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May 2013
A Message from Kristin Nelson

Want To Self-Publish?

Kristin Nelson

Thinking about dipping your toe in the world of digital self-publishing? Before you do, ask yourself one very key question. What is your main goal for doing so?

If your answer is…

1) Because I want to get rich quick. Walk away. Because you won’t. Now this is not to say that you won’t earn money. Lots of writers are earning nice paychecks from their writing. Writers who have honed their craft and respect that the reading audience will the be the toughest critic of all. The difference is that no successful self-publishing author began with the assumption of striking it rich. The journey begins with a story to tell.

If your answer is…

2) Because no one else wanted it so I might as well self-publish. Walk away. Unless you are absolutely 100% positive that your writing is ready, then stop. Authors who are successfully self-publishing have a developmental editor, a copyeditor, and a professional cover. And they invested real money to create a quality product. They didn’t just “throw it out there.”

If your answer is…

3) Because I just finished writing it and I want to get it out there quickly. Walk away. The volume of material being self-published is huge. If that material is anything like 90% of what we are seeing in the slush pile, then those writers aren’t ready for commercial distribution. I’m not saying they will never be ready. Just that they are not there yet.

If your answer is…

4) Because I’m a smart, savvy writer. I’ve investigated the options, I’ve done my research, I’m market ready, and I’m deliberately choosing this path. Then go for it!

From the Steve Jobs biography (the book-club selection for this month), two quotes about Jobs’s and Markkula’s philosophies really stuck with me as being applicable to writers:

“You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.”

Substitute “self-published book” for “company” and you’ll see just how relevant this is.

“Jobs understood the needs and desires of customers better than most biz leaders. Focus on a handful of core products and care about the details–including the packaging.”

Care about your craft, the details, creative perfectionism and you will succeed in however you publish.

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