Publishing a book provides exciting opportunities to share your talent with the world, lay the foundations of a solid career and make some money along the way. Before publishing a book, however, there are a number of options you’ll need to consider.
Going through standard publishing channels will make things a bit more challenging. This is why so many authors are looking for alternatives.
Luckily, many platforms offer options for escaping the world of traditional publishers. Here are six of them that you should definitely consider prior to publishing a book.
Decide Whether You Want to Hire an Editor
Many self-published authors find it difficult to quickly rise to fame. As good as they are with language, book authors aren’t editors. Thus, one of the options you should consider prior to doing anything else involves hiring an editor.
An editor will go through the text to make it tighter and rid it of punctuation/grammar errors. Experienced editors can also give you a pretty good idea about the success potential that the respective text has.
Remember that once you submit the manuscript, you’ll have to survive the wait. It’s also possible for the editor to demand some modifications. While the book is your baby, it’s imperative to be open to criticism and eventual change. Otherwise, you’ll be diminishing your chances of being successful right from the start.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: TIPM strongly recommends that authors invest in the services of a professional editor before publication.)
Instead of going down the traditional road, consider the numerous available self-publishing options. CreateSpace ranks among the best.
CreateSpace is an Amazon company that deals with on-demand publishing. On-demand refers to copies of the book being printed and shipped once an order is received. CreateSpace handles the entire process and withholds fees (print & distribution) that are deducted from the price of the book.
All that you have to do in order to benefit from the service is create a CreateSpace account and upload the digital copy of your book (and the cover). You’ll get to choose the size of the paperback, the type of paper it’s being printed on and several other format specifics.
Even if you don’t know how to make such decisions, you can use the CreateSpace wizard to do the necessary formatting and come up with an attractive end product.
As the author, you’ll be free from having to deal with a publisher, a printing house, a distribution company or a customer service team. All of these processes will be handled for you. The fees withheld will depend on the size of the book, the type of paper you choose and the markets that you want to make it available on. Luckily, CreateSpace has an excellent royalty calculator that will give you an accurate idea about the amount of money you’ll make per copy sold.
CreateSpace has one downside and that’s the fact that it’s an on-demand printing service. On-demand printing happens to be much more expensive than having a total print-run in advance. Still, you eliminate many additional costs (larger upfront cost and storage fees with physical wholesalers/distributors). CreateSpace is an excellent option for a first book. Test the service to figure out if it offers a sufficient return.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: One benefit of saving on a large upfront print run means the author can redirect that expenditure for marketing and promotion purposes.)
This is yet another excellent option you should consider before publishing a book.
IngramSpark is another self-publish platform. The way in which it works is pretty simple. Obviously, you need an account to begin. There are services that cater specifically to the needs of different authors and small presses.
If you opt for indie author publishing, you’ll get services and some guidance with both print and digital publishing through multiple international retailers (including Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.) and print on demand services.
The cost per copy is slightly higher than what CreateSpace has to offer (in the case of a hard copy). There’s also a 49-dollar setup cost. The quality, however, is seen as superior by many self-published authors. In addition, IngramSpark offers access to a wide array of retail platforms. Obviously, having access to more marketplaces can result in better monetization opportunities.
IngramSpark also has a slight edge when it comes to international. IngramSpark’s printing facilities are located in several countries, and this can lead to a more affordable shipping cost.
Start a Website
Do you really want to publish a book? If you’re good at writing, you want to reach a big audience and you don’t want to invest a lot on the project, starting a website may be the right option for you.
Launching an online platform that you use to share your writing with the world has numerous advantages. For a start, you can effortlessly reach an international audience. The upfront investment is minimal. In addition, you can monetize a website in a number of ways.
Many talented writers start with a website. Once they’ve written a big enough number of texts, these writers move on to publishing a book.
Starting with a website is also great because it gives you a marketing platform that you can use once you publish a book. Remember that marketing is the key to success, no matter how great your product is. If you don’t have an audience already, you’ll find it very difficult to establish yourself as an author.
Publish an eBook on Amazon
If you don’t want to deal with printing and the distribution of books, the ebook format gives you a wonderful alternative.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program is the perfect one to use if you want to keep the expenditure limited while making money from day one.
To use KDP, you have to create your profile, upload your book and the cover. While doing so, you’ll also have to decide whether you want to enroll the book in KDP Select. KDP Select is a program that gives you access to promo tools and discount options. It’s an excellent marketing platform for beginners who are just building their audience. The only thing to keep in mind is that while participating in KDP Select, you can’t publish your ebook on another platform.
eBooks listed through KDP will once again be subjected to distribution fees depending on the territory the retailer is located in. The royalties depend on the prize you’ve chosen and the specific Amazon market you want to sell on. KDP features a wonderful calculator that helps you estimate how much money you’re going to earn on the basis of the data that you’ve entered.
Ebook authors who want to sell their books through a larger network of online platforms should opt for Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing at the same time for optimal distribution.
Smashwords is a publishing platform for indie writers. Depending on the option chosen, it can distribute an ebook through a wide array of online stores like Nook, Kobo, iBookstore and Scribd. Smashwords doesn’t offer Amazon distribution services, which is something you’ll have to handle on your own if you’re interested (or through the additional selection of KDP/CreateSpace).
Using such a service saves you from having to format, upload and publish an ebook through each of the platforms on your own. Consolidated sales reports are also available, which is quite convenient for keeping track of progress.
Royalties range from 60 percent through all of the platforms to 85 percent for Smashwords sales. Regardless of the distribution option chosen, it will involve 51 international markets and free ebook conversions.
If you’re interested, go through the How to Publish on Smashwords section of the official Smashwords website. You’ll get a better idea about the price, the style guide and the other requirements that the company has for distributing the works of indie authors.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: By visiting our Publishing Service Index, authors can find detailed reviews of all of the service providers mentioned above.)
Alice Clarke is a content strategist from Top Aussie Writers Reviews. She is always in search for the next thing in publishing, writing and startups.