Tag Archives: publishing

Can You Self-Publish Your Book For Free?

self publishing costsIf we publish our book with a traditional publisher, there are no out-of-pocket expenses. The publisher even pays us an advance. Although it might not be much, at least we receive some money at the beginning of the publishing process. Not so with self publishing. Self publishing costs money,

Self Publishing Costs Money

This is not the case when we self-publish. When we act as our own publisher, there is no advance and there are expenses, which can add up quickly. We don’t earn any money until we can sell copies of our book. And that can take a while.

Is there a middle ground, a way to self-publish without incurring a bunch of upfront costs? The short answer is, “Yes!” However, the wise response is, “No!”

Self-publishing without spending any money would require a huge investment of time, and the results would not be good. Regardless of how talented we are and how diverse our skillset, one person cannot cover everything required to produce a quality book. The finished product would look like an amateur did it. And it’s hard to sell a book that fails to meet the expectations of today’s buyers.Self-publishing without spending any money would require a huge investment of time, and the results would not be good. Click To Tweet

Here are a few of the self publishing costs we’ll encounter when we self-publish:

Cover Costs

People do judge a book by its cover. A professional impression is critical because there is only a split second to catch someone’s attention. Don’t try this yourself.

Editing Costs

Few writers can edit their own work and do it well. And your friend who majored in English is seldom the answer—nor is your mom, high school writing teacher, or second cousin who reads a lot.

Interior Layout Costs

Have you ever opened a book and sensed something was wrong? You’re not sure what it is, but you know the book is different—and in an odd way. This is because of a poor interior design, and those books are hard to read.

Photography Costs

Taking a quality self-portrait is improbable, and selfies are out of the question for a book cover or publicity shot. Just because you own a fancy, high-resolution camera doesn’t make you a photographer.

ISDN Costs

For any book to sell, it requires an ISBN. If you plan to only peddle books from the trunk of your car, you can skip this expense. Otherwise you need to purchase an ISBN.

There are additional self publishing costs, but these are the more critical ones. Though you might be the exception who has the experience and ability to do one of these tasks with excellence, no one can master them all—especially if you want your book to sell.

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!

Five Things You Can Do With E-Books

There is some writing that we almost never see in printed form, due to its length, content, format, market size, or other factors. When it comes to e-books these are no longer issues.Five Things You Can Do With E-Books

Here are five things we can do with e-books that we seldom see in print.

Novellas

A novella is a work of fiction that falls into the gap between a short story (under 7,500 words) and a novel (over 40,000 words). Novellas are too long for a magazine or literary journal but too short to meet the physical requirements of a printed book. When it comes to an e-book, length doesn’t matter.With e-books, our work can reach an even larger audience and then be fine-tuned. Click To Tweet

Serial Fiction

We all have TV shows we love to watch. We anticipate the next episode to see what happens next. What about books? Yes, the same applies, but waiting a year or more for the next book is agonizing. What if we can read stories in installments or episodes? Although some magazines do this, it’s not too common.

E-books are the answer. Imagine unveiling a 5,000 to 10,000 word e-book every month or so. Just like a TV show, there needs to be a self-contained story that is resolved and a larger story that advances with each installment. We can include cliffhangers and even write seasons.

Poetry

Although there are books of poetry, they’re not too common—unless the author is famous. Most poets toil in obscurity, with few readers ever seeing their work. An e-book solves that. I’m not much of a poet, but if I was (or when I am), an e-book will be the way to go.

Short Story Collections

Yes, printed books of short stories do exist, but they’re not common and are often anthologies or by well-known authors. For most writers, a printed collection of their short stories is a dream that will go unmet. E-books solve that.

Test Marketing

Most authors have critique partners (who give initial input on a book) and beta readers (who help fine-tune things further), but even so, these readers may offer conflicting advice or may not uncover all a book’s issues.

With e-books, our work can reach an even larger audience and then be fine-tuned. That doesn’t mean publishing junk or half-baked ideas. The e-book needs to be the best we can make it. But if corrections are needed, e-publishing makes them easy to accomplish.

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!

Is Traditional Publishing is the New Vanity Publishing?

I’m not sure who said it first, but over the past few years many have stated that “traditional publishing is the new vanity publishing.”Is Traditional Publishing is the New Vanity Publishing?

As writers struggle with the quandary over self-publishing or traditional publishing, many cling to traditional publishing as the preferred solution merely because they see it as validating their work. In their mind, finding a traditional publisher is an endorsement from the corporate world. This would affirm their book’s viability and ensuring it’s quality. Make sure you pick the right publishing solution based on what’s best for you, your book, and your future, not to appease your ego or out of vanity. Click To Tweet

This might be a legitimate perspective. However, it could also be a form of vanity. This is especially if self-publishing has the potential bring in more revenue for the author.

