It must be official ...
It must be official ...

An Author’s Journey – The Decision to Self-Publish


Third in a series of articles on the creation of Don’t Think So Much. Self-publishing is an innovative option - some thoughts on going it alone (versus finding a publisher).

Through the first few months of my journey, I was focused on writing the content and getting the edits done. There was a lot of new and exciting stuff on the way – discovering how to publish, print, and distribute – but I had to get the thing written before I could get to the fun part.

When the editing was almost complete, and I could see the light at the end of that first tunnel – joy. The learning journey was beginning! I dove right in, and right away was faced with an important decision. To self-publish, or find a traditional publisher? There are many sides to the decision, but in the end it was all about my vision for the book. What was I trying to accomplish here – what was my goal?

  • Money – Well, no, not directly. I never harbored illusions of making the NY Times Best Sellers list – it’s not that kind of book. Now, the per-copy profit on each book sale is relatively small, and self-publishing gets you a bigger margin. But the big publishing house is able to deliver a broader and deeper distribution channel – volume makes up for the smaller margin.
  • Fame – You probably won’t find many self-published works on the shelves of your favorite bookstore. Plus, the big houses will have many promotional moves in their playbook – they have done this many times, and I have not.
  • Experience – I have never published a book before, so there is plenty of new things to learn, new skills to gain. I knew how to write already, but I didn’t know how to make a physical book – and business and technology processes were a completely new world to me.

I suppose I could use these three “archetopics” to describe my central motivations – but I there were other elements of the decision that were very important to me.

  • Money – I was very much looking forward to the idea of starting a publishing business – my own little LLC, with assets and expenses and a bunch of supporting technology to create some value. My revenue target has always been to cover my expenses …
  • Fame – … and change my conversations around topics that really fire my imagination. I enjoy speaking publicly on these topics, and a book should help me open more doors.
  • Experience – Digital innovations have made it much easier to publish, print, and distribute – a perfect lesson in miniature of the democratizing and empowering nature of new tech.

In the end, it really was no contest. Self-publishing was an opportunity to soak up an incredible range of new experiences and knowledge. I was excited about learning the art and science of book internals (front matter! index! page layout!), as well as the graphic design work required for the cover. And what a great chance to put my marketing ideas to the test – a perfect way to dive deep into modern eMarketing techniques.

But most of all, I wanted to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, and truly start a business. So I dove right in, finding out that every step of the way was a) chock full of awesome learning experiences, and b) not well documented! It is not a process for the faint of heart; no simple icons to click here, you really have to put on your research hat and self-teach a lot of new skills.

Before long, I was ready to go with a new LLC, a bank account, a PO box, stack of forms and a fancy company seal. It looks great, very official – and what a kick to add my company address to correspondence. It really made the process real for me, as I was scratching a long-suppressed itch to start a business and create something of value.

So many other cool new things to learn – next up, how to create a book …

This is one of a series of articles on the creation of Don’t Think So Much; check out the finished book on Amazon – now available in hardcover!.

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