Self-Publishers Beware

POSTED ON Feb 15, 2012

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Here’s a comment I received on the blog yesterday:

… I am a self-publishing enthusiast. I encourage newbies to publish for free by doing everything themselves… I believe the majority of those “millions” of writers are amateurs who will be lucky to sell a hundred books. If one is lucky enough to write a winner, one can always go back and hire professionals to enhance their writing and their book design.

And, as it turns out, the commenter does indeed run a website that teaches writers how to publish their own books for “free” using the resources of CreateSpace.

I’m a supporter of entrepreneurial self-publishers, and know exactly how much drive and tenacity it takes to make it successful. And it’s certainly admirable to want to empower others to do as you have.

On the other hand, I don’t think I would ever advise even a hobby or personal self-publisher to publish unedited manuscripts.

And I think it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to “write a winner” that’s completely unedited and cheaply produced.

If you’re planning to publish any kind of book, editing is where you have a chance to make your book better. And for hobbyists, it’s how you create a book that people actually want to read, one that they will pass from one generation to another.

Editors play a key role in the development of most books, and those books can go through a thorough editorial process whether they are published by a traditional publisher, or by your own publishing company. As a self-publisher, editing decisions are up to you.

What’s Really Going On Here?

It’s actually pretty rare to come across completely “amateur” books, since most of these authors really do want to sell their books, they just don’t want to pay for editing or anything other than the cheapest possible production.

In fact, the whole thing is pretty much a commercial calculation: if you keep the costs close enough to zero, you should be able to make something from publishing these books. But that’s not really “amateur,” is it?

That kind of self-publishing seems depressing and pessimistic to me. To my mind, every book worth publishing deserves to be published decently. Bringing your stories into the world is a celebration, something to take pride in, to do to the best of your abilities.

Something Comes Out of It

Whether you’re a hobby publisher, commercial publisher or a writer trying to augment your career, don’t settle for books that are unedited or thoughtlessly produced.

If you produce lousy books, no one will want to keep them anyway. They’ll be embarrassing to have around. Instead, produce books you can be proud of and people will want to keep them.

I’m going to be starting my new Self-Publishing Roadmap course in a few weeks. It’s a video-based training course covering the entire self-publishing process.

If you want to find out how to make books people want to buy, how to make print on demand and ebooks work for you, go over and put your name on the advance notice list. Here’s a link:

Click here to get on the Self-Publishing Roadmap Advance Notice List

Photo by Timmy Hamster

Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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