Saturday, August 29, 2015

Is Self Publishing the Answer?

Before I entered the Twittersphere a few months ago (did I really just write Twittersphere???), I never really understood how common it was for "service professionals" (coaches, editors, therapists, seminar leaders,  leadership experts, change agents, consultants, ect ect) to self publish eBooks as a marketing tool. They give these books away, to demonstrate to clients the type of work that they do, and to provide "value" to new clients. Many are really great and really helpful.

I am 100% clear that I am no marketing expert. I also have different goals than many coaches and other helping consultants; I have a full time gig and keep my practice small. Yet, I wonder if self-publishing is always the best answer, if your target clients are college professors?

In truth, I don't think most college professor and academics take the self publishing of an eBook very seriously. I worry that for some consultants and coaches, ONLY self publishing, and not seeking a more traditional press at some point my keep some academic clients away. I am sure that this is not true for everyone, but for many academics, the "street creds" of peer reviewed articles or traditional books is important. Many of us question the rigor of self published work.

I am not against self-publishing; I self published a memoir and a book to help English as second language scholars write and publish articles. Yet, my credibility with other scholars comes from my other published work; I would not count on my self-publications as evidence of my knowledge of academic writing and publishing. In fact, many of my coaching clients seem more interested in my book, Social Work Practice with Men at Risk  (Colombia University Press, 2010) than with Practical Tips for Publishing Scholarly Articles.

My purpose here? To encourage other academic coaches, and coaches and consultants in general, to consider more traditional means of publishing their books. While short term marketing needs may make the self-publishing of an eBook of value, there is nothing like publishing with a university press or well thought of commercial press for credibility.

 If you do think of writing such a book (which starts with a prospectus) , I know someone who can help you :).

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