Self publishing has been enabled by the Age of the Internet and is hugely liberating. The ability to self publish, and the ease of researching information, has made it much easier, and cheaper, to get your masterpiece produced and sold!
Almost everybody feels that they have at least one book inside them, and they are right! Few actually do anything about it. However, because you are here it is clear that you do want to do something. Maybe you are even contemplation your own self-publishing business? You re in the right place to learn how to make a success of your efforts.
For many years traditional publishers held the keys to the publishing marketplace. You had a choice of only two ways into this marketplace. The first was to submit a manuscript to a publisher who, if they liked it, would produce and sell your excellent prose under their conditions. If they did not like it then the only alternative was for you to pay for the entire process, a method called ‘vanity publishing’. This was expensive, many thousands of dollars, as the whole first print run had to be printed at once – and with all costs covered by you.
You still have both of these options and this is the main route into bookshops, but competition for spots is tougher and for non mass-market publications there are better alternatives.
The development of ‘on demand’ printing means that you can get your book published for the cost of a single copy, around $10 or so depending upon your publishing choices. Even that is only the cost of your final sample for checking before you press the big “GO” button to release your masterpiece.
A new breed of publishers has sprung up that can deliver these new services for those who wish to self-publish. Companies such as Lulu for hardback and paperback books as well as e-books & Kindle publishing, CafePress for promotional items such as T-Shirts, Baby Rompers, Tote Bags, Pint Glasses, Mugs and Jumpers and CreateSpace for paperbacks, Kindle, CDs and Video DVDs offer these services. Now it is up to you, and you alone, to make a success of your publishing efforts. What a wonderful opportunity!
Look carefully at the services the company you select provides and the publishing formats they can accept when you are preparing your text for publication. Some accept a variety of formats, Word files, RTF, or PDF. Do be aware that with some formats the final version can be affected by the printing process so check your output carefully. As for the printed output, for example, for some publishers it is significantly cheaper to publish a book with only words rather than one with words and illustrations. Colour also costs more, as does better types of binding.
Choose what is right for your market. If your masterpiece is an illustrated guide to oil painting then you have very different needs from an author with a simple children’s tale. In outline the steps needed are to prepare your material, upload it to the publisher’s website, selected your options, checked all the details and spelling and you are ready to publish. These publishers have their own websites that will promote your items as well as having links to other promotional avenues such as Amazon to extend your coverage.
What happens when someone wants to buy one of your books? It is all taken care of by the publisher. The publisher’s online form grabs all the information – and the cash – and then makes and sends the book. The publisher will then send you the sales margin/profit after the transaction is complete.
You can make many decisions about pricing and marketing. The publisher has fixed costs that will be notified to you as you prepare your book. You then pick the price that’s right for your customers. The difference between the two is your profit margin.
Finally, marketing and promotion. I’ve already mentioned the publisher’s website but that is by no means sufficient. No, you will need to market it persuasively yet aggressively using the Internet to achieve a decent sales volume.
With these developments you have great opportunities to get published. Remember that to get the best from this opportunity it is vital to do things the right way and a good guide is indispensable as you act upon your learning about “Self publishing – and how to do it”.