Varieties of the Publishing Experience

I’m not sure how many of you—authors who took the leap, self-published your own books—know quite how heroic you are.

I bet a lot of you have already published books, but there are even more writers who are still thinking about it, reading about it, testing the waters.

And that’s a good idea. There’s no reason to rush into self-publishing, particularly if you think about what you’ll be taking on.

 

There are a lot of skills you’ll have to learn, new companies to research, service providers to vet. It really can be a lot of work, and it can test your own resources, the assets you bring to publishing, and your native abilities. Sometimes, even your character.

True, there are some people who are passionate about getting their work out there, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to see their book in print and up for sale. I admire that kind of dedication.

But I also know that not everyone feels that way. There are lots of people who would like to publish, who might even have a book finished or almost done. But they haven’t made the decision to move forward.

Making Choices Isn’t Always Easy

A very successful author called for a phone consult recently to talk about the exciting prospect of publishing her own books.

We talked about her newest book and her publishing background. Then I started to talk about the kinds of tasks she would confront as a self-publisher.

As the list went on, I could sense her drawing back. And I was right.

This author had absolutely no interest in running a publishing business, buying ISBNs, setting up printer accounts and all the other little details that go into establishing yourself as a publisher.

So why do it? Why make yourself miserable doing stuff you hate?

In the end I suggested she find someone within her extensive network of authors and entrepreneurs to partner with, someone who enjoyed that part of publishing as much as she enjoyed meeting people, speaking, and networking about her work.

Together, they might make a dynamite combination that could be the beginning of a great publishing business, since one was already a bestselling author.

I think the moral of this story, if there is one, is to be honest about what your capabilities are, what things you enjoy doing, and what you can barely tolerate.

You know, the stuff that always seems to slip to the bottom of your to-do list, that you procrastinate about because it’s just easier to avoid.

On the other hand, you can format your book by yourself even if it doesn’t give you a lot of joy. Why? Because you only have to do it once.

But if it’s one of those things that you just keep putting off, it’s not that hard to find someone to do it for you.

On the other hand, if you hate bookkeeping or tracking expenses or keeping receipts, maybe you shouldn’t be in business at all. Accurate recordkeeping is a prerequisite for most successful businesses, and if the idea of tracking costs makes you want to scream, look for a different solution or see if you can outsource that part of your tasks.

Sometimes you have to look for ways to free yourself up to do the things that only you can do. If those are things you love to do, you’ve got a winning proposition.

My takeaway today is that there are lots of ways to get into print and participate in the amazing possibilities in book publishing. Maybe for you it’s going to be getting focused training in the publishing process that will give you real self-confidence as a publisher.

Or you might be better off looking for help with the tasks you don’t want to tackle. As long as you don’t lose control of your own book, there are lots of solutions out there that can work for you.

I’m curious: how have you dealt with all the tasks you take on when you publish? Have you outsourced, or gotten training? Let me know in the comments [on the original post].

 

 

This is a reprint from Joel Friedlander‘s The Book Designer.

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