Writing and Self Publishing
Never has there been a kinder time to writers than the connected era in which we live in now. The voice of millions are shared over the Internet, through computers and mobile devices almost instantly.
Writers no longer need to slog in their darkened corners only to see their creations discarded in the junk-yard slush-piles of publishers and agents. The immediacy and availability of internet self-publishing has opened doors that were previously only privy to a select few.
Regardless of the type of writing you are most inclined to, whether you find joy in writing technical manuals, historical accounts or romance novels, it is possible to find and connect with a potential audience easily.
Why Do You Write?
The fascinating thing about the art of writing has been the fact that throughout the ages, the question of Why a writer writes has always garnered an almost exact same response… ‘I had a story to tell’
Akin to the artist who colours a blank canvas from inspired visions, or a musician who plays wonderful melodies initially heard only in the depths of his mind, a writer is often called to share a story that somehow just appears to be told.
How To Start Writing?
Although the definite methods of writing may vary greatly, from making detailed copious notes of every character to simply sitting at a blank screen (on the computer, or a blank page) and filling it with words that seem to flow from the mind to the screen, either and both methods have been known and used, with success either way.
The general advice to writers, or want-to-be writers is to simply write each day.
Routes to Getting your Writing Published
While traditionally the only way a book was to be placed in a reader’s hands, was if a publisher, often approached by an agent on behalf of a writer, decided that a book would garner a significant enough audience to recoup the costs and make a profit on the printing of a book.
The rise of the e-reader and electronic tablets have provided vast opportunities to the writer to get their work in front of a huge audience without the initial risks and costs of the physical printing of a book.
Electronic publishing can be broadly divided in to two distinct categories in which Amazon (and it’s processes count for one) and all other forms of e-publishing (the other).
Publishing with Amazon
Amazon as a publisher, marketer and provider of e-books has in it’s own way both revolutionised and controlled the entire book-writing-publishing process. Through it’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) programme, it allows you to write a publish an e-book in as little time as half a day with the right guidance and help. If you can format your own book and create your own cover, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is truly a zero cost route to market.
Publishing with others
You can use also what is called an Aggregator, a self publishing book agent that will help you get your book ready and in front of as many avenues or point of sales as possible. They would of course take a setup fee and sometimes a cut when you start selling your book (from the royalties) but it would mean that you can just set it up once in one place and be everywhere. Some self publishing companies will also print hard copies of your book for you to sell it on. Other value-add services include online membership, access to cover design, formatting, marketing and publicity services, access to online support, and access to discussion forum. Examples of self publishing and e-book aggregators are listed below:
Smashwords: publish to Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony and Kobo, charges an upfront fee, annual fee and ISBN fee.
eBookIt: publish to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Ingram, Kobo, Baker and Taylor. Offers optional professional formatting, conversion and distribution
Lulu: publish to lulu.com, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and your own website. Print hard copies of your book, order from 15 copies.
bookbaby: publish to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Reader, Kobo, Copia and Baker and Taylor. Offers publishing and conversion services cover design, custom printing, website hosting for authors, editing services, book scanning services and eBook press releases.
blurb: is a print on demand publisher, sell on blurb online bookshop or from your own site, Print hard copies of your book, order from 20 copies.
FastPencil: publish to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Kindle, Nook and others. Offers publishing services & packages: professional design templates, editing, formatting and conversion, cover design, illustration, distribution and marketing.
Pros and Cons with Publishing on Amazon
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing with Amazon.
- easy process
- ready large audience
- free – percentage returns based on book price and sales
- proprietary – require that the book is not published elsewhere if you enroll into the KDP Select (more on this below)
- format specific – readable on other devices but only with Kindle app
Pros and Cons with Publishing using Aggregators
Here are the advantage and disadvantages of publishing using aggregators.
- competitively priced with growing number of aggregators
- different publishing services and choice of packages
- quick and easy way to get published with no technical knowledge required
- be everywhere, make your book available in more than one market place.
- not free
- lower royalty schemes
- delay in sales tracking and reporting as aggregators rely on each ebook retailer for updates.
Taking Advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select
When you publish on Amazon, you have the option to enroll in KDP Select. Every month, Amazon will set aside a sum of money called the KDP Select Global Fund to pay out to publishers that opt-in to KDP Select. To illustrate an example, for January 2014, this amount was set at $1.2 million. What this means is that if you opt-in or enroll into KDP Select, you too will have access to some of that money. How do you get a share of this pot of money you may ask?
Amazon has created a Kindle Owners’s Lending Library for its Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle device. These customers can borrow from the library once a month with no due dates. If you enroll, your book will also be available in the Lending Library. Amazon Prime members see this straightaway when browsing for books. When your book is ‘checked out’, Amazon will pay you a fee for the loan.
This gives you another avenue to make more money and to potentially reach out to another segment of the market. There are also other benefits to enrolling in KDP Select. Apart from earning higher royalties in certain countries, you can also use marketing and sales tools to boost the sales of your book. These are the Kindle Countdown Deals (time limited discounts) and Free Book Promotion (time limited free download promotion).
Where Can I Find Help?
If you are new to self publishing, there are plenty of coaching and self publishing courses out there. We use the “Number 1 Book System” course by Ryan Deiss for publishing on Amazon’s Kindle.
If you want to move this up a gear and push for a bestseller, we would recommend Peggy McColl’s Best Seller Program, a strategy that will drive sales and push your e-book to top 100 in a short time using proven strategies.
If you already own a Kindle reader or uses the Kindle App on your tablet, you can find ebooks that will walk you through the self publishing process. Publish Your E-Book in 5 Easy Steps on Kindle is one such book.
Have you published online? Did you use any of the aggregators, courses or tools mentioned here? We would love to hear from you? Share with us your experience and don’t forget to leave us your book launch page in your comment.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. We would only recommend the products or services here as we believe in them and have personal experience using them and felt that they would help with those looking to go down the self publishing route. We would advise you to find out more about these products before making any decisions on purchases. While we earn a small commissions if you choose to subscribe to any of the courses or products, this does not affect the final price and you would still enjoy any offer currently available from the author or coach.