We often come across people reading books on their eReader devices. This increase in the number of ebook lovers hints at the way our reading habits have evolved. As a result, there has been a sudden explosion in the number of readers who prefer to read ebooks and other forms of digital media. In fact, authors too have started exploring other mediums of publishing, eventually leading to a upsurge in various self publishing methods including online book publishing.
With the advancement in technology, anybody with an internet connection today can create an eBook and self-publish it on popular platforms to make it available to millions of readers. Self-publishing your eBooks online overrules the necessity to get your book published by a big local publisher which not only requires a good investment but is time taking too. Also, publishing your book via a local publisher makes your book available to a specific area which is not the case with self-publishing online.
Self-publishing is becoming a popular choice for writers and authors all around the world, and one of the reasons is the easy accessibility of eBooks by the viewers. You can easily take eBook conversion services and get your eBook converted into multiple formats to make them easily accessible to the users on multiple devices.
If you are one of the aspiring writers who are researching self-publishing eBooks online, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will learn what is self-publishing online and will have a detailed discussion on everything that you need to know about self-publishing your eBooks. So let’s begin.
What is Self-Publishing?
In simple words, self-publishing means creating your eBook and selling it on an online platform without getting it published from a local publisher, which we do in traditional publishing. So what exactly is self-publishing? Self-publishing basically means independently publishing a piece of work at your own expense. Self-publishing provides an author greater control over the contents, design, and appearance as well as where the book is marketed and distributed.
In the self-publishing process, an author not only writes the book but also manages the entire publishing process. While self-publishing online, the author is responsible for various activities including designing, editing, formatting, and publishing. In this process, the author performs the said activities without taking any help from a traditional publisher or any of the e-publishing companies.
Authors who choose to self-publish their books online enjoy a lot of benefits in comparison to traditional publishing methods. These benefits include complete control over the eBook content, full autonomy over the publishing process, and getting good profits in the form of royalty rates.
The only challenge that the authors face while self-publishing their eBooks online is that they have to bear all the expenses that will be required during the online book publishing process which is not the case with the traditional publishing methods.
What Are Self-Publishing Platforms?
A self-publishing platform is a medium that the authors or writers use to reach their target audience after creating the eBooks. Nowadays, authors are getting more interested in publishing their eBooks on their own websites or on online book publishing platforms, including Amazon KDP, iBooks, Kobo, etc.
A self-publishing platform can provide the following services for an annual/monthly fee or for free:
- Converts manuscripts to eBook formats easily.
- Provides support for various tools and services to format your eBooks for production and make them more presentable.
- Provides proofreading and editing services.
- Provides good interior design, cover, and layout for your eBooks.
- Provides dedicated marketing.
- Provides book distribution services, including promoting eBooks to distribution channels, including bookstores and online book publishing websites that boost sales figures and profits.
Considering the gradual increase in the number of e-publications and rise in the sales of eReader devices and apps, the publication industry is witnessing emergence of various digital publishing companies. In fact, with the help of various digital publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Google Play Books, Kobo US and Barnes & Nobles Nook, various budding authors have been able to give tough competition to authors backed by mainstream publishers.
It is important to note that one major reason behind the popularity of digital publishing companies is the long wait which the authors need to face when opting for the traditional publishing methods and reaching out to reputed publishing houses. The publishing houses are generally burdened with thousands of manuscripts to be reviewed, which can lead to long delays in getting your book to the market. The worst part is that even after these never-ending delays, there is a high probability of a rejection.
Given the status quo, aspiring authors follow a simple mantra – ‘self-marketing through self-publishing’.
Presently, Amazon is one of the largest ebook distributors in the world, with strong markets in the US and UK. Although, most of the popular platforms are a first choice for many reputed writers, these platforms levy various limitations such as 100% exclusivity, which means that one cannot publish or offer one’s title for sale through any other retailer or service provider. Once bound to the rules of the particular platform, authors immediately lose access to other bookstore outlets. These platforms also make use of the .mobi format for the content which offers less room for interactivity.
