There are three kinds of publishing in the world. They include traditional or trade publishing, self-publishing and vanity publishing. Here, we will talk about self-publishing.
In self-publishing there is no publisher. The author is the publisher to be precise. The author it the one responsible for writing, publication, cover, marketing, editing and stuff like that. The cost ranges from nil to thousand. The writer is responsible for developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, assessing when the manuscript is ready, formatting, cover design, making the book available, printing, storage, distribution, publicity and marketing. Of course, you can hire people to do it. There are websites dedicated to freelancers who are ready to do this for you if you pay them a certain price.
It is better to have a professional do it for you because a single person can not do all of this and not give up. You have to write the book as well! An unprofessional or crappy blurb will act as a hindrance your dream of becoming an author. So, will a poor work at editing. Lack of good editing results in a one or half star review which of course, will indeed sabotage your sales. A little investment goes a long way.
There is a disadvantage with self-publishing. When you go through bookshelves do you find a self-published book? No. Self-published book are rare in bookstores. Although not impossible, the chances of self-published book ending up on the shelves of bookstores are rare.
It is also better to publish an ebook as compared to a hardcopy or softcopy. Printing is expensive. Hence, an ebook reduces the cost of printed book. You can go with print on demand though. Here, you print your book when someone orders a copy of it.
It better to publish a series and do it frequently as compare to standalone books. Self-publishing a book is not for people who write slowly as the readership might wane as the clock ticks.
Self-publishing requires far more marketing effort than trade publishing or vanity publishing. There is a hurricane of books on amazon. You have to work hard so people find your book in the sea of books and choose to read it. Marketing is the arguably one of the toughest part of self-publishing.
If you have doubts about self-publishing this article has got you covered. Fear not!
In traditional publishing, you work with the publishers. Your only job is to hand in the manuscript and from there the publisher has your back. It pays for the production, sets up sales and exchange for all the work, it takes colossal amount of your profit.
This publisher is eliminated in self-publishing. You are the boss of your own life. It is your job to write a great story, edit the manuscript, create a title and genre appropriate cover, craft a blurb to attract potential readers, prepare and format, selecting distributers, identify the target audience and reach out to them and so on goes the list.
There’s an idiom that goes like this, ‘writing is rewriting’. And it is a universal truth. Traditional publishers are lucky in this matter since they get professional editing in this matter. Self-published do not. They have to edit it themselves, maybe ask for help from friends of family or hire someone to do it for them. Even the biggest writer has to have to help with editing. While writing they make mistakes they did not thought possible only to discover they did. The person has to arrange for someone to edit their manuscript for them. They need a set of trained eyes, brain and hands!
But here’s the thing. He has to know what sort of editor he is look for. Developmental or content editor, Line editor and/or copy editor. Developmental editing focuses on story and the craft, Line editing focuses on the words, sentences and paragraph. Meanwhile copy editor edits spelling and grammar. It is better to do a full-blown research in this matter. You also have to be cautious in case they end up changing the whole plot of your story. Especially Developmental and Line editors.
The cost of editing varies from hundreds to thousands. They might charge by word, by page, by sentences or by hour. Developmental editing is the most expensive of all the three types as it requires a lot more knowledge and time. Line editing is also time consuming and hence, requires more money. Copy editing is the least expensive. You can ask someone you know, particularly your teacher or some educated person to do copy editing for you.
You can go to freelancer’s website like Reedsy or Freezy. There freelancers provide examples and references. You can go through them to choose the one you like and interview them. Or you may learn to self-edit. Let the book sit back for few months before going back to it with fresh brain. This way you can find mistakes you otherwise would have missed. Pro Writing Aid is a website which will give you advise on how to edit a book yourself Critique Circle is a website where you can critique other’s pieces. This is a website where you can practice your skills.
2. Book Cover
Even though people say not to judge a book by its cover, we all do that. The readers choose a book by the cover. It must be appealing to them and be genre specific. You can buy a custom designed cover, a pre-made cover or design your own. Before we go into detail about these, are you going for ebook or print books? Ebooks require only front cover and the minimum resolution is 72 dpi while print books require front, spine and back cover. The minimum resolution is 300 dpi.
A custom designed cover is expensive. It is also unique cover which no one else can have. It has a professional look which will help it stand out among masses of unprofessional, self-published covers. You can go to 99Designs to get your very own custom designed cover.
There are bunch of sites which sell pre-made covers. Choose a cover and the artist will add your book’s title and your name to the cover. Most of the time the particular cover is removed from sales but there are websites which do not. They have limit about how many times a cover should be sold before it is brought off the market. This means there will be people with a cover similar to yours. You can go to Author Marketing Club for pre-made covers.
You can also design your own cover. This is the least expensive option among the three. You can use your own artwork or photograph. Just make sure you do not use copyrighted image as that might spell trouble for you, in the future. Your graphic making skills factor into it as well. You do not just need to be able make a cover but also be good at it. You have to find genre suitable fonts and buy it. They must also be readable. You have to understand design principles to arrange the elements in a way it draws attention.
Look at other books in your genre and derive inspiration. What is it that makes them bestsellers? Why do you think the cover attracted the readers? Compare that genre to another genre. How do they differ?
Your book cover should evoke emotions and associations. They should tell your story for you yet not give everything up.
Do not go cheap when it comes to your covers. A bad cover will cost you your readers.
Websites where you can find royalty free HD images include Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay and Wikipedia CC.
Here is a list of websites you can use for self-publishing:
- Partridge Publishing
- White Falcon
- 24by7 Publishing
- Blue Hill Publishing
Things to keep in mind when using these are:
- Do they distribute through Amazon and Flipkart?
- Do they distribute across India?
- What about book quality?
The book should be affordable. The more affordable the book, the more people will buy it. You increase the price after a lot of people buy it and/or you get reviews persuasive enough to hold your expensive price.