Writing Advice: Is It Worth It to Self-Publish? One Question You Must Ask to Decide

Just about the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to start making money as a writer is to self-publish, especially if you have little to no money. But, many question, “Is it worth it to go this route?” Like almost everything about business, the answer is, it depends.Following is the one question you need to ask — and answer, in my opinion — before deciding if self-publishing is worth it for you.Why do you want to publish a book? I have a friend whose mother died from Alzheimer’s disease. She was the primary caretaker and wanted to write a book about her experience during this difficult time. She asked me about the self-publishing process.I have another friend who wants to start an online business doing seminars targeted to empowering youth. She wants to publish a book about her message (to brand her speaking career).I have a cyber friend who’s in the process of writing a book about adopting his daughter from a foreign country; the Philippines (he’s American).I have yet another friend whose aunt led a life of crime, drugs and multiple marriages who wanted me to ghost write a book about her life.I point all this out to say that there are some who just want to get their story out there, and there are others who want to build a business around their book (ie, brand their business). It’s important to know going in why you want to write because if it’s just going to be a one-time thing, for example, you might decide to wait until you can cobble together the $3,000, $5,000, etc. or whatever it is you want to spend to have it all done for you.But if you want to brand a business or make ongoing money selling your info products, you might decide to do it yourself because you’ll be putting out multiple products and you’ll want to control how much you spend, how often you publish and what your message is.I write and sell eBooks (and seminars and e-classes) for a living. It’s a business for me, so I chose self-publishing for all of the reasons I just cited. For example, if a topic was hot in one of my niches (let’s say, freelance writing), then I could hop on it – writing an eBook and publishing it within a few days if I so desired.That’s what happened with the eBook I wrote on how to make money writing SEO content; which was first published in 2008, when this form of online writing was just getting popular.Following is how I got into self-publishing, which solidified that this was definitely the correct route for me.My Self-Publishing JourneyI’ve been writing and self-publishing eBooks since 2002. When I first started out, it wasn’t about making a living writing and selling eBooks online. At the time, I ran an editorial staffing agency at the time – one that hired freelance writers, editors, proofreaders, copy editors, etc. I kept getting the same questions from freelancers about things like how to land long-term assignments, what companies look for in freelancers, how much to charge, etc.So, I wrote up a pamphlet answering these frequently asked questions and uploaded it to my website. It didn’t have a cover or anything, and back in those days, purchasers had to pay first then wait for me to send them the file. It was very primitive is the point I’m trying to get across. I wasn’t even using the term “eBook” back then I don’t think.By 2010, I looked up and realized that over half my annual income came from products I wrote and sold online. And that’s when I decided to make a full-time go of it.ConclusionWhether you just want to get your story out there, or make a full-time living as a writer, self-publishing is a wonderful way to go about it because you can get started for nothing (literally $0!). Also, you make all the decisions regarding when your book comes out, where it’s sold, what to charge for it, what the cover looks like, etc.; and you can go publish as many or as few books as you want because it doesn’t have to cost anything.Only you can decide if self-publishing is worth it for you. If you start by asking “why do I want to write this book,” you’re more than half way to getting your answer — in my opinion and experience.

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