If there are any professional, published authors here on hubpages (and I'm sure there are tons of you guys) I was wondering if someone could tell me if self-publishing is good or bad, and maybe give a couple of pros and cons. It would be my first book.
I've self published 6 books and I wouldn't have it any other way! You maintain control of the work and the income over its entire lifetime. Downside is that you are the publisher and you need to market it.
On the published side, some authors get a nice advance to do the book. But what they learn later is that they still have to do quite a bit of their own marketing, too. As well, you are under the control of the publisher and their editors. I had a friend who got a nice advance for a business book and nearly tore her hair out with all the editing. And when I read the book, parts of it were quite sanitized from her usual way of communicating.
One thing to consider also is the intent for you to write a book. Is it a "trophy" to cap a professional career? Are you using it to demonstrate your expertise to gain business? Or is it a fiction or literary work that you just want to share with an audience interested in its genre? A book used to demonstrate expertise is today's new business card for speaking and consulting. Look at your overall objective and motivation for wanting to do this and then decide the best route.
BTW, I recently wrote a hub on self-publishing with Amazon Createspace. Check it out for more discussion.
Good luck with your book!
heidithorne, thanks for that information. I really appreciate it. I don't know if you've read any of my hubs, but could you please read some of them when you get a chance and let me know if you think I am a good enough writer (creative enough, etc) to possibly self publish a book. Your honest critique would be appreciated. Thank you!
Will do! Glad to see you're interested in this adventure. Have a bunch of meetings early in the week, but should be able to review and get back to you by later this week. In the meantime, have a great week!
Scanned through some of your hubs. Curious if you're planning to write a book on science or other topics. If it is science, it's great that you include real life examples of how to apply the principles. So many textbook-ish books miss this very important aspect.
Whether your work is "good enough" will depend on the market you are trying to reach. Do you have that in mind yet? If it's for the highly academic research, that's a tough road where you'll likely be up against some stiff scrutiny. If it's for just regular folks or students who need/want to understand science, then a more conversational tone, similar what's appropriate for HP, would probably work.
Take some time to figure our what your motivations and objectives are. That will ultimately guide you in the right direction.
Keep us posted on your publishing adventure!
I have self-published 7 books. They are in the poetry/lyric genre category though. Finding a traditional or non-self publishing company that will want to publish your book and will not charge you an arm and a leg is next to impossible. That is why I self-publish and why I go with lulu.
Publishing with lulu is free and books get a free isbn and get distributed to amazon for free as well. Distribution to b&n and other sites does cost money though, but not that much.
Self-publishing is great. At least as is the case with lulu - you have total control over your work and over the finished product that will be available to readers and best of all you control the price of your books.
Only downside to self-publishing is that you as the author are responsible for book marketing and promotion. And that means you may have to fork over a good amount of money to promote your books. Of course there are free ways to promote your books as well and that can prove to be helpful in terms of sales.
I am now working on editing my novel and getting it ready to be published. I will go with lulu as well. This way I know it will get published and I don't have to worry about it being rejected. I also don't have to worry about finding an agent as these days traditional publishers won't even look at your book without a literary agent presenting it to them.
Hope this helps a little. Good luck with publishing your first book. What is it about by the way?
Even though I use Createspace instead, I agree that the self-publishing platforms are the way to go for many niche and literary markets. Glad to see other self-publishers here on HP!
heidi, what kind of cost is involved with Createspace v. KDP? I have two little novelettes that I'm interesting in publishing and had planned on going the KDP route, but an actual novel, I'd like to publish as a paperback also, and I'm curious as to the difference in cost to do that.
Hello Motown2Chitown! I've published 5 books on Createspace for $0, both in paperback and Kindle versions. What's nice now is that when you create the paperback, Createspace can automatically create the Kindle version if you select the option. Plus, both can be sold on Amazon.
The only cost involved was for Expanded Distribution (recommended) which means that it can be sold through bookstores and to libraries. That was $25. You can also order paperback copies of your book at reduced publisher prices. Good to have a few show copies on hand or for miscellaneous sales.
