Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3 Key Factors for Successfully Self-Publishing a Health Care Textbook

I came across an interesting article on self-publishing the other day, and it got me thinking about the future of self-publishing in health care education.

The article mentions the huge success of E.L. James' book, Fifty Shades of Grey. The book was self-published and then "picked up by Random House and became the fastest-selling paperback of all time, propelling James to the top of the Forbes list of highest-earning authors in 2013."

We see very few successful self-published health care texts or references. One of the most successful of those ventures has been the Clinical Practitioners Pocket Guide to Respiratory Care, by Dana Oakes. He worked extremely hard for that success and continues to do so today.

So it's possible to succeed, but the odds are stacked heavily against it.

I think that going forward there will be three key factors for success for a self-published author of a health care textbook or reference book.

  1. Keep it Niche. Topics designed for markets underserved by medium- and large-size publishers will have a leg up for authors looking to self-publish.
  2. Promote heavily on social media. The successful self-publisher will make effective use many of the various social media outlets available today, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Authors who use Amazon's self-publishing app will also be able to sell the book on the site.
  3. Spend the money for a good copyeditor. Errors will kill any self-published book before it ever has a chance to grab the market. Hire an experienced copyeditor to go over your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb and then again with a bristle brush. You'll be glad you did.
One last piece of advice, if I may.
Don't self-publish.

Work hard to find the right publisher for your particular product, and then, only if you've exhausted all available options, should you consider self-publishing.

Good luck!