Decision-making Tree: DIY book launch

I’ve written (and re-written) a book. Now what?

Most of my writing courses defined the finish line as having a polished manuscript in hand. But they were wrong. That’s just the midpoint, and the biggest job is still ahead—launching the manuscript into the world.

After a fair amount of study, I’ve decided to self-publish A Mercy of Widows. 

Here’s why.

Time. I want to have a hard copy of Mercy in my mother’s hands while she (a dementia patient) can still recognize it. Self-publishing is a much faster and surer route than the more traditional option. The traditional route has two obstacles: getting an agent (which I understand is harder to accomplish than getting into Harvard) who then tries to sell the manuscript to a publisher (which is as difficult).

What does that mean?

Money. Publishing costs money and self-publishing means I foot those bills. Examples of pre-production costs include: developmental and copy editors, proofreader, cover and book design. Marketing costs (for me) include: website and business cards. Actual publication costs include: aggregator and distribution fees, bookstore percentages (applies to both electronic and paper books), printing costs (for paper books). And maybe narration and production costs for an audiobook. 

My main concern?

Quality. By choosing to self-publish, I have no experienced agent or publisher examining my work and announcing, “yes, this is good enough.” I have to decide for myself, with incomplete information and inexperience. And, interestingly, my concern over whether my manuscript is ready is the most daunting of all my decisions.

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