Misconceptions abound in self-publishing. One of these misconceptions is that is easy; simply upload a cover file and the manuscript file and voila! a self- published book. What is wrong with this statement is that it ignores the hard work involved in whipping the manuscript into the proper shape prior to uploading it.
This work includes getting the manuscript critiqued, hiring an editor who will work to improve the manuscript, getting a cover artist who will design the cover. Other required tasks include selecting a packager who will produce and distribute the book. If you plan on publishing an ebook and a print book, you may need two different packagers and you will need two different versions of the cover.. Other tasks include book design and formatting the manuscript so it meets the packager’s submission guidelines.
It is generally accept that there is a plethora of junk books published on the web. There are many reasons for these junk books, but one reason is the author didn’t bother (or didn’t know) that the manuscript has to be critiqued by competent writers. Another is that the author didn’t have an experienced editor work on the book. I’ve published over a dozen books and for each one of them I had the manuscript critiqued multiple times and edited, sometimes more than once. I also hire a cover artist to create a unique cover for my book.
The simplistic misconception mentioned in the beginning also ignores the work necessary after the files have been uploaded and an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of the book can be downloaded or purchased. The ARC has to be reviewed for typos and mistakes. There will be a number of them that have to be corrected and revised. After that, the corrected file must be uploaded to the packager’s site to replace the original file.
Another important element missing from the “just upload the files” misconception is the book’s budget. Yes, self-publishing a book will cost money. Cover artists and editors have to eat, you know. So putting together a budget will ensure you allocate funds for those critically important functions.
And finally, there is the matter of marketing your book. On the day your book becomes available, 1500+ other books will be published. The brutal facts are these: no one knows about your book and no one cares. The purpose of book marketing is to tell people about the book and to get these people to care enough to buy a copy.
While many marketing tasks can be done without costs, other tasks will require money to implement, hence you need a marketing budget besides a book budget.
An almost unknown fact to most new self-publishing authors is that the book marketing should begin long before the book is published not after the book becomes available.
Another surprise to newbie self-published authors is that once the book is published, the author becomes the CEO of a company. The company’s mission is to sell the book. Thinking like a CEO is quite different from thinking like an author.
A side effect of all these new self-publishing authors popping up is that it has provide a windfall to scammers with slick websites. These scammers offer to “help” the newbie author with expensive services that do nothing but line the pockets of the scammers. This is true in both the publishing and the marketing areas. The more the new author understands the dual processes of publishing and marketing, the less likely he or she will fall for the pitches put out by the scammers.
Hank Quense is the author of the Self-publishing Guides, a series of ebooks.