I love bookstores and paper books, don’t get me wrong, but this is an exciting time for writers.
I’ve been researching self publishing online and it looks surprisingly easy. There is a website service called Smashwords (www.smashwords.com) which specializes in e-book formatting, publishing and distribution.
I’m new to all of this, but from what I hear, Smashwords and other services assist authors in formatting their book manuscripts for various electronic platforms, such as The Kindle and The Nook.
It’s empowering to think writers can self publish at a low cost, rather than put their book at the whim of a publishing house with many other competing authors (if said author is so incredibly lucky to be published in “paper” in the first place).
If a book doesn’t sell right away, the publishing house can lose interest and put their advertising and promotional dollars elsewhere, and essentially you can be up shit creek, using your book as a paddle.
After info gathering, it sounds to me like Amazon’s website might be the best way to go to create and self publish (www.createspace.com/). Amazon has software tools on that site that help you produce your own e-book and/OR paper hardcopy. Then you basically sell it on Amazon.com.
Let’s say your book is about Lettuce Hats for Cats, people who search for books about lettuce hats for cats on Amazon might see yours pop up and buy it, for example. Pick a good, descriptive title, obv.
Barnes and Noble also has tools for e-book publishing (pubit.barnesandnoble.com). What I don’t know yet is if you can publish and sell on more than one website at once- Amazon and Barnes and Nobel, for example. I need to find that out…anyone know?
I’m reading that the cost can be as low as $50.00, but you can buy add-ons like book cover design graphics and copy editing, etc.
Amazon and Barnes and Noble both have a POD or “print on demand” policy for self published books, meaning no hard or paper copies are printed until they are pre-ordered first. So nothing goes to the dump/paper shredder because it didn’t sell. And e-books are never considered “out of print.”
You can always do the e-book version first and decide if you want to do paper copies later. What’s also nice about e-books is you can keep the price low, since you are not paying for all the overhead and advertising a publishing house has to. On the flip side, you have to do the marketing yourself.
If any of you crazy kids has self published already, I would love to know what you thought of the experience. Any advice for a newbie like me? Please leave it in the comments so we can all benefit from it!
P.S. Don’t forget to protect your work before publishing it: This is the website for copyright protection www.copyright.gov/forms/formtx.pdf (Library of Congress).
Bowker sells the official ISBN number for books published in the U.S. at www.bowker.com