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How Self-Publishing Benefits You Beyond The Money

by Bobi Ann Allen
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Three years ago, almost to the day, I developed a mysterious itch. No, I didn’t have a strange rash or rare skin condition. I felt an itch to print words on paper with the goal of nurturing readers’ spiritual growth. The problem was, I had no idea how to do it.

Not.

One.

Clue.

I didn’t know how to begin writing a book. Or even what the subject would be. And let’s just say for kicks, I did write a book, what then? From this novice state, I journeyed into the sprawling world of publishing.

As with any endeavor, mine began with research. Books, podcasts, conferences, blogs, conversations with other writers. Oh, and let’s not forget the words. I wrote many, many words.

Publishing seemed BIG. There was an onslaught of opinions and voices and one by one I began wading through them all. Tucking away meaningful nuggets when I found them, and discarding what might distract me from my assignment.

Along the winding road toward publishing, I encountered the Write Brilliant strategy. Because of the Write Brilliant team’s willingness to invest in me and my work, I discovered more of who I was as a writer.  I realized a truth that every author must own:

Your words are both an outlet of expression and an avenue of influence.

In one of the sessions, I learned about  a publishing option that tickled my itch: self-publishing. Margaret had just utilized this swift, low-cost option herself with coloring books, and her experience resonated with me.

Because I already had an established online Bible study platform, I decided offering a Bible study instead of a trade book would be an effective way for me to get my feet wet in publishing. This turned out to be a smart move.

Your words are both an outlet of expression and an avenue of influence. Click To Tweet

You should always connect your product to your platform.

Having selected what I would write, I needed to pick a publishing platform. After considering numerous self-publishing companies, I landed with CreateSpace, an affiliate of Amazon. Their process is flexible, logical, tested, and operated by the largest bookseller in the history of the world.

One big advantage of CreateSpace that authors might not consider is the capability to print on demand. Because I’m new to publishing, I figured I would sell a few books but I had no way of estimating how many.

The ability to print on demand protects you from investing thousands of dollars on inventory.

With CreateSpace, I can order as many or as few books as I want and sell them when I speak somewhere or when I teach the study in person.

They offer professional services to assist you, but don’t require them. It costs nothing to publish with CreateSpace. That’s right. Zilch. Zero. Nada. You’ll only incur costs when you utilize their professional services.

Two of the most important aspects of publishing, as in life, are first and second impressions.

Do not skimp on copyediting and make sure you have a professional and attractive cover design.

I used CreateSpace’s copyediting services with a guaranteed turnaround time, which cost me around $350. (The price is calculated by the number of words in your manuscript.) On my next project, I plan to shop around for editorial services, but CreateSpace’s service worked well.

The process was a little trickier when it came to the cover. None of CreateSpace’s free cover designs appealed to me, and I felt their professional design service was a little pricey. I shopped around and landed on coverdesignstudio.com.  This cost $160 and included both a physical book and e-book format. (I also purchased a layout design through coverdesignstudio.com for $34 to avoid headaches associated with page numbers.)

CreateSpace also extends creative liberty to authors, allowing them to make changes to their book even after it’s on the market. As seasoned authors and those I trust have given me feedback, I’ve been able to take some of their suggestions and create a better book.

The simplest part of the process is selling the book. I just post the link, and Amazon takes care of processing payment and shipping. Now readers all over the world can use my study to scratch their own itch for spiritual growth.

Self-publishing can be a great way to generate revenue, but it comes with a cost. CreateSpace takes their cut, Amazon takes theirs, and I receive what is left over. But self-publishing can benefit authors beyond just making money.

Self-publishing is a crash course in the publishing process. It forced me to engage the system from content generation to marketing and sales. What I learned from Write Brilliant proved true through my first foray into self-publishing: Writing isn’t all glamour and romance. It requires hard work and devotion. But it’s so worth it.

So get out there and scratch your writing itch. It’s worth it.

 

For even more writing tips, sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

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Bobi Ann Allen is a pastor’s wife, mom, and ministry leader. She was raised in a small east Texas town and now calls central Texas home. A graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in Christian education, Bobi Ann loves to laugh, spend time with her husband, Jared, and her delightfully silly kids, Kati Ann and Kie. You can find more from Bobi Ann on her website bobiann.com and by following her on Twitter and Instagram @bobiann.

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