5 Ways to “Eat the Elephant” of Self Publishing

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” — Creighton Abrams

I recently met with a new marketing client. This author was close to publishing his book and freely admitted he was totally overwhelmed by the experience. He expressed what most authors I’ve met have said, “I thought writing the book was going to be the hard part.”

What author hasn’t been a little shocked to find out that In addition to writing the book you also have to become an instant expert in editing, graphic design, publicity, online marketing……?
I wasn’t surprised that my new client was a bit overwhelmed. He had just realized that his book had become a 2nd job and of elephantine proportions at that. Our meeting ended with creating a to-do list for both of us.

Hiring a professional to do various aspects of your publishing process is certainly one of the ways an author can “eat the elephant.” But where do you start?

1. Just Google it.

Googling “how to publish a book” brings up a bunch of self publishing sites and related publications on publishing — 266,000,000 of them. Ignore the obvious “publish your book with us” sites (they can be very expensive) and focus on publications like Writer’s Digest and blogs for starting information. Articles in general publications will hopefully lead you to the websites of some of the leaders in self publishing and publishing trade organizations like CIPA.

2. Read about it.

Read a book or two on self publishing. Search “self publishing on Amazon and you’ll get 121,792 to choose from. Search on “book marketing” and you’ll have another 312,000 books to browse. Suggestion to start: narrow it down to what’s at your local library – most likely they’ll have several titles.

3. Talk to people who’ve been there already.

Talk to authors you know, or join a Meetup of authors. How are they finding answers to their self publishing questions?

4. Join a publishing organization like the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

Ok, so I’m the board president this year and I’m prejudiced! Organizations like CIPA serve to educate their members about publishing and marketing books and help them avoid expensive mistakes. And let’s not forget about the vast amount of knowledge shared by our members.

5. Hire a pro.

Hire a professional to guide you through the process. This could be one-on-one coaching, classes, or having someone do it all for you. CIPA has members who are editors, designers, marketers and more. Get referrals whenever possible from your author connections.

If you’ve already published and are ready to gear up your marketing, these steps will work for you, too. Do a little research and talk to fellow authors and professionals about how to get back on the promotion track for your book. A little knowledge will help to shrink that elephant down to a manageable size.