If you are dreaming of getting your ideas or thoughts into the world, this is exactly what you need. We are going to share with you the vital information that you need to know about self publishing a book plus platforms that you can use to self-publish your book.
Back in the days, publishing a book can be quite challenging. You write a book for days or even weeks or months, then you find a possible publisher, and if fate goes your way, your book will get published. Otherwise, your book will end up being unread.
But, time has changed.
Today, both new and old writers do have an equal chance of getting their books published. Thanks to the advent of digital technology and the internet.
According to a report published by Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, in 2018, self-publishing grew at a rate of 40 percent. More so, the numbers are showing no signs of slowing down.
In the same report, it says that the “combined total of self-published print books and ebooks with registered ISBNs grew from almost 1.2 million in 2017 to more than 1.6 million in 2018.” Additionally, the report states that the majority of those books were from the top three independent publishing platforms.
Furthermore, according to Beat Barblan, Vice President of Publishing and Data Services at Bowker and chairman of the board of the International ISBN Agency, the growing number of opportunities to self-publish a book is a good thing for the industry. He further says that the current trend in book publishing allows more authors to take advantage of existing tools to publish, distribute, as well as market their own books, and because of that, “self-publishing will continue to grow at a steady pace”.
With all that’s been said, if you are dreaming of publishing your own book, now is the best time to start working on that.
But how do you exactly self-publish a book? How is self publishing a book possible?
Well, as mentioned earlier, today, we are going to share with you vital information on how to publish your very own book without having to look for a publisher who is willing to work with you. You can do it by yourself!
In particular, we are going to focus on the following:
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Self Publishing a Book
- Step-By-Step Guide On Self Publishing a Book
ADVANTAGES OF SELF PUBLISHING A BOOK
To tell you the truth, as compared to the traditional way of publishing a book (you know, working with a publisher), self-publishing does have so many benefits. Too many enough that it draws more and more established and aspiring authors alike.
Without going through the traditional gatekeepers of the publishing industry, you will find the following benefits by self-publishing:
- 100% Ownership of Rights – Normally, when working with traditional publishers, they sometimes ask for exclusive rights to reprint, as well as film adaptations, and merchandising, leaving the author stuck in one publisher. By being an independent publisher, you get to remain in full control of your work. You get to decide everything — whatever you think is good and right for your work.
- Creative Freedom – Since you do it independently, you have full control over the content, the length of the book, the title, and even the book cover design. You decide everything yourself. You do not need the approval of other people. More so, you also have the option to collaborate with your preferred editors and designers. Basically, it’s like asking for approval of no one else but yourself.
- Higher Portion of Royalties – Since there is no middleman in this process, the self-published authors get all the proceeds less the retailer’s cut. In return, it means a chance to earn more from your work.
- Guaranteed Publishing – Since you are self-publishing a book, your book, you get to decide when you are going to launch it to the public. You get to follow and decide based on your schedule and not anyone else’s.
- No Deadline Stress – Unlike when working for or with a publisher, as a self-publisher, you get to work on your own timeline, which means less stress, and no pressure at all. You basically are your own boss.
- No Rejection – A lot of authors have gone through rejections from publishers in the past especially up-and-coming ones. But by self-publishing your work, you get away with rejections. You never have to worry about getting rejected ever again.
Before moving on, if you are not quite sure yet if self-publishing is a good idea, we suggest you check out the video below by Book Launchers. It gives so much inspiration and pushes especially for budding authors like you.
Meanwhile, while there are a few things that you will benefit from being an independent publisher, there are also a couple of downsides from doing it yourself. Some of them include:
- Costs – Since you are doing everything yourself, it also means paying for everything you need to get the book published. You pay for editors, cover designers, formatter, proofreaders, and other professionals you need to ensure you are able to publish a good quality book. Unless you can do everything yourself or that you have money to pay for everything you need, then, upfront costs should not be a problem.
- Possible Financial Loss – This usually happens when authors’ books do not sell well enough to recoup whatever expenses incurred during the process.
- Book Marketing – Usually, traditional publishers handle this, and the author need not worry about it. But, when you are going to the independent publishing route, you need to work on this as well. As we know, marketing is very important for a product to sell. To be honest, it can be a daunting, needless to say, a costly task.
The above advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing a book may serve as your guide if you are still weighing things up. We, however, believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Because at the end of the day, as long as you have quality work, people will surely buy your book.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON SELF PUBLISHING A BOOK
For some people, self-publishing a book may be too challenging, but you know, as long as you are determined, and you have the will to make your dreams happen, anything will be possible. Also, knowing the right steps to take will help a lot to succeed in this path.
Now, in this section, we are going to share with you what we believe to be the simplest yet efficient methods or ways to be successful in publishing a book independently. Hopefully, this helps you get through self-publishing successfully.
STEP 1: Do a Market Research
Ideally, before you even start writing your book, you do research on the market. Similar to other product offerings, before you even dive into it, you have to check what’s working, and what’s not. Also, you look into what the readers are looking for. Consider also what it is that you can offer that other authors have not offered yet.
Determining a particular niche that you want to work on or pursue will help trim down your research.
In the end, once you know your market, it should be a lot easier for you to come up with a topic for the book, and essentially, write about it.
Keep in mind that as an independent publisher, you technically are a businessperson. So, just like in any other type of business, always work on something that will earn. But, of course, if you are not after the profit, you can surely jump directly to the next step.
STEP 2: Write the Book
Every writer or author have their way or process of writing a book. It’s up to you how you’re going to work on your manuscript or your content.
Again, you are your own boss.
However, we highly recommend coming up with a timetable. Having such will push you to write. Set a deadline for yourself, and make sure you hit that deadline.
