Best Ways To Invest In Your Self-Publishing Career

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Like anything in life, it’s important to spend both your time and money improving your skills and knowledge in the area of self-publishing.

It’s important to seek out smart investments that stand a good chance of adding to your self-publishing capabilities in order to give you a better chance of success. It can be difficult to know the best investments to make. In actual fact, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to investing in yourself as a self-publishers.

The best choice of investment you can make in your self-publishing business depends upon the stage you are currently at, and the investment you think will be most aligned with your aims and objectives at the time.

With that in mind, we’ll now consider some of the smartest self-publishing self investments you can make, and some tips on making a smart choice for where you are at in your career.

Courses For Self-Publishers

Self-publishing has many skills and techniques which must be learned in order to give yourself the best chance of success.

Even something as simple as writing a book has a lot of different steps which must be understood and put into practice. That’s before you even get to advanced ideas such as creating long-term strategic marketing strategies, building an author platform, working across different genres, or offering services to other authors as an additional stream of revenue.

Some of the best types, of course, you may wish to consider investing in include –

  • Writing courses. You may wish to take a general writing course if you are just starting out. You can also consider taking a specialist course to improve an area of writing you feel less confident about, such as world building, or dialogue. You can also take a specialist course for writing in a certain genre if you think it represents a good business opportunity, but aren’t sure of the conventions and tropes you will need to draw upon.
  • Editing courses. Although it’s always a good idea to make use of a specialist pro editor, it’s useful to have the type of skills that editors possess. This helps in several ways. You will be able to self-edit your own work which will save time and make the job easier when you turn your work over to a pro. You will also be able to consider offering editing services to other authors to give you an additional revenue stream.
  • Technical courses. Being a self-published author in the current business environment means you will benefit from having a certain amount of technical ability. Some of the technical areas you may wish to invest in include building and maintaining websites, running an author mailing list, and using apps to manage aspects of your business such as design, formatting, and marketing.
  • Marketing courses. Taking a scattershot approach to marketing is unlikely to produce the best results possible. Instead, it’s smart to learn from the best. No matter whether you take a course on Facebook advertising, Amazon advertising, or any other form of marketing, you are likely to get better results if you’ve learned from a reputable course.

Specialist Software For Self-Publishers

We’ve looked at some of the best knowledge investments for self-publishers in the form of courses. Now, it’s time to consider some of the best specialist types of software self-publishers should consider purchasing, the and the benefits that come from doing so.

It’s astounding how many self-publishers just use the basic tools available to them, such as Microsoft Word. If you are serious about success, you need to equip yourself with the tools that will give you an advantage.

  • Writing software. Although it’s possible to create great work with even the simplest of tools, when it’s time to produce longer works, the job is a lot easier with the use of book writing software. Some of the advantages of using specialist software include being able to have all your research in one place, being able to edit and reorder your work with much less hassle, and syncing across devices, such as writing on your home machine and editing on a tablet.
  • Cover design software. If you take the time to learn book cover design, you can save yourself a lot of money on pro cover design, and you can also offer cover design services for other authors in order to create additional revenue for your business.
  • Admin software. If you are receiving income from multiple different sources, such as some ad revenue, some book royalties, and some payments for services to other authors, it can become difficult to keep track of everything. Investing in financial admin software can make it easier to manage your books, keep track of your taxes, and avoid any financial problems down the line.
  • Marketing software. Marketing can become almost a full-time job in and of itself. Some of the benefits of using a specialist marketing tool include being able to manage multiple marketing platforms from a single app, schedule a batch of content for a time period in one go, and to respond to and manage social connections in one place. Using marketing software can save you time to spend on writing and other things you enjoy.

Platform Building For Self-Publishers

The key difference between amateur and pro-self-publishers is between those who think ahead and invest their time and energy into building a long-term author platform, and those who think in the short-term, not thinking further ahead than their next release.

Building a long-term author platform requires smart choices and clever investments. Some of the ways you can invest in your long-term author future include –

  • Advertising to build your mailing list. Perhaps the most important part of building an author platform is growing and maintaining a mailing list. By using the advanced targeting capabilities offered by Facebook, you can carefully target your ads on the specific people who are most likely to become fans of your work.
  • Investing in your website. There’s no need to have a super fancy website. However, investing to make sure the user experience is as good as possible, and the site is as quick, clear and functional as it can be, is a great way of investing in your long-term success as an author.
  • Video creation. A video is one of the most effective forms of content. It has a high engagement rate and is also very shareable on social. Investing in decent video shooting and editing equipment can give you an advantage over your competitors and give you a capability not many people have.
  • Hiring an assistant. Virtual assistants can be hired quite cheaply and for as little as a few hours a week. By letting a virtual assistant do things to build your long-term author platform, such as website or mailing list admin, you can focus on the high-level creative tasks that only you are capable of.

