March 10, 2014
For those who dream of becoming successful, financially independent writers, the lure of self-publishing can seem like a shortcut to achieving fame. But before you embark on the self-publishing journey, what are the major myths about self-publishing you should be aware of?
REALITY: There is a lot more than writing involved in becoming a successful self-published author. But the first requirement is to be a good writer. Grammar, punctuation, typos, story line all matter — A LOT! Make sure you are knowledgeable in the fundamentals of writing before you start.
REALITY: It’s tough to edit something you have written yourself. Since you know what you meant to write, even obvious typos are difficult for an author to see. If you want to be taken as a serious self-published author, it’s important to make sure that a professional editor reviews your book. Yes, it’s an additional expense, but it’s an expense that is totally worth it.
REALITY: It’s tough to come up with a totally unique concept these days. When writing your book, you need to understand your readers and write the book so that they gain value from reading it. While your book may not be totally unique, it should have unique components that the reader will find valuable.
REALITY: A website or blog may not matter if you are just self-publishing a book for friends and family. But if you want to make a career out of writing or be an author for the long haul, you need to create an online presence. Your website is your online personality, so it should be well designed and evolve as your career evolves. Your website is a great place to showcase your books and other activities as an author.
REALITY: This is closely aligned with myth #4. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and other social media sites are a valuable component of your marketing plan for your self-published book. You have to promote your book to sell it, and these days, social media sites are one of the best ways to do that.
REALITY: In our digital world, reviews are extremely important. Who hasn’t looked at the reviews on Amazon before purchasing a book? Reviews will often help a reader decide whether or not to purchase the book, especially for online purchases. So, to get the ball rolling, ask friends and family to review your book for you. Next, you’ll want to find names of book reviewers and research them one by one. Find out their submission rules and send personalized letters to each one requesting a review of your book. It’s a time-consuming process, but important for the sales of your self-published book.
REALITY: Nowadays, all authors have to work hard to promote their books, whether they are self-published or not. When you self-publish, you retain control of your book and can promote it as much as you want. You are in the driver’s seat.
REALITY: It is tough for any author to get stocked in a traditional bookstore. And with the demise of several national bookstore chains and the ease of purchasing books on Amazon, every year this becomes less of an issue. More and more book sales occur online, where the self-published author is not at a disadvantage. But don’t forget about independent bookstores, where you will have a much easier time getting your book stocked, especially if it is a local bookstore.
REALITY: Yes, it is possible to layout and design your self-published book by yourself. But are you able to make it look truly professional? Nowadays, it is easy to find sources on the Internet for design and layout at very reasonable costs. This is especially important for your book’s cover. Many people will instantly decide to buy a book based on the look of the cover. Make sure your self-published book’s cover is outstanding.
REALITY: While it used to be very expensive to print your self-published book, that is no longer the case. At Publishing Xpress, you can print as few as 25 copies of your book, ordering additional books as needed. That allows you to keep the cost down while you promote your book.
REALITY: If your self-published book is well written, well designed, and well printed, the reader will never know that it is self-published. The reader just doesn’t want to read a bad book — whether it is self-published or not.
REALITY: That may be true if you are comparing your earnings to super successful authors, who comprise a very small percentage of all authors. A traditionally published author will typically earn 8-15% of the discounted price of the book. A self-published author, on the other hand, is likely to make a much higher amount on the sale of each book.
Thus, the self-published author often has to sell far fewer books to make the same amount as a traditionally published author. For instance, assume a traditionally published author makes $2, or 10%, on the sale of every $20 book. To make $50,000, he/she has to sell 25,000 books. A self-published author may make $13, or 65%, on the sale of every book. Thus, he/she needs to sell only 3,846 books to make $50,000.
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