From the Archives: “Start Summer Right. Write Now toward Publishing”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: June 21st, 2010 ]

Finishing a book is not as daunting as it sounds. The key is to write something everyday. Then, use the Internet for accountability. Interesting right?  Write everyday, and publish everyday—either on a bulletin board, a writing group, or on a personal “blog.”

There are a number of reasons to do this.

1) The public commitment will help motivate you. When you publicly declare that you will add content to your blog every day, or every week, you are more bound to complete your task.

2) If you choose the right forum, people may offer to help you. (Note, if you choose the wrong forum, and find people are being counter-productive, simply change venues).

3) By creating an Internet presence this early in the process, you can start to generate interest in your book when it comes out—either search engine interest, or human interest. Both are good when it comes time to promote and sell your book later on.

You may wish to search Google for some forums in which to participate. You’ll be writing and more and you may make some new friends and/or fans.

Then when you are ready to publish your book, consider all of those things we’ve discussed previously in finding the right self-publisher to meet your goals.

Have fun and keep writing.

– by Jodee Thayer

 

Summer is almost upon us, and your next book is calling.

I don’t know about you, but I love each season, and the variety of seasons, and the changing of seasons. This winter has been a long one, and even now it has a tenuous grip on the Rocky Mountain landscape in which I live; ugly snowbanks still hide where the sun doesn’t shine, and the roads are gritty with salt spread to speed the melting ice. The ground is heaving in my back yard as the moist earth thaws, then buckles. With the thermometer still dropping at night, it’s not yet safe to plant. It feels like forever since I sat outside with a cup of coffee and a book, forever since that first pumpkin spice latte last Fall.

But sure as the world turns, we are getting closer. We are officially in Spring, no matter what the thermostat setting, and Summer approaches apace. I, for once, am nowhere near ready for it. For me, Summer means far more frantic planning and balls in the air than it does relaxing days at the beach (what beach? I guess lakes have beaches, too…) or even pleasant woodland strolls, no matter how much I love them. After all, I have a family. And kids have a lot they want to get done in Summer, as do husbands, and the house inevitably falls apart a little bit and requires some maintenance, and the lawn too, and…and…and….

You know how it is. If I want to get something done in the Summer, I really have to lay the groundwork in Spring. If I want to get something done by the Summer, then I really have to start chipping away at it now.

Which means, yes, it’s time to break out the manuscript revision process and the marketing calendar, too. If you often feel at a loss, as I do, then it’s always worth investing in something like the Author Marketing Calendar, which lays out what to do each month in order to create a balanced, achievable marketing routine throughout the year. Sometimes it really is nice to take the guesswork out of the equation–although my point about being extra busy in Summer still holds.

As Jodee wrote in 2010, one of the most important steps is setting up and grooming an online presence. That’s a good first Spring-cleaning step for us as self-publishing authors. And as someone who works daily with other indie authors, too, I can’t stress the importance of laying out a pattern of behavior now, getting support and accountability from those who can help you reinforce these new habits–like getting up earlier, and writing each morning, undisturbed–and then making this new pattern rock solid and reliable before Summer and its various stresses arrive.

We’ll be writing more about how to prepare for Summer as the weeks tick by!

summer glow

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Self Publish a Book in 2013”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: December 31st, 2012 ]

It is hard to believe another year is already behind us. As 2013 approaches, many of you will set New Year’s resolutions for yourself. One of the most popular resolutions is writing and publishing a book. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, adult or children’s books, the Self Publishing Advisor blog is here to help. Every week we share tips, advice and news about self-publishing to help you achieve your goals, and I’m dedicating my January posts to authors whose 2013 resolution is to write and self-publish a book before the year ends.

Whatever your writing obstacles have been in the past (a busy schedule or a fear of failure), I am here to help! Enjoy the last night of 2012 and get ready for the best year of your life — the year you become a self-published author.

Happy New Year’s!

– by Jodee Thayer

Okay, so one last “resolutions-related” blog post for 2017 and I’ll be done. Probably. I suppose it has been on my mind a great deal in the last few months–what with my participation in NaNoWriMo this year and an encroaching sense that if I don’t finish my book now, I will never ever finish it–and I’ve been simply unable to let go of the hope that 2017 can somehow be different … that it has to be different, for my sanity’s sake and the sake of peace and equilibrium at home. And my back. My back would really appreciate it if I could stop internalizing all of my existentialist anxiety and self-recriminations over my lack of progress.

