The other major motive for self-publishing is self-publishing for quality, that is using it as a way to produce the best possible product. This may sound like something that people shouldn’t do, because as someone once said to me “it’s all about the money”. But in reality there is an awful lot to be said for this approach to self-publishing.
Why not go for the money route?
The problem with seeking to maximise your income is that it is tremendously difficult to actually judge what is “enough” quality. If you create purely focussing on quality then you know you will always be above the minimum quality level to sell, so in some ways this is an easier route to take.
There is no getting around it – creating a super-high quality book does cost a lot. In my interview with Lucienne Boyce (Using an Assisted Publishing Service Successfully with Lucienne Boyce (Episode 34) ) it was clear that she paid a lot to Silverwood Books to produce her a fantastic book. Some less scrupulous assisted publishers can also play on people’s desire for quality and take advantage of authors, as we discovered in my interview with Chrissie Parker (The Dark Side of Assisted Publishing with Chrissie Parker).
Even though print copies don’t matter in terms of revenue for most self-published writers, they do bring both a tremendous feeling of quality to a book. People are impressed by paperback books in a way they just aren’t by e-books. Using services like Ingram Spark (Ingram Spark with Andy Bromley (Episode 22)) you can produce print-on-demand hardback books as well. You can even go to a printer and order a print run of books like Jane Davis did (Small Print Runs – an Interview with Jane Davis (Episode 13)). If you are confident of selling the books (or at least have decent cheap storage) then a print run can make more sense than print-on-demand.
If you want to go for the ultimate credibility play, then you might want to consider the relatively hard task of getting your books into book stores which I talked about with Debbie Young (How to Sell Your Books Through Bookshops with Debbie Young (Episode 21) ). It can clearly be done by Indie Authors, but it isn’t an easy task as you are up against large publishers with professional teams of sales people who can spend a lot more time on it than you.
Getting the highest quality services
If you are looking for high quality services then companies like Reedsy (Finding Professionals using Reedsy with Emmanuel Nataf (Episode 27) ) are probably the place to look. More luxury items like developmental editing do ensure that your book is the very best it can be. Even interior formatting, which standard tools can provide at a fairly good level, might be worth paying lots for to get a fantastic finished product.
The Benefits of Quality
For those people using their book as a business card, then quality does matter, just as you will think more of somebody with a well designed business card than someone with a tatty piece of paper with a number scrawled on it. People will associate quality with all their preconceived ideas about publishing and many more snobby people who only look at “traditionally” published books won’t notice you are self-published. So there is an argument for saying that in the long term this approach is the best one, just expect it to cost and to earn less profit, at least in the short term.