Self-Publishing FAQs

Jan 21, 10:00 AM
Today on the show Jodi answers the five most-common questions she hears about self-publishing a book to serve your business. 

Why do entrepreneurs choose self-publishing?

Self-publishing is no longer “plan B.” Author-entrepreneurs especially choose self-publishing often for two reasons: creative control and time to market. As business owners, author-entrepreneurs are used to being the decision-maker for their business. A book is a tool to serve that business, so it makes sense that an author-entrepreneur wants to have final say over how the book looks, what it contains, and when it reaches customers. Traditional book publishing is notoriously slow (think 12-18 months before you have a finished book in your hands), and that simply doesn’t work for most author-entrepreneurs. 

How much does it cost to self-publish?

Author-entrepreneurs understand that a book is an investment in their business and treat it as such. They are willing to spend money on a book because they see it as another business expense. Most author-entrepreneurs I’ve worked with spend somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. Check out Episode 14 for more detail about this.

Every area in which money is spent on writing, publishing, and marketing a book should have a budget associated with it. Each area can be accomplished by spending zero dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on whether the author-entrepreneur has a shoestring budget or a “done for you”-type of budget. Hire professionals like editors, cover artists, and publicists based on their zone of genius and then let them do their job. Once you set a budget, stick to it as much as possible so there aren’t any surprises down the road. If you decide you need to spend more in a certain area, revisit your budget and adjust elsewhere.

Can I really make money by publishing a book?

Yep! But not typically from book royalties. We dived into this in Episode 11, but here’s the gist: Money earned from a book typically comes indirectly. In other words, income comes from readers who become clients (purchasers of one-on-one services or a membership offering) or from speaking engagements.

Do I need a literary agent?

Unless you’re publishing traditionally, nope. Literary agents are not pieces of the self-publishing puzzle.

Who do I need on my “book team”?

Your book team and your budget go hand-in-hand.  Most author-entrepreneurs hire, at a minimum, a copy editor and designer (cover and interior). You might want or need more accountability and hire a book coach. You might decide to hire a ghostwriter so the book actually gets finished. You might hire a VA to handle project management and the tech piece of uploading to Amazon. One area that author-entrepreneurs don’t always need to budget and/or hire is marketing. As business owners, we’re used to marketing, so we “get” it!

As with anything book-related, everything starts with the writing. You can’t publish an unwritten book, nor can you market one. So, happy writing!