So, how to kick things into gear? Plan. Plan, and then turn plans into the kinds of good habits which lead to a finished book, and ultimately, a published book.

But enough about my story. What about yours? Is 2017 the year–or a year, for those of you who have already self-published–when you publish your next book? Oh, yes. Yes it is. I firmly believe it can be done–even if you haven’t started writing it yet. A dash of fierce dedication and a plethora of hot coffees and maybe a couple of kale smoothies every week, and you can get there. I firmly believe this, not just because I need to for my own reasons, but because 2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for self-publishing.

There are countless book expos and fairs making space for self-publishing authors and companies; there are dozens of new technologies and applications in the pipeline to smooth all of the ancillary experiences circling around publication, like marketing and scheduling and getting books into libraries; there are new products and services available pretty much everywhere you look when it comes to choosing your self-publishing company itself (you all already know which one I recommend!); and last but not least, readers are hungry, oh-so-hungry, just positively ravenous for new self-published material to read.

Let 2017 be the year you publish your book. It’s time. Conditions have never been better. And you’re ready. I know you are, because you were born for this.

antique old typewriter dandelion puff

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Here’s to 2015, The Year You Publish a Book”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: January 5th, 2015 ]

If you are like many writers, publishing a book is probably on your 2015 to-do list. You’re probably feeling inspired, excited, maybe a little scared or overwhelmed, and you’re hoping your dream won’t become another failed resolution that gets pushed to the back burner after the thrill of the new year wears off.

Well, I’m here to help. Each week in January I will offer you tips and tricks to help you accomplish your goal of publishing a book this year, and I encourage you to continue reading my posts every week throughout the year for inspiration, advice, and news that will help you become a successful author.

So let’s get started.

The first thing you must do if you want to accomplish your goal is break it down into smaller, more manageable and measurable tasks. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed, getting side tracked, and losing inspiration.

I find it helpful to have a calendar in front of me when I complete this task to help with setting deadlines and factoring in events that may impact my writing goals.

Now ask yourself these questions:

1) How much time do I need to dedicate to writing each day, week, or month?

2) When do I want to complete my first draft?

3) How much time do I need to edit my first draft?

4) What tasks besides writing (i.e., researching, marketing, etc.) will I need to complete?

5) When do I want to start the publishing process?

6) How will I fund my project?

7) What will help me be successful?

Using your answers to these questions, write down small, measurable goals for your project and put them some place you will see them often. Be sure to periodically check your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

I’d love to know, what are your 2015 writing goals?

– by Jodee Thayer

There’s a lot we can learn from the past, both the personal past and the grand historical narrative. Like, for example, it’s not a good idea to put your hand on an open flame. The historical lessons are easy to call to mind, too: Hitler, slavery, segregation, overdoing the electric shock therapy.

But there’s a lot we can’t know about the future, right? That’s just how time works. We don’t know what’s just over the event horizon; if we could, we’d all be rich. (Among other things.)

Well yes … and no.

Yes, there’s a lot we can’t know. But there’s also a great deal we can predict about the future based on our past habits. And Jodee, in her prelude to 2015, lay out the groundwork for a highly predictable future–a future that would meet with both her highest expectations for success and, understandably, with the challenges she had the foresight to see coming a long way off. How is this possible? Well, she took a good long look at what challenges she’d faced in the past, and the good habits she’d pulled together to combat them, and then she extrapolated forward, assuming both would prove to be constants in her future, if only she could manage to meet them in full fighting mettle.

Busy-ness is a thing most of us are more than a little familiar with. But I urge you, dear readers, to take a quick look back at Jodee’s recommendations from 2015. They still hold true. First, to break each task “down into smaller, more manageable and measurable tasks.” Then to pull out a calendar and plot all of the deadlines you know you’ll need to meet, such as awards submissions deadlines, and any upcoming personal distractions you know you’ll need to plan around–weddings, vacations and traveling, holidays, surgeries, turning in grades, etc–so that they become a feature of, rather than a source of anxiety within, your upcoming year. And start sketching out answers to her seven questions, listed above. I’ll be revisiting mine next week, and I hope you will too.

success

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Self Publishing Authors Beware: Cheaper isn’t Always Better”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: February 25th, 2015 ]

I recently saw a commercial with the message “cheaper isn’t always better.” The advertisement illustrates that cheap is good and sushi is good, but cheap gas station sushi isn’t good (or something like that, I’m sure you’ve seen it).  This analogy immediately made me think of self publishing. For authors considering self publishing, it is important to remember that cheaper isn’t always better. When choosing a self publishing company, consider these two questions.

