Technology has brought about a sea change in the book publishing industry. For many keen book readers, this will amount to how they now read their books – perhaps digitally on a Kindle or their tablet.
However, technology has also made it possible for thousands of books to be published that could never have been published before. Amazon has not only ripped up the rules of commerce in physical bookselling, it has also torn down the gates of the publisher’s castle and sacked the gatekeeper. No more do we have to go cap in hand to a commissioning editor and beg them to look at our worthy manuscript. We don’t need a publisher any more to get our name on a book and be published. We can do it all ourselves because the tools are just sitting there. And after all, it’s so easy to do. Isn’t it?
Well, yes… and no…
It isn’t just a question of gatekeeping. The truth is that creating books that are really useful to people is not as simple as it may at first appear. We need a team – the right people on the bus – and each of those team members needs to be skilled and professional at what they do. Otherwise we run the risk of ending up with an amateurish book that doesn’t impress anyone.
What we need most is objectivity. We need someone to look in from the outside and tell us whether our book is working for our intended audience.
So here are my tips if you really must self-publish:
Work with a good editor
Preferably one with credentials and experience (for instance a member of the SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders).
Engage a professional designer
One who knows which way is up when it comes to books.
Avoid POD (print on demand) if you can.
The books are often poor quality and can be expensive to produce once you’ve paid the delivery charges.
Don’t just produce an ebook.
Don’t let your excellently crafted, edited and designed book drown in the sea of vanity. A physical book, well done, has buckets more credibility and readers are more likely to find your book even if they do choose to read the ebook version.
Readers of business books have an ongoing need for the information available in good books. Authors with great ideas to share have the potential to powerfully boost their credibility by becoming published. If you’re writing a book make sure you serve your audience by publishing without vanity and publishing well.