Self Publishing: Navigating The Process


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PRINT. EBOOK. BOTH. Begin with the end product in-mind.
A book or ebook is a product. A product that requires planning, design, manufacturing, marketing and promotion. Your answer to the question above will help guide you to make decisions throughout the process.
The next question is... Why? Three core reasons why we want to publish our own books:

■ Personal: This is my life’s work, my story to tell.
■ Professional: Typically non-fiction, thought-leadership, self-marketing.
■ Profitable: To make money.

Self-publishing our own book is becoming more acceptable and accessible, however, the industry is changing rapidly. The tools and resources to publish your own book are plentiful and can be overwhelming if you’re not clear about the kind of book you want to publish.
This ebook is an overview of resources and tools available (as of December 2013) to help you navigate the options available.

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Self Publishing: Navigating The Process

  1. 1. SELF-PUBLISHING NAVIGATING THE PROCESS An overview of the resources and tools available to anyone who wants to publish their own book. JOANN SONDY Creative Aces Resource “Decks” February 2014 (v2)
  2. 2. WHAT KIND OF BOOK TO YOU WANT TO PUBLISH? PRINT. EBOOK. BOTH. BEGIN WITH THE END PRODUCT IN-MIND. A book or ebook is a product. A product that requires planning, design, manufacturing, marketing and promotion. Your answer to the question above will help guide you to make decisions throughout the process. The next question is... Why? At a recent self-publishing session led by Kim Bookless, she offered three core reasons why we want to publish our own books: Personal: This is my life’s work, my story to tell. Professional: Typically non-fiction, thought-leadership, self-marketing. ■ Profitable: To make money. ■ ■ Self-publishing our own book is becoming more acceptable and accessible, however, the industry is changing rapidly. The tools and resources to publish your own book are plentiful and can be overwhelming if you’re not clear about the kind of book you want to publish. This ebook is an overview of resources and tools available (as of December 2013) to help you navigate the options available. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  3. 3. DISTRIBUTION DECISION MATRIX The question is not about the genre of your book, it is the FORMAT. Do you want to publish an ebook? Do you want to publish a print book? ■ Both formats? The secondary question is just as important as the first. ■ Will you be outsourcing professional services like editing, proofreading, design, ebook design, etc? Your (honest) answers will help guide you to self-publishing services and platforms to achieve an end product you envisioned. AND, the desired distribution channel. You must think of your book as a product. EBOOK PRINT BOOK Author Services Companies Author Services Companies YES (editing, proofing, design, etc.) ■ WILL YOU BE OUTSOURCING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES? ■ WHAT TYPE OF BOOK DO YOU WANT TO PUBLISH? On-Line eBook Retailers NO Print-on-Demand (POD) Direct Sales Companies Adapted from “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch ( Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  4. 4. EBOOK RETAILERS The major players for ebook sales are: ■ Amazon Kindle Direct ■ B&N Nook ■ Apple iBookstore ■ Google Play ■ Sony Reader Store ■ Smashwords Other retailers: ■ Lulu ■ Bookbaby ■ Kobo ■ Blurb ■ Vook More ebook retailers are coming online all the time! Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  5. 5. ON-LINE RESELLERS Once you have your content ready (assuming you consulted an editor + proofreader and cover designer) you can submit your book/ebook for publication. Setting up an account and publishing a book with the major players is quite easy. Amazon’s CreateSpace does offer additional services to assist you with editing, design and marketing for additional fees. Apple iBookstore, Google Play and BN Nook do not. This method of self-publishing offers you the most control over the process. ■ Low barriers to entry ■ Adapted from “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch ( (Can be) Lucrative ■ Readers buy/download ebook Easy process ■ You manage on-line resellers Inexpensive ■ You (Author) Limited reach Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  6. 6. DIRECT SALES Managing your own direct sales of an book/ebook requires a different setup. You would set up a “storefront” system to accept payments, track orders and shipments. ■ Direct and immediate control ■ Higher profits, no percentage cut ■ Marketing burden is on you ■ Reduced synergy with online retailers ■ Reduced opportunities for affiliate fees ■ You (Author) You manage on-line sales (Gumroad, E-Junkie, ClickBank, Shopify, Paypal) Readers buy/download ebook Best suited for PDF file formats Adapted from “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch ( Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  7. 