You don’t know what you don’t know
It sounds obvious, but when you embark on a project that you’ve never done before there is a lot of difference between your perception and the reality. By the time you’ve finished, you have a new skill set or experience that you didn’t before, and no doubt you’ve had a few knocks and bumps along the way.
I love helping aspiring authors get their books finished – and published. Yet many are surprised as they move through the process – it costs money.
Now, the actual activity of sitting down to their computer to write every night after supper, or that quiet hour before the rest of the house wakes up doesn’t cost them much, other than preparation, time, and determination. After all, the idea of “self” publishing must mean that it isn’t just something they can do on their own, it must be the cheapest alternative out there, right?
I’m afraid not.
Recently I was talking with a writer who was finishing up her book. Her excitement was contagious, she had set a goal, and it was nearly accomplished! Just a chapter or two to go and she would be finished. While it was a worthy goal and an accomplishment that deserved merit, it broke my heart to tell her there were many more steps ahead for her writing to actually be a published book.
Her first surprise came when we talked about her potential reader. What did she want the reader to do? Call her and set up a session? Start following her on Instagram? Book her for speaking engagements or just close the book and think, I feel inspired?
Every writer has a reason for their book and each is as unique as their fingerprint. The only bad reason is not having a reason. Otherwise your potential reader will shrug and say, so what?
I asked about her author platform; had she been building a following and growing an email list of readers that couldn’t wait for the book?
Another surprise came when I shared the various components of the actual publishing process. Even as an e-book there are costs involved; the ISBN, cataloging with Library of Congress, formatting, upload fees and more. As the call ended, I knew she felt deflated and overwhelmed, however, she admitted that she hadn’t considered what was beyond her finish line – that of writing the book.
Last we spoke, she was still struggling to finish and wasn’t sure how she could afford to take the next step. While I’m standing by to help her bring this project to a close, I wish we would have talked earlier in the process. She could have been doing a lot of the prep work while she was writing the book, such as studying her market, asking for advance praise by sending out sample chapters, and growing her email list. All things that didn’t cost her money then, but would cost her time and momentum by waiting until after her book came out.
Self-publishing is a good solution for many authors, but it still needs to be handled wisely and professionally. To help you get an idea of everything involved, I’ll be happy to share my free report “Self-Publishing Surprises.” Just click here to access it.
If you have questions about your writing project, I’ll be happy to do a 15 minute strategy session with you. You may also post your questions here in the comment section and I’ll answer them.
Susan M Sparks offers copywriting, publishing services and coaching for aspiring authors. She is the author of four books and ghostwriter for many entrepreneurial non-fiction titles. She can be reached at Susan@ASAPWritingServices.com.