Have you been writing a book or dreamed of writing, but been overwhelmed with the prospect of finding a book agent and a publisher? Have you been producing quality poetry for years that your friends tell you is awe inspiring, but thought the only way you’d ever get it published was to pay a publisher a fortune to print it?
There’s a simpler way; it’s called self-publishing. You write a quality document, create a book cover, and then upload them to an ebook distributor. And just like magic, you’re a published author. And you can do it all for free!
Ready, Set, Go!
First you need to write a quality book. I recommend reading up on the writing process and what it takes to pen a books that keeps the reader’s attention from start to finish. It’s also a good idea to have an excellent working cache of sentence and paragraph structure, grammar, and punctuation.
However, DON’T FOCUS ON FORM. THE MOST IMPORTANT GOAL IN ANY WRITING IS TO GET YOUR WORDS ON PAPER.
Ebooks have broken the publishing industry wide open. In the past, publishers controlled all content and the authors who were published. Now vast new topics in both fiction and non-fiction are being created and huge numbers of writers are appearing in ebook stores and in print.
One of the most effective ways to get started is to use brainstorming techniques. I find “free writing” extremely effective. You simple sit down and write as fast as you can without editing what comes to mind and without concern for grammar or punctuation. For more techniques to loosen up your pen, read my book, “Writing for the Web and English Usage“ and my blog “Overcoming Writer’s Block”.
The days of agonizing over every word and sentence, like Ernest Hemingway did, are gone. People today are looking for vibrant alive work. One of the best ways to create it is to write spontaneously from your inner self.
You’ll want to submit the best possible document you can, so once you’ve written your book, edit it and then ask friends and family to read it and give you feedback on how to it improved. Then edit it again until you’re happy with your document.
Next design a book cover. You can hire a graphic artist or use an online graphic website such as Canva or Poster My Wall. These sites make designing book covers as easy as creating a Facebook page.
Finding a Publisher is Easy
Now choose an ebook distributor. Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Streetlib, and PublisherDrive submit your books for free to ebook stores. They make money through keeping 10 to 15% of the profit. They pay you 85% to 90%. Most of them distributor to the major stores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Google Books. Some have extensive distribution networks.
PublisherDrive distributes to ebook retailers that other aggregators don’t reach. Streetlib reaches the major U.S. retailers and is strong in Latin America and Western and Southern Europe.
Distributors such as Book Baby and publishgreen.com charge an initial fee for their services.
All books are given an International Standard Business Number (ISBN) which is the universal way to identify it, like the model number on your cell phone. Aggregators usually issue these numbers for free.
When you’re starting out, stay away from the publishing houses that offer complete services from editing, to coaching, marketing, and printing. They’ll charge you thousands of dollars and require 3000 print minimums. You may end up with a storage room filled with cases of left over books.
Amazon is the place to be with your book. Most of the ebook distributors place books here. You can also self-publish on Amazon’s KDP. It even has a book cover making tool. Just visit www.amazon.com
Amazon asks you to choose between its platform and Smashwords, a major competitor of Amazon. The choice is obvious.
You can now access, Creative Space, a print on demand distributor, through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publish (KDP). I highly recommend it. This allows you to sell both ebooks and printed books on Amazon. Creative Space also distributes to Barnes and Noble, Ingram, NASCORP, libraries, and academic organizations. Many authors order printed copies of their books to give to friends and family.
Ingram Sparks and Barnes and Noble are the world’s largest book distributors. It’s worth your time considering publishing with them.
Once you’ve chosen your aggregators(s), upload your book and watch it come alive on the best ebook stores.
Marketing is the Key to Book Sales
To sell our books, most of us need to engage in marketing. Even authors who are given a contract and paid from traditional publishers such as Penguin, must promote their books on tours, on the web, and through blogs.
Of course if you’re talented and lucky, your book will take off on its own like Andy Weir’s The Martian. It was his first novel. He wrote it because he liked to dream about space travel. He posted the story chapter by chapter on his website and quickly built a following. He was soon approached by a book agent who quickly arranged for The Martian to be published. Soon after, Mr. Weir was offered a movie contract. The rest is history.
You can get free exposure for your book on book promotional sites such as Good Reads and library thing. These sites are popular and you’ll find hundreds of them. You can post your picture and profile, samples of your work, and your book cover with links to your website or Amazon where customers can make purchases.
Also consider writing and posting press releases, advertising, and building and marketing to an email list of followers. Be sure to read my next blog on marketing for authors.
Now you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the process and make money 24 hours a day! Seeing your book on the web and holding a printed copy in your hand is an incredibly rewarding experience! Likely, you want to start planning your next tome. Congratulations on becoming a published author!