Self Publishing. Is it Your Best Option?
Having recently self-published short stories and a debut novel on Amazon Kindle, I would like to give any aspiring authors some tips on how to navigate becoming an author. Traditional publishing is still preferred by many authors, however, you might want to consider the self-publishing route. I found it rewarding even though it was a steep learning curve.
Tip One: Do your research.
Self-publishing doesn't suit everyone. There are options out there so do an extensive internet search on the various sites available and way up the pros and cons. I eventually went with Amazon KDP because I found this platform had all the criteria I required. It does help if you have skills in cover design, formatting text and are able to write compelling stories. There are thousands of books published every day, give your story the best shot of being purchased by readers.
Tip Two: Follow the guidelines
Once you have chosen how you're going to self-publish, then follow the guidelines. Each platform has its own rules. Don't break them because your book won't be published if you do.
Tip Three: Learn how to market so your books sell
Marketing your books is a large part of being a self-published author. Even if you publish traditionally, you will be asked to market your book. Be it author tours, reading groups, launching your title and keeping a blog or website going. Writing the story is the easy part, selling your book is another matter. One way I found to sell more books is to print them and sell them myself as well as online. I have also gifted a few in return for reviews, although not everyone I have given the book to has returned the favour.
Tip Four: Know your readers
Once your book is completed, or even as you are writing it, keep your reader in mind. Who is your target market? Will your readers be women, teenagers or men? Or a combination, which is not an easy feat. Also, read books in the genre you are writing so you have a feel for what readers want in the stories they choose to read. Learn and take an interest in what your readers are looking for.
Tip Five: Grow your email list
Many authors have a website that can be subscribed to. They use their website to sell and market their books, blog about topics that will interest readers and use it as a tool to connect with readers. One way to grow a following is to invite people to subscribe to your website with their email details. It's important to reach out to your subscribers by emailing them regularly with news of what is going on with your writing. Keep them informed of upcoming books and how things are going for you as an author. Readers enjoy hearing about your success and might encourage others to join your site as well.
How and Where to Self Publish
There are many sites where you can self publish. I know of four that are used by fellow authors, but you may find others when you search. Some sites charge for their services via plans or custom-make a plan for your needs. For me, Amazon KDP was the right fit as I mentioned previously. My reasons were I needed a platform to publish short stories and novels with a limited budget. With KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) you are able to publish for free. There are other benefits too.
Another way to learn about self-publishing is to read books on the subject. Browse through bookstores or online to find all types of resources to help you make a decision.
Publish as E-book and Print
You will be able to publish your stories as E-books as well as print. I have used both and I like the idea of being able to order author copies and sell my own books as well as online. With KDP you will receive a free ISBN (International Standard Book Number).
It's fast and free
Depending on whether there are errors within your manuscript or cover, your book will be published within 48 hours. Some errors can be fixed within the software and the tutorials are helpful. I found them efficient whenever I sent them emails asking questions, their response time is within 24 hours. This site does not charge for you to upload your book, which for me was a drawcard.
As an author, you retain 70% of royalties. This is more than you will earn through a traditional publisher. However, sales can be slow as you won't have the network of a larger publisher.
You have control
You keep control over your rights and are able to set your own prices. Also, you are able to make changes as often as required. Mistakes happen, so this is a handy tool to have.
This site is similar to KDP however they do charge. There are plans to suit many authors, starting with a $49 plan to publish both E-books and print. They have a guide on self-publishing you are able to download.
Similar to KDP, this site has a global reach of over 40,000 retailers. These include; Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
You will need
Your own ISBN is required. This site offers a free ISBN as well. If not, these are available from an ISBN agency such as
Thorpe-Bowker and are necessary for all published books. A book cover design and formatted interior files, valid email address and a payment method.
Print on Demand
As with other sites, the Print on Demand (POD) service is available. This service offers high-quality book printing similar to books printed by traditional publishers. POD means you can print one book if that is all you need.
This site offers a variety of plans starting at $550. They also provide Print on Demand; book editing and marketing services, publishing for fiction, novels, children's and cookbooks. They also help with non-fiction, illustrated works and family history.
The plans offered range from a Starter, then Assisted, Essential or a Custom publishing package. Depending on your budget, how much help you will need and how many books you want to publish, will determine the package to suit you.
You can contact them with your requirements and they will put a proposal together for you. Sometimes a personalised plan works better than trying to do it all yourself.
This site has a package to help you design your own website. At $295, this is good value.
The services of this publishing site were used by a fellow author and he is happy with the results. They offer publishing, editorial, marketing and add-on services.
They offer a free publishing guide as well. Also, the site has many resources to help you learn about self-publishing and they also have an online bookstore.
There are three packages to choose from - Black & White Publishing, Full Colour and Speciality Publishing. They offer Basic, Professional, Custom or Premium within these packages. Premium is a special package with resources for your type of genre that may be out of the ordinary.
Whatever you decide to do when you have your book ready to publish will be right for you. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but if you experience it as I have, the rewards are there for the taking.
Let me know what you think. Would you dare to self-publish and go it alone? Or do you prefer to have a team behind you helping you along the way?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2020 Maria Giunta