7. AUTHOR SERVICES COMPANIES Probably the most confusing and controversial section is author services. Rapid growth and accessibility of the selfpublishing is exposing the benefits and best practices of service providers. In a nutshell, author services can be your one-stop shop. Everything from editing and design to ordering ISBN number and distribution. A cautionary word about “vanity” press providers: Author service companies like Author Solutions, Author House, iUniverse, and Xlibris are/have been acquired by larger publishing houses that want to tap into the self-publishing market. Thus, many of these companies have very aggressive sales strategies and are keen to take advantage of what you don’t know. Be careful. Read the fine print. Other author services companies are proving to be successful for many self-publishers. These include: ■ Amazon CreateSpace ■ Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing ■ Lulu ■ Readers buy ebook or printed book Adapted from “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch ( Advantages to utilizing these author services companies are fewer reseller programs to join and track. Each is a one-stop shopping for self-publishing your book. Keep in mind that each will either require an up front fee and/or a percentage of royalties. Read the fine print! Many of these also fall into the print-on-demand category, offering printing and ebook services. Print-on-demand can be an excellent solution for limited or small quantities but tends to be more expensive than many realize. Mill City Press ■ (Manage online-resllers & POD) Bookbaby ■ Author Services Companies Blurb ■ You (Author) Vook Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  8. 8. PRINT-ON-DEMAND Print-on-demand (POD) is a digital printing technology that prints the book upon ordering. This shift occured when digital printing technologies became mainstream, thus the capability for small print runs for books. SHOP LOCAL! Consider a local or regional printer. Many printers in larger metropolitan areas Author services companies like Lulu, Blurb, and CreateSpace are print-on-demand providers. Order copies for your marketing and PR activities. Or, the book is printed when should have the capabilities to print and bind books. If you are working with a ordered online. graphic designer, he or she should make There is a different type of POD and author services company that was previously referred the call and request a quote. to 'vanity press'. These include: ■ Author House ■ Outskirts Press ■ iUniverse ■ infinity Publishing ■ Llumina Press ■ Virtual Book Worm ■ Xlibris ■ Wheatmark ■ Aventine Press ■ Bookstand A comparison and ranking of these companies can be found at: Do your research, read the contract, understand the services you are paying for and have realistic expectations. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  10. 10. BOOK CREATION TOOLS Creating and designing a book or ebook takes more than just word processing. A professionally designed book can make a difference. You’re not about to skimp on editing and proofreading your manuscript, you should, at a minimum, allot for a professionally designed cover. Do-it-yourself tools are readily available to everyone with a computer and internet connection. These tools, applications and wizards can produce book/ebook of continuous flowing text or text + full color photography/illustrations. Your vision of the end result will determine the tools for creating your book/ ebook. TOOLS FOR CREATING EBOOKS ■ Scrivener ■ Calibre ■ Sigil ■ iBooks Author (Mac OS only) ■ PressBooks ■ Creatavist ■ Moglue ■ Blurb Booksmart ■ Vook ■ Vellum (Mac OS only) ■ Adobe InDesign DPS Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  11. 11. FILE CONVERSION IS KEY File conversion services will prepare your file for use on ebook readers and tablets. The programming for ebooks is far more complicated than a word processing file and the standards are not universal. File formats vary for devices and resellers. CONVERSION SERVICES Check each author services company’s file specifications before submitting for conversion, production and distribution. When you hire an ebook designer or conversion service, ensure that you understand what is provided and how the ebook will be tested. Testing your ebook for most popular devices is fundamental. ■ Create Space ■ Kindle Direct ■ Smashwords ■ Nook Press ■ Book Baby ■ Mill City Press ■ Calibre ■ Hire ebook designer/programmer TEST. TEST. TEST. OVERVIEW OF FILE TYPES File Size Input Output Difficulty to Convert Cover Kindle Direct 50 MB EPUB DOC, HTML, MOBI, EPUB, TXT, RTF, PDF MOBI Low (DOC) Medium (MOBI) JPEG, TIFF iBookstore 1 GB Max. 20 MB recommended EPUB, IBA (iBooks Author) EPUB, IBA Medium JPEG, PNG Nook 20 MB DOC, HTML, EPUB, TXT, RTF EPUB, PDF Low (DOC) Medium (EPUB) JPEG (2 MB) Google Play 10 MB EPUB, PDF EPUB Medium JPEG, PDF, TIFF Kobo 10 MB EPUB, DOC, DOCX, MOBI, ODT EPUB Medium JPEG, PNG less than 2 MB Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  12. 12. PROFESSIONAL TOOLS The market is flooded with software to create a book and ebook. The DIY tools are an entry point for many self-publishers. Wizards, templates and pre-sets that will guide you through the process. As a professional designer who has specialized in print and digital publishing, the DIY tools don’t offer the flexibility and level of excellence to achieve a higher caliber product. Software used by most designers include: ADOBE INDESIGN (DIGITAL PUBLISHING SUITE) The application can be ‘purchased’ for a monthly fee as part Create Cloud or individually. The learning curve can be very high. However, professional designers have more flexibility to create publications that marry images & text, multi-media, slideshows, video & audio, hyperlinks, fluid layouts and more. Results that cannot be achieved by MS Word, Google Docs or Apple Pages. APPLE IBOOKS AUTHOR Create interactive, multi-touch ebooks for iPad and iPhone with Apple’s {free} proprietary iBooks Author application (requires OS X 10.7). The learning curve is moderate. Add interactivity with slideshows, video & audio, hyperlinks and more. Built-in template and third party templates avaialble. Publish directly to iTunes Bookstore by setting up on author and/or publisher account. TEST. TEST. TEST. Other software applications or a combination of applications might be recommended by other print and ebook designers, these happen to the tools I have used to achieve the best results. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  13. 