Self-publishing is the process of publishing a book without approaching a traditional publishing house or company, This means the author bears all the responsibility and expenses associated such as the editing, designing, formatting, and marketing of the book and in-return receives 100% share of the profit that the book generates.
Another advantage of self-publishing is that authors have complete control over their intellectual property rights and their distribution.
For self-publishing, authors must self-publish books through the self-publishing platform.
A quick overview on the evolution of Self-publishing
The Self-publishing phase began in 1990 when desktop publishing and print-on-demand technology came in, and EBooks began to sell online.
In 2007 Amazon officially launched Kindle EReaders, and Apple Inc released iPhone. These two devices have completely changed the perspective of reading books.
Difference between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing
Traditional publishing means you offer your book to a publishing house to try and secure a publishing deal. These processes can be lengthy, monotonous, and annoying. However, if you signed a deal, the publishing house bears all the expenses for your editing, book cover design, print copies, and marketing work in exchange for a percentage share of your royalties. The royalties share percentage range could be anywhere between 60-90%. The plus side of a traditional company is that they will be doing everything for you. Furthermore, there isn’t a need to spend money out of your pocket and, the downside is that you only get a profit share of 10-40% of the money your book makes and, the publishing company owns the cover page, edits and often titles, Further to this your book ISBN and barcode belong to the publishing company.
Coming to Self-Publishing is just opposite to traditional publishing. You invest in your book, including editing, book cover designing, ISBN, barcode, print copies, and marketing, and keeps all the money that your book makes. Once you overcome the invested amount remaining else that comes in is profit. The plus side is that you are in complete control from start to finish, and it will be your sole discretion where you want to distribute your EBooks and print books. The downside is you bear all the expenses of publishing a book from start to end and responsible for marketing. Earlier it was challenging, but in the current scenario where social media dominates the world, it is doable, by many first-time authors have found great success using self-publishing.
Steps on how to self-publish a book
- Write the book that matches your audience’s interest
- Choose a title for your book
- Edit the book – Do it by yourself or preferably hire a professional editor to edit your books.
- Finalize your manuscript
- Get a book cover design – Hire a designer
- Decide where to self-publish your book
- Format and publish the book
- Plan and launch a Marketing/Promotion campaign
- Set the Price of your book
- Continue to promote, market, and distribute your book.
Pros and cons of Self-Publishing
|No gatekeeper – There’s no one to stops you from sharing your book with the world||Less support – Everything needs to be done by yourself, which at the time would be tedious and annoying|
|Your own timeline – Quick turnaround time compared to traditional publishing||No one is pushing you-Set your deadlines and make realistic writing goals to complete the book.|
|Complete creative control – You decide on how you want your book to be||Upfront cost – Incurred cost to bear by the author while hiring professionals for publishing services like editing and designing|
|Greater earning potential with Higher royalty rates on publishing platforms like Amazon compare to traditional publishing rates||Stigma- Since Traditional publishing has been the standard for so long, self-published authors are considered outsiders. That is why it is so crucial that self-published authors pay for professional services|
Top5 Self-Publishing Platforms
Kindle Direct Publishing: KDP, owned by Amazon, publishes and sells EBooks that can read on Kindle devices or devices with the Kindle app installed. A freelance writer cannot just ignore these publishers. Around 80% of all English EBook sales are through Amazon, 42% of which are self-published.
Barnes & Noble Press: Formerly known as NOOK Press, this is a Self-publishing portal from Barnes and Noble. It accounts for 3% of EBook sales, only from the US. It offers printing and publishing. Online and physical bookstores available only with Barnes and Noble press retail. Royalty rates range between 40% and 65% depending on the book price.
Kobo: Kobo is an anagram for “book,” Kobo accounts for approximately 2% of total EBook sales in the top 5 English-speaking markets combined. However, It is a big player in Canada, Which accounts for up to 25% of EBook sales. Unlike Kindle, Kobo provides an eReader device and app for reading on other devices.
Apple iBooks: It is the second-largest EBook retailer after Amazon and accounts for 10% of sales in the top 5 countries. More than 40 country-specific EBook stores offer authors unique advantages. They can price the books differently in each country and even able to set prices in local currency. Additionally, authors can always book free book deals and discounts, and there is no exclusive distribution agreement. To publish directly to iBooks, you need a Mac device; Otherwise, you’ll have to go through an EBook aggregator. Apple offers a flat royalty of 70%.
Lulu: Lulu is one of the oldest online Self-publishing companies and a popular distributor of digital and printed books. He sells books through his bookstore and distributes them to other online stores like Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc., and books. Distributors like Barnes and Noble and Ingram. Lulu offers hardcover and paperback formats for printed books. Their EBook conversion, publishing, and distribution services are free, but they sell varieties of support services, including book publishing, cover designing, and marketing. Lulu charges a commission of 20% and, Sales generated through partner retailers would additionally attract their commission.