Publishing a book is a monumental moment for any writer. It’s probably something you’ve dreamt about for years, but you also know that the chances of getting a book agent and a traditional publishing deal are slim to none. Not because your book isn’t good enough, but rather because the market is flooded with book proposals. Failing to get an agent to pay attention to you does not mean your book doesn’t have value, or a potential market; it just means you are going to do a lot of the work yourself – and that’s okay!
So how do you know if you are ready to self-publish your book?
(Side note: there are more than one way to publish a book, and we go over the different types with their advantages and disadvantages in this article: Should You Self Publish)
If you’re leaning toward self-publishing but aren’t sure if you and your book are ready to take the plunge, here are 8 signs you are ready to self-publish your book.
1. Your book is fully edited
All books whether traditionally or self-published deserve the same level of professional editing. If your book has been through a developmental editor, copy editor, and beta readers and with each round you have continued to make improvements until you find nothing left to change then your book is ready for publishing.
2. You have a handle on all the elements of book marketing
Self-publishing a book also means knowing how to market a book. If you have taken a book marketing course, or read up on all the best book marketing blogs and have mapped out a book launch plan then you are ready to self-publish.
3. You’ve started building your audience
Whether it’s an author website, a blog writing strategy, social media channels or all of the above, if you are already knee-deep into your author platform building and have gained a hefty amount of followers who are engaged with your content then you are ready to self-publish.
4. You like the idea of having complete design control over your book
Having complete control over the book design process does not mean having to do it yourself. But if the idea of finding and hiring a freelance cover designer, and researching interior formatting designers to find the right one to bring your vision to life excites you then you are ready to self-publish.
6. You aren’t afraid of DIY
While we are big proponents of hiring experts to make your self-publishing book a success, there are still many aspects of self-publishing that are DIY and that, depending on your skill and comfort level, you can do yourself. You may decide to hire a cover designer and formatter, but handle distribution and all the book marketing yourself.
The great thing about self-publishing is you can find expert help when you need it, or if you are willing to do the research and put in the work you can handle a lot of it on your own and have just as much success.
7. You know your author goals
If you are crystal clear on your author goals and self publishing will accomplish all or most of them, then you are ready to self publish. If your goals include things like seeing your book in bookstores, or making the New York TImes best seller lists, then you might want to consider a more traditional route. But if your goals include things like getting readers, retaining all of your royalties, and having full having creative control then you are ready to self-publish.
5. You’re in a time crunch
Self-publishing is usually much faster than traditional publishing– which can take a year or more to land a book agent, another 12 months to get a publishing deal, and then equally as long to adhere to their publishing schedule. Self-publishing on the other hand can happen much quicker thanks to print-on-demand technology. If waiting two years to get your book out in the world doesn’t sound appealing then you might be a good candidate for self-publishing.
Just remember to remain realistic with your expectations about how long it takes to self-publish a book, and don’t sacrifice quality to save time.
8. You have more books planned
The most successful self-published authors have more than one book. So if your first book is ready for publishing and you have more up your sleeve then it’s time to get book one out the door.