There’s a common statistic floating around the publishing industry that says over 80% of Americans dream of publishing a book someday. With over 500,000 new books created each year (self-published and traditionally published) that percentage may have validity. What many people don’t realize, though, is that over 80% of new books published never break even financially. So, that creates a lot of frustrated authors roaming the countryside.
How can you avoid a similar fate? Before publishing a book, make sure you’re ready to go through the agonizing, time-consuming, and expensive process. Consider these 10 questions:
1. Have you shared your book’s concept with any family, friends, or co-workers who enthusiastically requested to be a test reader?
2. Have you told anyone about your book idea who proceeded to tell three other friends, because they thought the idea was really good?
3. Do you feel comfortable telling other people about your book idea, rather than ashamed or too bashful to mention it?
4. Do you have money set aside ($3,000+) to build a professional website for marketing your book?
5. Do you believe in the content of your book or the story you’ve written so much that your desire to share it with people is greater than you desire to make money off of it?
6. Do you have a legitimate network of contacts who are influential and willing to help you promote your book?
7. Do you have time in your weekly schedule to spend at least 5 – 10 hours per week engaged in promotional activities?
8. Are you seeking to publish a book because you have something special to say or a unique story to tell, rather than just being attracted to the allure of getting published?
9. Have you conducted research on Amazon or Google to determine how many other books deal with your same content or storyline?
10. Do you have a steady job as a fall back position versus trying to write a book to become rich and famous?
If you cannot say yes to most of the questions above, then you’re probably best waiting to publish a book at a later time. Going through the process just to say you’re a published author is like marrying anyone who comes along just to say you’re married. Nobody ends up happy.
On the other hand, if you can say yes to all of these questions, then you may possess the determination, cash flow, and realistic expectations to give it a shot. Nothing is certain, except that you will work harder than you think to make your book succeed. Writing, publishing, and promoting books represents a labor of love. Yet, it is a noble mission for those who do so with the sincere desire to improve the world.