Self-publishing?

It is a permanent record.It should speak well of you.

It is a permanent record.
It should speak well of you.

Self-publishing is here to stay. I have used it myself. Many writers, working from a home office that doubles as family storage space, write riveting, professional novels and save money by self-publishing.

There are some pitfalls however, and in your zeal to get on with it you may fall flat-faced into a humiliating trap.

The first land mine is the temptation to forgo a professional edit in favor of having friends and family read your work. Unless you have an English major in your arsenal, one you can trust to critically assess your manuscript, you will encounter false flattery as well as overlooked grammatical errors. Printing alone is a daunting expense. Don’t spend money printing something that will embarrass you and destroy your credibility.

Don’t depend on spell check. You may be using a legitimate word. It is just the wrong word. Home renovation and DYI auto repair don’t have a corner on the disaster market. In this case the market will chew you to bits and never again take your work seriously. The cost of saving money may be your writing career.

Protect your investment and your reputation, not your ego. No-one who tells you just what you want to hear is a true friend.

Will hiring a professional editor guarantee you a best seller? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? A trained eye can tell you if you have a shot at selling any books at all, and an editor can get a sense of the marketability of your manuscript by reading the first three pages. To be honest, often from page one. You can save yourself needless heartbreak by dealing with reality sooner rather than later.

You are emotionally invested in your creation. Don’t scrimp where investment would pay dividends. Unless you have been writing for a long time and have learned to accept rejection letters philosophically, you must steel yourself for the pain of discovering that your masterpiece is flawed and not yet ready for market. Having this come as a private revelation, painful as it may be, is better than being the talk of the town for the wrong reasons.

You may be able “win someone over” after a bad first impression. While it has been known to happen with colleagues and in-laws, it is unlikely in a business relationship. It is even less likely with the fickle consumers of books. Your potential customer will sniff the air and move on.

I offer a free sample edit. Other editors make the same offer. Find one who is a good fit and then take advantage of it.

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