The 4-minute self-publishing intro
By Marian Edmunds
We receive questions about self-publishing and e-publishing every week. Here is a 4-minute introduction to the self-publishing maze.
e-Books : Kindle books are sold exclusively on Amazon. Some authors are hugely successful in this format. J A Konrath comes to mind for fiction. Read his blog here about his success and his views on Kindle publishing then pop back to read the rest of our guide. Kindle books are produced or converted from word documents to a format called MOBI. These files need to be set out simply. They don’t respond well to an overload of graphics within text.
Better to put graphics at the start and end of chapters in Kindle books as we found out when publishing Navigational Tips For Living In An Imperfect World (available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk) or from us. Hyperlinks in the text can be used to link to web content or related products or to the publisher’s details. There are different schools of thought on whether the publisher’s details should be at the front or back of the book. Kindle books and their covers are easy to load onto Amazon if manuscripts is converted correctly. You do so by signing up to Amazon via KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. (Take note that KDP will invite you to offer KDP Select which offers exclusivity and potential for greater profits but you need to read the fine print to see if that’s for you. It is said to work best for authors with many books.) Kobo, Nook, iBook.
E-pub is the format for Apple ibooks. It works for a variety of other formats such as Nook and Kobo. Smashwords is another big player in the e-publishing, self publishing revolution which has what is described as the ‘meatgrinder’ manuscript conversion process. It can apparently attract useful sales.
“EPUB is designed for re-flowable content so that the text display can be optimised for the particular display device used by the reader of the EPUB-formatted book, although EPUB now also supports fixed-layout content. The format is intended to function as a single format that publishers and conversion houses can use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale.
Print books : Amazon also has it’s own print division, Createspace. This opened in Europe a couple of years ago. You can load your own book. It will be checked to see if it meets Createspace’s design specifications. It is best to check those out thoroughly before having your book designed. Createspace also offers some publishing design services.
There are some differences in layout between e-books and print books. Self-publishers may also get their print books ready for Amazon and Barnes & Noble through services such as Lulu whose print services I have tried and Lightning Source whom I use. I chose LSI as it offered access to Ingram book distribution and because it has an office in Australia so it was possible for me to build a working relationship with its staff. There is a small initial outlay and some rather lengthy and dry paperwork to navigate. Once that’s completed you load your cover to a template and your book and wait for a proof copy to arrive.
Taxing Matters : Non-US author’s royalties from your US book sales on Amazon will be subject to a 30% withholding tax until or unless you complete the necessary paperwork to claim full or part exemption from US taxes. It takes a bit of time for individuals. It is easier if you have a company because then you can phone. It took me half an hour early one morning, and most of that was spent in the phone queue. Karen Inglis, in her self publisher’s blog sets out the info quite well. Let us know of further links.
There are also matters of ISBN numbers obtainable though Bowker’s various international offices and national library listings in your country which help libraries find your book. Cool huh?
We work with writers on structuring, writing and editing their proposals and book manuscripts in preparation for publishing be it through publishers or self-publishing.
Checklist for self-publishing and e-publishing
A good book that is well written
Thorough and insightful editing
A great cover
Sharp interior layout and typography
Correct preparation of files for publishing
Branding and imprint
Marketing, marketing, marketing
(The final two items should be thought about at the start)
If our self-publishing intro has helped you please consider picking up a copy of our book from Amazon. Our own book is Navigational Tips For Living In An Imperfect World. There are some things we would do differently next time but we are proud of our book. It’s an easy read that helps you see you’re all right as you are. It has some easy tips to help you recognise thoughts and attitudes that have tricked you out in the past so they don’t catch you out again.
We wish you well as you start your publishing journey. Contact us for help in the development of your book. We love to see books finding their place.
Contact Marian Edmunds via LinkedIn or here.