With technologies like print on demand and e-books, self-publishing is easier than ever. So easy that it wouldn't surprise me a bit if there were more self published books made available each year than industry published works. Which makes competition fiercer than ever.
When you get down to it, publishing a book is one thing, selling it is another. Which is one of the first things you should consider very carefully before seeking publication of any type for yourself. Do you have the skill set to sell it to the public? Let me put it this way. It takes an introvert to write the next great American novel, but it takes an extrovert to sell it, and most publishers expect you to be both. I say this because many publishing companies, especially the smaller ones are run by a bunch of book loving introverts, so they expect you to sell and promote your book yourself, mostly because they don't have the know how to do that themselves. While the really big companies do have separate staffs to assist you in that, but unless you have already made a name for yourself and come with a built in audience, they probably won't even give you the time of day. So my advice to you on that is, if you are an aspiring nonfiction writer, focus on your message, and making a name for yourself first. People often think that they can do that by writing a book, but in reality you probably won't even get a serious publishing deal until you are already in the public eye.
It's also been said of Christian publishing that if you don't promise something on the cover, nobody is going to buy it. I discovered this is very true the hard way. It’s such a sad commentary on the state of the current church. Believers buy books to seek a specific answer, or to fulfill a certain need. They want easy answers just handed to them in a cut and dry fashion. Many won't buy a book that challenges them to be better people, because they find life challenging enough as it is. Little do they know that if they seriously sought to be a better disciple, they would find the growth that they need across the board, not just the short lived quick fixes that we perceive that we need in given moments.
If you are a fiction writer, I would suggest that you promote yourself by giving one of your books away. E-books make it rather easy to do that via services like book bub. People will be more willing to try an unknown author if they don't have to invest anything in it. If you are any good at all, they will be back for more. I can honestly say some of the more enjoyable series' I have come across lately were by independent writers who had given their first book in the series away for nothing, and they hooked me well enough that I did come back and pay full price for the rest of the series. A series I may have never even heard of, if it weren't being given away for free. Not that many are becoming millionaires that way, but their story is being told.
If after reading all this you still want to utilize a self publisher, keep this in mind. These services are typically designed to make sure they make a profit, even if you don't. So be smart about your investment. Books don't sell themselves after all.
With my tax person informing me that after 3 years of financial loss, the IRS will not likely be accepting my deductions any longer. So come September when my distribution renewal comes due. I have a choice to make. Do I keep going as I have, or do I take what I have learned and adjust my sails to the shifting winds. (John 3:8) Let me put it this way, if you have any interest in my book at all, I would order it right now while you still can.
With that being said, let me assure you that Visual Parables will go on in some fashion, however, the book may no longer be a component of it. My ultimate mission remains the same; it is only my strategy that has changed. Sometimes you got to take a step back and take a long hard look at things as they are. Consider why they are that way, and address what you find. Only then can you find yourself in a position to inspire people to seek to be where they need to be.
The Visual PARABLEist
A related article I found after this was first posted. Ten Awful Truths of Publishing (3-26-17)
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