In the US, approximately 37.2 percent of the authors use the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform to self-publish their eBooks.
Lately, authors have switched to various self publishing platforms like OneRead. Such platforms offer turnkey white-labeled solutions to authors who are looking for complete control of their content, be it related to production, editing, pricing or accessibility.
What are the Differences Between Traditional and Self-Publishing?
One of the biggest differences between publishing a book using traditional methods or self-publishing it online is marketing. Usually, when an author chooses traditional publishing methods, the marketing for the book is the responsibility of the publisher and it is done by the publisher on the behalf of the author.
Also, the expenses that are part of the publishing process are taken care of by the publisher itself. With traditional publishing, the agent of the authors helps in connecting the book to the target audience, as it is the most essential part of the highly competitive market.
On the other hand, if the author self-publishes an eBook on an online platform, then the author is the only responsible person for online marketing activities which can be quite challenging. This is the main reason why some of the authors even nowadays are hesitant to make their books available on popular platforms by self-publishing them. If an author chooses to self-publish the eBook without focusing much on the marketing activities to attract the target audience, then there are chances that the author’s creation could be left unnoticed by the audience. Choosing platforms like OneRead helps to provide ebook distribution across multiple channels.
Another big difference between publishing a book using traditional methods or self-publishing it online is book revenue. With traditional publishing, the book revenue figures differ depending on the area the book is published by the publisher. Usually, the agents that support the author in the traditional publishing process charge 10% to 20% commission of the book sales. Besides this, there are other expenses too that traditional publishing includes, and after all the other costs are met, the authors are left behind with just 7.5% to 10% of their royalties when publishing traditionally.
While with self-publishing, the author is responsible for every activity that is part of the publishing process including investment which lets writers keep a significantly higher percentage as compared to the traditional publishing process. But the only challenge with self-publishing online is that it is a risky affair as an author can be left with little or no money if the book he/she has published online gets less visibility due to high competition over the online publishing platforms.
One of the largest publishing platforms for writers who want to self-publish their books is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The platform offers up to 70% of the royalties to the writers which is the highest in the market. But the figure usually depends upon the writer’s connections, book’s marketability, and a number of other luck-based factors.
What are the Benefits of Self-Publishing?
Self-publishing online has many benefits that make the authors opt for this method to publish their books on the online platform. In this section, we will discuss each one of these benefits.
With self-publishing, authors need not have to deal with third-party agents as with traditional publishing, so there are no gatekeepers at all.
With self-publishing, the authors or writers will have complete control on how they want their book to be edited, designed, formatted, and published. The authors will even have control over the content of the book, length of the book, its title, cover design, etc. Besides this, the authors will also have the option by their side to connect with the professional editors and designers if they are not willing to do this part. Though authors can hire professional editors and designers for the editing, designing, formatting part, the final approval will always be from the author’s end, which means complete creative control.
As compared to the low traditional publishing rates, the royalty that the authors get from the self-publishing platforms is significantly higher. One of the largest publishing platforms for writers who want to self-publish their books is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The platform offers up to 70% of the royalties to the writers which is the highest in the market. But the figure usually depends upon the writer’s connections, book’s marketability, and a number of other luck-based factors.
The reason behind self-publishing providing better royalty is that in the traditional publishing process the traditional publisher keeps the cut of the service that it provides for marketing and publishing the book. While with self-publishing you are the sole owner of the book that will take care of every single thing starting from creating it to publishing and marketing. Therefore, by essentially cutting out the middleman, the author can earn more for each book that he/she will sell on the online publishing platform.
By self-publishing the eBooks, authors can get their eBooks available online to the target audience quickly as compared to the traditional publishing process. This is pretty much beneficial for the authors, as, suppose if an author wants to release his/her eBook by a certain date, then the best way to get assured that the eBook will be published by the specific date is to get it self-published by yourself.
Also, self-publishing your eBook on the online publishing platform saves time as it is quicker as compared to the traditional publishing process. This helps the authors in making their books available to the target audience with just a click of a button. And the viewers do not even have to visit a physical store or wait for the delivery partner to get the book delivered as they can access it online as soon as they have made the payment for the eBook online.
