Is Self-Publishing Right For You? 5 Questions You Should Answer Before You Self-Publish!
Before you decide on which route you want to take, make sure that you write down your overall goals and plans. Think about the following questions.
1. Are you only interested in the milestone of publishing your book or do you plan to sell millions of copies?
2. Do you want to become an expert in your field, grow your company, and author platform?
3. Do you want to see your book sitting on the shelves of Target, Wal-Mart, and/or Barnes and Noble?
4. Are you limited with marketing, publishing, and technology skills and would prefer someone to represent you?
5. Are you willing to pay a vanity or subsidy press a large sum of money to do the leg work for you?
There are different ways to publish your book. You can go the traditional route and seek a literary agent, if you like. If this is the right choice for you then you must finish your manuscript, draft your one page query, and a two page synopsis. Next, you should purchase A Guide to Literary Agents and look for agents that represent your specific genre. One benefit in going this route is that your book is almost guaranteed to be carried in one of the larger bookstores. One drawback is that you lose control over your book. You are able to provide input here and there, but ultimately the publisher will make most of the marketing and publishing decisions for you.
Self-publishing is another route to take to get your book published and made visible to the world. You can start your own publishing company or go with a POD service and list their company as the publisher. If you self-publish, keep in mind that you are responsible for the creative side, the marketing side, and the business side. You must have the ability to wear multiple hats.
You also have the option of going with an independent publishing company where they will fund the book for you. They will be more willing to take a chance on you versus one of the Big Five (Harper Collins, Scholastic, Random House, etc). The downside is that they don’t have the funding or connections to get you on the shelves of the top bookstores.
Vanity and subsidy presses are appealing to those that have the upfront cash and want someone else to do most of the work for them. They will design your book cover for you, provide you with an ISBN, and much more. There are tons of unhappy clients that have posted tons of articles about their publishing practices so please be careful and do your research.
Keep in mind, no one can make these decisions for you. It all goes back to your goals and plans for your book. Start here, and you should be fine!