Should I Self-Publish a book? 10 Questions to Ask When Deciding on a Publishing Route
If you know me at all, you know I make fun of myself a lot. One thing I joke about is how I was so focused on literature in college as an English & Creative Writing major, that I didn't give blogging the time of day.
I remember sheepishly asking one of my professors what he thought of people who had blogs. At the time, I was intrigued with the world of blogging but too embarrassed to admit it. He said something nice about how there are a few bloggers who are actually talented and do blogging well.
One of my classmates overheard my question and as we walked to the hall together she said something about how blogging was "so embarrassing." I tucked my desire to blog away and ignored it for a few years, until I finally gave in and stopped caring what other people had to say about blogging and asked myself if I wanted to give it a go.
Now, I wish I would have started sooner.
My blogging dilemma reminds me a lot of the publishing dilemma many of my coaching clients come to me with. Ready to make progress, writers come eager to their coaching sessions ready to hear about the publishing industry.
Just like I asked my professor, they want to know what I think.
Should I self publish a book?
How long should I send out query letters for?
Is traditional publishing the best option?
What would you do if you were me?
As a coach, the worst thing I could do is actually attempt to answer one of those questions. The only answer that matters is the one that comes from you. My professor and classmate didn't take the role of the coach, instead they told me what they thought of blogging.
A better response would have been asking me what I thought of blogging, and how it lined up with my values.
My actions (as a blogger!) show what I value is different from my professor and my classmates. We are all writers, but writers that chose different paths based on what they value.
If you want to decide if you should self-publish or pursue another avenue of publishing, here are a few specific questions to help you see what you value, and how your publishing journey can fit into that:
What are your specific goals for this book?
What timeframe do you have in mind for this book?
What would the perfect publishing journey look like with this book? (Describe it in detail!)
How have you decided to publish a book?
How would you know your book was successful?
What does success in publishing mean to you?
Do you know anyone who has published a book before, and what have they shared about their publishing journey? What do you want to mimic from their journey? What do you want to avoid?
How much time are you willing to commit to the process of publishing a book?
What parts of the process do you want to own, and what parts of the process do you want to outsource?
What opinions have shaped your view of publishing? Are these views trustworthy and true?