The business of self-publishing a book is new to me. I’ve published ebooks before and sold them on web sites I used to have, but publishing an actual book is brand new territory. So I’ve decided to ask for as much help from those who have gone before me as I possibly can; no sense reinventing the wheel.
I had a conversation with my friend Stephen Hammond earlier this week (he’s self-published two books so far) and he had some great tips about self-publishing that I thought I share.
1. Book sales, no matter who you are, will fluctuate. Stephen attests to this and he says he first heard this tip from David Chilton who wrote the Wealthy Barber and who certainly knows a thing or two about selling books. Don’t let the slow sales periods get you down.
2. One of the worst place to sell a book is in a bookstore. Especially for anyone with any sort of entrepreneurial bent. (This tip applies mostly to non-fiction.) In these times of publishing-on-demand and easy-to-use web shopping carts and easily-updateable blogs, the marketing genius in all of us can come out and play and will be much more successful selling our books than a bookstore will. In a bookstore your book is competing with thousands, or tens-of-thousands, of other titles. On your web page it’s competing with nothing.
3. Everything takes longer than you think it will. When it comes to self-publishing be very patient. The writing will probably take you much longer than you thought it would and then everything after that will try your patience as well. Your editor, proofreader, and book designer all have other clients, not to mention lives of their own, and there seem to be a million steps in between writing the last word of the book and actually getting it printed and shipped. Patience, patience, patience.
4. There will always be another change to be made. I’ve experienced this first-hand this week. I find that every time I pick up the Word copy of my book, just to gaze adoringly at it, I find things I want to change. I don’t imagine this will ever stop. At some point I’ll just have to say “Enough!” and let it go out into the world. Like a beloved baby, it had to be born sometime.
Thanks to Stephen Hammond for his time and for generously sharing his expertise!