With the popularity of e-books at an all time high comes the ability for writers to reach a larger pool of consumers. This makes self-publishing an effective and realistic way for both aspiring and established authors to publish their work. But how effective is self-publishing? What does it entail? Where does one begin on this journey of print and publication? In order to find the correct information, you have to know what to look for. This all starts by knowing what to ask.
1. What type of distribution do you want for your book?
There are two types of self-publishing companies: a book packager and a book printer (better known as print-on-demand). A book packager can have as many or as few options as an author wants. These options include cover design, marketing, printing and order fulfillment. A book printer simply prints the books as they are ordered. The purpose of print-on-demand is to save money on supplies and storage by only printing what is ordered by consumers. There are platforms that offer both electronic and book printing distribution, such as CreateSpace, if exploring all avenues is in your best interest.
2. How do I sell my book?
This all depends on whether you choose to market and promote it yourself, or choose a book package that aids in marketing. Some authors choose to do all of the work on their own. This helps to save their out-of-pocket expenses and creates a greater return of profit. Some options to consider would be through social media, blogging and book tours. The downside to self-promotion and marketing is it takes a serious amount of time and research. It is thought that the time spent selling a book takes away from writing and diminishes creativity. There are plenty of ways to go about selling a book, based on the height of success an individual is aiming for.
3. Why should I self-publish?
If retaining complete control over you hard work is important to you, then self-publishing is your route. Authors are often paid in advanced for their books by publishing companies, meaning they are basically selling their book to the publisher before it even hits shelves. Once a book is sold to a publisher, the author has no control over the cover art, marketing, release dates or anything that has something to do with making decisions for the book. You no longer own the rights to your book and any royalties you receive are a smaller percentage than selling it on your own. By choosing to self-publish, you work at your own pace, you make any and all decisions, and if you choose to have someone else help in any aspect, you get to pick them single-handedly.
4. Where do I begin?
To find the right self-publishing companies and effective marketing strategies, this will require research. If you are in the market to self-publish but think you could benefit from some expertise, there is always the option of hiring a literary agent. They work as a personal advocate, doing all the footwork as far as pitching and negotiating, and this allows you to focus more on writing. Granted, there is a percentage to be paid to them, but they serve a great purpose and allow you to keep your book. Another topic to consider is who is going to edit your book? This can be done by you, but it is always best to get outside perspectives. If you have no literary agent, research can be done to find an accomplished and affordable independent editor.
Still stuck? Or want to explore online publishers? There are some great reputable sources to look into below. As always, base decisions on your own personal journey and remember that roads go in all directions if the first one does not lead to success!