How to Self-Publish Your eBook Step by Step?
In this section, we will discuss in detail each and every step that the authors or writers must follow to self-publish their eBooks independently on the online publishing platform without getting help from an agent or a local publisher.
Create Your eBook
The very first thing that an author needs to do to self-publish the eBook is create the draft of the content that he/she wants to be the part of the eBook. This draft, which will later be polished to create the eBook, will contain a list of chapter headings, chapter subheadings, chapter content, etc. The idea to prepare the draft is just to get clarity in terms of the content that you will be writing in your book. Also, always keep in mind that before writing your eBook as an author, always research for the title or the topic that you will be covering in the eBook.
Besides just drafting the content list, you can also create character sketches or can map the plot of your eBook to get a detailed overview. Also, make sure that you create your eBook in the timeline that you have set. To make sure that your eBook is created in the required time, set your daily or weekly targets and mark them on the calendar. You can also set a publishing date for your eBook in advance that will keep you motivated and will let you stick to your schedule to finish writing your eBook on time.
To know about how to create eBooks in detail, refer to this article.
Create a Routine
It is obvious that not all authors that want to self-publish their eBooks are full-time writers and therefore there are good chances that they could have other commitments too which can either be a part-time or a full-time job or other family and social responsibilities that could keep the author away from sticking to the writing schedule. Therefore, to make sure that you are writing at an optimum pace, and are not losing interest and momentum in creating your eBook, all you need to do is set a routine for your writing work and try to follow it as much as you can. This will help you finish writing the book in the desired time.
Editing and Proofreading
The next step that you need to follow to self-publish your eBook as an author is performing editing and proofreading activities. To polish the draft that you have created in the first step and finalize the content of your eBook, you can edit or rewrite the draft and proofread it at the end to get your book ready to get it published on popular publishing platforms. To proofread the content, you can either do it manually or can even use third-party grammar-checking software to double-check on the errors.
It is not mandatory that editing and proofreading should always be handled by the author itself. If you feel that you are low on bandwidth as you have to show your presence in other activities including working on the book cover or interior design, then you can surely ask the professional editors to do editing and proofreading for you. Yes, this will add to the investment but it will be worth the quality work that you will get. Make sure that you should do every possible thing from your end before handling your work off to a professional.
Work on Book Cover and Interior
There is a saying that “Do not judge a book by its cover”. But for the majority of the online audience, the cover of a book is important. As you know that the cover of a book is the only thing that the customer sees at first, therefore it is important to make it interesting, engaging, and yes, attractive. Working on your eBook cover to make it attractive will ensure that while your target audience is scrolling on digital platforms, they are forced to click on your eBook to check out the further details of the book. You can either design your eBook cover by yourself using designing programs available online or you can even use Amazon KDP to design a cover for your eBook.
If you feel that you are not able to design an attractive cover and interior for your eBook then you can even hire a professional that will help you design the cover and interior of your eBook for a specific cost. Also, if you are using Amazon as your publishing platform, then before working on the designing part make sure that you have read the Amazon designing guidelines. These guidelines consist of easy-to-follow instructions that will help you design and publish your eBook on the platform without the help of a professional. After you are done with the designing part, make sure that your eBook looks attractive with each and every word on every single page formatted either by you or by a professional.
Set the Price
After you have created and edited your eBook and you are also done with designing the cover and the interior of the book, the next big step in the self-publishing process is setting a price for your eBook. While self-publishing your eBook on the online platform, setting the price for your eBook is one of the important decisions that you have to make keeping in mind the competitive market.
Set the price in a way that you are doing justice to your target audience in terms of what you are actually providing them in terms of content. The best thing about setting a price for your eBook is that it won’t get fixed if you have set it once. It means that you can change (increase or decrease) it whenever you feel that your eBook is not doing good in the market or is doing extremely great.
