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5 Things Authors Should Know Before Self-Publishing

authors should know before publishing

Most authors that I have the privilege to work with understand the time and financial commitment required to properly market a book. They know what needs to happen before self-publishing, during the production phase and after the book is launched. Knowing that marketing is the key to a successful book the experienced author will budget the entire project properly to allow for this to happen.

On the other hand, many Indie authors have limited understanding of what is required to effectively market a book. In fact, some authors are not aware that they are responsible for book marketing and advanced distribution. This gap in understanding can be narrowed by educating the new author. I believe that anyone assisting authors with self-publishing has an obligation to educate them on the entire process of taking a book to market.


authors should know before publishing

Lack of understanding the big picture can lead to authors being taken advantage of during the self-publishing process. I recently talked to a couple of authors looking for book marketing services who did not allocate enough money for marketing. Both had concluded that they overpaid for book production services. Clearly, they felt like they had been taken advantage of and wished they had approached the whole process differently.

Although some will argue the authors are responsible for this and should have researched these companies more thoroughly. The intentional practice of taking advantage of authors hurts both parties involved and the book industry. Everyone has the right to earn a living, but not at the expense of an unsuspecting customer.

Education is key and we all have a role in making sure authors have a chance to succeed. The more success an author has, the more the industry will thrive.

Here are 5 Things Authors Should Know Before Publishing

Bringing a book to life is only part of the process (usually the easier one)- To be successful selling a book, authors need to be invested in a long-term marketing program that will require a time and financial commitment. The author should be as active as possible and willing to learn everything they can about marketing and distribution. Although the total cost for marketing a book depends on which strategies are used, it’s not unheard of to spend 3-5 thousand dollars within the first few years.

NOTE: It’s easy to overspend on marketing, especially if authors are throwing money at strategies without a plan. Make sure a plan involves a well-thought-out strategy blending both traditional and online marketing.

Your publisher or printer is not responsible for book marketing– Whether the book is being published traditionally or through self-publishing, the author is responsible for marketing. A publisher might be able to get the book into a bookstore chain, but the day to day marketing falls on the author’s shoulders.

The author needs to act as the COO of marketing– No one will be able to talk about or feel more passion about their book than the author! Whether they decide to shoulder the full responsibility for marketing or outsource parts, the author must oversee the program. Getting help with strategies they are not comfortable with is a smart tactic. When the author hires the right company, they should understand your strengths and limitations and focus on getting the author up to speed as quick as possible. This way you will be ready to take over the marketing within a short period of time.

Not all service providers are the same –Most companies who are set up to help authors with self-publishing do good work at a fair price. These companies are focused on taking the book from a manuscript format to a finished product and will do what’s necessary to make sure the author is satisfied. Their services should also include getting the book properly set up with the printer and online distributors. A well-respected company will make sure the metadata for the book is complete and uploaded correctly.

NOTE: Costs for the above service can range from $800-$3000 depending on the size, services requested and complexity of the book. Authors need to do their homework to make sure they are getting quality work done at a fair price.

Book Marketing is like running a Marathon– Longevity is not a bad word when it comes to book marketing. Most authors will have to put in a lot of work over a long period of time to get the results they seek. One of the best ways to do this is to create an abbreviated business plan. It doesn’t have to be very detailed but should include a roadmap consisting of the strategies needed, the order they should be implemented in and who will be doing the work. Even if the author has limited marketing skills, they can become more educated by researching credible websites and talking to other authors. Authors should use the plan as a guide but allow it to evolve as they learn from experience.

NOTE: Resist the temptation to haphazardly implement a strategy no matter how easy or cost effective it is. If you create a plan and implement it correctly, you will get better results without wasting time and money.

Like any new experience, book marketing can be intimidating at first. It’s a learning process that empowers the author to take control over their book. Once an effective marketing plan is implemented and the results realized, any other books introduced should be easier to market.


Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 13 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.

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