3 Types of Self-Publishing

Explore the 3 Types of Self-Publishing: Print, E-books, & Audio

Self-publishing options

Self-publishing, once vilified as an exercise in vanity, is now accepted as a viable option by most everyone—except perhaps those who earn a living in traditional publishing. Consider the three self-publishing options.

Three Self-Publishing Options

There are three segments to self-publishing: e-publishing (for Kindle and other e-readers), POD (print-on-demand), and audio books. Some POD vendors will also produce an e-book version, allowing for one-stop-shopping.

Of the three, POD may be more satisfying to the author. POD gives them something tangible to touch, see, and show. Whereas e-pub may be more profitable, having no printing, storing, or shipping costs.

Audio books reside in the middle. They have a higher production cost than e-books but also enjoying the ease of digital distribution. Ideally, the self-published author should consider all three. But start with e-books, followed by print books, and wrapping up with audio books.

When it comes to profit per unit sold, both print and e-books surpass traditional publishing, whose royalties are much smaller in comparison. Of course, traditional publishers have a more extensive reach, greater connections, and bookstore distribution, so the lower payment per book is often more than offset with a much higher sales volume.

Whatever route an author takes, there are pluses and minuses to each. Therefore, the key is to become educated, know your strengths, weaknesses, and available time. Then find the best match for your situation, personality, and goals. Study the 3 self-publishing options before making a decision. Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Blogging is a Basic Form of Self-Publishing

A Blog connects writers directly to readers with no middlemen, delays, or layers of isolation.

blogging

At one time, not too long ago, most everyone decried self-publishing as second-rate, used only by the marginal scribe and unpublishable writer. This is no longer the case. After all, blogging is publishing.

Self-Publishing

Now most everyone (except perhaps traditional publishers) views self-publishing as a viable option for anyone to consider, from novice to seasoned veteran. Indeed some indie authors self-publish because they can make more money that way, publish books faster and more frequently, and maintain greater control over their product and career.

Blogging is Publishing

Publishing, however, is not just about books. Self-publishing can be much simpler. At its most basic, blogging is publishing, perhaps the most pure and direct. Blogging is a means of publishing that connects writer directly with reader, as it is now with you and me. With blogging there are no middlemen offering delays, causing interference, or interjecting layers of isolation.

Blogging connects the author directly with the reader. Blogging is the simplest way to publish. Click To Tweet

Another bonus with blogging is that it’s not restricted to one-way communication, but opens the door for two-way interaction, through the comment section.

Blog to Book

I’ve been blogging since 2008. One day, in my spare time, I will compile some of my posts and turn them into a book.

Actually I started this project a couple of years ago. I need to get back to it. And when I do self-publish my book of blog posts, I will have connected two types of publishing: the blog with the book.

What is your experience with blogging? Have you ever self-published a book? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Feel free to link to your blog.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Why I’m Bullish about Printed Books

The future for print books is strong and ripe with opportunity

Printed Books

Michael Weinstein, in his “Publishing Panorama” blog at BookBusinessMag.com, posted this headline: “Report from the Publishing Business Conference: This Just In: Sky Not Falling!” This was four years ago. I think his conclusions about printed books are even more true today.

Citing many credible and reputable sources, he builds a case for a strong future in print publishing, quite contrary to the naysayers who frequently spout, “Print is dead.”

Two of his key takeaways are “Real quality matters more than ever. Never forget what beautiful objects printed books are,” and “the world does not need another book, it does need another original and well-done book.”

He concludes his comments by saying, “We’re publishing differently; we might be delivering some content differently. But passion still counts and quality will always count most of all.”

Although the book publishing industry is undergoing great change, this does not have to be a bad thing. With change comes opportunity and for those who are willing to adjust their thinking to include new perspectives, the opportunities are many. So don’t believe those who warn that the publishing sky is falling; it’s simply not true. People still want to buy printed books. Although the book publishing industry is undergoing great change, with change comes opportunity. Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Self-Publishing Versus Pursuing a Traditional Book Deal: A Writing Q & A

Question: With so many self-publishing options out there, why should I bother to pursue a traditional publisher for my book?

