Ingram Blog

Four Valuable Business Skills Learned from Self-Publishing

Learning how to publish your own book is a valuable skill for anyone who writes, whether professionally or as a hobby. Self-publishing doesn't just get your book onto physical and virtual shelves; it teaches you how to manage a business. As you travel down the road of self-publishing, you'll likely pick up these business skills along the way.

Online Marketing

When you self-publish a book, marketing that book is up to you. You're responsible for promoting your book to new readers and bookstores. Online marketing platforms are diverse and very helpful, but they don't run themselves. The most successful published authors are those that have mastered online marketing. They use blogs, e-mails, and social media to inform readers about new developments with their work.

Online marketing is one of the most important things you can learn as a self-publisher and as a business owner. After all, that's essentially what you are. A recent survey found that 57% of self-publishers expressed the need to learn online marketing. Learn online marketing now, and you'll have a valuable skill set that will follow you through every step of your career.


Like marketing, learning the art of selling is a keystone to getting your book some shelf space. It's entirely possible to have your self-published book sold in physical bookstores. But a bookstore owner won't let just anyone walk in and stock the shelves: it takes a little finesse.

Learning how to make a sale requires a mastery of the spoken word and a problem-solving mind. How many books will you leave with the retailer, and what percentage will they get for each one sold? How do you plan to promote your book and make sure it sells? These are questions you'll need to answer in your "pitch" to the bookstore. As a business owner, your future customers will want answers, too. It's up to you as a sales guru to identify your customers' "problem," and offer a solution. That's what makes the sale.


Negotiation is a skill everyone should have; it's incredibly useful in the working world as well as everyday life. As a self-published author, you'll probably spend time researching editors, cover designers, and other professionals who will polish your book to perfection. If you're savvy, you'll also probably spend time negotiating with said professionals.

Perhaps your cover designer is a college student, in which case you can negotiate for a lower rate compared to designers with work experience. Or maybe you want to negotiate a "bulk" discount for a developmental and copy editor. Whatever the case, you'll need good negotiating skills to strike a deal. You'll most likely use these skills again later in life, whether negotiating on a new car or buying a new site for your business.


This skill goes hand in hand with negotiation (most of the time). When you negotiate, you also learn to collaborate. You work with others and make compromises to find a solution that works for all parties involved. You'll also be doing a lot of collaboration on the work itself. Cover designers will want your input to make sure their design fits with your idea. Developmental editors will collaborate with you on the flow and concept of your book.

This creative back and forth is a wonderful skill to have, and is applicable in all facets of your life. From collaborating on creative projects with other professionals, to being able to compromise effectively, you'll need these business skills at work and in your personal life.

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