Self Publishing

Category: Printing

I have a great book idea, but I've had trouble finding a publisher. I've looked at various self-publishing options, but came away confused. Can you help me get started with self-publishing?

Getting Started With Self Publishing

Self-publishing a book is the smart way to go these days. The old barriers to getting published are being replaced by Web-based publishing houses that don't mail you rejection letters. But unlike traditional "vanity presses" that want several thousand dollars up-front just to print and deliver a few hundred books to you, the new self-publishing services cost virtually nothing out of pocket. That's important because the risk of financial failure in book publishing has never been greater.

More than 560,000 new books were published in the U. S. in 2009, twice as many as in 2003. The average U. S. book sells fewer than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 over its lifetime. Every new book has to compete with over seven million books already in print, not to mention e-books, Web sites, television, and other digital media. Traditional book publishing is a high-risk/low-reward game. But digital book publishing is far less of a gamble.`

E-books are one digital publishing option. An e-book is simply a digital file that displays a book's content on the readers screen. It can be as simple as a plain-text file or as sophisticated as a Web site, with hyperlinks and multimedia embedded in it. A great many e-book publishing software packages are available with different features and proprietary file formats.
Self Publishing

But it's hard to beat the Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) created with Adobe Acrobat or a less costly clone such as Foxit Phantom PDF or the simple plug-in Win2PDF. You can sell ebooks online without too much trouble as well. Take payment with Paypal, and use an INexpensive script like LinkLok to make it easy for customers to download the PDF after purchasing.

But e-books have their shortcomings. First, people won't pay much for e-books unless the e-book will show them how to make money or solve a problem. Second, there is no foolproof way to protect an e-book from unauthorized copying. Finally, the people who spend a good deal of money on books prefer the feel of paper and the experience of reading a printed book. Now they can get it direct from the author!

Online Self-Publishing Services

Self-publishing services allow authors to create hardcopy printed books in a variety of sizes and formats. Authors don't have to do all the "non-creative" stuff themselves. Web-based companies such as CreateSpace and will take your uploaded digital book (in Word, PDF, or other standard formats); print and bind as many copies as you like; and deliver them to you, to book distributors, or even individual readers. It's called on-demand publishing, and it makes book self-publishing a pleasure for authors. At CreateSpace, you can print a 100-page book with a glossy full-color cover for $2.15 per copy. Have them shipped direct to you, and handle order fulfillment yourself; or let customers order direct and get paid on a royalty basis.

Marketing is also easier in self-publishing. The new on-demand digital publishers will get your book listed in Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other major online bookstores. Some, like OutskirtsPress, even give authors coaching on how to generate buzz for their books through public relations, TV and radio appearances, book-signing tours, etc.

Magazine self-publishing is equally easy with services such as, a division of HP. Magcloud gives you a Web site where each edition of your magazine can be described and purchased via credit card or Paypal. When a copy is ordered it's printed, bound, and mailed to the buyer within 7 business days. Magcloud charges authors 20 cents per page and you can set each issue's price. You can also compile subscriber lists who will receive every issue.

I've had books published through traditional publishers, and have published my own through self publishing as well. You might not get your book on the shelf at your local bookstore if you go the do-it-yourself route, but having control over every step of the process, and keeping a much higher percentage of the profits is very appealing to many authors.

Do you have something to say about self-publishing? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Self Publishing"

Posted by:

11 Dec 2010

Watch out for iUniverse for self publishing. They will try to upsell you to very expensive shows and products even after you buy a premium package. Also, there are problems in getting consistent answers as they move your book from one stage to another. There is no one person to oversee your project, so you may have a very professional editor at one stage, and a rude, flippant brat as a project manager later ,all the while fending off a salesperson with constant requests for more of your money before the book is even submitted.

Posted by:

06 Jan 2011

" expensive script like LinkLok ..." Do you mean inexpensive?

EDITOR'S NOTE: YES, thanks! Fixed now.

Posted by:

22 Oct 2011

Please visit . And no this is not promotional. Merely it is someone else with commentary on self-publishing. They offer an opinion similar to my own. I'm also a bit disappointed with you Mr. Rankin. Will recover but it gives a person reason to pause.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Self Publishing (Posted: 10 Dec 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved