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Self-Publishing: Print or Digital

Self-Publishing:  Print or Digital

I was reading an article today about the Path to Publication, and it made an interesting discernment between print and digital publishing.  Many writers are quick to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon, yet somehow it seems the planning gets blown away by the whirlwind of becoming “published.” 


If you decide to become self-published, you’ll get a sense of instant gratification.  For many struggling writers, this is an awesome attraction.  If even one person buys your book, the time you spent writing feels justified.  It’s like a little baby who is being cooed to sleep—enjoyable, comforting, and supportive.  Eventually, however, like all babes, you will grow up.  Will that cooing be enough for you?

The answer to this depends on the planning you’ve done. 

Through all of my reading and research, this planning seems to center around one axis: your readers.

Your Readers

Think about the manuscript you are creating.  Is it a technical how-to guide?  Is it a novel?  If you were to go out and seek the very manuscript you are writing, what medium would you prefer:  Something thin and handy that you can roll up and stuff in your back pocket (think mechanical manuals) or something thick and solid that you would keep next to your desk for quick reference?  Or is this the kind of thing you would first Google and see if you could come up with any hits on?

You could write the best mechanical in the world, but if it’s only available in a medium that your target audience would find inconvenient, you’ll be missing out on tons of sales.  Likewise, if you have the new War and Peace on your hands, but if you only choose to self-publish it in hardback and a heavy paperweight through print on demand (POD), you might have missed the mark.

One more thing to think about, too, when deciding print or digital self-publishing: your readers.

Your Readers

Oh, did I already say that? 

Well, look at a different set of readers: the ones you currently have.  Again, you might have the best novel of the century on your hands, but if you release it on Kindle and no one even knows you (or your novel) exist, good luck.

Now, on the other hand, if you’ve spent time cultivating an audience that has begun to rely on your every syllable regarding a particular subject… Well, you have a whole host of potential buyers lined up before you even have your book ready for purchase. 

So, you can do this with haste or with planning.  Plan the right medium.  Plan your readers.  Plan your potential buyers.  Then plan to be successful.

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  1. I am a classic case for not getting my act together with self-publsihing. So yeah, you can buy it as an e-book, which is great. At the end of the day, it does focus heavily on e-publishing, so why not?

    But, and it is a big but, the way it is structured works well for a paper back for you to make your own notes, and tick through the suggestions as you complete the journey…several weeks after the e-book release, i am still yet to send off for the pod proof.

    My bad..

    • Just as you say, your book has a major focus on e-publishing. Most people would look on the internet for the material you wrote about, so (in my opinion) publishing it as an eBook was the way to go! :)


  1. AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – September 2, 2013 | Author Marketing Experts, Inc. - […] S presents Self-Publishing: Print or Digital posted at The Write Shadow, saying, “Plan the right medium. Plan your readers. Plan your […]

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