Putting out a book is like building a house—you need to start with good plans, and it takes a lot of work. And if you approach self-publishing with the amount of rigor it takes to build a house by focusing on the blueprints, hiring the right contractors, having inspectors ensure the project is up to spec, and so on, then you can rest assured that you’ll create a solid and successful book, just like you’d have a solid and successful home.

Goals determine success.

Not every book sets out to be a best seller. Sometimes people simply want to make a book for their friends and family. Other people use books as a “lead generation tool” to bring in new business for their company. “Success” needs to be clearly defined for each project, because, naturally, it will be different based on different goals. Really this is the subject of another blog post, but I think it’s interesting to put it in terms of the home construction metaphor. If the most basic goal of every house is to provide shelter from the elements—to just be there—then it’s easy to correlate that to publishing; just make any old book and you’ll have achieved the goal.

Existence is easy.

But if a developer also wants to sell the house, she needs to make sure she incorporates certain elements. For example, the place should look nice, and there should be a logical system to the rooms, and indoor plumbing is a plus. Likewise with publishing. Even if someone is just building a house for himself and his friends or family, he’ll want it to look nice. And a writer will want his book to look appealing to the audience he provides it for.

Costs and goals should align.

No matter the budget, home construction should be cost effective. To do that, builders follow best practices by making sure, for instance, that they’re not digging on top of sewer pipes and causing expensive damage. And while it’s nice to incorporate embellishments like cupolas and stone patios and in-ground swimming pools, it’s important that they make sense for the goals of the project. A lot of times when people seek to publish a book by themselves, they end up overspending because they didn’t consider their objective or, worse, they didn’t follow best practices, or they hired the wrong printer. I have worked with people who came to me after paying a printer three times what they should have (and ended up with a book they didn’t like) because their pages weren’t designed correctly.

Start your plan.

Recently, Blurb (the Print On Demand printer) published a blog post on what you should include in your self-publishing plan. It’s a great place to start when thinking about all of this. The post walks through a few of the necessary considerations, like goals setting, finding the right tools, and distributing the book into the world. Each of these questions relate to each other, and they also include a lot of smaller questions that need to be considered. In 2018, practically anyone can get a book printed and listed for sale, but just like building a house, it’s best to have a professional guide you through the process.

If this makes sense to you, then keep poking around my website and when you’re ready, contact me and we’ll start developing your plans.