The old vanity publishing versus the new

At one time vanity publishing meant paying someone to produce a book that no one was willing to publish. This was because it was either poorly written or possessed  limited commercial value. Now the pendulum could be swinging to the opposite extreme. Vanity publishing is insisting someone produce your book merely to satisfy your ego or attain affirmation.

Whichever side of the traditional versus self-publishing dilemma you select, make sure you pick the right solution. It should be based on what’s best for you, your book, and your future, not to appease your ego or out of vanity—there’s no future in that.

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!

The Key Consideration in Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

In the past few weeks I covered the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing (sometimes called indie publishing). I strove to be fair in comments and balanced in my coverage. Here are the four posts:

Where do I stand on this? Will I seek a traditional publisher or go the indie-publishing route?The Key Consideration in Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

Though this publishing deliberation looms as a decision every author needs to make on an author-by-author basis, it’s not that simple. It’s a consideration every author must make on a book-by-book basis.

Yes, depending on the book, some lend themselves to traditional publishing and others cry out for self-publishing. Critical considerations are the book’s topic, genre, and audience size, as well as an author’s goals for reach, distribution, and earnings. I have some books I hope to publish with a traditional publisher, while others I expect to go the self-publish route.

The key is that the self-publishing versus traditional publishing debate isn’t a once-and-done consideration, but it’s a topic to revisit with each book.Traditional publishing vs self-publishing isn’t an either/or decision. It’s a yes/and strategy. Click To Tweet

That’s my plan. I want to do both.

It’s called being a hybrid author. I will seek a traditional publisher when it makes sense and self-publish when that’s the better path. Combining these two options will maximize my career as an author—and hopefully my earnings potential at the same time.

Traditional publishing versus self-publishing isn’t an either/or consideration. It’s a yes/and strategy.

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!

Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

In my post “Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish,” I listed several advantages of self-publishing. Although compelling, there are also downsides. Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

Consider these six items:

1) Quality is Often Lacking: Traditional publishers put their books through several rounds of editing to produce the best possible product. The temptation of self-publishing is to skip these steps. Even if a professional editor is hired, the chance of them catching everything a traditional publisher would in their multiple rounds of review is slim. But too often, authors self-edit or tap a friend who, although well-intended, lacks the needed experience. From a production standpoint, there’s no reason for substandard output anymore. But it’s too easy and too tempting to cut corners.

2) Credibility May be Illusive: Although self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it once did, some people still consider it a second-rate option.

3) Self-Promotion is Required: Self-published authors are responsible for their own marketing, promotion, and sales. No one else will do it for you.Self-published authors (indie authors) must be entrepreneurs if they hope to be successful. Click To Tweet

4) The Author Must Become an Entrepreneur: Self-publishing is a business, requiring an investment of time, effort, and money—all with no promise of a return. It’s risky, and you could lose money.

5) Limited Distribution: Although some distribution options are available, they don’t match the reach of a traditional publisher. Don’t plan on your book being in bookstores.

6) No Advances: Self-publishers must shell out money to publish; advances are not part of the equation. You must spend money ahead of time and then hope to earn it back later and make a profit.

 

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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Five Downsides of Traditional Publishing

In my post “5 Reasons Why a Writer Should Go With a Traditional Publisher,” I gave five advantages of traditional publishing. Although these reasons are compelling, there are also some downsides. Five Downsides of Traditional Publishing

Consider these five items:

1) It Takes Longer: Unless a book is “fast-tracked” it will typically take eighteen months to two years from your first pitch to it sitting on bookstore shelves. Smaller presses may be nimbler. While larger publishers seek to streamline their processes, but the bottom line is, traditional publishing takes a long time.

2) Agents Are Often Required: Increasingly, publishers will only deal with agents. It makes publishers’ jobs easier, as agents become the first level of screening. Unfortunately, finding an agent is challenging. Since agents are paid on commission they won’t take a project they don’t think they can sell.

3) Rejection is Likely: For those publishers who will talk directly to writers, the odds of them being accepted are small, sometimes less than one in a hundred. Even with an agent, rejection is expected.

4) Authors Must Market Their Own Book: Traditional publishers will do a small amount of promotion for all their authors, but the bulk of their attention and dollars go to the A-list authors. If a book is to sell, the author is the best person to make it happen.Don’t rely on book royalties to pay bills; treat them as a bonus, if they occur. Click To Tweet

5) Be Patient With Royalties: The process of publishers accounting for and paying royalties is confoundingly slow. Don’t rely on book royalties to pay bills; treat them as a bonus—if they occur. Since initial book sales are applied against the advance, some authors never sell enough copies to earn any royalties—ever.

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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Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish

1) Greater Control: Self-published authors enjoy more say over their work and the finished product. This can be good, or it can work against them, but either way they have more control, usually a lot more.

Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish

2) Earn More Per Book: Self-published authors earn more on each book sale, generally much more: five times as much or even greater.