Writing Q and A: Traditional Book Deal

Answer: I love this question!

Here’s my short response: Traditional publishing requires less of the author, will likely result in more book sales, and carries the prestige of a publisher selecting your book for publication. The negatives include the effort to find a publisher, the length of time to publish the book, and earning much less per copy sold—if anything at all.

A commonly sighted reason to not self-publish is the requirement to market and promote our books. While it’s true that if we self-publish our books, we must market them if we expect to sell any, traditional publishers also expect you to help promote, market, and sell your books. If you can’t or won’t do that, the publisher is unlikely to decide to publish your book. In short, they want authors who can move books.

There is no one right answer. It depends on the goals and priorities of each individual author. Also, some authors do both, depending on the book. They’re hybrid authors, going with traditional publishers for some books and indie-publishing (self-publishing) for others.

Digital Publishing Pros and Cons

Consider both publishing options for your next book

Digital Publishing

For the past few years, there has been a great deal of press—and hence a great deal of excitement—about e-books.

Correspondingly, there is also significant debate about the relative merits of each option. The purists insist that the printed version is the way to go, nearly sacred. While the technologists say that e-books are where it’s at, declaring that paper is passé. Of course the diplomat insists that there is room for both.

The price of e-books spans a wide range, from free to matching their printed counterparts, so it is hard to know their true demand. After all if something is free or costs next to nothing, why not “buy” it.

Regardless of sales numbers, print is still driving the market. Author Annette Ehrhardt, in writing about e-book pricing strategies, once noted that, “It seems that many readers value the printed word more than the digital word.”

Consider both print and e-book publishing for your next book. Click To Tweet

While there may be viable instances where a book should only be in digital form or only in print, the vast majority of books need to be in both.

However, if for some reason you can only do one, go with print. Readers will apparently value it more—and what they value, they will buy.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

What is the Ultimate Reading Device?

There’s Kindle, Nook, Kobo eReader, tablets, and apps. Which one is the ultimate e-reader? Which one will rise to the top, replace its competitors, and survive as the reader of choice? Which one is the ultimate reading device that will endure long into the future?

The ultimate reading device
What is the ultimate reading device? Click To Tweet

The answer is: None of them!

What is the ultimate reading device?

Quite simply, it is the printed word.

With a hard copy you don’t need to worry about software compatibility, device obsolescence, battery power consumption, damage when it’s dropped, someone electronically recalling your book, and so forth.

A printed book has none of these concerns. You can read a book anytime, anywhere. It is truly the ultimate reader.

Although e-readers have their place and do offer benefits, I do not see them replacing printed books as many have predicted. The two will co-exist, side-by-side for the foreseeable future.

Even so, the ultimate reading device will continue to be the printed word.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Do Readers Want Digital Instead of Print?

magazine publishers

For magazine publishers, there’s a lot of hype and excitement about reading magazines and books electronically. All variety of statistics are being bandied about to support the deluge of digital. Studies are being conducted and consultants are consulting. There is euphoria over electronic reading.

But is it warranted? While digital reading is a tantalizing development and may someday change the way people interact with the written word, that day is not yet here. Consider some stats that I have stumbled upon from the magazine industry:

  • One magazine found that 75 percent of readers would not give up their print magazine. That means, the magazine can’t risk going fully digital.
  • A survey of magazine publishers over the performance of their digital editions found that 38% were “somewhat dissatisfied” and 22% were “extremely dissatisfied.” That means that among publishers, a full 60% are not happy with digital.
  • In another study, 61.5% of magazine publishers aren’t even sure how they can generate enough revenue to cover the costs of digital.

So, based on these stats, the majority of readers don’t want to read digitally, the majority of publishers are not happy with digital, and the majority of publishers don’t even know how they can financially support digital.

Going digital may be exciting, but the numbers are not behind it and the masses don’t support it—at this time.

Given this, shouldn’t the focus be on print?

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Why Printed Books Are Still Relevant

Though e-books receive all of the hype, printed books are still important, for both readers and authors

printed books

People like to talk about what is new, what is exciting, and what is fresh. That’s why the book publishing industry has so much buzz about reading digital books and listening to audio books.

