The Academic and The Affective—Factors the Self-Publisher Must Consider Part 1

Should you or shouldn’t you self-publish? 

There are the obvious things to consider—printing agency, cover design, cost of printing, all the things that most books and articles discuss, and rightfully so. Why be hesitant? You can ascertain information about these items and whom to consult and what to do. 

The hesitancy is, in most cases, because of the intangibles—generally, the factors articles and books do not even mention. People considering self-publishing must assess the marketing methods needed, the technology available to implement, and the types of family responsibilities they are experiencing.


Before the publication is printed, marketing needs to begin. This is the greatest area of lack of knowledge for the novice self-publisher. After procuring a good printing agency, still, that agency is not going to market the book. It will produce a quality piece of work and neatly package the copies in several boxes that the self-publisher usually ends up looking at for some time. Marketing must begin BEFORE the publication has even gone to press.

What Do You Need To Market Your Book?


To market, you need a plan, which may include: 

1. Assessing what the market is—the obvious and not-so-obvious. For example, an obvious market for an anatomy handbook will be teachers in high school and college. The not-so-obvious will be attorneys. They can use the work as a reference for cases that may require some knowledge of the body. 

2. Investing in address database services. These services will provide information regarding addresses of different schools, agencies, etc. However, if you do not have the time, you will need to pay for this information. You can use these databases for direct mail purposes. Attractive brochures and/or postcards need to be sent out to potential customers. 

3. Looking into communicating via the Internet. Do you want to have a personal webpage and pay for personal e-commerce services? Some self-publishers prefer to work with online companies, which will list their books and take a major financial cut. Before the book is out, you’ll need to “shop around” and see which online service will provide the most service for the amount paid. The self-publisher should seek a service that will provide online and other services. 


4. Making sure your book shows up on search engines. Marketing should mean more than online services. For many self-publishers that is their focus. Some feel the book needs to be on a bookshelf of major bookstore chains. That is nice. However, a book being on a bookshelf does not sell itself.  What is necessary is that people KNOW that the book exists. Thus, it is important for self-publishers to get their work registered in all of the major search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, or If a customer enters a bookstore and the book is not on the shelf, the store can look the book up on the Internet and find where it can be ordered. Also, sometimes people go into stores looking for books on a particular topic. Having your book registered with different search engines will give you exposure.


5. Displaying your book at tradeshows. Having a book on display is an excellent way for people to see, browse, and, hopefully, buy. Yet, being an exhibitor at tradeshows is quite expensive, depending on the show, from $1600 to $7,000+ for a booth space. The more expensive the more apt the customers are to be present. Your budget will determine just how extensively you can market this way. 


Whatever marketing method you choose, marketing needs to occur at least two to three months BEFORE the book makes its debut.

This is the first of a three-part series on self-publishing. 

Read Part 2 here. 

Read Part 3 here. 

Do you need help getting started in your self-publishing journey? can help. Contact us via email at


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