David Gaughran, a successful self-published author, offers an updated book of publishing advice and resources for writers who are ready to publish, but unfamiliar with the indie self-publishing process.
David Gaughran wants you to self-publish. “Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should“ is an explanation of why and how you should self-publish.
Just about anyone with an Amazon account has heard of the “publishing revolution,” a movement where literally millions of people can sell their own book on the same Internet space as famous authors like Stephen King. Many people, ranging from individuals to small businesses, have enjoyed the ability to publish inexpensively and quickly to an audience without the middleman.
Others, however, believe this “revolution” will be the downfall of good books as we know it.
Is Self-publishing Right for You?
So what is the “publishing revolution” and should you jump into the arena as a self-publisher yourself? If you have the resources and skill, the author seems to think so with a resounding yes.
In “Let’s Get Digital,” David Gaughran, a successful self-published author himself, details his experience and knowledge as proof that self-publishing is a viable business opportunity for anyone. He even states this belief in the Introduction:
“If you have the technical capability to operate an email account and download this book, you have the capacity to learn what it takes to become a publisher.”
Yet, this is not another “get rich by making a cheap eBook” type of book. It’s a well-thought out “this is what makes a good eBook” type of book.
In the first part of the book, Gaughran offers incredibly insightful advice on the declining nature of the traditional publishing industry and how this led to the rise of the self-publishing industry. He argues that self-publishers have been given a unique opportunity to get more control and a higher return on investment over a traditional publisher.
Gaughran spends the second part of “Let’s Get Digital” — the meat of the book — showing how authors can take the manuscript from a text document into a well-formatted, potential best-seller. Gaughran doesn’t go into extreme detail here, but he provides enough information to point you in the right direction.
The section, great as it was, does not go into a lot of detail about the craft of writing. Gaughran already assumes that readers will have worked on their writing and researched their genre first.
In other words, you need to be a good writer before you get this book. The purpose of “Let’s Get Digital” is to help writers get a better understanding of how the self-publishing world works. It doesn’t teach you how to write. It helps you get the inspiration and resources to become a published writer.
Consistently Writing Books is Your Platform
One of the most interesting aspects about his book is his advice concerning platform-building. If you have read anything about self-publishing, you have heard about “platform-building,” activities that are designed to raise your book’s visibility. Platform-building activities include social media, blogs, book tours, and interviews. Most books suggest that authors engage in these activities on a consistent basis.
In “Let’s Get Digital,” Gaughran argues the opposite. In his view, consistently writing good books is your platform. He doesn’t deny that authors should have things like a Twitter profile and blog, but suggests that authors should focus on sales and not amassing thousands of Twitter followers without selling even one book. This is obvious advice, but one of the first books that emphatically points out this obvious fact.
The final sections of the book cover over 20 success stories of self-published authors. It is followed by a list of helpful resources for writers. Gaughran peppers resources and links throughout the book, too.
How Does This Book Compare to the First Edition?
This is an updated second edition of a book he initially published back in July of 2011.
Gaughran does an incredible job of updating the information to match the complex environment of self-publishing. The first edition has overwhelming enthusiasm for the self-publishing industry and its potential for changing the publishing industry. The second edition contains the same enthusiasm, but tempered with more experience.
Gaughran has spent a lot more time in the self-publishing world. Three years have gone by, and this experience shows in his advice.
I purchased a copy of the first edition of this book. Gaughran kindly made the second edition free for those who bought the first. So I claimed my updated copy for this review.
What are the Key Takeaways of the Book?
- You should self-publish if you can consistently write quality books or short-stories and spend the money and time to market them.
- Self-publishing is a legitimate business opportunity for authors who want to skip the “traditional” gatekeeper.
- Self-publishing is not destroying the publishing industry. The traditional publishing industry was already failing.
- Marketing a self-published book should be based first on book sales. In other words, focus on writing and make some sales first, before spending a lot of time ramping up your marketing.
Who Should Read This Book?
The book is heavily geared toward do-it-yourselfers. The author completed most of the self-publishing on his own and writes from that perspective. If you have a great story and can manage an online learning curve, this book (and self-publishing) may be for you.
About the Author
David Gaughran is a successful self-published author, world traveler, and blogger who utilizes his experience to help other authors through his blog Let’s Get Digital. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidGaughran. The book is available on Amazon and other online sites.
This really is an excellent book. The 2011 edition was immensely helpful for getting me started with self-publishing. I’ve recently read the new edition, which is very intelligently upgraded to include information writers need to do this NOW. Things have changed a lot in just a few years.
Mr. Gaughran has written another book, Let’s Get Visible, which I think is also a must-read for anyone considering publishing their own work.
Thanks, Charles, for a great review.
It’s great that the 2011 version was updated. A lot has changed in the self-publishing world since then!