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Becoming a Bestseller: How & Why You Should Self-Publish


Whether you’re a professional looking to share your expertise in a particular field or an aspiring author, writing a book is a great way to establish a career and get your name out there – if it’s well-written that is. Modern technology makes publishing a book more comfortable than ever. Websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Blurb allow you to self-publish at a minimal cost and, usually, a portion of the sales.

If you’re not quite sold on the idea, consider this: Statista reports that the number of self-published books in the U.S. has jumped nearly tenfold in the last decade. In fact, indie authors are climbing up higher and higher on the bestsellers list (Rupi Kaur being a prominent one). Increasingly so, having exceptional storytelling abilities and writing skills is a profitable characteristic. Therefore, the question becomes how what, and why you should consider the prospect of being an author.

Selecting a topic

Perhaps fiction is not your forte. Let’s face it, it isn’t for many people. Perhaps you’ve had a career or a significant amount of experience in a certain field. In that case, a non-fiction book outlining the field, what it’s like, and what you learned could be valuable. Not only can these kinds of texts be used for educational purposes (in classrooms, occupational training sessions, etc.), but they can be gripping reads. Many people considering entering a field will want to read about it, and nobody wants the vague logistics provided by an internet article, they want to hear in-depth stories from someone who has been there, done that.

Self-improvement, money management, and productivity books are some of the broadest self-published genres. The beauty of these nonfiction types is that they don’t require specific experience or any qualifications. Everyone has had experience with these topics, and some knowledge they’d like to share that they have accrued over their lifetime.

Numerous bloggers and influencers have engaged in the tactic mentioned above, creating a neat little supplemental income for themselves while simultaneously expanding their CV.

The benefits of self-publishing

Some people don’t understand the point of writing a book unless it will become a New York Times bestseller. While that is a possibility for your book, there are other goals to keep in mind. If you are a professional in a certain field, writing a book in that field is an excellent addition to your resume or CV. Not only is it something to affirm your status and credibility within the field, but it becomes part of a unique portfolio you can present to employers.

Many educators or people that run professional development courses or training also find authoring a book useful, as that book can later be used as course material. Self-publishing a book has become a breakthrough way to brand yourself and get your name out there while simultaneously lending an air of sophistication to your business or entrepreneurial pursuits. If you are looking to start a business, writing a book is a helpful way to publicize yourself and your work, therefore turning your readers into future customers.

The publication process

Once you’ve finished your book, make sure you’ve read the self-publisher’s legal handbook so you know how to protect your copyright, and set up your business.

It’s also crucial to give your book a final read-through as one of the trade-offs you make by self-publishing is that you forego the editorial process. Therefore, you are your own editor. Asking friends, family, and trusted colleagues to give it a read-through is also an excellent way to receive some suggestions and make improvements. Once you are confident with your finished product, the key is to find the right publishing platform.

Some publishing platforms just require you to purchase an ISBN while others take a percentage of your book sales. Amazon’s CreateSpace publishing service has no setup fee and offers a free ISBN, but works on a royalty program. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble charges upfront for the ISBN and takes a portion of the sales, but offers in-store book sales for qualifying authors. Do your research and pick the right platform for you. Some will even offer book cover design, marketing, and editorial services. While these services will cost extra, they prevent you from having to do it all yourself. If you do have the time to learn about book marketing, pay a freelance designer, and do your own editing, then this whole process will come at a very nominal cost.

As an innovator/entrepreneur, you may not even want to take the traditional book printing route. You can shoot for eBook publishing, an option that will potentially lower your overall cost and reach a broader audience, as growing amounts of people are viewing books on electronic devices.

More and more entrepreneurs are writing books as a way to share their expertise and publicize their services or even their company. Whether this is the route you plan to take or if you just have some creative abilities you’d like to monetize, self-publishing eliminates the stigma that becoming an author is about as difficult as breaking into Hollywood. With self-publishing, unlike Hollywood, you can make a name for yourself with just a small amount of money.

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