What It Takes to Be a Successful Self-Publisher

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Self-aware authors know they’re taking on a challenge when they choose to publish their own work, a rewarding and exciting challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. If your goal is to sell as many copies of your book(s) as possible, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of the effort that entails. With the advancement of technology and opportunity, increase of indie publishing and small presses, and lessening of the bias against self-publishers, every author has a chance to succeed in the publishing space. Making your book available is a necessary step to achieving sales, but commitment and know-how on your part is essential to making it succeed.

No Gatekeepers, Larger Margins

If you have content that you believe there’s a market for and will achieve sales, you’re perfectly capable of transforming that content into a saleable product. When you self-publish, there are no literary agents to pitch to who, more often than not, reject books due to the sheer volume of manuscripts they receive and the specificity of the books they’re actually looking for. If they accept them, however, there’s a second round of gatekeepers who are even pickier than the first, the traditional publishers. And in order for them to pick up your book, you must have exactly what they’re looking for: guaranteed sales via a huge author platform and commercial appeal. If your book manages to make it through their process as you wrote it (meaning you’re the most brilliant author their ever was), you’ll still see less of the compensation from sales than the publishing house.

Traditional publishers add a tremendous amount of value to the books on their lists and deserve the paycheck, because publishing is their business and they wouldn’t still be in business if they didn’t understand what sells and how. But making it on their lists is extremely difficult and requires you to conform a great deal and relinquish control. Which isn't necessary if you have equal opportunity where it counts.

Equal Playing Field

With IngramSpark, you can achieve a physical product (whether print book or ebook) with the same quality standards that the publishing industry expects, meaning your print book has the same binding, trim sizes, paper weights, return status, wholesale discount, and beyond as books created by traditional publishers. IngramSpark also offers you the same global distribution options as traditional publishers receive, making your title available to over 39,000 retailers and libraries worldwide and major online retailers like Amazon, Apple iBooks, and more.

So the playing field has been leveled in quality and availability. Boom. Done. Essential? Yes. Necessary for sales? Yes. All you need? Absolutely not. Just because you're equal to the traditional publishers in quality and distribution, there's still that part they have that you may not: the business know how. Having a quality book to make available isn’t what sells books. Of course, you can’t have sales without a product and the industry can’t take you seriously without a professional product at that, but it’s the decisions you make and effort you put forth that sells books. Decisions you are perfectly capable of making and effort you’re more than equip to exert...with the right resources.


There is a ton of fantastic information out there and everything you could possibly want to learn about publishing, but the volume of it is difficult to weed through. We want you to be the most informed and able self-publisher you can be, which is why we provide publisher education tools to help get you there. You never know what will make the difference for your book in particular, so we try to provide a variety of things that could advance your trajectory and let you pick what’s right for you. Here’s some of what we offer to help you succeed:

We are more than a publishing platform that allows you to print and distribute your work, because we know that’s not all it takes for you to be a successful self-publisher. We’ve leveled the playing field and will always continue to make advancements and offer new resources to help you grow. And we hope that you never stop improving upon your existing publishing knowledge and commitment to your book.


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IngramSpark Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly IngramSpark staff here, happily sharing a wealth of publishing knowledge with people from all walks of the self-publishing biz.