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Self publishing for indie authors


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How to Pen, Publish & Promote Your Book

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Self publishing for indie authors

  1. 1. SELF-PUBLISHING a step-by-step process for indie authors
  2. 2. Introduction to Self-publishing
  3. 3. WHAT IS SELF-PUBLISHING? ➤ Publishing a piece of one’s own writing at one’s own expense.
  4. 4. THE SELF-PUBLISHING STIGMA ➤ At one time, choosing to self-publish had a stigma. Self-published authors were often frowned upon and not considered “real” authors. ➤ Actually, only about 6% of books published each year are produced via traditional royalty publishers, so the indie publishers are in the vast majority. ➤ The advent of digital publishing and print- on-demand technology have enabled authors to self-publish on a low budget, vastly increasing the number of self- published books. The trend toward self- publishing and “hybrid” publishing will likely only increase. ➤ The best way to push past the stigma of self-publishing is to produce a great product and promote it well.
  5. 5. FAMOUS SELF-PUBBED AUTHORS ➤ E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) ➤ Stephen King (The Plant) ➤ Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) ➤ Edgar Allan Poe (Tamerlane and Other Poems) ➤ Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn) ➤ Benjamin Franklin (The Way to Wealth) ➤ William Strunk Jr. (The Elements of Style) ➤ Robert James Waller (Bridges of Madison County) ➤ Irma S. Rombauer (The Joy of Cooking, 1931) ➤ John Grisham (A Time to Kill) ➤ Jack Canfield & Mark Hensen (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
  6. 6. PROS OF SELF-PUBLISHING ➤ Gets your work into the market faster. Traditional publishing can take years from concept to complete product. ➤ Higher royalty rates than traditional publishing. ➤ Full creative control. Full rights to product. ➤ Empowerment. ➤ Great for speakers (back of room sales) ➤ Great for business persons (books are replacing business cards & brochures) ➤ Great stepping stone toward traditional publishing, if that is your goal
  7. 7. CONS OF SELF-PUBLISHING ➤ Not all self-pubbed books sell well. The average indie author made $10,000 in 2011. About half made less than $500. ➤ A certain amount of technical skill is involved in formatted, but those tasks can be easily outsourced. ➤ All marketing falls on the author’s shoulders (although many traditional publishers depend upon self-marketing by their authors). ➤ Less prestige than traditional publishing (although that trend is turning). ➤ Distribution is more limited than traditionally published authors (again, this is turning to accommodate the fast-growing indie publishing trend). ➤ Certain costs must be fronted, especially if you outsource editing, design, marketing, etc. ➤ Ineligibility for many literary awards.
  8. 8. WHY CHOOSE SELF-PUBLISHING? ➤ Time-sensitive ➤ Creative Control ➤ Higher royalty percentage ➤ Rejection by traditional publishers ➤ Insanity ➤ My story - Why I chose to self-publish
 (FOR SELF-PUBLISHED FICTION IN 2011) ➤ Romantic Fiction - $17,000 ➤ Science Fiction - $3,800 ➤ Fantasy Fiction - $3,200 ➤ Literary Fiction - $2,800 ➤ In 2014, the median income of self- published authors (fiction and nonfiction) was about $5,000, with nearly 20 percent reporting no income. ➤ In 2014, the median income of traditionally published authors ranged between $5,000 and $9,999, whereas hybrid authors earned an average of between $15,000 and $19,999. ➤ In 2014, 1.8 percent of self-published authors (fiction and nonfiction) earned more than $100,000 in 2014, compared to 8.8 percent of traditionally published authors and 13.4 percent of hybrid authors.
  10. 10. Tips & Info for Indie Authors
  11. 11. BEFORE YOU PUBLISH ➤ Write the best book possible ➤ Get it edited by another person - barter or hire someone. Check with local colleges. Some grad students take on freelance editing projects for lower fees than a professional editing service. ➤ Get your marketing plan in place. ➤ Build an email list so you’ll have a ready-made market for your book. ➤ Set up a professional author website.
  12. 12. SELF-PUBLISHING OPTIONS ➤ Form your own publishing company ➤ Pay a “vanity press” to publish for you ➤ Assisted-publishing services ➤ Total do-it-yourself
  13. 13. COSTS OF SELF-PUBLISHING ➤ Forming your own publishing company can cost thousands of dollars ➤ Paying a vanity press can cost thousands of dollars - beware of extra add-ons, especially promotional packages ➤ Assisted publishing services are often reasonable. You can usually pay for only what you need, such as editing, cover design, interior layout, etc. ➤ Total DIY - Minimal costs
