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To self publish or not to self publish – that is the question

Considering your answers from Lesson 3 you will be able to appreciate what matters to you when you think about the success of your book and how you will achieve that. (We will look at that in greater detail in Lesson 7).

Now we need to look at the pros and cons of self-publishing and help you decide if it’s right for you.

ACTION; Here are some questions to answer to help you decide;

  • Do you feel confident with design?
  • Do you feel confident with editing or will you pay for this to be done?
  • Do you enjoy/like IT and printing so that you can master how to publish my book?
  • Do you know what you need to understand to print my book?
  • Do you feel you will be able to create a professional look for your book?
  • Do you feel you can promote your book effectively (this is going to be VITAL for your book whether you self-publish or work with a publisher which we will look at in Lesson 7 to help you learn the skills you need to achieve this.)
  • Is having ultimate control over the content, layout and number of chapters important to you?

By looking at these questions and taking the time to answer them it will help you work out whether self-publishing is your best option or whether you should invest in working out how to get a publisher to fall in love with you to take a lot of these aspects away from your workload.

For instance, my book was edited in the first instance by an in-house editor, that would send each chapter back to me so that I was in effect writing 2 chapters at any one time. This could happen sometimes 3 to 5 times as we developed the idea, layout and design of the book. (Remember I still had a full-time job at the time, so it was a lot of work. However I love writing and so it was no hardship for me, and obviously, as a coach, I knew how to put things in place to ensure I stayed motivated and enjoyed the whole process. I do think it’s imperative you ask yourself “Do I love writing?”)Then it was outsourced to another editor and then it was edited by myself and the first editor and their team of editors in their online platform that restricted what could be altered. This meant that if I had new ideas or additional thoughts that I wanted to include I could not. Self-publishing means you can alter that as often as you like.

I will reiterate that I do not claim to be a publishing expert here and as such it could be that you need to invest in a course or carry out further research. It’s not just a case of publishing a book and selling it. I know people that have self-published and been very disappointed with the look of the book, and as such it’s not sold well, risked damaging their brand and not achieved its goal for them. They’ve then put the manuscript forward to publishers who have reinvented the book and its achieved international recognition. I also know authors that have failed at self-publishing and used a third option. This option means that budding authors choose to utilise the skills of a company that helps people get their books published. They tend to have a number of options;

  1. Give us your raw material and we will do everything – there tends to be a large upfront fee and they take a %.
  2. They host courses to help you learn everything you need to write the book, you write the book and then they take over – again a (smaller) fee and they take a %.
  3. They take you pre-book and train you in the skills you need to be able to create the book and promote it yourself. (Some of which I am looking at within this course in Lessons 6, 7, 8 and 9)

Using the third option they do have the advantage that they have helped others to become best selling authors and as such it could help you fast-track your results for your book and your ultimate goal. They also have fabulous contacts in the industry and so in effect, they are doing a lot of the work we are talking about in this course for you. (I’m very happy to recommend a company to you if you feel this is the best course of action for you.)

It is important to remember that there are billions of books in the world and not all reach the pinnacle of success they deserve. All genres are saturated markets and it’s important that if you choose to self-publish you understand your reason why you wish to write the book and how you will promote it successfully. If you are in doubt self-publishing could be very tough for you. 

Another personal note, I was going to get my first book published by a publishing house and I’d had a number of replies from publishers who said that they loved it however it didn’t fit into their plans for that year. Or that it was too business focused for them to be able to accept it, they did also recommend me to other publishing houses giving me the contact names and contact details to be able to speak to them. As despondent as I felt, an international best selling author told me that to get personalised replies meant I was good at writing and I should keep going, it was just a case of putting it in front of the right publishers. It was in 2013 that this happened and because I had only just come back to work after a year and half of not working due to my Lupus I decided to self-publish because ultimately I wanted the content available for business women at The Business Womans Network immediately. This was also the right choice for me because I had altered my business goals to work with a wider audience and as such my first book is not something I greatly promote because it is for The BWN predominantly and the additional sales I get are just an added bonus. So can you see that it is critically important you understand why you wish to publish your book? In Lesson 6 we will look at this in another context, that it is essential that you consider.

ACTION; Look at the answers to the questions above and decide if you have positive or negative answers. This will help you decide if you should self-publish. Now to look at Lesson 5 – What will a publisher want?




  • July 25, 2017