10 Signs You Are Not Ready to Self-Publish

Updated September 22, 2023

Essential factors you must consider before self-publishing

Are you really ready – not just your manuscript, but you – to self-publish? Here is a list of the ten most important factors you must consider before getting into self-publishing.

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What You Will Learn
1. You will learn ten essential points you must consider before self-publishing.
2. You will learn how time-consuming and arduous self-publishing can be.
3. You will learn to re-evaluate your motives and expectations before self-publishing.

Are you honestly ready – not just your manuscript, but you – to self-publish? Self-publishing is not a shortcut to seeing yourself in print or to success. It is more arduous and time-consuming than writing the book itself.

So, before you ignore the traditional publishing process, ensure you have the stamina to become your own publisher.

10 Signs You Are Not Ready to Self-Publish (Infographic) by Joseph C. Kunz, Jr.

Here is a list of the most important facets you must consider before getting into self-publishing:

Sign # 1. You Believe That “If I Write It They Will Come”
Get serious. This thinking might work for a big-time author, but not you and me. The rest of us need to work long hours to make our books sell. We must become marketing, sales, SEO, blogging, and social media experts. We need to spend every minute possible sitting at our desks and writing. And the writing better be good..

Sign # 2. You Haven’t Researched Your Market Thoroughly
You better know everything there is to know about your market and your audience. Who will be reading and buying your books? What are the hottest topics and trends in your market? What books are selling in your industry (on Amazon)? You are putting yourself out there as an expert in your niche by writing and publishing.

Your audience expects you to sound and act like an expert. If they get the slightest hint that you are not the expert you are telling them you are, you will lose your audience, and they will not come back to read or buy your books.

Sign # 3. You Do Not Understand What Goes into a Salable Book
This one might seem too obvious, but to some of us, it is not. I have seen one too many books missing the table of contents, page numbers, index, ISBN, etc., and even the author’s name! Too many books are getting published that barely look like a finished book.

A commercially viable book must be complete in every way that a reader expects a book to be. You must create a professional-looking product to be taken seriously as a publisher and author and gain your audience’s respect.

Sign # 4. You Have Not Researched Your Niche Thoroughly
Read everything that you can get your hands on about your niche. You should know who the prominent experts are and have read their books. Read the publications and blogs of those writers and groups within your niche. It is important to remember that in today’s terms, niche now means “micro-niche.”

As a self-publisher, you will likely find the most significant success by narrowly defining your market niche. It is much easier to become an expert in a specific market where it is much less crowded with notable, well-established writers and publishers.

Sign # 5. You Hope to Get Famous from Self-Publishing
This hope is possible but not likely. Fame comes with a lot of hard work and lots of luck. Therefore, it cannot be your only motive for self-publishing your books. Instead, concentrate on building and improving your reputation within your market. Earning the respect of your peers and your audience is a very achievable and respectable goal – and will help improve your book sales.

Sign # 6. You Believe That Book Sales and Financial Profits Are What Self-Publishing Is All About
There is no guarantee that you will succeed financially by publishing your books. The majority of authors make little or no money from their books alone. But, if you understand your market, become an expert in your niche, build a great book, interact and communicate with your audience, and devote your life to marketing yourself and your books, you will sell books. Those books will help bring new customers and build your reputation within your industry.

Sign # 7. You Have Not Started Marketing Your Book
You must start marketing well in advance of your book release. Probably the easiest and most productive way to get started is to build your blog, where you write about your niche. In addition, blogging is a great way to prove to yourself and your audience that you are serious about your niche. After you build up your blog, you can inch your way into a few major social media sites.

Sign # 8. You Have No Marketing Plan
If you have not figured this out by now, publishing is 90% marketing and 10% writing. If you expect to make your book a critical and financial success, you will consider marketing your book a welcomed challenge. If you love the subject you write about and share the information with others, then this should not worry you.

Marketing is all about understanding your audience – the people you want to share information with and help them improve their situation. Therefore, you must develop an actionable plan to help your book find its audience and sell.

Sign # 9. You Are Impatient
Publishing is not for the impatient. Everything in book publishing takes a while to complete. And when you are self-publishing, you are the one who needs to do all the work – and also maintain your blog, job, family, and home. So, seeing your book in print might take twelve to twenty-four months. And then it might take another two years to show any profits from that book. So, you better choose your niche very carefully.

Sign # 10. You Jumped in before Understanding the Business Side of Self-Publishing
Yes, self-publishing is a business. It will force you to become a genuine capitalist, whether you like it or not. This business will take up much of your time and money without guaranteeing a financial return. You must learn all aspects of building and managing a company. But the more effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it.


Now that you have read and understand these ten points and still believe you are up to the challenge, you should be ready to become a successful self-publisher. By truly understanding these elements, you will not be afraid of the time-consuming, hard work involved in producing a quality self-published book.

Then stop procrastinating and get started. Now is your chance to achieve some of your personal and financial goals by taking advantage of the self-publishing revolution happening now.

Questions to Think About
1. Which one of these signs did you ignore before getting into self-publishing?
2. If you have already self-published a book, which sign do you now realize was the most significant shortcoming in your plans?

About Joseph C. Kunz, Jr.

I am an author, husband, father of twins, grandfather, and small business owner near New York City. I created this website to share my self-publishing and small-business adventures and insights.
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