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Observations on Self-Publishing

For what it's worth, when it comes to self-publishing (true self-publishing, not the vanity/subsidy publishing or author mills), many of the issues against taking this route have little to do with marketing plan or lack thereof. Simply put:

1) Many self-published authors are so blinded by the determination to get their book into print they disregard many aspects of quality control that traditional publishing companies have come to understand and embrace as part of producing a profitable title. This desire to be in print is commonly so strong they disregard solid advice from seasoned professionals as well as those who have already made those mistakes.

2) Many self-published authors have no clue about solid book packaging design or graphic design in general. This is commonly seen with self-published authors that "design" a cover that they like (or can afford) instead of getting it professionally designed to appeal to the readers in their target market. This area alone can be as much of an undertaking as writing/editing the manuscript itself.

3) Many self-published authors don't dedicate anywhere near enough time to buy books and do research on the self-publishing process, the business model, or marketing/promotion. On top of that, when it comes to book publishing and promotion process, it's common to discover that the way between Point A and Point B is NOT always a straight line.

Speaking from experience, a study of my own mistakes, and years of observation I've learned that it takes discipline and an ability to be honest with yourself as far as taking your manuscript into production, a realistic budget and a willingness to contract professionals (editors, graphic designers, photographers, etc), and the patience of Job because success doesn't come over night. It also requires the stubborn determination of a bull to relentlessly promote the book after its finally in print. Out of the six things mentioned in this paragraph, the average self-publisher starts off lacking three or more of them.

Am I against self-publishing? No, not at all. I'm a strong proponent of it, actually. I've seen first hand how it can be used to break into the traditional publishing world with the majors. I've also seen how it can become a profitable and satisfying venture without involving the majors, too. And I've also seen how a poorly self-published book becomes doomed to obscurity.

The key to self-publishing is doing it right.


Max Nomad
New Media Consultant & Publisher
Bohemian Griot Publishing LLC
"Inspiring Minds to Make a Difference"

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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