“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it”. ~Sidney Howard

I’m an idiot for self-publishing?  Maybe, but maybe not.  Last time I talked a bit about what I had recently learned from my study of the genius British novelist Charles Dickens.  I also mentioned that some of what I had learned from my study of him had been a deciding factor in my decision to self-publish my first book.  I think if Dickens had been beginning his writing career today, he would have almost certainly self-published his first works.  Then I think he would have partnered with a great publisher for his next works.

For me, the decision to self-publish was a hard one.  I am already busy and writing and then publishing a book – and really doing the proper promotion to ensure a great reception for the fledgling book – this is a lot of work.  I had no idea how much work it was until I began the process.  For me at least, the writing of the book has turned out to be the easiest part.  All of the things that the publisher would do for me, if I had sold the rights of my first book immediately to a publisher, – that has been quite a steep learning curve.

So why did I decide to self-publish?  I’ll start from the side of what I won’t be getting or what I am giving up.

  • It will cost me more money to self-publish, quite a bit more.  Since I am taking on all of the costs of proofreaders and editors, cover designers and printing and the hiring of top-notch PR people, all things that a publisher might have done for me, I am spending more money.
  • I am giving up a great deal of my time learning the book business.  Had I sold my book immediately, I would have needed to learn very little about the book business – at least at first.  I could have let the publishers handle all of the details for me.
  • I am giving up the money that I could have made by simply coaching or speaking instead of learning the book business.  I am usually fully booked or as booked as I care to be for coaching and I could have simply coached more, earned more, and let the publishers do what they know best.
  • I am giving up some credibility for this my first book.  A self-published book does not have the credibility in the eyes of some people that a traditionally published book has.
  • I am almost certainly giving up some sales that I might have had otherwise.  I don’t know all of the distribution channels that an established publisher knows and although I am learning fast – it is certain that I will miss some of them – and not sell those copies of my book.

So, with all of that, why on earth would I self-publish?  We will both have to wait until next time for that answer – my time is up for this entry.

Next time I will explain the balance of my thinking about traditional publishing versus self-publishing.

Till next time faithful reader…Jack

“The vision must be followed by the venture.  It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs”. ~Vance Havner