It’s now easier than ever to get a book published and up for sale (though not necessarily selling) on Amazon. You don’t even need to have a “real” book to be an author, thanks to Kindle.
The barriers to entry for book publishing are all but gone, which in many ways is great, so it’s no surprise that some entrepreneurs think, “Why not throw something together and get that sh*t done?”
We get it – you’re resourceful. You don’t want to hand over all your royalties and control to a traditional publisher. And you’re certainly not paying someone to do something that seems so easy.
Well, it’s not for us to tell you what to do but we will just say this…
The cost of publishing a book badly can be much higher than the price you pay to do it properly.
Unlike an awful website or a mediocre blog post, once you publish a book you can’t take it back. Even if you update the interior of a book, or change the cover, there will always be copies of that first, embarrassing version out there, selling on Amazon, on people’s bookshelves, in people’s memories…
It upsets us when we see a terrible cover ruining a potentially exceptional idea.
It makes us wince to see a book so full of typos that it’s unbearable to read.
It makes us angry when we see the damage a bad book does to an entrepreneur’s reputation.
And here’s the real tragedy: if you, or someone on your behalf, has done a bad job, most of your peers won’t even tell you your book is terrible because they also think that getting sh*t done is more important than getting sh*t done properly.
Even if your book is a design and grammar nightmare they’ll slap you on the back and encourage you.
Because writing a book is hard work, and people are generally nice, so they don’t want to make you feel bad.
Of course, not everyone is nice. You’ll also have competitors and rivals laughing behind your back as they take pleasure in the inevitable hit your reputation will take because your book looks, well, a bit sh*t.
Nobody likes to be humiliated.
Unfortunately, when entrepreneurs do make a mess of it, they may not find out until the one-star Amazon reviews come in. Or until their book fails to sell more than a handful of copies. Or until, even if they give it away, it doesn’t attract those speaking gigs, raise their influence in their industry, or generate the leads that other authors rave about.
So, if you’re planning to DIY your book… or your coach (whose only published book is on cat farming) offers to do you a deal… or you’re looking to find the cheapest, rather than the best, route to publication… all we would say is STOP and rethink what you’re trying to achieve.
What do you want the book to do for you and your business?
How do you want your book to impact your reputation?
Where is your book going to lead readers next?
Is the route you’re about to take the right one for you?
Now, if you’re thinking, I can’t afford to pay for the professionals, we understand that.
But, if you’re running a business and you can’t afford to invest a few grand to get this right… then we’d say you’re not ready to plan, write and publish your book yet.
Seriously, if you can’t afford to pay to get your book published professionally, you have much more urgent things to focus on in your business first. We wouldn’t think of telling you to “save up for it”, because a book on its own isn’t going to turn your fortunes around if your business isn’t working.
Get your business working first by ensuring you have a core product surrounded by a product eco-system, and a pitch that encourages people to buy. If you need help doing that, you should read Daniel Priestley’s book, Key Person of Influence.