1. What are the upfront costs, the per book cost and royalties?

You may find a company that has incredibly low per book author costs, but don’t let that govern your decision.  Just because a company promotes a low per book cost doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high upfront costs and low royalties.  And just because a company offers low upfront costs doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high per book costs, low royalties and even requirements for you to purchase hundreds of books yourself.  You must find a good balance of upfront costs, per book cost and royalties.  Consider all of this when self publishing.

2. What services are available?

In many cases, the cliché “you get what you pay for” is true, and self publishing is often one of those cases. Not all self publishing companies are created equal, and you need to consider your professional goals and needs when choosing a company. A cheaper company often does not offer all the services and support needed to create a quality book, and if you want to be respected as an author and sell books, you need to offer your readers a quality product.

Ultimately, the self publishing company you choose depends on your goals and needs as an author. Some people can go with the cheapest option and be completely satisfied, but many serious authors find that spending a little more is worth the extra expense.  You want to find a company that will produce a top-quality product, offer you plenty of options such as professional editing and custom covers, and a variety of options for marketing and promoting your book.  As you research self publishing companies, be sure to consider all the costs as well as the value of the services offered. You may just find that “cheaper isn’t always better.”

by Jodee Thayer

You know all about hidden fees and the small print, don’t you?  At some point or another, we’ve all fallen victim to it: in paying off student loans, in signing a work contract, in paying for that one trip to the emergency room six years back, in getting called up for jury duty–and of course, in selecting a company to self-publish your book.  Back in the early age of the internet, when everything was wild and self-publishing was as yet an unformed and unregulated process, lots of people were straight-up swindled out of their money by scam websites advertising cheap publication, no problem, no questions asked.

These days, you’re a lot less likely to run across a mustache-twirling self-aware villain than you are to be taken advantage of by a legitimate, if soulless and heartless, company.  These companies offer–you guessed it–real and legitimate services, but they do so in a way that deliberately obscures the real costs beneath layers and layers of fine print.  The only way to really know what you’re getting when it comes to a self-publishing company is to read every line of the original agreement as well as every line of every product bundle–and to verify with past customers that they got exactly what they paid for in addition to quality customer service, and that they were never strong-armed into paying for services they didn’t want or need, used-car-salesmanlike.

sale

The first step to a successful (and enjoyable) self-publishing experience is to shop wisely, and only go into business with a company you trust.  Can you trust Amazon to put your needs–one customer in a billion–first?  Probably not.  How about a smaller family-run company or passion project?  You’re probably on the right track there.  The second step is not to equate cost with quality–to recognize that hidden fees are reprehensible, yes, but that there are also delayed costs in publishing.  A cheaper cover design option now might cost less now, but the cost is simply delayed–a few months down the road, it becomes clear that a cheap and unattractive book cover is, yes, costing you.  Costing you customers!  The same goes for poor interior design, and poor marketing.  You might have savvy in some of these areas, but it’s rare for an author to have a deft hand with both Photoshop and listserv blasts.  The key is in knowing your strengths and taking advantage of them, and knowing the strengths of your publishing platform–and being willing to pay for the ones you need.

Because, ultimately, the truth of the matter is that pretty much every product on the planet, including your self-published book, is inevitably shaped by one simple formula, and it’s not “lower cost = better service.”  Rather, the formula that shapes your book’s destiny is instead:

quality of service × expense of production = quality of product

And the thing about a formula like this is that if you reduce either of the terms, service or cost, the quality of the product can only go down.  Now, every company starts at a different point; some self-publishing and hybrid service really do offer better offerings for the same price as others.  That has to be researched, and can only truly be verified by checking in with the experts and with past customers of all of the different companies you have an eye on.  (Research is never a bad idea.)  As long as you are looking for balance in all things–between costs now and later, between time and energy and skill set and the challenges before you, I’m confident you’ll make the best choice in what services you pay for!

better service lower cost balance

 

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

From the Archives: “How Much Do Self-Publishing Authors Earn?”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: August 18th, 2014 ]

How much do self-publishing authors earn?

There is no one size fits all answer.

What an author earns varies greatly. Income is based on a variety of factors, including the author’s goals, intended market, and marketing strategy.

