The truth about self publishing

Nicole Dieker has a post on Jane Friedman’s weblog that is essential reading for anybody who is thinking about self-publishing.  Here’s the reason you should read it if you fall into that category:

So I spent several months researching the self-publishing process and planning my own marketing and publication strategy. It turns out that there’s a lot of information on how to self-publish a book, and a lot of advice regarding marketing, social media, and so on—but there aren’t as many case studies showing how well these publication strategies work.

Which is why I’m giving you my own case study. Everything I’ve done so far, along with the costs and the results.

I’ll start with the most important statistic first: as of this writing, I’ve sold 167 ebooks and 118 paperbacks, and my royalties and earnings total $803.90.

Dieker has earned a total of $803.90 for her The Biographies of Ordinary People. She breaks down what she has paid for production, shipping, and marketing from multiple angles.  What she doesn’t include in her analysis: her time. The time it took to write the novel, and the many, many hours that went into organizing publication and marketing.  My guess is that if you could add all the time up she’d have earned something far below the minimum wage.

It was courageous of Dieker to self-publish, and in my opinion, even more courageous to write in such detail about the process. Certainly I’m thankful that she went to the trouble to actually analyzing how well the various (often highly priced) marketing strategies work.   


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