  14. 14. SELF-PUBLISHING SUCCESS TIPS ➤ Get Edited. Self-published books that are edited by another party (either paid or unpaid) earn 13% more than self-edited books. ➤ Get a Professional Cover. Self-published books with a professionally designed cover earn 34% more than “homemade” covers. ➤ Get Reviews. Books that launch with at least 50 reviews on Amazon get more attention than those with fewer reviews. ➤ Write a Lot. The average daily word count of indie authors who indicated they can live exclusively off their writing earnings is 2,047. ➤ Publish Often. Of indie writers who earn a full-time living, 24% plan to release five or more works each year. “Traditional publishers focus on selling thousands of copies of a few hundred books, whereas successful indie publishers focus on selling hundreds of copies of a few thousand books.” ➤ Traditionally published authors who switch to self- publishing earn 2.5 times more than rejected authors who went straight to self-publishing.
  15. 15. SELF-PUBLISHING FORMATS ➤ Print (Hardback and Softcover) ➤ Digital (PDF, MOBI, ePub) ➤ Audio
  16. 16. SELF-PUBLISHING TOOLS ➤ CreateSpace Print (Hardback and Softcover) ➤ Microsoft Word (word-processing, PDF creation) ➤ Scrivener (easiest way I’ve found to output ePub and MOBI files) ➤ KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) ➤ SmashWords (eBooks) ➤ Audacity (audio raw files) ➤ Audio books (ACX) ➤ No matter which format you choose or which tool you choose to create your desired format, you MUST ensure your files comply with the criteria. Use preview tools when available (KDP and CreateSpace).
  17. 17. Quotes about Self-publishing
  18. 18. QUOTES FROM SOME EXPERTS ➤ “Anyone who says it’s easy to self-publish a book is either lying or doing a crappy job.” ~ Nan McCarthy ➤ “Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a short cut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that.” ~ Zoe Winters ➤ “Writing a book makes you an expert in the field. At the very least, when you hand someone a book you wrote, it’s more impressive than handing a business card.” ~ James Altucher ➤ “The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self publishing is you get to do everything yourself.” ~ Lori Lesko ➤ “Authors today need a publisher as much as they need a tapeworm in their guts.” ~ Rayne Hall
  19. 19. The Self-publishing Process
  20. 20. SELF-PUBLISHING CHECKLIST ➤ Start with an author website and start blogging ➤ If you’re unsure what to put on your author website, check out my free ebook: include-these-12-must-haves/ ➤ Set up a lead capture system on your website and communicate with your readers via email (Your email list will become your best sales tool once your book is published) ➤ Set up social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and GoodReads and start engaging with your audience ➤ Set up a budget for your book - minimum $500 for cover & interior design and formatting. Add another $1,000 for professional editing if you can ➤ Write your book ➤ Edit your book ➤ Submit book to beta readers for feedback ➤ Make revisions as necessary
  21. 21. CHECKLIST (CONT.) ➤ Have your book edited by someone else (free, paid, or bartered) ➤ Set up an Amazon author page ➤ Register for accounts at KDP (Kindle), CreateSpace (Amazon), ACX (for Audible & iTunes), and Smashwords (Apple) ➤ Buy an ISBN series from Bowker (or use one provided by CreateSpace) ➤ Set launch date for book ➤ Write back cover copy ➤ Hire (or do it yourself) someone to design the book’s interior and format the layout to conform with CreateSpace’s criteria (for printed books) ➤ Hire a cover designer (unless you a trained graphics designer, don’t even attempt to design your own cover - see next slides to see the difference between homemade and professional covers). This is the ONE area you cannot skimp on.
  22. 22. CHECKLIST (CONT.) ➤ Purchase or create (if you’re a designer) promotional graphics to use when launching your book (see examples after the next slide). Make your promo materials match the tone of your book. (See for ideas on what types of graphics to use when promoting your books.)
  23. 23. CHECKLIST (CONT.) ➤ Write a tagline ➤ Create a One-Sheet for promotional use ➤ Develop a media kit and publish it to your author website. ➤ Identify potential reviewers ➤ Set up a blog tour, book signings, and public speaking engagements (esp for nonfiction) ➤ Format (or hire it done) your book for Kindle (In my opinion, using Scrivener is the easiest way to do this) ➤ Upload your digital files (interior and cover image) to CreateSpace. Order proof copies. ➤ Upload digital files (interior and cover image) to Kindle.
  24. 24. CHECKLIST (CONT.) ➤ Upload digital audio files to ACX for audio books (Tip: Use high-quality recording equipment or your files will be rejected) ➤ Wait for approval of your uploaded files ➤ Prepare for your book launch - distribute media kit & promotional graphics to your launch team ➤ Start book blog tour ➤ Publish your book’s landing page on your website ➤ Publish BUY links to all social media channels and on your website ➤ Send email launch series to your list ➤ Update Amazon & GoodReads author pages to include new release ➤ Host an online book launch party via Facebook Events ➤ These are just a few launch tips - book marketing is a whole ’nother topic :)
  25. 25. COMING SOON An e-course on how to pen, publish & promote your book Watch my website ( for an announcement
  26. 26. SOURCES FOR STATISTICS CITED ➤ The Guardian ➤ Dan Poynter ➤ ➤ Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn) ➤ Huffington Post ➤ ➤ Forbes