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10 Signs That You Are Not Ready To Self-Publish

Are you really ready – not just your manuscript, but you – to self-publish? Here is a list of the most important things you must consider before getting into self-publishing. So, before you ignore the traditional publishing process, make sure you have the stamina for becoming your own publisher. Self-publishing is not a short cut to seeing yourself in print, or to success. If anything, it’s more arduous and time-consuming than writing the book itself.

1. You Believe That, “If I Write It They Will Come”

Get serious. This thinking might work for a big-time author like Stephen King, but not for you and me. The rest of us need to work really long hours to make our books sell. We need to become experts in marketing, sales, SEO, blogging, and in all social media. We need to spend every minute possible sitting at our desk and writing. And the writing better be good.

2. You Haven’t Researched Your Market

You better know everything there is to know about your market and your audience. Who will by reading and buying your books? What are the hottest topics and trends in your market? What books are actually selling in your industry (on Amazon)? By writing and publishing you are putting yourself out there as an expert in your niche. Your audience expects you to sound and act like an expert. If they get the slightest hint that you are not the expert that you are telling them that you are, you will lose your audience and they won’t come back to read or buy your books.

3. You Don’t Understand What Actually Goes Into A Salable Book

This one might seem too obvious, but to some of us it isn’t. Too many books are getting published that barely look like a finished book. I have seen one too many books missing the table of contents, page numbers, index, isbn, etc., and even the author’s name! If you want to be taken seriously as a publisher and author, and gain your audience’s respect, you must create a professional-looking product. Complete in every way that a reader expects a book to be.

4. You Haven’t Researched Your Niche

Read everything that you can get your hands on about your niche. You should know who the big experts are, and have read their books. Read the publications and blogs of those writers and groups within your niche. It is important to remember that in today’s terms, niche now means “micro-niche”. As a self-publisher you will most likely find the biggest success by narrowly defining your market niche. It is much easier to become an expert in a very specific market where it is much less crowded with big well-established writers and publishers.

5. You Hope To Get Famous From Self-Publishing

This is possible, but not likely. Fame comes with a lot of hard work and lots of luck. Therefore, it cannot be your only motive for self-publishing your books. Instead, concentrate on building and improving your reputation within your market. Earning the respect of your peers and your audience is a very achievable and respectable goal – and will help improve your book sales.

6. You Believe That Book Sales And Financial Profits Are What Self-Publishing Is All About

There is no guarantee that you will have financial success by publishing your books. The majority of authors make little or no money from their books. But if you really understand your market, and become an expert in your niche, build a great book, and devote your life to marketing yourself and your books, you will have book sales. Those books will then help bring you new customers, and build your reputation within your industry.

7. You Haven’t Started Marketing Your Book

You must start marketing well in advance of releasing your book. Probably the easiest way to get started is to build your own blog where you write about your niche. In addition, blogging is a great way to prove to yourself, and to your audience, that you are serious about your niche.

8. You Have No Marketing Plan

If you haven’t figured this out already, publishing is 90% marketing, 10% writing. If you love the subject you write about, and love to share the information with others, then this will not worry you. If you expect to make your book a critical and financial success, you will look at marketing your book as a welcomed challenge. Marketing is all about understanding your audience – the very people that you want to share information with and help them improve their situation. Therefore, you must develop a guideline, or plan, of what you are going to do to market your book.

9. You’re Impatient

Publishing is not for the impatient. Everything in book publishing takes a while to complete. And when you are self-publishing, you are the one that needs to do all of the work – and also maintain your blog, job, family, and home. So it might take you twelve to twenty-four months before you see your book in print. And then it might take another two years to show any financial return on that book. So you better choose your niche very carefully.

10. Jumping In Before Understanding The Business Side Of Self-Publishing

Yes, self-publishing is a business. It will force you to become a true capitalist, whether you like it or not. This is a business that will take up a lot of your time and money, with no guarantee of a financial return. You will need to force yourself to learn all aspects of building and managing a company. But the more effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it.

About Joseph C. Kunz, Jr.

Avatar of Joseph C. Kunz, Jr.
Author, self-publisher, educator, infopreneur, small-business manager and marketing expert, husband and father of twins. Life-long love affair with books and reading. Very excited about being part of the new media movement. Known for casual, easy-to-read writing style and ability to explain complex topics in an understandable way. My publishing motto: "If you are serious about your work you should self-publish. Retain creative control. Retain the profits. Enjoy the satisfaction and status that comes with being published." Kunz is the creator of Dickson Keanaghan's flagship product, the best-selling "Zombie Notes Study Guides". These study guides are used by thousands of hospitals, colleges, RN's, PAs, and MD's throughout America. Kunz and his wife Michele have produced these study guides for the last twenty-seven years. It has become the most sought after and trusted study guide of its type. Many of them have consistently been the top seller in several different categories on Amazon since starting with Amazon. Please visit my blog about the business of self-publishing at Kunz On Publishing.

3 comments

  1. Or you could just self-publish the book and learn as you go. ;)

  2. Avatar of Ron Fritsch

    In any case where “publishing is 90% marketing, 10% writing,” I’m quite certain the writer-publisher hasn’t produced anything I’d want to read. I agree with John H. Carroll and a heavy emphasis on “learn as you go.” I strongly agree, though, with this in the post: “Publishing is not for the impatient.”

  3. Avatar of Joseph C. Kunz, Jr.

    Hi Ron. Thank you for commenting. By the 90/10 comment, it means that a writer might spend a full year writing the book, and then spend the next 9 years marketing the book. In other words, marketing a book never ends.

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