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Self-Publishing for Small Business: Should You DIY or Get Help?

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Self-Publishing for Small Business: Should You DIY or Get Help?

Writing and publishing a book for your Small Business is a fantastic way to build your profile and promote your business. If you are self-publishing your book, one of the questions you’ll have to answer is, should you project manage the process yourself or find a self-publishing company to help you?

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and I’ve seen great books and not-so-great books produced both ways. Think of it like managing a renovation on your house. You can find the architect, the electrician, the plumber, the carpenter and all the other people you need yourself, or you can find a building company that will take care of the whole thing for you.

So, what’s involved?

Project management is an important part of the publication of your book. It involves:

  • arranging and monitoring the schedule for your book
  • creating and overseeing a plan for everything that needs to be done for your book to be published
  • finding and liaising with service providers, such as designers, editors, proofreaders, printers and indexers
  • making sure things are done in the right order and at the right time
  • obtaining quotes and paying the bills.

The DIY approach:

If you’re well organised, prepared to put in the time and effort, and are enthusiastic about doing something new, you can manage your project yourself. I’ve certainly seen some great books produced this way, and the authors have found it challenging but manageable and exciting.

An advantage of managing your project yourself is that you can shop around and find the lowest cost designer, editor, printer and so on. The trade-off, as with most things, is that in possibly saving a few dollars you’ll have to put in a lot more effort yourself, both in finding people to help you and then in managing the project yourself. Coordinating everything takes a lot of time, and it can be difficult to make sure everything happens on time and in the right order, especially for your first book.

Getting help:

The other option is to find a self-publishing company that not only provides the services you need but also manages the whole process for you – a ‘one-stop shop’. This has a number of advantages:

  • you only have to deal with one service provider throughout the publication of your book
  • you have somebody to guide you at every step of the way, explaining what you need to do and what your options are
  • the process often runs more smoothly because the self-publishing company has systems in place to manage and coordinate the different stages of the process
  • you won’t have to worry about the more mundane tasks of publishing your book, such as purchasing an ISBN and barcode.

Most companies will help authors with developing their manuscript, through editing, layout and printing, proofreading and indexing, to ebook formatting, and some offer bookshop distribution as well.

If you take up a full package, a full-service company might also actually provide lower cost services when compared to doing it yourself, because managing the whole process introduces efficiencies that can save you money (and time), and also if you factor in the cost of your time. For example, if the person editing your book doesn’t know the systems and requirements of the person doing the design and layout, this can introduce some inefficiencies, with the designer at times having to undo and then re-do some of the preliminary formatting work done by the editor.

A lot of technical issues need to be managed in producing a book, so having everything done in one place can be advantageous. So, overall, you may actually find little or no cost advantages in shopping around for individual services.

I wish you luck with your publishing!

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