While many writers lick their chops at the thought of removing the traditional publisher from their book publishing plans, there’s also a downside. Most new writers will agree that perhaps the biggest hurdle of all is to find a legitimate book publisher who does what they’re supposed to do.
The majority of new writers do not understand what tasks that traditional publishers have always performed. They are so eager to get their books up and running that they have a blind spot – and these pseudo publishers exploit their eagerness.
However, self-publishing not only removes this problem but also removes other obstacles as well. While this is great and all, let’s not be too quick to celebrate.
Since there is no longer a publisher working for you, then you must do the things that they would’ve done for you. This means that writing your wonderful books is just the beginning of your book publishing career. Many other things must now be done – and they are not going to do themselves.
Tasks that must now be handled when self-publishing your book
Okay, you already knew this one. It is the essential function of your entire business, and it must always be treated as such.
Never let the fact that you’ll be wearing many more hats in your enterprise hinder your writer’s quality. This is the lifeblood of your business.
Here’s another function that you are already doing. However, publishers typically have their editors review and edit your work.
Getting another set of eyes to sanity-check your verbiage is never a bad idea. Writers need that objectivity. The only thing with self-publishers is they’ll have to hire an independent editor for this service.
This is probably a new task for many writers. Creating artwork to promote your books are worth their weight in gold. Marketing professionals know good and well how important it is to design banners and billboards that attract attention. This is not a science; it’s an art form – and not everyone is good at it.
Perhaps the most crucial design element you will need is the book’s cover. If you are stuck with designing one yourself, you can start by reviewing the best sellers’ designs – especially those in your niche.
Anytime you use computers for prepping printer-ready files, you have essentially become a typesetter. This task must be done with great care. It requires clear communication with the publishing party.
If you are publishing online, you need to understand the metrics required for your page to display correctly on reading devices. Botching this up is a terrible thing and will hurt future sales. It is not a bad idea to use desktop publishing software.
While you may not have a printing press in your home, you will still be responsible for getting your books printed.
The good news is that the traditional methods of committing to printing thousands of books and paying for them upfront are gone. There are now several print-on-demand options available, and you don’t have to print a large inventory or worry about storing them.
Since it is your business, it’s up to you to keep the financial books and records. You must understand the difference between business and non-business expenses- and you must keep receipts for business expenses.
Next, you must create a workable budget and stick to the plan. If you don’t, your business will fail. Accountants are the reality check in every industry. They must be the ones to determine if there’s available money to launch a crazy idea or not. And now you must do this for your own business.
Many authors are modest. They would prefer others to promote them and their work while they sit back and gush. The only problem is that gushing doesn’t sell books.
Great marketers will be the first to tell you that marketing is a constant process. You must be promoting all the time – to everyone you meet to succeed. Not everyone is comfortable with this, but someone has got to do it – and that someone is you.
Big publishers have attorneys on staff to answer and address any legal issues that may arise. As an independent book publisher, you’ll have to address these yourself. Most of these issues are just plain common sense.
However, there may be an occasion when you need an attorney. The key is knowing when to hire one because it will significantly affect your operating budget. Hiring an attorney may mean squashing an important promotional event.
One way to do this is to read and research various legal issues that typically affect authors and book publishers. This way, you’ll find out how they are handled and how courts are judging them. This will bolster your overall knowledge and lay some groundwork for future legal decisions you’ll have to make.
By now, you should realize that you’re managing everything in your book publishing business, so that makes you the business manager. And as with every form of managing an operation, the key is understanding the priority of all tasks that need to be completed.
Heck, there’s always a lot that needs to be done. Great managers know which tasks need to be done first and which tasks have the most impact. Too many of us con ourselves into believing that because we’re staying busy, we’re getting things done. The fact is we can work 10 hours every day and accomplish nothing.