3) Faster: Production of a self-published book is quicker, putting it in the hands of readers faster than a traditional publisher could ever hope to do. This means writers can start selling books sooner and make money quicker.Self-publishing is ideal for small and undefined markets. Click To Tweet

4) Ideal for Small Niches: If your market is small or hard to reach, traditional publishers will not likely be interested. Self-publishing is ideal for small and undefined markets.

5) Great for Entrepreneurs: Self-publishing is effectively running a small business. The entrepreneurially minded will enjoy this option, realizing the rewards of hard work.

Given all this, wouldn’t every writer want to self-publish?

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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Five Reasons a Writer Should Go With a Traditional Publisher

In “Why Self-publishing vs Traditional Publishing Doesn’t Matter” I pointed out that both options have the potential to satisfy the core needs of a writer seeking publication. Writers must carefully consider the pros and cons of each option before pursuing either one. Future posts will consider some of these issues.Five Reasons a Writer Should Go With a Traditional Publisher

To start the discussion, here are five reasons why a writer should go with a traditional publisher:

1) Wider Distribution: Traditional publishers have distribution avenues that are effectively not available to self-published books. Sure, there are work-around solutions, but they’re limited and require much time and effort. Traditional publishers handle the distribution, easy peasy.

2) An Advance: Traditional publishers provide an advance. While the advances are getting smaller, they still exist. Self-publishers never receive an advance. In fact, self-publishing costs money, so it’s like a negative advance.

3) More Prestige: An author of a traditionally published book earns greater respect and garners more esteem.

4) Higher Quality: Traditional publishers generally produce a higher quality product. There are more eyes looking at it to catch errors and make it the best they can.

5) They Do the Heavy Lifting: What about e-books, hard cover and paperback, press releases, cover designs, ISBN and bar codes, back cover material, and author photos? A traditional publisher handles all these items. There’s nothing for the author to master or worry about; traditional publishers make it happen. Five reasons why a writer should go with a traditional publisher. Click To Tweet

Given all this, why would anyone want to self-publish? Next week, we’ll consider why.

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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Good News: Reading Is Here To Stay

As long as there are readers, writers will have work to do

Good News: Reading Is Here To Stay“Reading is here to stay,” wrote Robert M. Sacks in the November/December 2012 issue of Publishing Executive magazine. His astute observation caught my attention, captivating my thoughts, both then and even more so today.

Discussions and speculation about the rapid evolution in the book publishing industry threaten to overwhelm us; considerations abound:

  • Options such as traditional publishing, self-publishing, and assisted publishing
  • More options in the form of indie presses, outsourcing, and support services
  • Help from consultants, coaches, and editors
  • Requirements for platform, promotion, and marketing
  • Social media to blog, tweet, and message
  • Communication through e-newsletters, RSS feeds, and subscriptions
  • Technologies of e-books, e-readers, and e-publishing
  • Changes via consolidation, closures, and layoffs
  • Audio books, foreign rights, translations, screenplays, and movie deals

My brain’s about to explode with all these developments, options, and choices. Readers will always need authors to write things for them to read. Click To Tweet

Yet one thing remains: reading is here to stay. And with the future of reading secure, the future of authors and publishers is promising – for all of us willing to change, adapt, and dream.

Tomorrow will be interesting, exciting, and exhilarating, because reading is here to stay, and those readers will need authors to write content for them to read.

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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Don’t Debate Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

There are 4 reasons why self-publishing versus traditional publishing doesn’t matter

Don’t Debate Traditional Publishing vs. Self-PublishingAuthors often wonder if they should bypass finding a traditional publisher and just self-publish their books. It’s a weighty question with a plethora of answers. Each option possesses a list of pros and cons, warranting careful consideration, but today I’ll share four reasons why it doesn’t really matter.

Readership: Either way others can read our work. Although some write for personal gratification, almost all writers have a deep desire for other people to read their work. Even those who won’t admit it, generally have an inner yearning to share their words. Both self-publishing and traditional publishing can accomplish this.

Marketing: Either way we must market our books. Except for A-list authors – those all but guaranteed to sell a million copies – all other authors need to promote their own work. True, traditional publishers will do some marketing, but their budget will be limited. Unless our book becomes a run-away sensation (unlikely), its success will hinge on our willingness to promote it – regardless of the publishing method.Either form of publishing allows the potential to make money. Click To Tweet

Earn Money: Either way we can make money. It’s possible to make money with either publishing model. Though the amount of money varies with the situation, type of book, and market size, as well as our personal preferences and personality, either form of publishing allows the potential to earn income.

Tangible Results: Either way we can have a printed copy of our book. There’s something significant about holding a printed copy of our book. It’s tangible proof our work is viable – and is something we can autograph. Both forms of publishing can result in a printed version of our work (as well as an e-version and usually both).

In future posts, I’ll address the pros and cons of both options, but in the big picture, it doesn’t matter.

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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