Self-Publishing: Running the Diagnostics

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Nothing is ever simple anymore. 

Just today, I had the plumber come out to fix the faucet in my kitchen. And right from the get go, I was told he’d have to run a diagnostic. Every little possibility had to be considered, even if it turned out to be a simple problem. (Which it did, after checking who-knows-what-all.) 

There’s no more jumping in and hoping for the best. And I’m finding that’s particularly true with self-publishing. So much to be considered before one takes the plunge! Like hybrid publishing or do-it-yourself? Or whether to use a service to set up an LLC or skip setting up a business altogether? Which platform for this, what app for that? 

One has to “run the diagnostics,” so to speak, go through all the possible problems and questions to find answers. But it occurred to me that before doing anything one really needs to ask just one question: Why self-publish? Because different answers lead in different directions. It sort of reminds me of the old “Choose Your Adventure” books, so let’s take a look: 

Self-publishing/ Personal 

This writer has penned something personal, perhaps a memoir or a collection of essays. Or maybe it’s a children’s book for the kiddos. The point is, it’s personal and will not be sold or promoted in any kind of public platform. It’s for family and friends only! 

I love this kind of writing; I think it’s treasured by loved ones for years to come. But the simple answer here is that this writer doesn’t need to self-publish at all. This is a situation when just printing it up is fine. And if a writer wants more than a stapled collection of printed pages, then it’s very easy and relatively inexpensive to choose a pro printing business to make a book. 

Self-publishing/ Profit

It’s hard to quantify these writers; perhaps they’ve written a self-help book or all about a hobby, but basically, non-fiction. They know their niche audience and believe their book can make a difference. 

Or maybe they’ve written fiction, a romance or fantasy, or even a series. These books are a great fit with indie publishing as evidenced by the slew of them out there—and these authors want to be part of the fun! 

Whatever the book, these writers must decide whether they’re willing to do the work, if they have the entrepreneurial spirit to see it through, because this adventure is not all fun and dollar signs. It requires homework! Do the research—there are LOTS of great sites out there with tons of in-depth information about self-publishing—before choosing to spend all that time and/or money. 

Self-publishing/The Dream 

This is the writer who may feel the pull of self-publishing but needs a push to make the dream come true.

Perhaps she had a book (or books!) traditionally published years ago and has always wanted to see these book (or books!) back out there in the world. Does she buy back her rights, go for it? 

Or maybe her publisher just dropped her after three books and she has three more in the series—and readers are clamoring to find out more about the characters they love. Can she do this on her own? 

Or she’s written yet another book that her peers praise—but she just can’t face again the slog through agent/publisher querying, or waiting, waiting, waiting. The “life is short, just go for it” mindset. Does she dare? 

It’s tough, choosing to grab hold or choosing to let go of that publishing dream. But honestly, each writer must decide whether self-publishing is ultimately worth it. Still, it helps to ask all the questions, consider the possibilities first. Then ask again, "Why self-publish?" The simple answer may be right there at last.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I know (or at least I think I know) that you have a finished manuscript. Or is it almost finished?

Are YOU thinking of self-publishing? If so, I bow down to you... and I will buy your book when it comes out.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm definitely asking questions, doing my homework, Sioux. When/if I'm pulling my hair out and staying up all night working, you'll know I'm self-publishing! :-)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

So many writers that I know who choose self-publishing are ultimately happy with the decision although initially something turns out to be much more work than they expected. The big one seems to be marketing.

Me? I think guaranteeing a professional product would be daunting. Keep us posted!

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