Publishing for Free

publishing-for-freePretty much on a daily basis I talk to authors and would-be publishers who have bought into the idea that publishing can be done with no money or very little. Folks, we’ve just been in an age of “No money down!” home-, furniture-, and everything-else-sales that have led to the biggest consumer crash ever. Surely we’ve learned that you can’t get anywhere without having to pay.

Publishing is a $3 trillion worldwide business. This is not to say that you can’t compete – but it’s simply not going to happen if you think that you can do this with no money down or with “free” services. I’m not saying you have to pay a mint, but it costs money to start any business.

Publishing books is a *business*.

Being small means you have to think leaner/meaner/sharper than the big guys. But to be smart, you have to educate yourself so you know what the industry expects, what the rules are (so if you break them, you do so knowingly and not stupidly) and how little ol’ you can succeed where the big guys are drowning like dinos in a tar pit.

If you can’t/won’t/don’t want to learn the skillsets required to publish your book, do not expect those who have spent years acquiring same to do those things for free. Be absolutely suspicious of those who say they can typeset, convert a manuscript to Kindle or any other service for free or
cheap. You get *exactly* what you pay for.

If you don’t have the money to market, print, get decent editing, or any of the other things that go into making a book the right way (and don’t plan to acquire the skills yourself), then stop what you are doing and save for that launch. Don’t rush to put “something out.” Very little that is excellent in the world is the result of slap-dash production. Most “overnight successes” are the result of ten-or-more years of hard work and investment. Respect that what you’ve created is a precious thing – the product of your mind and hard work. It deserves to be put in the best package possible, with the most careful planning you can focus on it.

While you’re accumulating the needed funds, study up on how to make that hard-earned money you’re going to spend work most effectively so that you succeed. There is nothing that makes me sadder or more frustrated than reading posts by people who are just shocked that their clip-art-cover-not-edited-formatted-in-Word-POD-printed-with-no hope-of-any-distribution-no-marketing-at-all book is not selling. Because I know how hard that person worked to create that piece of work, and by rushing to “get it out,” they destroyed any value it might have had.

It’s not a bad gall bladder; it’s your mind-child!

Scrimp and save if you have to, take 3 years to get it published RIGHT if you must, but plan for success, not failure!

Jacqueline Church Simonds
Beagle Bay, Inc., Books That Enlighten and Inform
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Book Shepherding, production and design