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The Considerations to Make Before Self-Publishing.

by Kaitlyn Legaspi

“I’ve decided I want to self-publish!”

That’s awesome! Congrats! Choosing to self-publish is the first step in your journey of self-publishing, and it’s an amazing feeling! You’re excited, eager, and determined to get started on prepping your book for publication and getting it into the public eye. But, before you start, there are quite a few things to consider before starting, and here’s why.

There are a lot of pros to self-publishing. One of them is that you’re in control of pretty much everything, from when you want to publish to how you want to go about prepping your book for publication. This pro is also a con, because being in control of everything means having a lot to keep track of. Self-publishing can take up a lot of your time, and there may be things you won’t think about until it pops up and you have to make a rushed decision. Conducting research in every aspect of the process is crucial. It helps you make an informed decision, and if you run into a roadblock despite doing a lot of research and careful planning, you can learn from it and try to prevent it in case you self-publish another book in the future.

Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself before you dive into self-publishing!

Question 1: What is your budget?

This is probably one of the most important things to consider before self-publishing, because prepping your book can become quite costly. Depending on what articles you read online, self-publishing your book can be as little as $100 or as much as $4000. Of course, this depends on how many things you outsource to freelancers and how much they charge for their services. This also includes paying for promotional services and marketing, which can add more to the cost. So, just be aware of how much you’re willing to spend on your entire project and do your best to stick to it.

Question 2: What is your publishing timeline?

This one is really important to think about because you’re basically allotting yourself a set amount of time to get everything done before you thrust your book out into the world. While you can adjust your timeline as things move forward, having a good idea of your book’s publication date would be ideal. This also allows you to plan when you want editing, beta reading, formatting, promotional campaigns, etc. to take place. It also gives you a sense of when you need to contact people so they can have time to do their job. Even if you don’t want to plan everything out to a set date because it seems really overwhelming, having a publication date you can change is better than not having one at all. Think of it as a goal to reach.

Question 3: How much time are you able to put into prepping and promoting your book a week?

I can’t stress how important this is! From personal experience, I know what it’s like to go into a project at full speed without really thinking about how much time I’ll truly be able to dedicate to book-related things alone. You may think you’ll be able to dedicate fifteen hours a week when in reality, you may only be able to put in five. You can plan out your week all you want, but some things aren’t going to go as planned, taking time away from your book.

This area also requires a bit of reflection. For example, are you a super organized person who can go through a full day without taking a nap or getting distracted or a more laid-back person who doesn’t mind taking breaks and stopping to smell the roses? The amount of time you can spend prepping your book in a week can depend on where you lean in this spectrum.

Question 4: Through which platform are you going to self-publish your book?

There are a lot of options for self-publishing. A few book retailers with eBook publishing platforms include Amazon KDP, Apple Books, and Barnes& Noble Press. There are also book aggregators, which enable you to publish your book to the above platforms and more! A few include Draft2Digital, Smashwords, PublishDrive, and StreetLib. There are also print-on-demand services for self-published authors, which cover the printed side of things, such as KDP Print and IngramSpark. Draft2Digital also offers this service.

Choosing one or more of these all comes down to what you want. For example, do you want to sell only ebooks, or do you also want to sell paperbacks? Do you want to focus all your sales on Amazon, or do you want to expand your reach to other platforms such as Apple Books and Barnes & Noble? Do you want your books to eventually be sold in brick-and-mortar stores? Royalties is also another thing to consider, because of each of the above platforms have different ways they calculate them and how and when you receive them. It can be a lot to think about, which is why this area in particular needs quite a bit of research before reaching a decision.

I’ll be honest. Asking yourself these questions only lead to more questions as things become more detailed and specific in your self-publishing plan, but that’s why they’re important to think about. It’s better to know more about what you’re going into rather than jumping in blind and knowing little to nothing. It’ll help you be more prepared in case something unexpected comes up. I hope you find these questions helpful, and I wish you the best of luck in your self-publishing journey!

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