One of the main reasons author income varies so greatly is because many authors don’t self-publish to make money. They never intend to market and promote their book, so they earn very little. For these authors, success is not defined by the amount of money they make or the number of books they sell. Instead, it is simply based on whether or not they accomplished their goals.  Some common definitions of success among self-published authors include:

  • Sharing their story with family and friends
  • Reaching a niche market
  • Finishing and publishing their manuscript, regardless of how many books they sell
  • Gaining fame
  • Earning an income
  • Increasing their business
  • Building their following of readers
  • Adding to their resume
  • Getting picked up by a traditional publisher
  • And many, many more

I assume you ARE interested in earning money if you asked this question. For those of you who want to make a profit, here is what you need to know:

  • Depending on the trade discount set by you or your publisher, you can expect to earn royalties on average of $2-$7.
  • Some self-publishing companies offer more flexibility in setting pricing and royalties, so it is important to select a company that meets your needs.
  • Marketing is key to financial success! If you want to earn money from your book, be prepared to dedicate your time, money, and effort to marketing and promoting your self-published book.
  • Quality is also extremely important. You must offer readers a professional, well-written book.
  • A dynamic cover and professional editing are a must.

A great way to learn more about how much self-publishing authors earn and how they define success is studying other authors. Read interviews and books by successful authors. Network with writer’s in your area. Join professional writing groups. Talk to people who have self-published. Learn about the industry. All of this research will not only give you an idea of how much self-publishing authors earn, but will also offer excellent tips and advice for making your book successful.

– by Jodee Thayer

Jodee’s right, of course–it’s not necessarily useful to know the exact amounts that every self-publishing author makes, since so many aren’t in the game for the cash.  But there is a certain benefit, I think, to knowing:

A. Some self-publishing authors are going to hit it big. And by “big” I mean BIG, with Hugh Howey’s Wool saga pulling in roughly $150,000 a month from ebook sales back in 2014, for example–and other authors like Amanda Hocking and John Locke doing very well indeed.

B. Many self-publishing authors are going to find the middle ground, becoming what in the traditional publishing industry might be considered “midlist”–but without the crippling disadvantages of traditionally published midlist authors, who are promised marketing assistance for example but very rarely ever receive it.

and C. Some self-publishing authors aren’t going to make much money, either because they choose not to put the time and energy or money into marketing it (for whatever, possibly legitimate reason) or because they have no idea where to begin.  We at Self Publishing Advisor want to move as many authors from category C. to categories A. or B. as possible–assuming that the authors want this too!

I would also like to encourage you with some hard data. Hugh Howey (mentioned above) has done a lot of work to open up the self-publishing industry and render it transparent, and his industry watchdog company (AuthorEarnings.com) does some very necessary and useful work each year in publishing its Author Earnings Report. The latest one posted to the site is from May of this year (2016) and while the nature of the study itself has fundamentally changed (from a longitudinal study to a cross-sectional one), Howey is able to draw some inspiring conclusions.

By broadening the parameters of their search, he says, they appear “to have nearly doubled the count of authors currently earning in this $10K/year ‘tax bracket.'” And while “$10,000/year is hardly a living wage in the US,” he continues, “it’s a nontrivial supplementary income. Especially for doing something you love.” According to this May 2016 study, only 18% of authors make less than $10,000/year–and “almost half” of the remainder “also appear in the $25,000-or-better bracket above”–meaning that roughly 1 in 5 self-publishing authors on Amazon make very little money, 2 in 5 make “a nontrivial supplementary income,” and the remaining 2 in 5 are making a decent chunk of change (more than $25,000/year, at least).

This is good news. Aiming to eclipse the superstars like Hocking and Locke and Howey may not be an attainable goal, but earning good money from your books is.  Now get writing!

hugh howey wool

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Merry Christmas Self-Publishing Authors!”

Welcome back to our new Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: December 24th, 2012 ]

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers! Unfortunately, there are many people who will not have the joyous holiday they imagined this year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Despite the tragedy they are recovering from, I hope they are able to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas: faith, love and family. For those of us who are blessed to be in the company of all of our loved ones, please keep those who need your support in  your thoughts and prayers.

Too often, Christmas is associated with expensive gifts and frivolous spending, but Christmas should really be about love and family. This year, I challenge you to take a few moments to appreciate your blessings and to help those who are less fortunate. One of the easiest ways to do this is by spending a few minutes writing this holiday. You could write a poem, a letter, a short story, or even begin a chapter of the novel you’ve been putting off. Write about Christmas or your family, or use writing as a way to cope with the heartbreak that is saddening our country. Whatever you write, let it come from your heart.

