Self publishing is definitely an option for aspiring authors. But is it the right option for your particular book? In part one of this two-part series, we examined the advantages to leveraging these services. Now we’re going to look at the factors that tend to make DIY publishing such a challenge for many. As a bonus, I’ll wrap up with my recommendations on the use of DIY services based on book type.
- You’re on Your Own— A major advantage to working with a traditional publisher is that they do this every day and they know what it takes to sell a book. With DIY, you are responsible for making the right decisions and getting the book to the place it needs to be in order to be successful.
- The Devil is in the Details— Creating a professional-looking, well-formatted manuscript with an eye-catching design and all the bells and whistles is a very difficult task. Not only do you have to consider cover design, but also spelling, grammar, sentence wrapping, font type, font size, page numbers, forewords, ISBN numbers, jacket descriptions, and so much more.
- It’s Fiercely Competitive—Because DIY is so easy, everybody’s doing it. The lack of entry barriers means that it will be harder to get your book to stand out from the rest. This requires a unique and appealing title, a focus on positioning, outstanding marketing tactics, and of course, money.
- Help Comes with a Price—If you really want your book to stand out in the sea of self published works, then you can expect a significant investment. While a DIY publishing company provides packages to include these offerings, they are going to cost you a pretty penny. If you have the funds, however, it might be a wise investment if you’re not familiar with the publishing industry. Otherwise, your time investment to perform these services yourself may cost you just as much if you consider the time value of money.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
I truly believe that self publishing is a valid option for some aspiring authors; but I also believe it has its place depending on the type of book. If you are writing a fiction book, for instance, I would not bank on success with DIY. Traditional publishers will rarely touch a first-time author of fiction, so success with DIY is going to be even harder.
If, however, you are writing a book that you want to be a legacy piece for your family and friends, that tells a personal story and you don’t have your sights set on mass distribution, then DIY publishing is a wonderful resource. If you have an audience in mind for a nonfiction book with a niche appeal, then this option might also bring what you’re looking for. A great example is books of a religious nature or self-help books.