Let’s say you’re a writer and you’ve been working on a new book. Is it close to being finished? Have you worked with a professional editor to smooth out the rough spots, clean up your grammar and fix the punctuation?

What’s holding you back from self-publishing it? Just asking because the sales statistics for self-published authors have skyrocketed.

According to Amazon, its peak shopping day for online sales was Dec. 14, and customers ordered more than 9.5 million items worldwide, “a record-breaking 110 items per second.”  Amazon did report that Kindle was the best-selling item and it sold more eBooks than printed books. Industry pundits estimate that 5.4 million Kindle units sold in 2010, but Amazon isn’t saying.

Apple sold about 10 million iPads in 2010 and DigiTimes reports that some of the companies that manufacture parts for Apple’s iPad are anticipating the company may ship 65 million of the tablet devices in 2011.

OK, so those are pretty impressive stats, but what does it really mean for writers?

I’ve been lucky to have published books. After the initial hoopla, nearly all marketing of my books by the publisher stopped. Why? My favorite (and most honest) editor told me a printed book has a shorter shelf life than a tomato and that too many books are out there that should never have been published.

Digital books have the shelf life of the Internet, which has been going strong for 20 years. Hold that thought — Gutenberg Project has been digitizing since the 1980s.

Plus, instead of relying upon a publisher to market your book to booksellers, you have iTunes and Amazon’s storefronts, not to mention Smashwords/Barnes & Noble/Borders as an outlet. Remember that statistic earlier about Amazon having more than 9.5 million sales worldwide on one day? That’s a lot of people looking at a site that could also feature your eBook.

Add to that an author’s royalty of 70 percent. Sure, you may decide to sell your book for only $2.99 but that means a royalty of $2, which is more than I get from most of my printed books.

I want to encourage you to consider the option. Self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma it had 10 years ago. There is quality work to be had at reasonable prices and the eBook can be read on desktop computers, eReaders, tablets, laptops, netbooks and even mobile phones.

And, with print-on-demand from many of the companies (Amazon is a great example) you can have printed copies of your book to have and hold and autograph and give away or sell.

What you need to do is edit your book, upload it to the various booksellers in the required format, and create an effective book marketing plan. Do you have a website? Do you have a blog? Are you using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to your advantage? Do you have customer accounts at all the big retailers (iTunes, Amazon, B&N, Borders)?

Seriously, I’ve been there and the burden always falls upon the author to make sure the book is promoted. You can do this yourself and for free, or you can tap into a variety of professional sources who will help you.

Creative Commons License
What’s Holding You Back by Robin Van Auken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  Based on a work at www.madelinesloane.com.