February 5, 2024

Episode 56: Debunking Self-Publishing Myths:

Busting Through the 11 False Beliefs that May Be Holding You Back

Stop believing these false ideas … and embrace self-publishing as the viable option it is

Episode 56: Debunking Self-Publishing Myths: Busting Through the 11 False Beliefs that May Be Holding You Back

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Podcast


What if I told you that most of what you’ve heard about self-publishing is not just misleading, but downright wrong? It’s time to dispel these false beliefs and step into the world of successful authorship. In this episode of The Author Switch podcast, I debunk the top 11 self-publishing myths and pave the way to your self-publishing success.

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Recap & Takeaways

  • 01:22 Myth 1: Self-Publishing is Easy
  • 02:18 Myth 2: Self-Published Books Don’t Sell
  • 02:50 Myth 3: Self-Publishing is Only for Those Who Can’t Get a Traditional Deal
  • 05:04 Myth 4: You Can’t Make Money with Self-Publishing
  • 06:47 Myth 5: Self-Published Books Are Lower Quality
  • 11:22 Myth 6: Self-Published Books Don’t Get Professional Reviews
  • 12:14 Myth 7: Self-Publishing is Only for E-books
  • 13:10 Myth 8: Once Your Book is Published, the Work is Done
  • 14:06 Myth 9: Self-Published Authors Work Alone
  • 16:57 Myth 10: You Can’t Get a Self-Published Book into Bookstores
  • 18:32 Myth 11: Self-Publishing Limits Your Future Publishing Options

Episode 56: Debunking Self-Publishing Myths: Busting Through the 11 False Beliefs that May Be Holding You Back

Hello and welcome to The Author Switch Podcast. Imagine yourself holding your book, holding your book in your hands, feeling proud and confident. Now imagine the only thing standing in your way between where you are now, and this moment is a few misconceptions. In this episode, I am going to be debunking 11 misconceptions about the self-publishing world and about self-publishing in general.


So stay tuned.


Hello and welcome to episode 56 of The Author Switch Podcast. I am your host, Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write a lead-attracting book in 90 days or less. Now let’s get to this. Let’s debunk 11 myths about self-publishing that may be holding you back.


Myth number one, and that is self-publishing is easy.


 Okay, I do it a lot. So. I can tell you, although it’s not easy, it is kind of simple. You follow this step, then this step, then this step, then this step, you follow the steps, you’re self-published. But is it easy? I don’t think it’s necessarily easy. Easy. There’s a lot of moving parts. You need to be thinking about all these things.


And so, really, you have to be a professional to really get self-publishing right. If you’re going to just be lazy and not do it right, you’re not going to get a good quality product. And that’s not going to help your authority. It’s not going to help your influence. It’s definitely not going to help your thought leadership.


And it certainly isn’t going to help your business. So, although self-publishing is simple, it’s not necessarily easy.


Myth number two. Self-published books don’t sell.  


Well, given that most of the books that I have ever published are self-published and I sell at least one copy of a book every month, Despite the fact that I don’t even market some of them, I can tell you they sell.


They sell. And there are some people who’ve gotten them to sell so well that it’s attracted new business. It’s attracted a traditional publishing deal. Self-published books do sell, so don’t worry about that.


Self-publishing myth number three. And that is self-publishing is only for those who can’t get a traditional deal. 


Huh. That was a little bit trickier to unwind. So the short answer is that’s absolute bunk. People who self-publish can totally get a traditional deal. The difference is that publishing is agile. It’s quick. You can get it done. You can decide today that you want to publish a book and that book can be self-published and in reader’s hands within a month.


possibly even sooner. It depends on how long the book is, how short, you know, that kind of thing, but within 30 days, easy. You can get it done. Traditional deal, uh, uh, traditional deal is going to take at least At least a year. Now, if you work with a boutique publisher, it could be a little bit shorter than that.


I’ve seen some boutique publishers get things out a little bit of as early as six months. Some maybe three, but it just takes longer when you’re working with a publisher. It just does because they go through all this other. Basically, you’ve got more chefs in the kitchen, so it just takes longer. And honestly, I know people who have self-published first and then gone on to get a traditional deal. So here are some examples, some famous examples, Chicken Soup for the Soul. That started off as a self-published book. Dr. Wayne Dyer, I believe it was his Erroneous Zones book that started off self-published.


His first book was self-published, and he schlepped it in the back of his car. And I don’t know the name of the book, but I do know there was this woman who wrote this sort of erotic romance novel. No one would take it, so she self-published, sold thousands of copies, and then the traditional publishers were like, We don’t want to sign you!


So, self-publishing does not stop you from getting a traditional deal, and just because you self-publish doesn’t mean you can’t get a traditional deal.


Myth number four and that is you can’t make money with self-publishing.