Self-Publishing Investment Final Thoughts

It’s important to invest in your self-publishing success. Some of the key investments include –

  • Investing in knowledge and skill to improve your own work and unlock additional revenue streams outside your core author activities.
  • Invest in software to help you produce better work in less time.
  • Invest in platform building and ways of establishing a long-term strategic presence.

What are the best investments you’ve ever made as a self-publisher? What has been the worst?

Please let me know in the comments.


Best Bargains For Self-Publishers

If you’re serious about self-publishing, you’re likely to come across an endless array of products and services to spend your money on.

It’s important to strike a balance between being frugal, but also unafraid of investing in quality offerings which will make a difference to your self-publishing journey.

Unless you have the terrible problem of an unlimited amount of money to spend, it’s wise to seek out genuine bargains. Quality choices that are a good fit for your circumstance, have a real opportunity to help with your goals, and won’t break the bank in the process.

Three of the best possible areas for your investment are in software, information, and services.

Let’s take a look at the smartest bargains within these three areas of self-publishing.

Bargain Self-Publishing Software

The array of software used by self-publishers is as varied as the writers themselves.

Some people have a specialist, high-end tool for every aspect of their creative process. It can be tempting to fall into the trap of assuming higher-priced software will instantly equal higher quality output. Of course, this isn’t the case. Otherwise, becoming the world’s greatest photographer would simply be a matter of buying the best camera.

Instead, it’s smarter to think about the problems you have with the way you are currently doing things. Is there a cumbersome or frustrating aspect of your process? Could you become more efficient by using fewer tools?

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to self-publishing software, as everyone’s process and method are slightly different. Some people take a hands-on approach and therefore need to be able to design covers, format their books, and film promotional videos. Others focus on core aspects of their own business and invest only in these.

One of the best software bargains which will be useful to the vast majority of self-published writers is Scrivener. It’s a superb writing tool which makes the process of creating complex written projects much easier to deal with. Scrivener is fairly inexpensive, but you can get an even better bargain with a Scrivener discount.

Some of the most useful tools actually cost nothing, and are therefore the potential biggest bargains. Canva and Google Drive are great tools with no upfront cost for creating and collaborating quickly online.

If you are using any expensive software, it’s worth considering whether a free or cheaper alternative would be capable of offering the same level of benefit at a lower cost.

Bargain Self-Publishing Information

A lot of the best information out there is free. There are endless high-quality blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to providing actionable and game-changing information.

However, free information isn’t always the right choice. Sometimes it’s worth investing in a quality book or course which will go in-depth on a particular topic and provide you with the knowledge you need, presented in the way you want.

Just because you’ve decided to spend money on information, it doesn’t mean you should forget about finding a good deal.

If there’s a particular course or book you’re interested in, follow these steps to take a smart approach to find an information bargain –

  • Make sure there isn’t a better option for the information you want to learn
  • Read reviews and consider the feedback from real people rather than marketing hype
  • When you’re sure a course or book is right for you, research to make sure it isn’t on offer at a better price elsewhere
    Search online for coupons and discounts – you might be surprised at what you find
  • Some information providers offer deals, such as regular sales (for example, Udemy offer seasonal sales, and Amazon have prime day). If there’s a course or book you want, consider waiting until the promotional time to grab it.

Bargain Self-Publishing Services

Self-publishers may well require a wide range of services depending on their own publishing plan. While some have the skills and time to take a DIY approach for the majority of tasks, there are some that should be outsourced.

When looking to buy services, some of the most important things to consider are –

Is the price fair? Shop around to get a feel for the different prices service providers charge. Expect to pay more for experience and quality, and less for someone just starting out. The price point you’re looking for is your choice – just make sure it’s justified.

Are there hidden costs? Sometimes, you’ll have to factor in fees for online payments, taxes or other hidden costs. Do your research to make sure you don’t get hit with an unexpected cost.

Are there other platforms that offer similar services at a better price? Don’t follow the trend. Just because a particular platform is a high profile, don’t assume it’s the best deal for you

Is there any discount available for batch work? Often, you will be able to secure a discount on self-publishing services if you confirm you will purchase a larger quantity than a one-off order

Self-Publishing Bargain Summary

Overall, self-publishing is worth investing in, but it pays to be smart.

Don’t buy software for the sake of it, but look for genuine opportunities to make an improvement to your working life

If you want to purchase paid information, make sure the investment is the best option for your needs, and there isn’t a better price available

Take the time to find the right freelancers for your projects, and watch out for any hidden fees that may arise

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to handle your self-publishing spending. Different businesses have different needs.

It’s always good to find a bargain, but only if the bargain is right for you.