The odds of becoming a successful self-publisher can seem overwhelming to a novice. But if you really want to be in print and use your writing to help as many people as possible, then no amount of negatives can stop you from achieving your goals.
However, as you read this list, keep in mind that there is no one right way to publish your book. Therefore, it is important for each writer to consider their own goals, reasons, and resources before choosing to go the traditional book publishing route or the self-publishing route.
Here are ten reasons why desktop publishing might not be the right thing for you when trying to get your new book published:
1. No guarantee of success
There are no guarantees of any kind of success with desktop publishing, or any kind of publishing or business, or in life in general. That’s how it is. One of your posts that you put all your effort into could sell one copy a week. And the next one will sell 100 a week. You won’t know for sure which of your books will sell well until you write and publish it. And to make the whole self-publishing process more interesting, you will bear 100% of the financial risk. If you can’t deal with any of that, then self-publishing is not for you.
2. High out-of-pocket costs
Startup costs for desktop publishing can be very high if you buy and receive a large number of books from a printing company. And then spend the next three years trying to sell them. And then get tired of the whole process and sell them to a big bookstore chain for pennies on the dollar. Where do you think those expensive coffee table books on the discount table at the bookstore come from?
3. Choosing a particular niche for your writing can be a game of dice.
There is a market and an audience for every imaginable niche. But if you’re hoping to make money writing about your particular micro-niche, you’d better choose wisely and really know what you’re writing about. A traditional publisher probably won’t accept your book if your micro-nice is too small to be profitable. They will help you make your book more marketable to a larger audience. But if you don’t want that kind of professional help, you can self-publish your book on a very obscure topic that interests you, and not many others, and languish in obscurity.
4. Reviews can be expensive
Revisions can be very expensive if you still haven’t sold most of your beginning inventory of books, that inventory you foolishly ordered in bulk to lower the price per copy, and is now sitting in your basement.
5. Distribution is limited
Distribution may be limited because most bookstore chains do not accept self-published books. But eventually you will find other outlets for your books. You can do your own distribution by finding a bookstore that accepts self-published books in your niche. You can also sell and distribute your books directly to buyers who contact you through your own website. Shipping fees, bookstore fees, and distribution company fees will take a big chunk out of your profits. And all of this takes time away from your writing.
6. The fiction market is very difficult
The fiction market can be a particularly tough sell, especially for new or unknown authors. It’s especially hard to build a following for your fiction without the backing of a traditional publisher. And most reviewers won’t touch your book with a ten-foot pole.
7. Can be time consuming
Self-publishing is time consuming, especially if you hope to make money from it. Don’t forget that with desktop publishing you are responsible for all aspects of production, marketing, sales, design, copywriting, advertising, finances, website design, etc. of his book. It can easily become an important part of your life.
8. You must accept returns and give refunds
If your books don’t sell, the stores return them to you for a refund. And you pay shipping both ways. You can offer a higher discount and write a special contract that refuses returns, but stores won’t accept it. Accepting returns and giving refunds can be a dangerous and expensive game for a self-publisher with limited financial resources.
9. There is a lot of competition
If you’re afraid of competition and the challenge of building a following for your posts, then desktop publishing is certainly not for you. Competition is what keeps you on your toes, constantly striving to offer a better product and helping more people in the process. It’s called capitalism. If you don’t have the gut fortitude for a good challenge, and the opportunity to help people with your books, and earn a few bucks while doing it, then a life of desktop publishing is not for you.
10. Great learning curve
There is a big learning curve for self-publishing. It can take a few years to learn all the ins and outs of desktop publishing. In addition, you must learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry and also know all aspects of running a small business.
Sure, the odds of becoming a successful self-publisher can seem overwhelming. But hey, that’s life. If you really want to be in print and use your writing to help as many people as possible, no amount of negatives can stop you from achieving your goals. I tell you this because I know it’s true.
I have learned to go around or overcome every obstacle I have encountered in desktop publishing and in business. And you can too. And don’t forget that starting out as a self-publisher doesn’t stop you from eventually going to a traditional publisher in the future, and the reverse is also true.