  Oh my gosh, that is such a hockey puck. You can totally make money self-publishing. I know I’ve heard of people who are making $200 a month on one book, and they have multiple books so they’re actually making a living off their books.


I read a story just a few weeks ago. There was this author who wrote thrillers, and he had a traditional publishing deal. He published three books with them, but they didn’t market the book. They just sort of left it as a backend book. Didn’t put much into it. So it really wasn’t selling. And then they dropped him because it really wasn’t selling.


Well, duh, if you don’t market it. So he decided screw the traditional route. I’m going to self-publish. So he started self-publishing, and now he is making six figures a year with his thrillers. Because he’s built this following, and he is self-publishing, and he is entrepreneurial. And that’s fiction.


There are lots of nonfiction authors who are doing it themselves. So, yes, there is money to be made. Now that said. most of the time, the money that you make as an author comes from what the books give you. So when you have a book, you are more likely to get a speaking gig. When you have a book, you are more likely to get high end clients.


When you have a book, you are more likely to get better quality clients. When you get a book, you’re more likely to get whatever it is that you want to get to grow your business. The book helps you get there faster.


And myth number five is self-published books are lower quality.  That one comes with a caveat because I wouldn’t say self-publishing equals lower quality.


That’s absolutely not true. But there are self-published books that are low quality, usually because the person self-published without really knowing what they were doing. I’ve done that.


And they didn’t hire the editors they needed to get the, the writing up to stuff. I have done a lot of book reviews. And a lot of the people who send me their books for review are self-published, and some of them went with vanity press companies who don’t really care whether your book’s quality or not.


They just care that you paid them to publish your book. They do that, and they’re done. They don’t care. So you get a poor-quality product. In general, if I think the book is complete hogwash and just awful and I can’t say anything nice about it, I don’t publish the review. So there are, there are books that I actually gave to the Good Will because I didn’t want it because I couldn’t say anything nice about it.


And there were books where it was like 50 50. I remember there’s a review on one on I believe CarmaSpence.Com where I reviewed a book was called spaghetti something or other. It was like the spaghetti mindset or something like that. And it was a really good idea. The author put her heart and soul in it, but boy did it need a book doctor.


It just really needed a book doctor to up level her writing because it was just really bad, but the ideas were great. So does self-publishing equal bleh? No. But it’s how much effort you put into it and how much professional pride that you put into it. Do you hire the people you need to hire to help you put out a quality product?


This, this book right here, Public Speaking Super Powers, I hired two editors, a proofreader, and an editor, and I hired an interior designer, because this was all designed by someone else, not me, and I think came out a much better product because I put the money in to make it a better-quality product. Just saying.


So that’s the first five myths. I have six more, but before I do that, let’s have a word from our sponsor.  


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Well, if you haven’t ordered your copy of that book yet, please do so. It made it to number one hot new releases in three categories, the top 10 in another category and the top 20 and another and the top 50 and a third. So it is a bestseller. It does good stuff. And I’ve been getting some good reviews on at least on Facebook.


 I’m waiting for the reviews to pop onto Amazon. It’s a good book. It will help you choose the right idea for your book. So there you go. Now, before the commercial, I shared with you five different myths that may be stopping you from self-publishing. They were self-publishing is easy.  Self-published books don’t sell.  Self-publishing is only for those who can’t get a traditional deal. 


  You can’t make money with self-publishing. 


 And self-published books are lower quality. Well, sometimes they are, but they don’t have to be.  


So let’s go over the next six self-publishing myths.


Number six is self-published books don’t get professional reviews.  


Hogwash. I’ve gotten professional reviews because honestly most professional reviews are paid. They don’t care  whether your book was self-published or not self-published. Now some do. There are some that will specify if it’s not published by a certain level of publisher. They will not review it, but there are others that don’t mind as long as you pay them. Just saying. I’ve gotten professional reviews of mine. I haven’t always been happy with them, but you know, you pay your money, and you get an honest review. And that’s what’s more important because when you get a bad review for your book, then you can weigh it and understand what did I do wrong that I can fix in the next version. Just saying. Okay.


Number seven. That is self-publishing is only for eBooks.  Okay, I’m going to debunk that one. In imagery! This is a self-published book. I’m holding it in my hands. It’s available in paperback and hardcover. It’s available in your bookstore. If you can’t find it in your bookstore, you can go up to the office or the little place where they’ll order, and they can order it because it’s available in Ingram.


This is available in paperback, and you can order it at a bookstore and on Amazon you can also get it in hardcover. So, uh, only eBooks? No. No, so you can self-publish physical books, and if you know what to do, you can get them into bookstores. I’ve got a picture of my book. I’ve got a picture of this book in a bookstore.


 So, busted!  All right, number eight. Once your book is published, the work is done.   Oh, I wish. Oh, I wish that was true. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. No, no, it’s not. It totally isn’t true. Because once your book is published, now you have to market it. You have to launch it. You have to market it. You have to market it.