I’m not going to dismiss those options—because they’re exciting opportunities for authors—but I do caution against overreacting. While digital and audio are fun, sexy, and viable, print is still king. Seriously.

Printed Books

Printed books have a proven history. Printed books have ardent supporters. And printed books do not require a device or a charged battery. They are always on and always available.

Print still has a role to play. Just look at libraries and bookstores, especially the local bookshops that have figured out how to compete against the national chains, online shopping, and electronic book consumption.

And don’t ignore the fact that Amazon has a physical bookstore. They wouldn’t do that on a lark. Though it may be years before we know why, be assured they have a well-reasoned business strategy for doing so.

Print books do not require a device or a charged battery. They're always on and always available. Click To Tweet

There is also mounting evidence that younger generations prefer printed books. They like to unplug and immerse themselves into a good read. And at colleges that only provide e-textbooks, some students, out of frustration, will actually print their own copy of the text using their PC printer.

While some independent authors shun print and do only e-publication, they miss an important, and possibly growing, market. A success book publication strategy needs to stand on three legs: ebooks, audio books, and print books.

How do you consume books? What is your favorite format? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Just Because You Can Self-Publish a Book Doesn’t Mean You Should

As the price barrier to book publishing lowers, too many books show up with too little quality

self-published anthology of short stories

I once read a self-published book by a “NY Times Best-Selling Author.” I’ll let him remain anonymous. It was a short story anthology of “the best” short stories in a certain genre. I expected much and received little.

A Self-Published Anthology of Short Stories

Perhaps I focus too much on flash fiction (short stories under 1,000 words). Possibly I read too many YA (young adult) books to appreciate writing that is more “serious.” It could be I lack patience. Or maybe I don’t know how to truly appreciate short stories. But just possibly this collection is not all that good, certainly not “the best.”

Here are the good parts: the cover design was okay, the interior layout was professional, and I didn’t notice any editing shortfalls. Failure in these areas is emblematic of shoddy self-publishing. So at least he covered the basics.

I started every one of the short stories but only finished a few. The one that I actually thought was well written and even had a twist at the end, elicited a “so what?” response from me and a stifled yawn.

Just because you can self-publish a book doesn’t mean you should. Click To Tweet

Too often the stories failed to hook me at the beginning—and I always gave them a full page to do so. (I give books the first chapter to grab my attention.) And the few with promising openings that had me turn a couple of pages, failed to establish any reason why I should care about the protagonist. When you don’t wonder what happens to the lead character, there is no reason to turn the page. Ho-hum.

Don’t Bore Your Readers

The book’s introduction was copied from one of the author’s other books. (I tried to read that one, too, but ended up too bored to even skim it.) He may have tweaked a few words, but if so, it wasn’t enough to notice or give it a fresh feel.

He also provided a short preview about the writing of each story, highlighting what he liked about it and the strengths he appreciated. This may have been helpful as a learning experience, had not the stories been too painful for me to read.

I selected this book to learn about short stories. What I learned was don’t bore readers or waste their time. And if you self-publish, it had better be good.

Although a worthy concept, I doubt a traditional publisher would have touched this book. This is likely why the author self-published it. He shouldn’t have bothered.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Putting Blog Content in a Book: A Writing Q & A

Question: Can you book your blog?

If a blog has a specific focus, could you compile this information in a book and sell it? A conference speaker said you shouldn’t sell anything you’ve offered free. What’s your view?

Writing Q and A: Blog Content

Answer: I understand what the speaker said.

Basically, he or she thinks you won’t be able to sell something you once gave away (and may still be giving away) on your blog. An agent or publisher will also be concerned, fearful there is no one left to sell to.

However, I disagree.

Though you may have lost some sales, you will pick up a new audience with a book. In addition, some of your blog readers will buy a copy because they want all the content in one place in a convenient format, while others who read some posts won’t read the rest online, though they will read a book. Although it’s best if you can add new content to the book, which isn’t in your blog, this isn’t a requirement.

There are many cases of authors who successfully turned a series of blog posts into a book.

With all the self-publishing options available to us today, I say go for it.

Discussing the art of writing and the business of publishing

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