I have said many times before, this is the best time in history to be an author. If you have a manuscript, and are willing to invest time, energy and some money, you can get your work into the hands of readers. But with so many options out there, how can you decide what option you should pursue and if you should even make the investment.
Recently, I came across these insights from Arielle Eckstut, agent and the co-author of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully! (Workman). In her book, she offers some practical questions that writers considering the self-/indie publishing route should ask themselves.
Is there a product like mine already out there? If so, how is mine different? Being able to compare and contrast your book with other successful products will be one of the keys to actually getting onto bookstore shelves.
Is there an audience for a product like mine? If so, how big is this audience? Where are they?
Can I produce this product on my own and still make it the best professional product possible? Or do I need to hire other experts to help? For example, if you’re self-publishing, you must hire an editor/copyeditor. We got sent a book recently. On the first page, in the acknowledgement section, it said, “I’d like to thank my morther.” We found it very hard to take that book seriously.
Can I sell this product on my own? Where does my audience shop? How do they shop? How can I reach them? Who can help me reach my audience? There’s no point trying to sell your book to bookstores if your audience lives and buys solely on the Internet, or in flower stores, or at conventions.
Can I create professional packaging for my product? If you aren’t a professional graphic designer, you’re probably kidding yourself if you think you can. For those who are honest, you’re most certainly going to need to hire someone not only to design your cover, but also to design the interior of your book.