10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Self-Publishing an eBook

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Publishing an eBook is easy today. Almost too easy. Are you sure you are not rushing it? Are you sure it doesn’t need more work? 

Is it ready?
The conventional publishing process involves more feedback and more revisions than self-publishing. In a sense, it enforces more quality filters. The way some eBook publishing platforms work, you can publish a decent first draft as easily as a polished version of your manuscript.

Is the cover good enough?
We all know it’s not about the cover, but the fact is we are visual creatures. We process a book cover more easily than the book description.

It can be argued that there’s no such thing as a bad cover — that it’s all a matter of taste. But I think there are covers that can hurt the way your eBook is perceived. These include covers featuring low-quality images or clumsy graphics and generic covers that make books in certain genres look all the same.

Do I need an editor?
There are few texts in this world that cannot be improved by an editor’s keen eye. I cannot think of any reason for a writer not to send a book to an editor, other than perhaps lack of money. So unless you are writing something experimental and not editing the text is crucial to the purpose of the book, the editor is worth the price.

Has it been proofread?
Often, the writer is not the best person to proofread his or her work. Has it ever happened to you to miss a comma or some typo that someone spotted later simply because they looked at it with fresh eyes?

Would it look better in print?
Does your book have colorful illustrations? Poems with a playful structure? Many people today read eBooks on eReaders like the Kindle which come with some formatting limitations.

Have I chosen the right publishing platform?
For many Amazon is the obvious choice. But some of their more attractive publishing plans limit you to their platform. Once you publish your book with Amazon, you may not be able to publish it on other formats or even make it available as a download on your site.

Have I set the right price for it?
For the most part, eBooks sell for less than printed books. A low price for your book could be a double-edged sword: it may make it accessible, but it will also influence the way it is perceived. If you value a 400-page novel at $0.99, that may make some wonder whether it’s really worth buying. But then low prices may work for short books.

Will I market it?
Considering the number of eBooks out there, not marketing your book can make it difficult to discover. People may learn about it through word-of-mouth, but that’s more likely to happen with printed books, which are more tangible.

Some marketing is important for your eBook to be visible. That doesn’t mean you have to pay to market it of course. You can write about it on your blog and share it on social media.

Do I really want to self-publish it?
To this question I would answer with another question — how many self-published books do you read every month? If you read a few, then by all means, go ahead and publish it. If you don’t, think twice about it. The format of a book influences how it is perceived.

Is this book really a part of me?
It doesn’t have to be about your life or people that you know. But if it’s just a copy of something someone else came up with first, is it worth the price of those digital trees that have to be cut for it to be published? If you yes, then go ahead with it. Nobody can stop you.

 

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash

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