How to Self-Publish a Book


Quick Answer

When opting to self-publish, choose to do the entire process using an application or use the services of a self-publishing company.

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E-book Self-Publishing Applications
Self-publishing a book gives an author complete control from start to finish. Once the content is written, an author can decide which services to use for editing, illustrations and the overall design as well as how the book is to be marketed and distributed. The quality of the finished product is entirely up to the author, who retains all rights. Authors serious about self-publishing need to set up a formal publishing company, such as an LLC. However, an author can also use his or her social security number.

Hardly any e-book service charges an upfront fee. Usually, a cut is taken after the book sells, not before, according to Cnet. For companies that charge a fee upfront, expect to receive 100 percent of the profit when the book starts to sell.

One aspect of self-publishing this way is it allows the author to work at his or her own pace, uploading and publishing when the book is ready and changing aspects of it at a later date, such as the cover, description and versions with more detailed editing. Authors can change the price when the book is sold through whichever marketing and retail channels preferred.

Different Types of E-book Self-Publishing Services
Generally, there are three types of e-publishing services. E-book retailers won't assist with the e-book preparation but do distribute and sell books through their storefronts. E-book distributors remove the headache of dealing with multiple services by connecting with retailers and distributors. Book builders and distributors provide a complete platform from which authors can create and distribute their books, according to Cnet. As exclusivity rights are not an issue with these services, authors are entitled to use more than one for different aspects of the publishing process.

Points to Consider
Authors should design their book covers so they are clear and readable across numerous devices, whether the book is displayed as a thumbnail, full size, low- or high-resolution, color or grayscale. The formatting depends on the services used but most services offer tools to help convert books into the correct format.

For those not confident about doing this process alone, self-publishing service companies do all the hard work instead, but at a cost, according to Jane Friedman. They offer various services including proofreading, editing and illustrations but also help on the marketing and retail side. They'll automatically advertise the book on their own websites as well as with affiliates, which are usually large, well-known companies.

For those offering print books as well as e-books, there are two options to consider: print-on-demand (POD) and traditional offset printing. Reduce any financial risk with POD technology. This service prints one copy at a time. The book is distributed through book wholesalers as well as online retail outlets. The downside is a higher retail price is charged as the cost of each unit is higher to produce than with traditional offset printing.

Although authors have to commit to a minimum number of published units, offset printing is lower in cost and higher in quality than POD.

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