What You Need to Know About Self-Publishing: Know Your Material

PTP150In celebration of my latest book, A Path to Publishing: What I Learned by Publishing a Nonfiction Book, I will be posting a series on what you need to know about self-publishing. I chose to self-publish A Path to Publishing and in the process discovered an enormous amount of material online, but some of it was dated. Over the coming weeks I will provide an updated guide to self-publishing today based on my latest experiences.

When self-publishing it’s up to you to develop your ideas, to organize them, and to make them clear and complete for readers. This is far more difficult to do than you may think.

For my first book, Coffeehouse Theology, I developed my ideas over a series of several years and still needed significant input from my literary agent and development editor at my publisher before the book was ready for publication. In the case of  A Path to Publishing I created a detailed outline of the material several years earlier, which was relatively easy since publishing follows a series of steps that must remain in their order.

Even so, I gave several presentations on my material over the course of several years and returned to my outline to refine it, to move details around, and to fill in gaps where those in attendance had questions. In a sense, my workshops acted as my editorial development time. Without those trial runs I would have left several gaping holes in my book or left several disorganized points.

If you’re self-publishing, make sure you’re very familiar with your material and able to sort through the details and the proper order. This process will take longer than you’d expect, and unless you hire an editor to help you with the organization and development, which is something far more involved than proof-reading for clarity, your book may not connect with readers. 

Looking for a bit more about publishing right now? Check out A Path to Publishing. It’s available for $10 as an ebook and for $15 as a paperback.