Good luck with your book!
When I publish a book with lulu the book gets a free ISBN. I don't need to do anything to get my book an ISBN but to select the option (during the publishing process) to get free ISBN.
Now I have a question about KDP. I created an account there so I can get e-book versions of my lulu books on amazon as lulu doesn't distribute ebooks to kindle (amazon) at this time... But I have no idea how to proceed. Does the ebook automatically get an ISBN? And if not, how do I get an ISBN for my kindle ebook. Also, I've read somewhere that when we upload book files to kindle that they have to be in .html format and not .doc format. Is that true?
"Also, I've read somewhere that when we upload book files to kindle that they have to be in .html format and not .doc format." - By this I meant when we upload book files when creating/publishing our ebooks with kindle.
Prior to Createspace offering combination paperback + Kindle version publishing at the same time (which is what I use now), I used to upload my books to KDP in Word docs. I think that's still the case. It then transforms it into an HTML file. KDP instructions were a bit sketchy in the past!
I just remembered another downside to self-publishing. If you tell people you self-published a book, regardless of what it's about and what kind of book it is, most will turn away because they will assume that you self-published because no publisher wanted you and think therefore that your book is not of good quality and is not worth buying and reading. Best not to tell people you self-published your book. We should not be ashamed that we self-published but better not to let people know we did as that can hurt our sales.
Even though the stigma is lifting about self-publishing (thank goodness!), I don't advertise the fact that my books are self-published. Plus, when authors realize how much they need to do to self-market a traditionally published book, I think many wish they would have gone the self-publishing route. I say self-publishing tells the world you have some skin in the game and that you believe in it enough to invest.
Sometimes even if we don't say we self-published a book, when readers see the publisher name being CreateSpace, Lulu, etc. they know right away we self-published... Best still to not even mention it.
People will criticize those that have self-published but no matter how we did it, which route we went, we have published books to our names and they don't.
I've been wondering this though... let's say for example, person A and person B both self-published their book. Person B's book/writing is not as great as person A's and person A has published way more books than person B; yet person B sells way more books than person A. How is that possible?
Thank you heidithorne and lovebuglena for the responses! I never really thought about publishing a science-related book, but that may be a good idea. I wanted to dive into the sci-fi genre. I want to start off with a collection of short stories, then I want to do a series. I have some ideas written down and I'll dive into it soon. I was considering CreateSpace as well. I've checked out their site, rates, etc and I like what I see. I've never heard of Lulu but I'll check that out as well.
I was introduced to lulu by a friend of mine back in 2007 I think it was, maybe a little bit earlier than that. I found it hard to believe that publishing with them would be free and was skeptical at first. After doing my first book with them, which was definitely a learning experience I was no longer skeptical of them. I think lulu is a great option for those who want to self-publish. Authors get their own storefront or as lulu calls it the author spotlight where readers can see all the authors' books, the authors' bio, and link to important sites, like personal websites, blog, etc. Readers can buy books directly from the author spotlight. One other cool thing about lulu is that authors can discount their books sold on lulu (doesn't apply to distribution unfortunately) whenever they want and they can decide how much to discount by. Lulu also offers promotional discounts too so that creates an even bigger incentive for the authors and their readers.
Of course if you publish with lulu you have to do everything yourself. You format the manuscript, you create the cover, you upload everything to lulu and go through the entire book (project) publishing process to have your book available for sale on lulu. And if you want your book available on amazon only (free) or on amazon & other retailers (for a fee) you have to buy the distribution package, order proof copy of your book, and then approve book for distribution. You do this all yourself. It's a bit of work and can be frustrating but in the end it is worth it.
You can always make use of lulu's paid services that will help you do that, but I've never made use of them and not sure how much they charge for them. I would assume it doesn't come cheap.
Oh and another thing about lulu, while they do allow you to create/publish e-books, you can only distribute it to nook and ibookstore. Distribution to kindle is not available at this time.
Self-publish is best if you have an established fan base, or are in a niche area with high demand. Have you considered submitting to a publisher?
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