13. AUTHOR SERVICES COMPANIES Below is a brief description of many of the author services companies mentioned in this ebook. Based on the type of book you want to publish, distribution to resellers and your budget for services (design, editing, etc.) these author services companies are listed here for your consideration as a self-publisher. If you have a service that you would like to share with other self-publishers, drop me note with your recommendation. Listed in alphabetical order. BOOKBABY_______________________________________________________________________BOOKBABY.COM Promoting itself as the one-stop shop for ebook self-publishing. Services include cover design, book printing, ebook conversions, distribution, author website creation, marketing tools, etc. Distribution to Amazon, Apple, Kobo, B&N, Sony and others. eBook publishing packages from basic to premium. Bookbaby also caters to publishing companies for ebook conversion and distribution. Recently introduced print-on-demand in limited quantities. Website is full of resources and how-to guides. BLURB_____________________________________________________________________________ BLURB.COM Blurb is a creative self-publishing platform that enables anyone to create, self-publish, promote, share, and print and ebooks. Blurb offers book-making tools for every skill level – from first-time book makers to experienced design professionals from its web-based Booksmart™ to an Adobe InDesign plug-in or the option to upload your own PDF (review specifications). Best for photointensive books. Print-on-demand costs can be higher than other service providers. Paper stock selections have improved. Limited distribution to resellers. PDF-to-ebook services is NOT multi-touch. CREATESPACE (AMAZON)_________________________________________________________ CREATESPACE.COM CreateSpace is a type of print-on-demand service where a physical copy of your book will be created as customers order it. The service isn’t just for books either; they also offer services for publishing music and movies. Features include cover wizard, on-line proofing and paper stock choices. Add-on services like design, editing and marketing. Review specifications, understand requirements for submitting files for production and formula for royalties. DEMIBOOKS_____________________________________________________________________DEMIBOOKS.COM Developed for children's books and graphic novels, DemiBooks Composer is the software to build your own book app for iPad. Purchase software plus price per published title. Demibooks Storytime is a proprietary storefront for book apps created with Composer. Studio staff available to assist with design and development of your book app. DemiBooks offers print-on-demand via its PrintShop with limited distribution. Review software, reading app and fees on the website. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  14. 14. AUTHOR SERVICES COMPANIES KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING ________________________________________________________ KDP.AMAZON.COM Publish your book and distribute directly to Amazon Kindle Store. Website is loaded with resources, preparation guides, tools and resources about publishing ebooks directly to Kindle. Availability to link your hardcopy book published with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct. Review specifications, royalty structure, copyright information, etc. before starting any project. LULU________________________________________________________________________________ LULU.COM Lulu was one of the earliest service providers for self-publishers allowing authors to retain full control. A worldwide distribution including its own e-commerce platform. Publish print and digital books plus variety of other products. A la carte services include editing, cover design, ebook design, marketing and public relations, ISBN ordering, book fairs. Variety of print size options, formats and paper grades. Select template or wizards for print products. Website is loaded with reference material and community. MILL CITY PRESS______________________________________________________________ MILLCITYPRESS.NET A division of Hillcrest Media Group, Mill City Press offers self-publishing print-on-demand services for independent authors and publishers. Upfront investment in one of four packages. Features & benefits: cover design, ISBN, distribution to major retailers, copyright registration and submission to search engines. Add-on services for ebook creation and distribution. Review contracts and self publishing guide on the website. SMASHWORDS________________________________________________________________ SMASHWORDS.COM The biggest, smallest ebooks distributor for independent authors. Publish, distribute and sell ebooks to major retailers. Smashwords distribution to Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Flipkart, Oyster, the Diesel eBook Store, Baker & Taylor’s Blio and Axis360 (libraries!). Currently does NOT distribute to Amazon. Conversion from MS Word to major ebook file formats. Refer to the website for Smashwords Style Guide before submitting manuscript. VOOK_______________________________________________________________________________ VOOK.COM Vook's publishing services include ebook creation (epub and mobi formats), distribution, print-on-demand, cover design, copy editing, book scanning, proofreading and marketing. Distribution to all major retailers: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books; see website for royalty breakdowns. Many services listed at additional costs and standard rate packages are not published on website. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  15. 15. