Publishing Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers

by | Apr 20, 2012

In the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest, you’ll find my feature article on “Publishing Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers.”

Here’s a brief excerpt where I talk about getting specific with your approach to publishing:

Understanding your own goals and expectations is the most important thing you can do for yourself. You can’t set off on a journey if you don’t know your destination, it just doesn’t work very well.

One way to think about this is to identify three things:

  1. Who is your ideal reader?
  2. What kind of books does she buy?
  3. Where are most of those books sold?

If you can answer this ultra-simple set of questions, you’re well on your way to figuring out the end goal of your book publishing, and your answers to these questions will come into play later on [in this article].

The article discusses:

  • Four strategies to consider,
    1. Evaluate your options
    2. Putting together your publishing team
    3. Seek support and assistance from the self-publishing community
    4. Turn yourself into a marketing machine
  • Links and resources for each strategy
  • Writers who blog about their own publishing
  • Should you do everything yourself?
  • What kind of book should you publish?

You can get the magazine printed on real paper at major newsstands. Writer’s Digest also has an online store where you can purchase a PDF of the article.

savvy self-publishing

Some of the inspiration for the article was drawn from the work I did putting together the presentation I talked about here:

Self-Publishing Strategies in 18 Slides

I’ve often said the most urgent need in the indie community is for author education. There’s nothing else that can save you countless hours of research, frustration, and the pain of making the wrong choice for your book. That’s one of the reasons I was glad to have the opportunity to write for a magazine with exactly those readers.

But I’m curious. Do you read magazines aimed at writers?

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Michael N. Marcus

    Although I subscribe to many printed magazines, and read many others online, I have maintained a tradition of buying Writers Digest at my local Barnes & Noble.

    I doubt that my few bucks each month will provide financial security for the company, but my forced visitation means that I get to look at lots of books. I sometimes talk to employees about my own books, and I always make sure my books are properly listed in the B&N self-serve ordering kiosks.

    Michael N. Marcus

    — Newly updated, “Self-Publish Your Book Without Losing Your Shirt: business basics for self-publishing authors,”
    — New: deluxe hardcover edition of “Stories I’d Tell My Children (but maybe not until they’re adults),” (information, help and book reviews for authors)
    — Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series:

  2. Jaye

    I used to read them all. I used to subscribe to several. Now I don’t buy print magazines, of any kind. I don’t need the clutter and I can find what I want online. And for relevant information about writing, my fave bloggers are always on top of things. Heck, I can read Lawrence Block’s blog and read the same great insights as he used to publish in WD.

    I’m going to buy this issue just because you are in it. ;)

    • Joel Friedlander

      Aww, Jaye, that’s so nice. I hope you enjoy it.

      I stopped getting magazines a few years ago, I just don’t like them piling up all the time and honestly, how often do you actually go back to a magazine you got a year or two ago? Jill still loves them and gets several, but I’ll stick with my iPad and, like you, the bloggers I love to follow.

  3. Laura Diane

    Your words are always very helpful Joel. Yes, I read magazines aimed at writer’s i.e. Writer’s Digest and any others I can get my hands on. Actually, I read everything I can about the writing craft although since I’m a non-fiction writer I only skim and glean helpful hints from articles aimed at fiction writers.

    As a “newbie” to the idea of actually putting my work out there in published form (print and e-book) I read everything I can find about the craft of writing, the process of development, the in’s and out’s of design, and the actual act of publishing in whatever format. I feel like a sponge with an inexhaustible thirst.

    My biggest challenge has been in putting all the useful info aside and actually getting back to writing. ;-D

    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks Laura, much appreciated. And I know how it is when you “go down the rabbit hole” following links and doing research. At least we have new ways to distract us from the task at hand, not sure if that’s a good thing or not.



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