Friday, 13 January 2012

Self Publishing my Novel Seems Complicated

You can publish your novel on many self-publishing platforms on the internet. Does the author need to open several accounts on different ebook websites, reformatting and uploading the novel each time? Well, it needn’t be that difficult to get your book included on all the main self-publishing websites.

How to Ebook Publish

There are a number of websites available to the indie writer, the main being, Amazon’s Kindle Store, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple. But you don’t have to surf the net and upload your novel onto every self publishing platform out there. By uploading your novel onto three main self-publishing platforms, you are pretty well-covered. These are KDP Amazon, Createspace and Smashwords’ premium catalogue. Let’s look at each in turn.

How do I Publish My Novel on the Kindle Store?

The biggest opportunity for self published authors to get seen and make sales can be found in Amazon’s Kindle Platform (KDP Amazon), and is therefore the first port of call for my novel. Once the novel has been correctly formatted, upload your novel onto the KDP platform. Follow the onscreen instructions regarding pricing, assigning a category and writing the blurb. Amazon will allocate a free isbn number for your kindle book. It will take around 2to3 days for your book to show up on the Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Publishing your Novel on Smashwords

My next port of call is Smashwords. If your book is correctly formatted, simply upload as before, but remember to alter the copyright page to show ‘Smashwords edition’ rather than ‘Kindle edition’. Smashwords will also assign you a free isbn (to be used only on Smashwords, not Kindle). If all is satisfactory, your book will be put onto the Smashwords’ premium catalogue. This means Smashwords will ship your ebook to all the main ebook publishers, which are (including Smashwords itself), Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Sony, Kobo, Apple and Diesel. This means you will not have to create multiple accounts for each channel. Your sales report will be generated by Smashwords periodically, showing a breakdown of sales into each channel.

Amazon’s KDP Select Restrictions

It must be noted here, that Amazon has introduced Kindle Select programme which offers the indie writer extra promotional tools and also earn a share in a pot of money from Amazon’s loaning program, which works like public lending right in libraries, For a small annual fee, the Kindle reader may borrow as many books as he/she likes (but only one at a time) and you earn lending rights on each loan, an extra source of income. You can also offer your book free on special promotion days, a sure way of getting lots of people to read your books, get recommendations and possibly reviews. The only snag is that if you opt into the Kindle Select your book must not be available digitally anywhere else, which means you must withdraw from Smashwords (and all the channels they ship to). Opt in with care. Once you opt in, you cannot opt out again.

Selling your Book on Createspace

Create space is Amazon’s opposing limb to the Kindle platform for it deals with the production of paperback books (not ebooks). Again, the hardcopy of your book is assigned a free isbn from Createspace which must be used only on Createspace. Formatting your book for Createspace is totally different to formatting for Kindle and is a little in-depth, so I have written a separate article on publishing your book on Createspace. Createspace is a print on demand (POD) setup, which means your book is printed only if it is sold – no overheads, no bulk printing. You only pay for your own books if you order a proof.

I Want to Sell My Paperback Book to Other Booksellers

Joining Createspace automatically gets your paperback book on Amazon’s store as well as entitle you to your own ebookstore (standard distribution). If you want to get beyond Amazon, and to other book retailers, libraries and academic institutions, you must enroll for Expanded Distribution channel (EDC) which means your book will be available to the aforementioned channels. The old system of enrolling for Pro Plan has now changed for a simpler system.
To join EDC, you pay a fee of $25 per book, but to make royalties, you must price your book a little higher than with the standard distibution. The question the writer needs to ask is, will book retailers buy my book for a slightly less competitive price?

The Best Sales Outlet for the Indie Writer

In summary, the three main channels available to the self-published author are: KDP Amazon, Smashwords and Createspace. By putting your book on all three platforms, you are pretty well covered and not have to part with a penny. Not bad for a self-published writer who wants to get read by the world. But self-publishing is ever evolving and who knows, as I have written this, there could be other epublishing platforms for self-published writers being developed or about to blossom. Self-publishing is an ever-evolving process.

Articles on Writing Novels

How to deal with bad book reviews
Effective use of adjectives in novels
How to make fictional characters believable

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