As mentioned, every author has his or her writing process depending on his or her niche. For example, if you are a fiction writer or author, you have to consider factors (apart from the story itself) names of the characters, setting, etc. But one thing’s for sure, everyone starts with writing the first draft, doing revisions, and onto the next step.
STEP 3: Edit and Proofread Manuscript
Initially, you can do self-editing and/or proofreading. However, to ensure you are able to provide your readers with their money’s worth, we highly recommend having an editor and a proofreader onboard.
A professional editor and proofreader will help ensure you have a flawless manuscript that is ready for self-publishing, and for the world to enjoy or get inspiration from.
For some, finding someone to do the work may be challenging, but the thing is, these days, finding an editor is more straightforward than ever. You can easily search online (an example is through Reedsy Marketplace) for someone to do the work for you.
At the end of this process, your manuscript must already be polished and proofed, and ready for the next step.
STEP 4: Design the Cover and Format the Content
One reality about self-publishing authors is that many of them rely on their book covers for sales.
The book cover is the very first thing that people see, and most of the time, readers judge the book by its cover. Thus, it is important that you also work on having an appealing book cover design. Something that catches the eye. A design that will lead to sales.
But apart from the book cover, another important thing that you also need to take into consideration is the format of the content. Make sure the format is pleasing to the eyes. The format should make the book easy to read.
Once the book cover designing and content formatting is completed, you basically have everything you need to launch your book and start selling.
STEP 5: Decide on Your Self-Publishing Method
Before, when we talk about self-publishing, it means paying up-front to print off thousands of copies, and then try to sell everything.
Today, things have changed — again, thanks to digital technology, and the internet — self-publishing authors do have more options now in getting their books out there.
There are two major methods on how you can publish your book independently. These are:
Print On Demand
Since the demand for printed books are in a way declining because people now (especially the young generation) are more into digital copies, we highly recommend you do print on demand instead of mass printing or printing a bulk of copies.
Printing on demand has its share of pros and cons. One pro is that the risk is very low or none at all. Meanwhile, one of the cons is that the cost-per-unit or per book is usually a little higher than printing in bulk. Don’t get us wrong though, we do not mean print the book per order. We mean to print the book by small batches, and if you’ve run out of stock, you can just reprint it.
Digital books or more popularly known as eBooks are the more popularly choice among readers these days. Apart from the fact that they are cheaper compared to printed ones, it’s very handy, and very convenient (no need to go to the bookstore — everything can be done wherever and whenever you want).
Book sales via eBooks platforms are actually the bread and butter of the majority of self-publishing authors. What is nice about eBooks is that a lot of them, if not the majority of them, offer high percentage royalty, which is very beneficial to independent publishers/authors.
Since eBooks are where the money is for most self-publishing authors, we are going to share with you some of the most popular eBooks platforms to choose from:
- Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) – Kindle is owned by Amazon, and is the most popular online platform where you can publish your eBook. KDP publishes and retails eBooks that people can read via Kindle devices or on their smartphones using the Kindle app. With Kindle, self-publishing authors can earn 35% or 70% royalty based on the book’s list price. Kindle is absolutely the platform that every self-publishing author must consider getting into.
- IngramSpark – IngramSpark is a self-publishing service established by Ingram, which is known globally as the leading distributor of print books. The company also distributes eBooks to all the top online retailers like Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
- Barnes & Noble Press – Formerly known as NOOK Press, Barnes & Noble Press offers both eBooks and print-on-demand. All books published with the company retail only at Barnes & Noble Press online and physical bookstores. Royalty rates at Barnes & Noble Press range from 40% to 65% depending on the book’s price.
- Kobo – Kobo is a significant player in Canada. It accounts for as much as 25% of eBook sales in the said country. Similar to Kindle, Kobo offers an e-reading device and an app for reading. Kobo is available across 190 countries. Meanwhile, royalty rates are either 45% or 70% depending on the price of the eBook.
- iBook – iBook is under Apple. It is the second-biggest eBook retailer after Amazon. What is nice about iBook is that it gives unique benefits to authors like they can price their books differently from one country to another and that they can even set prices in local currencies. Authors are also free to offer free books and discounts whenever they want to. When it comes to royalty rates, Apple offers a flat 70% rate.
6. Market Your Book
So, you have already researched your market, written a very good book, and you have already decided what self-publishing method to use. This time around, you have to work on marketing your book.
As we have mentioned earlier, marketing is very important because if you do not market your book, no one’s going to notice it, which means you will not earn.
With that said, here are a few ways you can market your book, particularly if it’s an eBook:
- Create a blog or a website. – Either way, this will help your readers get to know not just about the book, but also about the author. You can use the blog or the website as a platform where you can showcase your writing prowess. Make it a point that when you are creating a blog or a website, it sticks to your niche. At the same time, it has to be flexible so if you decide to publish another book in the future, you can still use it for that purpose.
- Build up your social media presence. – Being on social media is probably one of the best ways to market your book. Everyone’s into it. So, the more you are active on social media, the more likely it is that people will notice your work, and eventually, buy it.
- Get reviews and request feedback by offering free copy. – Ideally, you ask this favor from well-known or influential people. Nothing beats people recommending your book. It still is one of the best marketing strategies ever.
- Consider getting into paid advertising. – If you may budget to spare, consider promoting your book via paid advertising. On Facebook or Instagram, you can run paid advertising for a very minimal amount. Take that into consideration.
Again these are just some ways you may want to consider, but there is still a lot. Consider researching what works for your niche or your target market as well so it’s easier to choose what your marketing strategy will be.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SELF PUBLISHING A BOOK
Self-publishing a book has never been so much easier and feasible today. With a lot of different platforms to choose from, you surely can share your masterpiece with anyone across the world.
However, if you are quite unsure (are you?) yet if you are going to jump into self-publishing, here’s what we got to tell you…