What Is Self-Publishing? It’s Not A Simple Business

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What Is Self-Publishing, Exactly

Self-publishing is easy to start, but difficult to master

Once upon a time, when life was simple, self-publishing meant writing a book and uploading it to Amazon Kindle. Then you crossed your fingers and hoped that a few people would buy it.

This was the way I started, and luckily quite a few people did buy my books.

Marketing was back then, a word that did not collocate with self-publishing because the simple fact of having your book available on Amazon was enough.

Well, okay, I did tell my friends and family on Facebook, plus my few hundred followers on Twitter that I had a book or two available, but that certainly was not marketing.

Fast forward to today, however, and boy, has self-publishing become ever so complicated.

It is now a business of algorithms, metadata, niche category creation, cross-promotion, paid advertising and of course, meticulous marketing.

In only a few short years, authors, who by definition are writers and not high-pressure marketers, have had to adapt, learn, curse and swear, as the age of the self-publishing authorpreneur has become unavoidable.

The problem now for many authors, though, is that all this learning, adapting, marketing, promoting, blogging, social media time and of course, swearing and cursing at all the changes, is eating away at what an author should be doing.

And that is, of course, writing. Yes, says he as he clacks out this blog post.


More changes ahead for self-publishing.

But, be prepared for more changes, more learning curves and more lost writing time, as self-publishing once again readies itself to transform into a new beast, and one that may change how we perceive a book.

Linkedin and Facebook have both made announcements recently about entering self-publishing. But as both will seemingly host this self-published content on their respective sites, does it really mean self-publishing?

Unless books are purchased, how can it be anything more than online content?

The other recent change in self-publishing is of course crowdfunding.

Whether enough readers will be willing to pay upfront for a book or not is yet to be seen. But I have yet to hear of too many success stories.

So here is the new reality to consider. What is self-publishing exactly right now?

If you are an author, hopefully, you have a completed manuscript or two. because over the next year or so you are going to be too busy to write, as you embark on learning how to publish on Facebook, Linkedin and who knows how many more, as well as spending weeks preparing your crowdfunding proposal.

At the same time, of course, you will be studying how to manipulate Amazon algorithms and re-categorise your books using specific niche genres.

You will spend hours trying to work out how to make a buck from ebook subscription services such as Kindle Unlimited, which is charging $9.99 per month, for as many books as readers can eat.

Once upon a time, self-publishing was oh so simple.


Related reading: 21 Questions You Can Ask To Help You Sell More Books


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

4 thoughts on “What Is Self-Publishing? It’s Not A Simple Business

  • December 16, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I love writing books. Not because I want to see my name in lights, but simply because of the writing process itself. On the other hand, I don’t like spending money on the so-called publishers who want the author to defray the expenses. While it’s true, selling books is beyond most authors’ ability, I found with my traditionally published books, the publisher did little more than get the books into shops – and then on to the next book! Learning how to market your own books is just going to be another skill that self-publishing authors will have to learn.

  • February 3, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I have self-published two books, an expense which I have come to regret, there is no money to be earned by the author in this game, just the thrill of seeing your work in print, and the charge per year for keeping the books on Amazon is £25. Marketing is almost impossible, it seems that no-one is interested in self-published books unless the author, at his own expense, purchases his own books and gives them away to anyone who will have them. Even the library was a reluctant participant, until I made the statement that they were ‘FREE’. my rating on Amazon is becoming quite high for production and presentation, but this is not enhancing any sales. My publisher (New Generation) who failed to action my last set of amendments, has disappeared into oblivion, so no support there. My books would make wonderful films, but there isn’t a chance in Hell.

    • February 3, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Thanks for your comment, Janet. But why are you paying £25 to stay listed on Amazon? I would seriously warn against using a publisher to self publish. It defeats the whole purpose, and you lose control of your books. There is nothing a publisher can do that you can’t do yourself, and mostly for free.


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