~Understanding self-publishing


Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing


Advantages of self-publishing


·         Publication is faster; it takes days or weeks, not months or years.

·         You will have your choice of trim size and paper stock.

·         Print books on demand, even just for one copy.

·         You can be 100% certain of publishing and getting it up on Amazon.com.

·         Royalties will be much greater, from 20% to 80%. A few even offer 100%.

·         You will control the foreign rights.

·         Self-publishing lets you have global distribution of your ebook on day one.

·         You have final say on the overall project, the content of the book, its interior layout and design, its cover, its price, its marketing, and the amount of resources spent on it.


·         With print-on-demand and ebooks, you can keep your book in print forever, revise it immediately, and change the price of your book whenever you want.


·         Most ebook resellers provide real-time or near real-time sales results, and many print-on-demand printers can provide similar information.


Advantages of traditional publishing houses


·         More credibility in the eyes of bookstore owners and readers

·         A sales team with multiple titles of other authors to sell to bookstores, who usually do not want to work with someone who is just selling one title.


·         Less of a time commitment: You do not have to worry about responsibilities that would otherwise be yours if you went the self-publishing route (editing, layout and design, printing, marketing, advertising, promoting, selling, and distributing the book).


·         Less of a financial commitment: When you self-publish, all the costs are your responsibility. You must be equipped to handle each major task as both the author and the financial backer.


·         Acceptance of book returns from stores: Companies that help with self-publishing usually do not accept returns from booksellers, retailers, and distributors.


·         Offers of credit terms for your book to distributors, booksellers, libraries, and other retailers: These stores buy on credit, and won’t carry your book if you or the printer of your books do not offer credit terms. Most printers that help with self-publishing do not offer credit terms.


·         Money up front for you: You can get an advance for your book.



Self-publishing’s sequential steps


1.      Define your target audience.

2.      Research the content.

3.      Create a detailed outline.

4.      Write the manuscript.

5.      Have the manuscript edited.

6.      Apply for an ISBN, LCCN, copyright, and other book-specific codes, if necessary.

7.      Set the cover price for your book.

8.      Select a publication date.

9.      Create an index if it is a non-fiction book, or hire a professional indexer.

10.  Have the manuscript's interior pages designed and laid out.

11.  Hire a graphic designer and create your book's front and back covers.

12.  If making a printed book and not just an ebook, choose a print-on-demand (POD) firm.

13.  Develop press materials for your book.

14.  Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign.

15.  Develop a website to promote your book.

16.  Begin pre-selling your book by sending out press materials, promoting the book, lining up booksellers to sell it to, being active in social media, and so on.


17.  Have your book listed with online retailers.

18.  Establish your publishing company (if applicable).

19.  Arrange for book events, whether they are in bookstores or people’s homes.

20.  Publish the book and ship it to consumers, retailers, and distributors, as appropriate.

21.  Continue promoting and marketing your book while filling orders from customers.


The types of costs


·         the opportunity cost of the time you’re taking to write something.

·         a flat fee for  using a POD company (such as Lightning Source) on top of the per-book cost

·         permission fees for using excerpts of others’ works

·         content editor / developmental editor

·         technical editor / fact checker

·         copy editor / proofreader

·         indexer

·         cover designer

·         interior book designer for layout

·         stock photography/artwork/illustrator

·         copyright registration fee

·         ISBN code and other identifier codes

·         membership fee for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

·         book copies for reviewers and blurbers

·         author photo

·         marketing (business cards and keyword research)

·         publicity (hiring a publicist and paying for book tours or events)

·         NetGalley membership

·         website (architecture, design, and upkeep)

·         bookstore touring

·         merchant account fees for credit cards

·         printing (print books only)

·         business-filing expenses for having your own publishing firm (optional)


Crowdfunding your book


You can use a service such as Unbound (http://unbound.co.uk), Pubslush (www.pubslush.com), Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com/projects?filter_category=Writing), GoFundMe (www.gofundme.com), or Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) to generate sales revenue before you ship your book. Create an online campaign for your book and then use social media to spread the word to your friends, family, and the public. Include a description of your book, your background, and a video. You could offer different benefits depending on the size of the commitment (each higher level includes the perks of the previous level):


·         $10: public thank-you on Facebook

·         $25: copy of the finished ebook

·         $50: signed paperback

·         $100: Skype call with the author

·         $500: your name in the acknowledgment section  



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