I was poking around Google+ today… OK, I’m really trying hard to use it and even harder to like it, but it’s not growing on me… yet. 🙂

Anyway, while I was there I got caught up in a conversation about publishing. It’s pretty much between me and one other guy and all around one main point:

Should You Pay to be Published?

Sam (name changed to protect the poster) used his expert credibility as the author of a handful of eBooks to adamantly answer this question, “Absolutely not!” In fact he went on to say, “It’s easy to publish your book without having to pay for the privilege. The hard part is finding readers.” (paraphrased) In the course of our conversation, he’s trying to convince all the lurkers (and me) that authors should design their own covers, lay out their own interiors, format their own books, and have a friend or someone they don’t have to pay “edit” their books. And in that same quote above he’s saying it’s hard to find readers… hmm…

So I looked him up. On Amazon. To see these amazing “professional” covers he’s proud of creating and his Amazon best seller ranking… I couldn’t read the titles on his covers from the thumbnails, some of them looked squished (might have been on purpose) and his ranking is between 600,000 and 1 million in the Kindle store. I felt sorry for the poor guy. So why should I even waste my time trying to convince anyone of my points, knowing anyone who looks him up will see he doesn’t necessarily know what he’s talking about? Because people listen to anyone who says the word “free.” It’s people like him telling authors like you how you can “go it alone” and do everything yourself to save money, and so you do. Because who wants to pay for publishing services if they’re told they’re fully qualified to do it themselves?

And in six months you call me, upset that your book isn’t selling, you’re getting bad reviews because it wasn’t edited or properly formatted, and at that point there’s not much I can do for you except let you cry on my shoulder. And I do.

True story. This exact scenario happens to me a couple times per month.

Therefore, if I can convince one person to publish their book right with high quality, that’s one less person who will be frustrated, downtrodden,  upset and ultimately give up on their dream to make  a difference in the world through the message within the pages of their book.

The question is, what do you think? Are you willing to hire a professional cover designer who knows the secrets to creating a book cover that sells? (Sam argued this point, too, even though it’s been proven that covers sell books.) Are you willing to hire a professional book editor to edit your work so it’s as polished as it can be, and a direct reflection on your credibility as the author? Are you willing to have a layout artist format the interior to brand you as the expert in your niche? And are you willing to have a professional walk with you through the confusing and ever-changing world of publishing to help you make smart choices that will give you more credibility, more book sales, and a broader reach for your message?

My answer is, it depends on your goals. (You knew I was going to say that!) If your only goal is to have your name in print or on the cover of an eBook that says, “I’m published!” then by all means, do it all yourself. But if your goal is to increase your bottom line in your business, reach a larger audience without having to convince every individual you meet on the street to buy your book, get into brick and mortar bookstores (which is still a goal of some) and have something you’d be proud to show a colleague or client, you’ll want a team of professionals that knows what it takes to make it happen.

If you don’t believe in your book and your message strongly enough to back it up with a quality product, you may be contacting a publishing expert in six months to help fix something you can’t do on your own. And by then it may be too late and your credibility may be shot by poor reviews and those who have seen you’d rather cut corners than do what it takes to publish a high quality book.

Do yourself a favor and at the bare minimum get a professional book cover designer to design your cover.

Let’s start a conversation! Answer one (or all) of these questions in the comments below:

Would you pay for publishing services like editing, book design and coaching?

Do you research people who claim to be publishing experts before listening to their advice? (Ohhh, that’s a tough one to be honest about, I know!)

Have you had a good (or bad) experience with a publishing team? Share what you learned so others can learn from your mistakes and successes!

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy Laidig is the founder of The Book Ninja. She has authored over 40 books, started over 50 publishing companies, trained over 10,000 authors worldwide, has her black belt in karate, and eats way too much chocolate. She currently changes lives through her students… one published message at a time, manages her two retail stores Toy Box Gifts & Wonder® and Nerdvana Outpost in the heart of her newfound hometown, Chambersburg, PA, is in the start-up phase of at least three new businesses at any given time, and generally causes anyone reading this bio to be out of breath. On her “off” time (what’s that?) she brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband, the great Public Domain Expert himself, Tony Laidig, and hangs out with her two ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep... occasionally.

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