap to forge our own paths. That isn’t to say that deciding to self-publish is easy. Quite the contrary. When you are your own publisher, you are doing all the work of being an author plus some. The many hats you will have to wear as a self-publishing author is a another post entirely. Don’t Worry. I have you covered there too.
While there are other factors, such as finances, and available time, to consider when coming to a self-publishing career. Those are factors that vary with your personal circumstances. The following things, don’t have as much of a variance. You can do this. I aim to simplify the process for you, and we start here.
The ways below are not in any exact order. Primarily, because there isn’t a formula for coming to self-publishing. However, none of the below are arbitrary. It is important you know that. Your self-publishing learning curve may take longer than you believe it should. If you start here, you are already ahead of the game. Let’s dive in.
You’re ready to self-publish when you’ve written/are writing/have notes on the book.
In order to self-publish, you must have a product to publish. There are many who are self-publishing who are not in fact self-publishers. Some are simply those who have an eye for quality work and decided they would take on the heavy lifting of marketing, promoting, and otherwise assist in the brand building of the author. While, the author themselves write the books. A lot of people are doing small press work under the guise of self-publishing. This isn’t a bad thing.
However, if you are coming to self-publishing because you want to be an author, you need to write a book. That’s it. This is none negotiable. No one becomes an author by publishing imprint association. Do what must be done, and get to writing that masterpiece.
In the case that you have a masterpiece collecting dust on your bookshelf, or sucking up space on your laptop then continue reading to decide if you are ready to self-publish. Once you are ready to take the leap. Hop on over, and find out what it takes to create your very own publishing imprint.
If you don’t have a book written or otherwise in the works, no worries. You can still use this list to decide if you should self-publish. The process of creating your imprint is a relatively simple one. That is to say you can do it while writing your book. You don’t have to do them both, but only one of them is optional.
You’re ready to self-publish when you’ve done your research and know there is a market for you book.
Be forewarned, being an author is a career. There are rules that will help you be more successful. One of those rules is knowing your audience and writing your book with them ( or rather one particular audience representative) in mind. Of course, we all want to write the book that we want to read, but knowing your audience means that you aren’t the only one who wants to read this book.
Here’s is where I pick on myself. I made my debut as Paranormal (re: shifter) romance author in 2017. This is after years of reading paranormal books and finding a deep and achingly wonderful love for shifters in particular. My dilemma? There were hardly ever any people of color in these books, but I wasn’t the only one reading them. So, I looked into the market for them by using google, other book sites, and the publishing platforms themselves. I searched, “shifter romances with African-American characters” and “people of color in shifter romances”. My finding confirmed what I knew, that the niche was small, but deep. I wrote The Alpha’s Dream, because it was the book I wanted to read, and other readers too.
There is a ton of value, in knowing your audience and knowing the nuances of your genre. I cannot stress this enough. Knowing these two things at the very beginning of deciding to become an author and then as a self-publisher can add innumerable value to your career. Take the time, take your research seriously and adjust your career plans accordingly. You have a great book in you. Let’s strengthen the chances others want to read it as well.
You’re ready for self-publishing when you’re (nearly) convinced of your career as an author.
It takes a lot of gumption to be an author. Notice, I didn’t say talent. It takes some of that too, but when you line them up to each other, you gotta have balls to do this. The minute you realize that you are ready to dive into writing as a career, you’re already balls deeper than most of your peers.Then comes the task of creating your masterpieces one at a time.
Here is the thing, while you are going through the process of crafting your manuscript you’re going to need to have a lot of faith in what you are doing. Going from premise to published is nothing to sniff at. It takes time, if you intend to do it right and have longevity. Don’t get discouraged.
When you believe you have a voice, and all you need is a shot, give yourself that shot. Keep giving yourself that shot until something phenomenal happens. Go after it for the day you wake up and you realize you are living out your dream. There is nothing more powerful about self-publishing than the validation of seeing your work completed. The knowing, that you could have sat this one out, and you didn’t. You went for it. Go you!
You’re ready for self-publishing, because you’ve tried traditional methods.
Here’s the thing, the growing self-publishing field does not mean that there aren’t still those of us who would like to go the traditional big five publishing company route. There are quite a few perks to having other trained professionals doing the work of crafting your brand, finding your audience, and granting you exposure. Some of us come to self-publishing after having tried unsuccessfully to find a larger company that will take a chance on our great work. There is no fault in wanting this, but coming to self-publishing as a second option is also not a failure.
You owe it to yourself to look into all of your publishing options. A great work needs a platform to stand on, and having someone to help you with that is nothing short of grace. I advise all writers to check your options. Make a fact list. In one column list all the reasons it makes sense for you to pursue traditional publishing. On the other side, compile a list of the reasons it makes sense for you to pursue self-publishing. Include pros and cons, and the steps it will take to pursue both. Then, make your decisions as to what is best for your circumstances.
It is important to repeat here that if self-publishing is not your preferred option, that is okay. You don’t have to want to do all the work required for this. Also, just because it is your best/only option at the time, doesn’t mean it will be your only option ever. Several authors start as self-publishers only to be picked up by major publishing companies, and leave their self-publishing behind. Write a great book, and take your publishing seriously. As you build momentum, you’ll suddenly find yourself with more options than you can weigh.
You’re ready to self-publish when you know you aren’t doing this to get rich quick.
That should most probably read you’re ready to be a published author when you realize this is not a get rich quick scheme.The goal is that your writing will supplement or one day completely become your sole income. That is the dream. A lot of peopled don’t make it that far, but quite a significant number of us do. What writing is not though, is an over night get rich quick scheme. Your favorite authors have worked long and hard to build their careers, even those who are published by the big five. You should expect to do the same.
Let me clarify. There are authors whose debut works make them rich and famous. This is not the norm. The norm is that there are authors who create great work, and after a few books their growing following allows them to cement their career as a thriving author. The overnight success you believe in, can take years to happen.
Choosing to self-publish adds a layer of responsibility for your success. Initially, you likely will not have this team of people working for you. You’ll be responsible for your own branding, your logo, your website, you marketing, your book tours , and so on and so far. This is not impossible, but it can be exhausting. It can also be expensive. It is natural to want a huge payout to solidify that authorpernuership is a good idea.
Be patient, it will come. Probably not when you expect it. Take ownership of your process, create great systems, and work your system. Understand, that even though self-publishing requires a few additional steps. It also allows for a few additional rewards. You have control of your brand, your publishing dates, and your work. It also means that all the profits you receive are yours to own. As long as you work your self-publishing like the job it is, you will be fine.
There you have it, the top five ways you know you’re ready to self-publish. Remove all doubt, and go for it. For other resources, check out my post on the roles you will take on to self-publish and building your self-publishing team. In the meantime, create your pros and cons list to make sure this is right for you. Do it now! You’re this much closer to your dream.