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February 24, 2013

Self-Publishing for Profit

Posted in: Advertising, Promotion, Marketing Strategies, Self-Publishing, Writing for Children

Even though I officially became a self-publisher in 2007 when Poster Girl┬árolled off the printing presses and arrived at my home, I think it’s only been in the last month that I actually became a publisher.

What do I mean by that?

I mean simply that only in the last month have I begun to look at spending money to publish something in terms of “Will I be able to earn that money back?” and “How long will it take?”

Frankly I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me over 5 years of publishing to ask that basic question. But I realized when I started self-publishing I just wanted to reach readers. I was incredibly frustrated by the fact that if I didn’t self-publish, no child or adult would ever pick something I wrote up off a bookshelf and enjoy it. A big turning point in my original decision to self-publish had been when the first page of a story of mine was read anonymously at a writing conference and people laughed out loud while it was read. That was the moment where I felt I MUST stop sending my writing off to editors and sitting and waiting. It was time for a game-changer and so I began self-publishing.

I published Poster Girl and then my No-Work Spanish audiobooks thinking all the while that publishing was about three steps:

1) Publish a good product
2) Make people aware of it
3) Make money

Sadly… it doesn’t really work like that. There are projects that are so expensive to publish or so difficult to make people aware of that they are highly unlikely to ever get to stage 3 — making money.

And I have to steer clear of such projects, as any publisher (self or big-time) must do. Why?

Because if I publish books or audiobooks that don’t turn a profit (or don’t turn one in a couple years) then I can’t KEEP publishing. I don’t work a dayjob just to fund publishing as a hobby. And so I must approach my publishing decisions differently from now on.

Again, I’m a bit embarrassed that this reality has only become clear to me recently, but…. there you have it

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