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES BOOKTROPE_____________________________________________________________________BOOKTROPE.COM Booktrope is a team publishing platform and a social marketing engine for books of all kinds. We free the creative team (authors, editors, designers) and marketing partners to work on what they do best — create and market the best book possible. PERIODICAL______________________________________________________________________ PERIODICAL.CO A magazine app online platform. Sell subscriptions, publisher management portal, deisgn for tablets. EBOOKIT___________________________________________________________________________EBOOKIT.COM EBookIt is a conversion services and will distribute to major e-retailers. Additional services include the docx-to-epub convertor, epub validator and audiobook and print-on-demand services. FASTPENCIL_____________________________________________________________________ FASTPENCIL.COM FastPencil enables authors to independently create books online, collaborate, publish and distribute from one engaging, simple, costeffective solution. Plus, you only pay when you publish and buy books. Several author packages from no charge to $2,000. Distribution to major e-retailers. GLOSSI____________________________________________________________________________ GLOSSI.COM is a new publishing platform that enables anyone to create and share their own digital magazines across devices. No design or technical skills required. Digital publishing is going through an epic transformation. MAGCAST__________________________________________________________________________ MAGCAST.CO MagCast publishing platform brings niche digital magazine publishing to the public at an affordable price. MagCast makes it possible for anyone to publish on Apple's Newsstand, providing rich, engaging and branded content that can be accessed with just a swipe of the fingertips. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  16. 16. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TOWERBABEL___________________________________________________________________TOWERBABEL.COM TowerBabel is an online platform for authors to write, collaborate and publish their works electronically, and allows readers to discover the content and discuss about it. It provides dynamic tools for content creation and collaboration, and a social experience for publishing and reading. VELLUM_______________________________________________________________________ 180G.CO/VELLUM/ Mac OS app developed by former Pixar veterans who are trying to make the process of creating ebooks less painful. The app allows authors to publish ebooks on Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon Kindle and Nook devices. Ideal for continuous flowing text ebooks, choose from a handful of templates. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  17. 17. BOOKS, BLOGS, COMMUNITIES LOADS TO SHARE, LIMITED SPACE. In addition to the websites previously mentioned, which are tremendous resources for understanding the process of publishing your own books, here are a few more. BOOKS: The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Mark Levine APE: Author, Publisher, Entreprenuer–How To Publish a Book, Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch Publishing with iBooks Author, Nellie McKesson, Adam Witwer (O'Reilly Media) BLOGS/WEBSITES: The Book Designer–Joel Friedlander Self Publishing Advisor Independent Book Publishers Association Publishing Basics Self Publishing Self-Publishing Resources Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network COMMUNITIES: Chicago Self-Publshing Meetup Group hosted by Kim Bookless to connect authors with vendors & freelancers. global crowdfunding just for books. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book
  18. 18. CREATIVE ACES ABOUT Creative Aces is a design and publishing firm specializing in visual communications that enhance your company and its story. The emphasis is on providing highquality digital publishing and graphic design services for our clients seeking to communicate with their audience through e-books, white papers, presentations, newsletters and annual reports. We understand that professional design is an investment and the ROI of marketing your materials can equate to long-term gains and recognition. Visit us at or contact Like the idea of doing an ebook like this, instead of a boring old white paper? I’m standing by. CONNECT & SHARE READY TO PUBLISH! When I was a kid, growing up in suburban Detroit, I couldn't wait for LIFE or National Geographic magazines to appear in our mailbox. I was fascinated with the visual stories accompanied by the narrative, page after page. I couldn't wait to begin a career producing similar layouts. One of my first jobs in publishing at a local newspaper just didn't satisfy my appetite to design and publish more visually intensive layouts. It's been a long journey to be at the helm of my own creative services firm, concentrating on multi-page publications, I/we have designed and produced magazines, annual reports, white papers, ebooks, books, and presentations. THE EBOOK REVOLUTION IS A GAME CHANGER! Designing and publishing interactive books for the tablet, primarily iPad & Kindle Fire, is exciting and where my talents can best be put to use. Since 2005, Creative Aces has published six books and products associated with each. We currently have three books available on Apple iBookstore and Amazon. All six have been self-published by us. Design, layout and content by us. I have personally consulted with friends and colleagues who have self-published their own books. I WANT TO HELP YOU PUBLISH YOUR BOOK. Please forgive any overlooked typos and grammar; I did not have the budget to include an editor and proofreader for this project. Overview & Resources to Self-Publish Your Book Universal Pitch Deck The Ultimate 12-Slide Structure For Any Presentation CREATIVE ACES Marketing “Decks” for Small Business Marketing July 2012