Self-Publishing - 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’ (What’s a ‘Wannabe’ Author to Do?)

By Karen Cioffi

Self-publishing is a ship everyone wants to sail on. And, for good reason. This publishing avenue is quick and cheap.

Yes, self-publishing is fast. There’s no more submitting to a publisher or multiple publishers and waiting for (possibly) months for a response. Will they accept your manuscript that you’ve been working on for months, maybe years? Or, will they send you a generic standard rejection letter? Either way, the time waiting for an acceptance or rejection isn’t fun. With self-publishing, as soon as your manuscript is ready to go, it goes.

There are lots and lots of places to publish an ebook. And, you can publish with more than one service. And, you can sell that ebook right from your own site. That’s pretty convenient.

In addition to being a quick process, ebooks are cheap to create and publish. If you do everything yourself (aside from editing), it will cost nothing. In the event you need help, services like Fiverr have people who will help you for a very, very reasonable price.

But . . .

While it’s obvious to see the benefits to self-publishing, these benefits have one drawback in particular: everyone thinks they can write a book and self-publish it, whether or not they have the skills to write a book and whether or not it’s a quality product.

Part of the problem, possibly the main problem, is the 'I want it now' syndrome that self-publishing lends itself to. New authors don't want to take the longer 'proven' road of learning the craft of writing and having their manuscript edited before publishing.

This ‘problem’ does all authors a disservice. It lessens the validity of self-published books as a whole. Readers (buyers) never know if the book they’re buying was done professionally or if it was carelessly slapped together.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, there are three basic strategies to use when thinking of writing a book and self-publishing:

1. Learn the craft of writing.

The first thing a ‘wannabe’ author needs to do is learn the craft of writing. This isn’t to say you must get a MFA, but you should take writing courses and belong to writing groups.

2. Join a critique group.

The second thing is for the author to join a genre appropriate critique group. Having your manuscript critiqued by others helps with grammar, clarity, storyline, characters . . . you get the idea. Critique groups help you write your book. Those extra eyes will catch things in your manuscript that you glaze over.

3. Hire an editor.

The third thing the author should do, after the manuscript is as ‘good’ as she can get it, is to find a reputable editor and have it edited. It’s easy for an author to think she’s found all the errors in her manuscript, but in actuality, this is almost impossible to do. As the author, you’re much too close to the work to see it fresh and with unbiased eyes.

Self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for authors, but it needs to be done responsibly. Authors need to take the readers and the industry into consideration when venturing into it.

4. Bonus Tip: Hire a professional illustrator or graphic designer for the cover.

What’s the first thing a reader will see when looking at your book? Yep, the cover. The cover can be the determining factor as to whether that person will pick the book up to look at the back cover and/or buy it.

There’s almost nothing worse in self-publishing than having an amateurish, cheap looking book cover. If you have to cut corners, do it elsewhere - invest in a quality cover.

Summing it Up

Instead of being one of the “I want it now” authors, be one of the ‘I want it, but am willing to work toward it’ authors.

And, keep in mind that for content marketing this is even more important. While writing your own book or ebook is a savvy marketing strategy, you will need to create a quality product if it's to do its job of building your authority and credibility. Always do it right.


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Suzanne Lieurance said...


What you suggest is great advice.

I see so many people who want to write and publish a children's book, yet they've never taken a class - not even a free online workshop - that is specifically about writing for children.

As a result, they really don't understand children's books, so they put out a book that is substandard.

If they'd just taken a course or gotten a coach or even hired someone (who knows about childrens' writing) to ghostwrite the book for them they could have published a pretty good book.

The other thing is, people who've never worked in the traditional publishing industry often want to edit their book themselves because they want complete creative control. Again, most of the time they end up with a not-so-good book. It's too bad.

Linda Wilson said...

Great tips, Karen, and a very helpful post. Writers can go down the "wrong" self-publishing road or the "right" one. You're helping direct them to go the best way possible.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Karen, I see this syndrome in action all the time. We wouldn't expect to become a psychologist without training, right? And we must realize that even Coca-Cola's marketing didn't produce results immediately. (-:

Ha! Don't I love to rant!

Karen Cioffi said...

It's so true, Suzanne. With just a little effort and knowledge these new authors can create a much better product. One that they can be proud of.

Or, like you mentioned, they can hire a ghostwriter. I know a good one. :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, that's why I wrote this post, to hopefully get them thinking.

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, I see this often also. And, along with the authors producing and publishing substandard products, it makes the self-publishing arena as a whole weak / less professional.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

So true, Karen. I have worked as an editor for years but still needed a great editor for my novel. She caught so much I'd missed.

Karen Cioffi said...

LOL! That goes for all of us. I can read my own work over and over and still miss a glaring error. I don't think as the author that we can truly read/edit our own manuscripts and catch all the things that need to be corrected.

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