Archive for January 27th, 2012

Self-publishing author? You don’t have to go it alone!

from U2’s song, “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own”

OK, so it’s not really a song about a self-publishing author.  As I understand it, Bono had a difficult relationship with his father, and this song was dedicated to him. Nevertheless, these words came to mind when I started thinking about drafting this post.

Earlier this week, I posted an article on my Facebook page about Hazel Edwards, an Australian authorpreneur. As the caption on the photo indicates, the gist of the article was how many new skills authors must learn to juggle in the digital age. “Marketing, publicity, technology, legal skills … to succeed in a digital world, authors need to master more than the keyboard, writes Linda Morris.”

Then today I saw an article from the Harvard Business Review titled “Are You Learning as Fast as the World Is Changing?” about the changing requirements for leadership in our fast-moving (largely digital) world. The last point in this article struck me in stark contrast to the story of Hazel Edwards: Successful learners work hard not to be loners.

And that’s the point I’m focusing on here. It’s quite common for a new author to take that precipitous dive into self-publishing only to realize, even after a fair amount of research, that there’s a LOT involved. And it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. I think a good part of the overwhelm comes from the erroneous belief that you’ve got to “go it alone.” It’s not much of a stretch to make the analogy between a self-publishing author and a general contractor, if, as careers.stateuniverity.com explains, a general contractor’s job is to “coordinate and supervise the work at construction sites from early development to final product.”

As a self-publishing author, it’s your responsibility to perform the jobs below, or hire/enlist others to help you. Either way, you are supervising the work of building your book, from early development to final product, even if that final product is an eBook.

Book side:

Book designer

Marketing side:

Web designer
Graphic designer
SEO specialist
Publicist/booking agent
Social media expert

Well, if there are so many people involved, how can you possibly be going it alone? Ask any leader who feels that it truly is lonely at the top. Hiring people – or contracting for their services – doesn’t mean you necessarily view these individuals as members of your team, and that’s a key component to not going it alone. Sure you’re in charge – but are the folks tasked with components of your book making and marketing simply people you’re paying, or are they members of your team who are equally invested in your success?

Besides the sheer complexity of knowing all the steps that go into making a successful book is the crucial detail of finding the right people. Don’t know how to find a good book designer? OK – you could head to Google and punch in “book designer + your city” and roll the dice. Or you could do what you’d do when hiring a mechanic or a real estate agent or a dentist: ask others who they use.

Connect with other aspiring authors: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup are excellent resources. Join one of the dozens of available groups, make a friend or two, and ask who they use and recommend for their book projects. (One caveat: Not every group will be for you, so do your research and don’t feel pressured to join or remain a member if it doesn’t feel right.)

You’ve already taken a great step toward getting educated and garnering support by subscribing to this blog and/or reading this post. Other ideas:

  • Get yourself one of the 30,000+ books available on the subject of self-publishing.
  • Find a coach, consultant, or accountability partner to guide, support, and motivate you.
  • Attend a book fair, writing seminar, or self-publishing conference – even if you have to invest some money in it and … travel to get there. Sure, there are loads of online options, but there’s something invaluable about meeting other living, breathing authors and would-be authors who are in the same position, or who’ve already come out on the other side and are willing to share the secrets to their success.

Writing may be an isolated activity. Getting your book published shouldn’t be.

Happy team-building!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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