DIY Publishing—Is it the Route to Success or Disaster?

2009Would you rewire your house? 

How about replacing an archaic sewage system?

Should you?

And what does that all have to do with self-publishing?

The sixth secret the gurus don’t tell you when you’re writing your book.

Why do we call in professionals to deal with essential maintenance or installation of electrical and plumbing equipment in our homes?

Here are a few of the key reasons:

  • Because our family’s safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.
  • Because we lack knowledge or skill when dealing with these potentially dangerous elements (electricity and water).
  • Because we don’t have the time or inclination to spend time and money learning the ins and outs of electrical engineering or plumbing systems so we can do it safely ourselves.

Some do go it alone…

Yet, if you have ever stumbled across programmes such as DIY SOS, you’ll know that some well-intentioned amateurs do have a go at their own electrical, plumbing or building work… Often with disastrous and dangerous results.

Now, I’m not going to argue that attempting to self-publish your book will put you in a life-threatening position. But it could cause serious damage to your reputation or credibility as an expert or professional in your field.

Self-publishing or just pressing PRINT?

Most people understand self-publishing as the process whereby the author undertakes all the preparation of their book / e-book and then uploads it directly to the various publishing platforms (Kindle, etc.). This is presented as easy to do. Why waste time working with publishers or editors, or indeed with anyone else at all if you can simply press a button and your Word document gets sucked up into the cloud and you can declare yourself published?

This isn’t publishing, not even self-publishing. It is simply the equivalent of pressing the PRINT button on your laptop, except this time it doesn’t print out on your printer it magically appears in the Kindle store.

Genuine self-publishing

True self-publishing recognises that a lot more goes into a powerful, compelling and successful book than simply pressing the PRINT button on your Word document.

A true self-publisher will know that, to guarantee the quality, integrity and impact of their book, they’ll need to invest in…

  • editorial and development work on the text
  • careful design of the cover and the interior (which many self-publishers pay little attention to)
  • having an understanding of the various distribution options
  • knowing which routes to market will be most appropriate
  • researching the legal pitfalls and financial technicalities of self-publishing platforms
  • understanding your market, audience, and how you promote your title to them

If you’ve got the time to spare it is possible to create a powerful, compelling, high quality and successful book using genuine self-publishing.

Do what you do best

But if you’d rather focus on your area of strength and expertise to develop the quality of the content then you’ll choose to rely on others whose expertise can shape, edit, design, produce and distribute your books and e-books.

Yes, you could rewire your house.

Yes, you could mess about with sewage.

Yes, you could self-publish.

But should you?

If you self-publish properly (managing your own team of editors, designers, etc.) or choose to work with experienced publishers, you will create a professional, high quality book with the greatest potential to transform the lives of your readers:

  • Because your readers’ wellbeing and results are your top priority.
  • Because you aren’t aware of the many hidden dangers that lead to putting out badly edited and designed books.
  • Because you know that your clients want you to share your expertise with them in the most powerful way.

…and to do all this you’ll need to leverage other professionals’ skills.

The sixth secret—self-publishing isn’t the easy option, it’s the dangerous one.