Should Small Business Books be Self-Published?

Are  you a small business owner with a self-published book in you?  If so, make it worth my time to read it, please.

The case against self-publishing

I love books.  I love to read.  Recently I spent hours at my local library scanning shelf after shelf of small business books that were pedestrian, or even worse, flat-out wrong.  To be fair, they are “wrong” in my opinion, having worked for over ten years as a small business coach and consultant for companies just launching and established companies that want to grow.  In the books I scanned, many of the books were boring or authors said things about small business that just made me laugh out loud (not good library behavior, by the way!), or that made my blood boil.

Why is this happening?

With the advent of self-publishing about a decade ago, establishing yourself as an author became easier. That’s both good and bad.  It is good because it is easier to publish books that would never have been published under the “old rules.” It’s bad because of those pedestrian (and worse) books I mentioned.  Every wanna-be speaker today is told to write a book.  No problem.  Spend a little time, write it, self-publish, put it on Amazon for $.99, send the link to a gazillion folks, and you’re a “best-selling author” in no time (maybe)! Or, for a mere $25,000 to $50,000, or more, you can dictate your book through a quick interview, have someone else write your world-changing tome, and with a lot of luck become instantly “famous.”  Fame, by the way is in the eyes of the beholder, just sayin’.

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that small business owners should consider self-publishing a book IF they have expert knowledge about a topic that people actually want to read AND they produce a valuable, readable product.  There are some great self-published books that would have never been published through traditional means. Unfortunately, those great books are swamped by the forgettable ones.

The case for self-publishing

I think the answer lies behind Door Number 3 for many small business owners with a budget considerably smaller than $25,000.  You can work with a respected copywriter/publisher and, together, mold your ideas and words into a really great book.  A respected copywriter and book publisher will challenge your ideas every step of the way, making your book better, not just taking your money.  And then s/he can help you self-publish something you will be proud of, something people will actually consider valuable.  As a small business coach, I work with many respected copywriters who can help you.  Send an email to and I’ll put you in touch with them.

In a future blog, I’ll tell you about a woman who made millions in the self-publishing world “way back when” in 2010.

About Robin Suomi, MBA,  Founder of Startup to Growth, LLC.  Success is rarely accidental. My passion is helping my small business clients move from concept through growth (many surpassing $1M in sales), unleashing their vitality, innovation and creativity as they launch or grow their successful and sustainable companies according to their vision. For over 10 years I have helped thousands of small business owners launch and grow their dreams through 1-1 and group small business coaching, technical small business consulting, mastermind groups, business plan classes, and other educational programs. As an adjunct professor, I taught Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and Business 101 courses. Our services are delivered online and in-person.

In the spring of 2017 I will be launching a How to Start Your Business Successfully webinar, which will educate potential small business owners about starting their own business. It will be a refresher course for the rest of us!

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