Over 235,000 books were self-published in 2011. Well-established authors are thinking about self-publishing their next book instead of going the traditional route. To find new talent, major publishers are looking closely at successful self-published books. It’s no wonder that so many aspiring writers are thinking about jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon. It sounds easy enough, right? Even Amazon tells you that it takes less than 5 minutes.
Lies, all lies. Writing and editing your book is hard work, but navigating the business side of self-publishing isn’t easy either, especially for someone new to the publishing process. As Chuck Wendig said, “Self-publishing badly is easy. Which is why a lot of people do it, of course. Self-publishing well is a whole other bag of coconuts.”
It’s called self-publishing for a reason: you have to educate yourself on all the things that a traditional publisher would handle for you. Sure, you should hire an editor and a cover designer, but as an author, you must be prepared to learn about the publishing process, ebooks, royalty options, ISBNs, copyright, formatting, and much more. Thankfully, there are a ton of resources on the web to help you make educated decisions. You just have to be willing to spend the time to gain some knowledge.
Let’s take the DRM question on Amazon’s KDP as an example:
This is the last question authors have to answer before uploading their ebook file to KDP. If you don’t know what DRM is, you might click on the “What’s this?” link, which will provide some brief information about DRM:
A lot of authors will read this and think they do not want to allow “unauthorized distribution of the Kindle file” of their book, so they will choose to enable DRM. But what Amazon doesn’t tell you here is that many authors choose not to DRM their books. Once your book is published, you cannot change the DRM setting, so you must be 100% sure before selecting yes or no. Spend some time learning about DRM before selecting an option. For example, check out these articles:
- If You Have to Steal My Book, Steal My Book
- Should I enable DRM (digital rights management) encryption on my ebooks? (scroll down to the question and answer)
- How Do I Get Rid of the DRM on My Ebooks and Video?
See? It takes more than 5 minutes. Before you decide to jump into the crazy and always changing world of self-publishing, ask yourself if you are ready to learn. If you are, you will stand out from the self-published authors who didn’t take the time research before making decisions, and you’ll feel more confident in your book when it hits the market.