Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Before the nitty-gritty of self-publishing. . .

I was going to start on the material for the 'So you want to self-publish' as featured in last week's first ever post. However I've realised there is a step missing that every writer/author/illustrator and self-pubbie needs to take before getting into the nitty-gritty of self-publishing. Interestingly enough, it's the first question I've asked quite a few new self-publishers over the last few months.
The answer to this question gives you an idea of what direction you will want to take. If you are publishing your book because you'd love to see it printed and sitting on your book shelf in the foyer next to Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis and Agatha Christie, then print on demand will be a great path to take. If you want to get your story told, and present it to the universe or as much of it as you can, then using a platform like Smashwords is a great way to go as it deals with all the major online retailers. If you love your quirky story and want to sell it in independent bookstores in NZ and Australia, then Vanity Publishing will work for you – although is costly and very time consuming. If you want to publish a story and make as much money as you possibly can – in my opinion – you need to publish on Amazon and use their Kindle Select Programme.
Here are some Wiki definitions of each of the ways to publish:
A vanity press or vanity publisher is a term describing a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_press
Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received, which means books can be printed one at a time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Print_on_demand
Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for, and in control of, the entire process, including design (cover/interior), formats, price, distribution, marketing & PR. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-publishing
Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/) is a self-serve publishing service. Authors upload their manuscripts as Microsoft Word files to the Smashwords service, which converts the files into multiple ebook formats for reading on various ebook reading devices. Once published, the books are made available for sale online at a price set by the author. More on Smashwords here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smashwords
Kindle Direct Publishing (http://kdp.amazon.com/): concurrently with the Kindle device, Amazon launched Kindle Direct Publishing, where authors and publishers independently publish their books directly to Kindle and Kindle Apps worldwide. More information on Kindle Direct Publishing here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle_Direct_Publishing#Kindle_Direct_Publishing
Amazon Kindle is the largest ebook retailer, with the largest market – while things like the Kindle Select Program may seem limiting your audience by restricting you to the one retailer, it usually results in more exposure than any of the rest (possibly even more than all the others combined).
This is just a brief description of each of these avenues for publishing. We will go into more detail on each of these in more depth later on, in the topic 'Understanding your Market'.
So have a think about what you want to do with your story then take that path to the end. No matter what you do – how you publish, you and you alone are responsible for the marketing and sales of your book. Building your author platform is paramount – even before you have published. No platform = no sales.
So, what do you want to do with your book? Where do you want to take it? What is important to you as an author? Once you have answered these questions then you can begin your self-publishing journey.
All the best,
~ Joy

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