I’ve been meaning to write an exhaustive guide for some time on how I go about self-publishing that is less polemical than my Self-publishers’ declaration of independence and more about the nitty gritty of self-publishing than my How to write a novel on a shoestring.
And then a damsel in distress asked me for advice on self-publishing earlier this week and I promised to give her a list of resources in a day or two. This is what I’ve got so far on the practicalities of self-publishing… but first a definition.
Self-publishing means publishing a print or ebook without a publisher. It does not mean vanity publishing, where you typically pay obscene amounts to a third party for the end result of filling your garage with unsellable rubbish. You may well end up paying flat fees for editing, cover design and formatting (though you needn’t, formatting an ebook and to a lesser-extent, a print book, are the easiest of tasks these days), but at no point are you paying anyone to print your books or giving up your copyright. You write your book, you publish it for free on a sales channel (Amazon, Kobo, iBooks or others) and you get a cut of whatever readers pay for your books. It doesn’t have to cost you a penny to self-publish if you are willing to learn what it takes. Though you can opt to spend money to save time when it comes to things outside your skill set. But if, like me, you are more willing to spend time on learning new skills than money on paying hacks for old rope, then let me make a few recommendations that could help you on your way…
Must-read books (with links to my reviews)
- Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print by Joanna Penn
- Write, Publish, Repeat by Seann Platt and Johnny B. Truant.
- Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran.
- Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books by Derek Murphy
- Write to Market: Deliver a book that sells by Chris Fox
- The Sell More Books Show
- The Creative Penn
- Rocking Self-Publishing
- Story Grid Podcast
- The Self-Publishing Podcast
- The Self-Publishing Formula Podcast
Only one springs to mind that I refer to regularly, The Passive Voice.
And here’s a dirty little well-known “secret”: A self-published author typically gets 70% royalties of the cover price, while the traditionally published author (where able to get published) gets 25% or much less. This fact, coupled with the decline of the bookstore and rise of the internet should make it clear why self-publishing is rapidly becoming the default form of publishing. You might as well invest the time in learning how to do it right yourself.
What are you waiting for?