Self publishing has never been more popular. But with so many methods of publishing available to us now, how do you choose the right way for you?
Here's a run down of the most popular options available for getting your work into print, whether digital or ink...
Reasons To Self Publish
They say everyone has at least one book in them and with the current trend for turning collections of blog posts into books, putting together your book has never been easier. But it's well documented that traditional publishing, using agents and publishing companies, is in decline. They are not printing as many books now, so competition for those they do is fierce.
Thankfully, nowadays you don't have to jump through hoops trying to find a company that will agree to print your masterpiece. In fact many publishers will not print your book unless you have self published anything previously.
Self publishing is an obvious choice for many authors. With the rise in digital downloads and new printing technology you can print your own book for little to no money! Deciding to publish a book yourself can not only be cheaper (contacting publishers and agents takes time, and then they take a cut of your earnings too), but can also save time and stress and give you complete control over the finished product.
In fact only today I came across this article about how author Jessica Park has had more success and been happier since self publishing. Readers benefit from lower priced books as there are less overheads and are drawn to how much more 'real' and genuine the books are. Authors have total control, higher profits and don't have to do cope with the contract minefield where many lose the rights to their own work.
Digital Book Self Publishing Options
There will always be room for printed books in the world, but no-one can deny that digital books have their advantages. From a publishing point of view, it doesn't actually cost anything to create or sell your books and doesn't take as long as traditional methods to get your work 'out there'.
Downloadable books are very convenient and often more affordable for their readers. With the ability to read books on many different devices such as phones, tablets and ebook readers, you can take your library with you without any extra bulk to carry.
PDF eBooks. eBooks are easy to create and you can make them look exactly how you want. My favourite way is to set out my book exactly how I want it in a word document and then 'print' it to a PDF file using a converter such as PDF995. You can sell PDF's on websites and keep 100% of the income*.
eBook Publishers. You can publish and sell your own books through large companies, by using their publishing tools. Normally you create your document just as with PDF's and then convert them to the specific file type the publisher requires. BookBaby make publishing on many platforms easy and straight forward. Ebook publishers include:
- Kindle Direct Publishing by Amazon
- Nookpress by Barnes & Noble
- iBookStore by Apple iTunes
*This of course does not take into account any money you spend on your website or marketing.
Printed Book Self Publishing Options
Yes, digital books are definitely here to stay but there will always be room in the world for a good old paper and ink book. For a start you can't read digital books in the bath (well you probably could...but only once)! Many shy away from self-publishing in traditional media now, but please don't~ you will be limiting your audience. If you are worried about the investment, don't be. You can actually self-publish a paper book without paying a penny with the help of new technology.
Print-On-Demand. POD is becoming more popular, particularly with books. With most companies you upload your work, choose your book options (e.g. paper, size and binding type), offer it for sale and copies will only be printed and posted when they are ordered. Most POD book sites offer additional services such as editing and formatting too. The top book POD sites include:
- Lulu~ who also offer digital publishing, calendars and photo books
- Blurb~ who have extensive help sections including videos and inspiration
Bulk Buy. This is the original method for self-publishers and the most risky I think. If you really believe in your book and have a lot of spare room, you can pay to get a large quantity of your book printed. It is then up to you to sell as many copies in as many ways as you can. The risks include; being stuck with unsold copies in your living room, not recouping your initial investment and if you spot any mistakes after your books have been printed you will have to get a whole new batch. Most self-publisher printers will print no less than one-hundred copies per run.
Self Publishing Tips And Tricks
Don't limit yourself. Consider publishing using more than one method. Ideally you will self publish using at least one digital and one printed format so your readers can choose their preference and you don't leave anyone out. There will always be those that prefer a printed book and others who prefer the convenience of digital.
Be realistic. You will not sell a hundred-thousand copies of your new book over night (unless your name is JK Rowling of course!). It will take patience and marketing to get your work noticed and build your reputation.
Be professional. Learn as much as you can about the business including; editing, layout, illustration, grammar & spelling, marketing and your chosen subject. Don't be daunted, if you struggle with anything find those that have experience and ask for advice. Make sure your facts are correct and your work reads easily~ ask or pay others you trust to proof-read your book before publishing and try not to take constructive criticism too personally, it's for the good of your book.
Make connections. Do what you can to get to know other self-publishers (the more successful the better). Online forums, groups and book fairs are great to meet like-minded people. You can not only become friends with them, but also offer and gain valuable knowledge. Testimonials from well known names never hurts either.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Karen Creftor
Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on June 17, 2020:
Good information here, Karen. I'm glad you mentioned 'Be Professional' because too many self-published books are not. Many have errors because of not being edited professionally, which unfortunately does cost money. My advice to any author out there thinking about self-publishing, invest in a professional editor, they will make your work better.
pochinuk on January 22, 2014:
"...don't limit yourself..."
Good advice, anecdotes, and directions for self-publishing in an Information Age.
I have a criteria of doing it virtuously; I want to publish a work steeped in my own personal experiences, artistry and skills. You have brought out what is popular- and that's a necessary target too!
Meeting the needs of the general public (i,e, "what is popular") with profession is such a vital factor.
There is a book publisher in our area who seeks to put in print published work that want to maintain the hand-printed quality of yesteryears; (some people want this ). So he uses equipment to do this and is meeting a need in the general public. His profession with the virtues of his hand-printing experience, art and skills meets a need.
I see that same level of advice coming through your hub.
Astrid Halfling on November 23, 2013:
I am excited to test these methods after I've compiled a brilliant marvel of art!
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 12, 2013:
A mine of information, Karen. I've made mistakes and I hope I've learned from them. I publish through Amazon KDP (third book now, fourth coming up and a fifth one is 'on the slipway') and New Generation. I've even hit on a 'set' autograph phrase (done a few of them as well).
I have a web site through Webeden that I market my books on with links to Amazon, Waterstones and the publisher, with links from two of my Hub pages. Next year I have a few dates around libraries in the adjacent borough of Redbridge to advise would-be self-publishers, so I have some research to do there for a list.
Thumbs up, useful and interesting.
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on November 12, 2013:
Good information here, and I found it just as I've begun putting into motion self-publishing my own book (s). Well, still at the investigative stage. Seems like a good way to go. Seems to me linking an eBook to a blog or website would also be good, and/or using a website to promote the book also. Thanks for the hints and info.
Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on November 12, 2013:
Thank you, great introduction to the world of self publishing. How the book world has changed over the last fifteen years or so. Frightening and enlightening!