The Business of Self-Publishing

To pay, or not to pay for publishing services, that is the question.

From my own experience . . .

Few to no sales without a "professionally designed" cover.

A few more sales once professional covers are in place.


I highly recommend that self-publishers learn how to do their own cover art and design, if only for the simple economics of the equation. Paying for a cover may simply not make sense.

My series of children's bedtime stories, for example. I paid $50 each ( X 3) to have good covers produced for the trilogy. The titles sell for $1.49-$1.99, depending on the platform.

The math on this (at a 35% royalty) means that I needed about 150 sales of EACH title just to break even on the cover investment, or about 450 sales for the series.

Fortunately, the Purrennium Trilogy has become rather popular, especially in English-speaking countries outside the U.S. (go figure) and I reached the "break even" point long ago.

Self-publishing is a business, first and foremost. Writers need to remember that. Will your title sell if you spend a bunch of money on it?


Will it sell if you do not?


The key is knowing when to spend and when to save. In my example, I should have produced my own covers, and used the money elsewhere, on my other, more "profitable" work. Fortunately for me, I am quite capable as an editor and proofreader, even for my own work, so I do not spend anything there.

On that note, I am also a professional narrator. Part of that process is "auditioning" for the work. Here's a tip for any aspiring narrators:

DON'T send a note to a Pulitzer prize winning writer offering to correct the terrible editing/proofreading in their audition script.

Should there be a comma pause after "military?" . . . for the military, of wealth and grace . . . Should the "99s of Biloxi" be continued as plural? (99 degrees, 99 percent humidity) Should it read "$50 OR less," rather than "OF less?"

(My suggested corrections are included in the above quote).

The lesson here? Apparently Mr. Prize Winner paid SOMEONE or several someones to "edit" his work. Was it money well spent? Well, if results are any measure . . .

Nope. The moral is, paying for something does not guarantee quality or performance. NOBODY is as invested in YOUR work as YOU are. If you are going to self-publish, learn the business, ALL of it.

Discover and use every FREE resource that you can. Swap proofreads with other writers, editing for cover design, formatting for . . . whatever.

I cannot count the number of times I have been told about the "hundreds" of dollars some aspiring writer paid to have their terrible work "edited." Don't pay any editor who does not guarantee their work. Don't pay before reviewing it. Don't pay if you are not happy.

Ultimately, it is your name on the cover. Your name that will be remembered for shoddy or great work.

Like I always tell my daughter . . .

When you finish a job . . . walk away proud.

If you do, people will notice.

If you don't, they will notice that, too.
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Published on September 01, 2012 00:51 Tags: cover-design, editing, indie-writer, marketing, proofreading, self-publishing, writer-services
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