Merry Christmas.

 

christmas

It’s hard to believe that the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings is rapidly approaching; and 2015 has seen no shortage of heartbreak.  Paris grieved after the Charlie Hebdo newspaper headquarters was attacked in January, then grieved again when terrorism revisited the city in November. A heatwave in India and an earthquake in Nepal killed thousands.  Over 59 million  people will close out the year having been forcibly displaced from their homes––and often, their countries. These are just a few of the stories which have occupied Western headlines this last year, and they barely begin to touch the devastation and sorrow many have faced and continue to face around the globe over this holiday season.  Now, more than ever, we must recognize that hope isn’t just a feeling but rather an action––a determination to enact positive change in a world wrapped round and riddled with trials large and small.  Now, more than ever, Jodee’s words ring true: “Christmas should really be about love and family.”

Luckily for us, we don’t enter into this world without the most powerful of weapons at our disposal: Story.  Consider this poem by Mumbai-based poet Sanober Khan:

Words
are powerful
forces of nature.

they are destruction.
they are nourishment.
they are flesh.
they are water.
they are flowers
and bone.

they burn. they cleanse
they erase. they etch.

they can either
leave you
feeling
homeless

or brimming
with home.

As Jodee pointed out, the act of writing is a radical one and can reshape our world into something a little more comprehendible, a little less sad.  A note from a friend has the power to make someone’s day, and every carefully crafted book or novella or poem or other piece carries the potential to change lives for the better. The holidays offer us an opportunity to step back and reframe the conversations of which we are a part, to revisit past hurts and transmute our grief and our hope into action.  There’s no better time to finish that book you’ve been writing for years, or to begin writing down those ideas which pop into your head in the middle of the night, or to reach out to a friend or neighbor or family member with a letter, an email, or a post to your blog. Holidays are a chance to heal, and to be healed. I hope you have the opportunity to heal, regroup, and emerge into 2016 with a clear head and a warm heart.

 

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

What makes for a great self-publishing company?

Many of the questions I hear most often, working as I do in the self-publishing business, can be distilled down to one very simple one: “What makes for a great self-publishing experience?”  The answer is equally simple: “A high-quality self-publishing company.”

First, we have to consider the business side of things.  A self-publishing company is, in the end, a company––and a company works according to profit.  As end users, either clients or readers, we want to know that we are receiving the best possible product and service for our investment.  You definitely want to look for a balance of:

  • reliability
  • affordability
  • quality production
  • excellent customer service, and
  • out-of-the-box thinking and solutions on offer

Of course, we don’t want to reduce the process of writing and publishing a book down to a simple exercise in corporate dynamics.  Book lovers, both writers and readers, know that there’s something, well, special about literature.  The advent of self-publishing has seen fierce debates spring up over the role of literary agents and publishing companies as “gatekeepers” for the written word, and rightfully so.  The stakes are very, very high when it comes to the stories we create and let influence our lives.  And because the stakes are high, it’s important that we look for a few more things out of a great self-publishing company, in addition to sound business practice.  We should look for:

  • sound ethics (from start to finish)
  • self-awareness (including of the company’s place and stance on being a “gatekeeper”)
  • authenticity (including a genuine interest in the client’s and reader’s satisfaction), and
  • sensitivity to a changing market and a changing world (which can translate to adaptability, but also to advocacy in the broadest and best sense)

Do your research!  Check online for customer satisfaction ratings––impartial ones––and contact the companies you’re interested in beforehand to gauge their possibilities.  After all, once you commit to a self-publishing company, you’re likely to be in close contact with them for quite a long time.

Now, someone might honestly point out that I work for one specific self-publishing company and therefore that I’m likely to view my own company in a favorable light, but here’s the thing: a great self-publishing company doesn’t need to be territorial.  All a great self-publishing company needs to do is offer a good product––a great package––and a service that puts its clients first and advocates endlessly for them.  The wonderful thing about the self-publishing industry is that at its core, it is a kind of fellowship of free (or freer) spirits who believe that the more voices that are heard, the more stories that are told, the better off we will all be.  So I’m not just an advocate for one company; I’m an advocate for the whole movement!

 

These are just a few thoughts to get us started.  What do you think makes for a great self-publishing company?  Drop me a line in the comments section to join the conversation.

 

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.