There's something about writing a book that makes you stand out in a crowd. Seeing your name in print carries a prestige that only a small few get to understand.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
If you're considering self-publishing, you might be interested in reading why I chose to do so instead of searching out a publisher.
It took me almost a year to write Exit Strategy. In August of 2015, I sat down to write my next book for the first time. My goal was to write at least 50,000 words.
Because 50k words is roughly 200 pages, and I felt like 200 pages would be worth the time and effort. Anyone can write an 80-page book, but not very many can punch out a tome of 200 pages or more.
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Self-publishing is a popular option for many authors today. But, is it the right option? Here are eight reasons I chose to self-publish my second book.
Why Not Me?
I've always been a reader. When I was younger, I used to read the Hardy Boys books. When I got older, I binged on Vince Flynn.
When I got laid off, I started a fiction novel and loved the process of creating a world in which fictional characters could live. Though I stopped writing my novel, in 2009 I'd caught the writing bug.
Fast forward to 2015 and I remembered the question I'd asked myself before starting my novel, “Why not me?” If other people could write and publish a book, why couldn't I? I consider myself just as creative, and just as driven and dedicated as the next guy, so why not set a goal and go after it?
Though my experience with “traditional” publishers is
somewhat limited almost non-existent, from what I can tell, they keep a tight grip on the book writing/publishing process. Depending on the company and your contract, publishers have a say in regards to both the cover design and the interior layout of your book.
When you self-publish, for both good and bad, you, as the author, have complete control over what goes in and on your book.
While writing Exit Strategy, I designed the cover. I tested somewhere around a dozen different ideas before finalizing what I wanted. As about 50 people I talked to at Podcast Movement can attest, I even tested both matte and glossy finishes.
As an entrepreneur, I like to maintain control over my work and the final result, and self-publishing allowed me to keep it.
Haven't purchased your copy of ‘Exit Strategy' yet? You can buy it here.
Again, my experience with large-scale publishers is limited, but from what I've heard, it can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months for a publisher to release your book. That can be a good thing. Since publishers have a vested interest in the success of your book, they put your book through a myriad of tests, edits, and other things to give it the best chances of success.
I've never been one to wait around for anything. After I had put in the work, I wanted to share what I'd done and get results for my efforts. Though having the checks and balances of the publisher has its benefits, it does delay the release of the final product.
I chose to self-publish my book so I could control when it was released.
To Prove I Could Do It
I can't tell you how many times I've heard, “Congratulations! This [publishing a book] is such an accomplishment!” Writing a book is a major undertaking. It takes a ton of time, a colossal amount of effort, and plenty of dedication and planning.
Not everyone has the discipline to write a book. According to this source, the average person types around 40 words per minute. I type about 75. At 68,599 words, that means it took me 914.95 minutes (15.24 hours) to write Exit Strategy.
Wow, after doing the math, it sure feels like it shouldn't have taken me ten months to get it done.
Anyway, in addition to time, writing a book requires a lot of planning. I wanted to see if I could stay focused long enough to string together the equivalent of over 70 blog posts (which would last me almost a year and a half).
According to this article on AuthorsGuild.org, and a small amount of research I did on my own, typical royalties with a publisher are about 15%.
On one hand, an author could reasonably assume that if the publisher is taking that much of a cut, they'd be doing a fair amount of work – editing, printing, marketing, etc. On the other hand, if the author can do those things on her own, or hire someone to do them, why do they need the publisher?
It's a toss-up, but I chose to self-publish to keep a larger portion of the profits. And, because of readers like you, I have the ability to market through my blog, podcast, social media and email.
Two of my favorite authors got their start through self-publishing. Both Vince Flynn and Dave Ramsey chose to self-publish their books and sell them out of the trunk of their car, and I wanted to do the same thing. Both Flynn and Ramsey went on to become bestsellers multiple times over, and they both started with a grass roots effort to share a story and change the world.
Not just anyone can write a book. I mean, they can, but they don't.
Because of the degree of difficulty, there are certain barriers to writing a book. If you can work through the barriers and get to the final result, there is a certain prestige that goes with it.
I Had Something to Say
As I've mentioned on The Ellory Wells Show, I want to create a culture of entrepreneurship. I believe that the best way for us to fix the problems of the world is for each of us to take responsibility for the results.
Plus, I never want people to be miserable at their jobs. And, I especially don't want people to remain unhappy because they don't know how to create a plan to leave. The Roadmap I laid out in Part 3 of Exit Strategy is the step-by-step 8-week outline to starting a business I wish I'd had when I was forced to make a decision about whether to build my business or brush off my resume.
If you've got a message that will help people or make the world a better place, it's your duty to share it.
Over to You: Would you ever self-publish a book?