Being a self-publisher means you will have to wear many hats. You may be an amateur, but that doesn’t mean your book will read that way. By studying and applying yourself, you can master all the jobs you need to do. A lot of self-publishers don’t receive any help with their books, but it can be challenging. Here are all the hats you need to wear:

Writer: The foundation for your enterprise is writing. Practice your craft and refine your skills. Well-written books sell much more readily than incoherent garble or remote dissertations.

Editor: If you don’t have a qualified friend or relative to edit, hire a professional editor. It is tough to possess enough objectivity to edit your book properly.

Designer/Artist: Many books and book covers are illustrated and designed by their authors. Hiring a professional designer can save you many headaches, especially on the technical side of design.

Typesetter: When you use a computer to prepare your files, you effectively become a typesetter. I recommend using a desktop publishing software.

Printer: Hundreds of thousands of books are created each year at copy shops, but this is probably not the best way to produce your book. It is better to print it with a company that specializes in book production.

Accountant/Financier: You are the chief accountant, bookkeeper, and quite possibly banker. You have to keep good records for yourself and the CRA.

Marketer: It doesn’t matter how well you do everything else. If you don’t wear this one well, no one will know your book exists. You need to be imaginative and creative. Smart promotion and sales strategies will do much to ensure your book’s success.

Shipper: If you can’t fill and ship your orders, all is lost. Although this is a routine and mundane job, it takes time, space, and energy.

Legal consultant: Lawyers collect sizable fees for answering basic business questions. The use of common sense and comparison to similar situations will often save a cost. However, there are certain instances where you will require a lawyer – if you’ve been accused of libel or copyright infringement, for example.

Business manager: You can do an amazing job with all of the other aspects of the business and still not succeed if this hat isn’t secured firmly on your head. Most businesses fail because of poor management practices. The job of a business manager can be a walk in the park or a nightmare. Managing a company can be fun if you establish and stick to operating procedures designed for that business. But be prepared to make mistakes occasionally. Educate yourself about the correct business procedures found in book publishing. 

As with anything, there will be bumps in the road, but there will also be pleasures. Proceed with passion and conviction, and you will succeed.

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