Is Self-Publishing The Answer?
By Mark Ortman

Being a published author can be a rewarding and profitable experience. Sharing your expertise in a book can inspire others, promote your message or interest and spark local or national publicity. Mark Ortman, author and speaker says, "When we put our ideas on paper, we make a commitment to what we represent. This adds substance and credibility to what we say and do. People tend to take us more seriously when we have dedicated the time and the effort to write a book." The question remains . . . "How do I get my book published?"

With several thousand manuscripts being submitted to publishing houses each week, only a very small percentage is selected. Persuading a publisher to finance and distribute your book is often a frustrating experience filled with rejection letters and delays. Even then, limited promotional backing for first time authors often restricts a book's potential. Unless you are a celebrity, a prolific writer or have a proven track record, chances are slim that you will gain the favor of a commercial publisher. All is not lost. Consider how authors Wayne Dyer (Erroneous Zones), James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy), Richard Bolles (What Color is Your Parachute) and Marlo Morgan (Mutant Message Down Under) got started. Initially, publishers failed to see the value of their message. As a result, these authors self-published. Self-publishing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry. Because of the computer and desktop software, anyone can publish a book for a fraction of what it once cost. If your book proves to be successful, the same people who once turned you down may come knocking at your door. Then you can negotiate terms from a position of strength and experience.

No one can predict the commercial success of a book. The only way to find out is to give your idea the best possible chance to succeed with the least risk. To write a book is an art, to publish it is a business. This is often overlooked until you are stuck with a garage-full of unsold books. Your financial risk can be offset, significantly, by determining the market for your book, this is test marketing. Share your manuscript with members of your target audience and ask for an honest assessment. Then, if you are still enthusiastic, print a small quantity to see how it sells beyond your friends and family. If it does sell, print more; if it doesn't, you are not out a fortune. Even then, the fact remains that out of 10 books published; 3 earn a profit, 4 break even and the remainder lose money. With those odds it is only sensible to approach this venture wisely.

Copyright © 1999 Mark Ortman

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