Just as race car drivers don’t need to be engineers or mechanics, they all have a basic understanding of how their cars work. Why? Because it’s professional to be knowledgeable of all of the moving pieces that affect your career.
Every writer needs to understand the publishing process whether they self-publish or not.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s crucial for writers to know how to self-publish:
1. Understanding the bigger picture improves the quality of the end result
The publishing process is step-wise and methodical. There is a series of activities that must be addressed in sequence in order for an e-book or paperback book to come together.
However, if you don’t think about who is going to be reading your book until the end when it’s time for marketing, you’re going to climb a steep hill and struggle to connect with readers.
By thinking of the marketing at the onset of the book development and publishing process, the end product will be better for the reader.
There are a lot of questions that an indie publisher must answer while publishing a book and they all affect the reader’s experience.
What font to use, what cover design to select, how many chapters, etc., All of these factors are pieces of the puzzle. Understanding how they all fit together is important if a writer is going to create a book that is a pleasure to read.
Take away point #1: Think about the readers and the reading experience from the beginning to provide high-value content that resonates deeply with the reader that results in a loyal following.
2. You’ll know when you’re being ripped off
“What I didn’t know was what NOT to pay someone for their services. I had no idea if I was getting a good deal or not.” – Clara Wiggins, The Expat Partner Survival Guide
When a writer understands all of the moving parts of the publishing process, they get a feel for the market rates for editing, graphic design, and typesetting services.
Knowing what aspects a writer can DIY themselves because the on-screen instructions are easy to follow can save someone a lot of money.
Many companies will charge a pretty penny for merely pressing a button and a lot of writers will pay for that “service” because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Take away point #2: You control the costs when you understand how to recognize valuable work and services.
3. Greater independence and control
Without understanding the e-book and print publication processes, many writers are reliant on other third-party publications to review, evaluate, and approve their work before publication.
Knowing how to create your own e-book and paperback and how to sell them on Amazon means that a writer has 100% independence and control of their final word.
It also means that they can move at whatever speed they want. You, as the writer and self-publisher, become the rate-limiting step—not factors beyond your control.
Many traditionally published authors are going indie because they were tired of feeling like their careers were in other people’s hands.
Self-publishing means that the person who cares the most about your book is in charge.
Take away point #3: Once you discover how great it feels to call the shots for every aspect of your book, you’ll never want to give up that joyous freedom.
4. You can do the easy fixes
Even if you’re not tech savvy, you can do some really easy fixes, believe me.
You just need to know when something is an easy fix.
Want to update your Amazon sales page? That’s a 30-second update. All it requires is logging into your Amazon seller account, modifying the text, and pressing save.
However, some writers need to submit changes to someone else who gets to it when it fits within their workflow, which could take days or even weeks to fix. A 30-second fix shouldn’t take days to make.
With the author in control, these quick changes are done in a snap.
Investing in the learning process now saves you a lot of time later on.
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, took hours figuring out an easy bug fix that was brought to his attention after running Facebook for a few years. Had he had basic skills in web development, he would’ve saved a lot of time.
Take away point #4: You’ll learn that not everything requires expertise. Some basic knowledge goes a long way.
5. You’ll spot new trends
The self-publishing world is changing so quickly, and new technology is emerging every few months that make a writer’s life much easier than even a few years ago.
Did you know that there is a free software program that will do your e-book formatting for you?
Whaaaat? I know! I tested it out, and the pros and cons are available to my students, but believe me, and there will be more software coming in the future just like this that helps writers save time, stress, and money.
Knowing the process means that you can spot these trends easier than if you handed over your work to a black box and said, “Here. Do it for me.”
Take away point #5: You’ll see solutions everywhere once you are familiar with the problems.
What is involved in learning the publishing process?
Have I convinced you that it’s worth your time to have a working knowledge of the publishing process?
Now, I know that everyone is busy. Many writers have full-time jobs and write in the evenings, and the thought of taking on one more thing to learn is overwhelming.
That said, if you want to be an independent author—someone who makes smart and effective decisions in their authorpreneurship—then having a working knowledge (notice I did not say expertise) in the publishing process is extremely valuable in the long-term.
If you want to learn more, I’ve developed a comprehensive step-by-step guide to self-publishing.
Enrollment in this all-video course comes with lifetime access to all upgrades (remember all of that technology that is forthcoming? Yeah, I’ll be updating the course to reflect the latest and the greatest in the field), a printable PDF guide, and a closed Facebook community to provide support and answer questions.
What you get:
– increased competencies in self-publishing
– reduced wasted efforts
– money saved
– stress reduction
– valuable networking with fellow indie authors