You have to market it. And you market it until you decide you don’t care if it sells anymore. That’s just the reality, and that’s true whether you self-published, traditional published, boutique published, hybrid published, it doesn’t matter. The journey does not end once it’s published, because if you publish it, they won’t come.


I mean, they might. Some might. One or two might. But no. Market. Market. Market. Sorry. Hate to tell you that. It’s reality. It’s reality.


  Number 9. Self-published authors work alone.  Okay.


Self-published authors who work alone usually put out a bad-quality product. I do not work alone. I am self-published. I do not work alone. Sometimes I work with a ghostwriter to come up with the first draft just because I’m a very busy person. I have a couple of ghostwriters that I work with. I always work with an editor.


I sometimes work with a publisher. I sometimes work with a cover designer. I sometimes work with an interior book designer. Like I said, this one, I had an editor, a proofreader, I had some volunteer editors, or voluntold editor. And I also had an interior designer.


And with this one, I had a cover designer, I had an interior designer, I had an editor who also doubled as the proofreader. So, if you work alone, that is a bad, bad, bad idea. Because now I’m an award-winning editor, so I know how to edit, I know how to write, I know how to edit. These are some of my best skill sets.


However, I always hire an editor. Why? Because when you’re so close to your manuscript and you try to edit it, you are going to see what you intended to be there and not what’s really there. And you, because you know what you mean, you are not going to see when something isn’t clear. I often have my husband, and sometimes even my editor, tell me, either, you know, they rewrite the sentence because they thought I meant something else, or they say, this doesn’t make any sense, or they’ll say, do you want to add a definition for this?


Because this sounds like jargon. And I would have never picked up on that because I’m known with stuff. And the same is going to be true of you. So do not work alone if you’re self-publishing. Do not, do not, do not, do not, do not work alone. Hire an editor. And if you are struggling, if you don’t even consider yourself a writer, you’re not a good writer, hire a book coach or a ghost writer to help you along.


You are not an island.  And if you are an island, your book isn’t going to be all that good. I don’t care what you say. It’s just the inconvenient truth. Alright, so myth number 10. 10 10. And that is you can’t get a self-published book into book stores.  You know, I’ve already busted that one already. This can be in bookstores; this can be in bookstores.


It’s, there’s an extra step you need to take in order to get things into bookstores because you need to get it listed with one of the listing companies that bookstores order from. But you can self-publish a book and get it in a bookstore. That’s, that’s Not that hard. Now, will the bookstore actually carry it?


That is something else. You can usually get your local bookstore to do it because you show up. You show up and you say, Hey, I’m a local author. Will you please carry my book? And they might buy five, like, like five copies and, and maybe host a book signing event. But you can get people to get your book from a bookstore as long as it has an ISBN number and is listed with Ingram or one of the, or one of the other.


Listing, but Ingram’s the most popular, then all the person has to do is they go into the local bookstore and they go I don’t see this book on your shelves, I’d like to order it, and then they’ll ask what’s the ISBN number, what’s the name and author, and then they go into the little computer and they say, Oh, yeah, I can order that for you.


No problem. So busted. That myth is busted.  Not true. And finally, we’ve got Myth number 11, and that is self-publishing limits your future publishing options.   You know what, I already busted that one too. Because Chicken Soup for the Soul. Self-published. became a good enough seller that it attracted a traditional deal and since then it has proliferated into Chicken Soup for the Children’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Dog’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Who-sy What’s it Thingy Bobber’s Soul.


It’s an entire series now published by real publishers, like actual publishers, because the authors really believed in their book and so they self-published and they schlepped it around until it did well. And then there was that romance author who started off self-publishing. And of course, Dr. Wayne Dyer, how many books has he had traditionally published? And it all started with a self-publishing book.


So no, self-publishing doesn’t cut you off from being traditionally published. What cuts you off from being traditionally published is not having an audience, not being able to move copies of books. That’s what cuts you off from a traditional. If they don’t think you have a strong platform, they’re probably not going to work with you.


Or if they do decide to work with you, they’re not going to give you an advance. Or they’re going to give you a very tiny advance. Because here’s the secret with an advance. Do you know why it’s called an advance? It’s because it’s an advance on your royalties. So basically, you don’t get any royalties until your advance has been paid off.


So if you get, $1,000 as an advance, you do not start collecting royalties until the publisher has recouped that $1,000 from what would have been your royalties. That’s why it’s called an advance. So there you go. 11 self-publishing myths busted. If you had believed in one of these or fallen victim of one of these, you can now run free and self-publish to your heart’s content.


And if you would like help with that, you can schedule a Curious Conversation with Carma and let’s have a conversation about how I might be able to help you or point you in the right direction. You can schedule that at Authorneering.com/schedule.


And I will see you next week in the next episode of The Author Switch. This is Carma Spence, your host, saying ciao for now!

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