5 Self-Publishing Obstacles - And How to Overcome Them

Monday, May 21, 2012
5 Self-Publishing Obstacles – And How to Overcome Them

Almost everyone who has self-published has encountered a few obstacles along the way. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common self-publishing obstacles and discuss ways for you to overcome them.

1. Lack of Industry Experience or Knowledge

Far too many authors decide to self-publish with little to zero knowledge of book publishing, distribution, and sales processes. When you combine a lack of knowledge with a lack of experience, frustrating and costly mistakes are typically the result. You cannot remedy the lack of experience until you’ve actually published your first book or two. However, you can gain a lot of knowledge before you publish your first book. Read books on publishing. Learn from those who have successfully published their own work. Subscribe to publishing newsletters and blogs that educate and inform. Attend classes and seminars. Keep an open mind and always remember to confirm and verify all information and teachings. If you prepare yourself in this way, you are going to be several steps ahead of most self-publishing authors.

2. Competition

There are a LOT of self-published and traditionally published books on the market. Your book somehow has to rise above these competing books. There are several ways to make your book more competitive. (1) Make sure your book is professionally packaged. Most people will equate the quality of the book’s design with the quality of the writing inside. (2) Create an enticing annotation (book description). When people are searching online, they need to know what the book is about and feel compelled to buy it. (3) Place your book in the right distribution and sales channels so that it has increased exposure and availability. (4) Take advantage of the various social media channels to reach out to and communicate with your audience. Do whatever it takes to get people to notice you and your book. This is how you can rise above your competition.

3. Costs

It’s easy to jump on the first and (seemingly) cheapest self-publishing option that presents itself. If you choose the wrong self-publishing service, you usually end up paying more – through higher production fees and lower profit margins. Consider going directly to production sources (such as Lightning Source and Createspace) instead of a vanity press. Find your own editors and designers. By doing this, you can negotiate a fair price for services, lower your costs, quickly earn back your investment, and start making a healthy profit.

4. Stigma

Yes, there remains a trace of stigma against self-published books. I predict that within the next year or two, this stigma will have all but disappeared. This will happen because of the growing number of self-publishing authors producing quality books that rival those of the large trade publishers. Readers are finding plenty of great self-published books and recommending them to others. If you want to rid yourself of the stigma of a self-published book – commit to producing a quality book. Get it in front of readers and let them be your evangelists. Let them give you the credibility you deserve.
5. Marketing and Promotion

If you are like most authors, you probably feel that marketing and promotion is too complicated, too time consuming, and costs too much. The fact is that marketing and promotion can be as simple as using social media channels that you’re probably already using. This doesn’t have to cost you anything more than your time. Use Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and other social channels that will help you reach your audience, increase awareness, build your brand, and drive sales. If you can start a conversation about something your audience is interested in, you can market and promote your book.

Next Let’s Talk About Self-Publishing Post:
How Much Does It Really Cost to Self-Publish?

Previous Post: Which Self-Publishing Path Is Right for YOU?

Post by Deana Riddle; Deana is a publisher and publishing consultant who provides authors and business professionals with the tools needed to become successful independent publishers. She also offers the Published in 90 Days Program, found in the WOW! classroom.


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