How to Avoid Becoming an Average Self-Published Title

Lulu.com, a print-on-demand (POD) publisher, is currently publishing about 1,000 new books each month. This works out to 12,000 self-published titles per year. That is just one print-on-demand self-publishing company. Add to that the other large self-publishing POD companies like BookSurge, AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Outskirsts, Xulon, and BookLocker (to just name a few) and the numbers of self-published POD books rapidly increase.

One statistic I recently read reported that 78% of new titles come from a small press or self-publisher. This is easy to believe based on the number of self-publishing POD companies that are growing and increasing the number of titles they are printing.realprinterpicthumb

Since it is now so affordable to print a book, more and more wannabe authors are choosing to self-publish their books. One recent survey showed that 81% of people feel that they have a book in them and should write it. That means that over 200 million people in the United States want to write a book in their lifetime. And today, with print-on-demand publishing, most people can afford to write and publish their book.

However, there is a catch. (There’s always a catch).

The average number of copies sold per self-published POD title is 75. Over 70% of books published in the United States do not make a profit. Many of these are self-published POD books.

If you are a self-published author (or planning on becoming one), how can you beat these statistics? How can you sell more than 75 books and make a profit?

The answer is simple.

First, write a quality book that is properly edited, typeset, and boasts a professional cover design.

Second, educate yourself about how to market a book. There are plenty of good books, seminars, and author and publisher associations that teach you how to market.

Third, follow the advice you receive and market, market, market your book. Your book will not sell itself, you must sell it.

Fourth, pray. Cover all your efforts with prayer. Trust that if God has led you to write your book he will help you get it into the hands of those who need to read it.

Don’t become a statistic. Become a success!


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5 thoughts on “How to Avoid Becoming an Average Self-Published Title

  1. As a longtime book editor, I have worked with traditional publishers only, no POD companies to date. In September, I enjoyed meeting Scribd CEO and Cofounder Trip Adler at the 3rd Annual Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival, as well as talking with Erik Schmidt of Fast Pencil. My initial impressions of both men were positive and left me wanting to keep my finger on the pulse of their young companies. And they are gaining ground; both these new tech publishing companies were featured in a front-page story in the San Jose (CA) Mercury News on Oct 8.

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  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing these practical and factual points on self-publishing. Establishing a well planned and driven book marketing plan is also vital. I would totally agree with point number four. It all lies on His Will. Keep on writing!

    Sincerely,
    BookWhirl.com | You have the book…We have the Marketing Resources.

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  3. Oh, Sarah, please don’t call the subsidy publishers “self-publishing companies.” Self-publishing is a different animal, and has only one strike against it vs. the two for subsidy publishing. I speak as someone who has done both. The publisher of record is the entity that supplies the ISBN, and the industry reacts very differently to the two.

    PS–thanks for the retweet; good to find you on Twitter.

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  4. Thanks for the comment Shel. I have decided that true self-publishers should now be referred to as “independent presses.” I don’t think I am going to change the mindset of the rest of the industry that continues to call authors published by subsidy (vanity) presses “self-publishers.”

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  5. Change will happen a little at a time as we who understand insist on it–thanks for joining the effort.

    When I was a child, “civilized” people still used the N-word in public. We have the power to change language, and if we abdicate that power, language will change us.

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