I’ve recently started participating in a writers’ course as one of the speakers (I say speaker…I guess it’s more of a teacher type of position, but I feel strange saying that since I tend to question if what I have to say qualifies as teaching…so we’ll stick with speaking for the time being because I definitely do plenty of that when I show up).
Now, when I get up and do my thing, my spiel is all about eBooks and marketing, but inevitably I wander off topic as soon as anyone mentions the words ‘publishing’ and ‘paying’. A few years back when self-publishing was still considered a dirty word and the only authors producing their own books were considered fools and full of themselves, sure, they had no choice but to pay for it. But the business has changed, and continues to change, and we are no longer foolish dreamers or pompous would-be-authors who want to see their name in print. We are INDIE authors. Indie as in I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T … as in, we don’t need anybody else because we’re making shit happen for ourselves!
Which is why, companies like amazon and smashwords are doing what they have to, to keep up with us. And which is also why when it comes to publishing your book, you should NEVER pay for it.
Honestly, I thought ebooks were no-brainers. Amazon lays it out for you step by step and all you have to do is follow along to have your book reach the masses within 24 hours. I was less impressed with Barnes and Noble (but that was due to some hiccup in the system and poor customer service), either way, you want to hit the major markets for kindle and nook – all it takes is a couple of clicks and voila! You’re published. Want to reach even more people? Awesome. Hit up Smashwords and get your book distributed to the whole wide world of online book retailers. Little less simple, but well worth the effort. (Fair warning – their process comes with a handbook…but before you read the whole mess of rules and instructions just upload your file and see what happens. If there are any issues, they’ll tell you exactly what they are and where to find them in their nifty little handbook)
So, yeah, I thought the choices were pretty clear when it came to publishing your eBooks…then I heard about Book Baby and I was blown away! Who is still paying for publishing?? And more importantly, WHY?
Paperbacks are a little trickier…I guess. I mean, so I’ve been told. Maybe the difference between myself and other authors is that I had a budget of ZERO when I started, so when I went about exploring the publishing possibilities available, anything that cost money wasn’t even an option and therefor not popping up on my radar. In the meantime, my budget has expanded, but I’m still not paying for publishing.
With my first book I went through Lulu. The experience was fine. Overall, I was happy with the results…of course I had nothing to compare them to, so…yeah. Next, I gave createspace a try…and I’ve been with them ever since.
Listen, I’ll be the first one to agree that Amazon is a big fat bully and it’s annoying at times that they rule the big wild world of books, but they know their shit. And they are the first ones to step up their game when the industry begins to shift. A year ago you could only get your paperbacks with a glossy cover, now you have the choice of glossy or matte. You also had to pay for expanded distribution of your book. And it wasn’t a small per account fee, it was PER BOOK…and let me tell you, that could add up to be a pretty hefty number. Now, expanded distribution is FREE 🙂
I like it…I like FREE a lot! Which is essentially what I’m saying as I’m speaking to the room full of people who have no choice but to listen at this point and somewhere along the way someone mentions the packages createspace sells for publishing and I’m like – wait, what?! Not because I wasn’t aware of these make publishing easy kits, but because after everything I’ve said I’m still not understanding people’s intense desire to spend their money in the wrong places.
You want to invest in your book – that’s AWESOME! In fact, it’s kind of vital to the success of your work. However, spend your money wisely. Don’t throw it all at some one-stop-shop because you think it will make your life easier. I mean, it may…but you can get so much more bang for your buck if you shop around a bit.
Find yourself a rocking book cover artist who will create an image for you that not only makes you think – hey that looks professional – but you actually LOVE!
Not sure where to find one?? Let me lead the way…
Hire an editor (if you haven’t already…I mean, you were ready to publish so I would hope that you’ve considered your editing options, but if you haven’t – definitely spend some money on that!) The right editor is not easy to find…but before I venture off topic, let’s just say I’ll talk more about this another time and move along.
However, I know a few peeps here as well…
Scared of doing your own formatting? I hear ya…my first attempts were pitiful. In the meantime, I actually quite enjoy it because it’s developed into another creative outlet for me, but I get that it’s not for everyone. No worries…you can get that done by a pro for as little as twenty bucks! Want to throw a bit more money in that direction? You can get yourself an actual interior book artist to not only format it, but fancy it up for you!
Really want your book to stand out from the crowd? Go here ~
Still got money left over after all of that? Sweet! Go schedule a book-tour! Order some book swag (google it – the possibilities are endless)! And buy a round of drinks for you and your friends – you just published a freaking BOOK! Go celebrate!!