If you don’t have others helping you, which is the case for many, you are responsible for making sure you meet the requirements of where you’re distributing. One place wants a PDF cover, the other a JPEG. One site wants bleed marks, and you must download templates; the other doesn’t require the same size margins. Headers, footers, graphics, paper sizes, publishing terms, price, different ordering styles, quality, country and jurisdiction, tax forms, copyright, editing, advertising, proofreading, initial concept, and more are all in your hands. Perhaps I’m making it sound daunting, but that’s not my goal because it’s enjoyable if you’re like me and like wading through these fine details. Self-Publishing is a great experience where you can learn many new skills, but you can also offload many of these tasks to others for various fees. This offloading of tasks depends on your budget and ability or desire to do or understand a new skill. I tend to do all the work myself, and undoubtedly it looks like it is because I’m not very talented in an exceeding amount of skills, but I’m interested in trying them. All of this also depends on what type of self-publisher you are.
In expanding into this publishing world, it never occurred to me that some pay writers, and designers, use AI and various other methods to pump out books for distribution. Let me explain what I mean. I’m old school which means an author by profession approaches a publishing company; that company reads the manuscript and, based on various factors, decides to agree to publish the book and share in the profits. I was surprised to find people using internet research to pick their topics, generate their table of contents, find a writer to write on that subject, use AI to generate the text and modify it later. It’s a brilliant idea for selling books, but I’m older, so I stick to the old-school way of doing things. Pick a topic I like and am passionate about, write about it, sell it or don’t sell it, but be proud of it because, good or bad, it was all mine.
One last point about publishing, and this is an important one. Your goals are important, if you’re entering into self-publishing to make money, your approach will be much different than mine. I make my income teaching music, and publishing is something I have the luxury of doing without expecting any profit; I engage for the experience and knowledge I gain. If you’re planning on publishing as a leading source of income, your approach will and should be much different. While many of the same issues will still apply, the cost will drive many factors.
This post is rather long and unorganized, covering random thoughts about self-publishing; its value is probably little or limited as it doesn’t dig deep into anything in particular. However, sometimes, in the vagueness of random generalities can be found a more in-depth thought to explore. Have fun exploring the world of self-publishing.