Ten years ago, the idea of self-publishing a serious business book would have been laughable. Self-publishing was for losers, right? Self-publishing was a last resort after not being able to get a book contract from one of the Big Five (Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin/Random House, Simon & Schuster), or a business book publisher like Harvard Business Press.
Well, guess what. The book publishing – and reading – revolution is well under way. The idea that self-publishing is a last resort is dead. That notion is out of date. It misses the boat. Self-publishing may not be right for every prospective business author. It depends on your goals. But it is an extremely viable option to get your book – yes, a professionally edited and designed book – directly into readers’ hands.
I’ve been mulling over how to explain this in a way that is palatable to those who think a “real” book is one published by a “real” (aka legacy) publisher. I was one of those until quite recently, BTW. First, I’ll bludgeon you with an argument: self-publishing an ebook is now so easy and quick that it would be madness not to consider it. Write your book (the hardest part), get it edited, choose a catchy title, get an eye-catching cover designed, format the manuscript for Kindle (and the other e-readers, if you wish). Upload the file via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, set the price (you can always change it) – and you’re done. If your price is at least $2.99, you will keep 70% of each sale. You can potentially reach millions of readers with a self-published Kindle ebook.
OK, I realize that may not work for those who are not fired up by the next new thing. Here’s another argument for those who may be stuck in old-think. Let’s use an analogy: the only way to get a top notch education is to attend an Ivy League university. Hogwash. We all know that smart, motivated students can get a magnificent education at dozens, if not hundreds, of second and third tier colleges that are less well known. The one-size-fits-all approach – to education, to publishing, to jobs, to just about everything – doesn’t work any more. Seth Godin’s newest book, We Are All Weird, lays out this argument more eloquently and imaginatively than I can.
I’ve got a lot more to say about this topic but I’ll stop here for now. In the meantime, lob your questions, doubts, rebuttals or other concerns at me in the comments below. I’d love to hear and will do my best to answer each of you.