Self-publishing a book is a great alternative, and many reasons support this claim. Traditional publishing involves a contract between the publisher and the writer. This might not be very attractive as it involves giving up many rights over the finished product, your book. Alternatively, self-publishing is an option that allows you to retain those rights and maintain control over the price, marketing, and the advertising process, where you are involved at every stage. Besides this, self-publishing gives you the leverage to command a higher royalty and retain nearly 50-70% of profits, as opposed to those writers who have opted for traditional publishing as they get to keep merely 10-12% of the profits. Hence, self-publishing is the best way to have creative control over your work and ensure that your book is readily available to a keen reader.
Different Ways to Self-Publish your Book
The self-publishing domain has undergone a lot of transformation in recent times, as the primary source of sales earnings for such authors comes through eBook sales. In the US, Amazon is the primary channel where 85%+ sales happen, as it makes it easy for anyone to make their eBook available without any upfront payment. Here are two different ways to self-publish your book independently, but first, make sure that you weigh your options and understand these completely.
1. Do-it-yourself Self-Publishing
A self-publishing author can access self-publishing services for both eBooks and print editions by using services such as IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, or Amazon KDP. You are not required to pay for such services until after selling your books, which is an added advantage. Whenever a copy is sold, both the retailer and distributor take a cut from the profit made.
Also known as ‘Free Publishing, the most significant advantage of this kind of self-publishing is controlling the decision-making process from deciding on managing the publishing process to designing, publishing, and distributing your books. You have full rights over the creative and business decisions of your book, including the profits.
Though this process gives you higher control over the publishing process with comparatively lesser pressure over your wallet, it comes with its own shortcomings. In most cases, the authors, while trying to upload their eBooks end up publishing a book with incorrect formats. The complicated formats of these digital platforms and skills like book cover designing and book marketing are very specialized. Uploading books on digital platforms like Amazon and KDP need a specific level of expertise. It is not necessary that one who can write well can perform these technicalities with the same proficiency.
Also, even simple typo errors can ruin your reputation as an author. It is necessary to get your book thoroughly copy-edited before publishing it. Poor book marketing can also lower the chances of your book’s success, which is again a very technical and specialized skill set that needs expert help. Hence, it is always better to take expert help than to make it a mess after all your hard work at the end. And that is why in the true sense, assistance is required even in ‘Do-it-yourself’ kind of self-publishing, and going for complete free publishing is not a good idea if you want your book to be well received by the reading community.
If you don’t want to go for complete publishing services, you can at least take help in areas like book cover designing, formatting, and uploading your book on these platforms. For this, you can seek the help of good and reputed self-publishing companies with at least one year of experience in this domain. Many self-publishing offers these specific services under their author services programs.
2. Self-Publishing by Engaging the Help of a Service Company
This is a better way of self-publishing, wherein you can serve your requirement while hiring a good self-publishing company for your publishing-related services, thus reducing the stress of self-publishing. In this model, the writer only needs to submit his/her manuscript and relax as self-publishing companies mostly provide end-to-end publishing services. It is also an excellent alternative to traditional publishing as it has numerous benefits over the other. It is comparatively faster, gives you higher royalty, saves you from the fear of rejection, gives you more control over the publishing process, and frees you from the stress of meeting rigid timelines. As per a recent survey conducted by BUUKS on “Why do you prefer self-publishing over traditional publishing,” the respondents chose self-publishing over traditional publishing because of the benefits mentioned above.
This kind of self-publishing only differs from traditional publishing in its revenue model. While the author has to invest a decent amount of money for getting his/her book published in the former, in the later, the initial investment is lesser. But the benefit of returns, especially in terms of royalty, is much higher in self-publishing than traditional publishing. In self-publishing, an author gets 100 percent net royalty compared to very minimal royalty in traditional publishing.
Unlike the do-it-yourself self-publishing model in which the author independently publishes his/her work on online platforms like KDP and Amazon, in assisted self-publishing, the author can avail end-to-end publishing assistance through these self-publishing companies. These include services starting from manuscript conversion to the book marketing and distribution.
Another benefit apart from getting 100 percent net royalty in this kind of self-publishing is that the author would be involved in all the publishing process steps, giving some higher control over the process to him/her. The various packages and arrangements for self-publishing differ, but mostly, it involves an upfront fee for the services, full rights to your book, and the entire sales profits are passed on to the author. Each package is a unique set of combinations based on customers’ varied requirements. These start from basic packages, generally ranging from somewhere around Rs 20,000 to 25,000, to packages that provide advanced publishing services to help you launch in the market with a bang.
The service fee varies dramatically, and so does the quality of such publishers. It is prudent to conduct thorough research before engaging a self-publishing service company, as each has its own distinct business model and costs. Hence, always sign a contract that is clear as far as terms and charges are concerned.