To ensure that your audience gets the favorable price you can search the best seller books on the platform and note down the prices of the books that fall under your category as this will help you get a figure for your eBook and you can then definitely set a price for your eBook higher or lower depending upon the content and the quality of your eBook. Besides this, one of the other ways to set an accurate price is by conducting online surveys. You as an author can conduct online surveys on your website and request your target audience to input a figure at which they will be happy to purchase the eBook. This will again make you set a favorable price for your eBook as per your targeted audience.
Self-Publishing and Marketing
The final step and the biggest thing in the self-publishing process is self-publishing and marketing your eBook. This step comes after you are done with the writing, editing, designing, and pricing part. In order to self-publish your eBook, you can use popular online platforms that will make you publish and list your eBook without charging you any monthly subscription fee. Nowadays, many platforms including Amazon KDP, iBooks, Kobo, etc. provide self-publishing services to the authors at a minimized or a free cost and you can easily publish your eBook globally using the platform. The best thing about self-publishing is that you can get your readers to put their hands on the book virtually and easily with just a click of a button.
After you have published your eBook on the online platform, do not ever think that it is an end to the journey as everything that you have performed until now is just a waste if you are not focusing on the marketing part. Usually, marketing is quite challenging for authors as they are experts in writing, but to make sure that their eBooks are selling well enough, they will have to learn some marketing tactics too.
To make sure that you are doing marketing of your eBook efficiently, you can use multiple social media accounts to organize media campaigns and can also upload informative details of your eBook including on what all platforms the book is available, how you can purchase the book, how much it costs, etc. If you feel that it is quite challenging to manage the social media accounts by yourself then you can hire a professional social media manager that will do the job for you for a fixed cost.
How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?
Yes, it is true that investment is the challenge that most authors face while self-publishing their eBooks. The reason behind this being that while self-publishing an eBook, the author is solely responsible for funding everything that will come in the way including the marketing of the eBook. But that does not at all mean that you have to spend all your account savings to get your eBook self-published. Below is the breakup of all the investments that you will be doing while self-publishing your eBook on the online platform.
Cost of Editing
Basically, there are three types of professional editing, developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. The breakup of each editing work for a 60,000-word manuscript is given below:
- Developmental editing — Approx $1,400 (or about $7 per page)
- Copy editing — Approx $1,000 (or about $5 per page)
- Proofreading — Approx $700 (or about $3 per page)
Cost of Indexing
If you are creating and self-publishing a nonfiction eBook then you might need to include professional indexing so that your readers can navigate the topics in your eBook easily. Talking about the figures to index an eBook of 60,000 words, the average cost would lie approximately between $450 and $825 (or $7.15 and $13.75 per 1,000 words).
Cost of Cover Design
Designing the cover for your eBook is as important as creating the eBook itself. Therefore it is essential to hire a professional to design the cover for your eBook. The cost of designing the cover will depend upon how experienced a designer you would hire.
- A novice designer will charge approximately between $300-$500
- A designer with at least 2 years of experience will charge approximately between $500-$800
- A designer with at least 10 years of experience will charge approximately between $800-$1,500
Cost of Formatting
Formatting costs include the price that you would be paying to the professional for the interior design and typesetting of your eBook. It can cost approximately between $500 to $1,500 depending upon the requirement.
Cost of Marketing
After you are done self-publishing your eBook, marketing is the next big thing that you need to focus on. You can conduct marketing campaigns on multiple social media accounts for your eBook which would cost you approximately between $50-$200. Or, if you feel that you are occupied in other activities and cannot take out the required time, then you can go with hiring a marketing professional which will cost you approximately $1,000.
Disclaimer: All the costs mentioned above are general costs, and they may vary according to the specific requirements.
How White Labelled App Would Increase Revenue For An Author?
In the coming years, a white-labeled app would act as a cornerstone for growth and increased revenue to an author. If in real estate, success hinges on location, then in the self-publishing world, it would entirely depend upon the platform one chooses. And hence, choosing a personalized platform for white label publishing would help one stand out amongst a swarm of authors.
With the advancement in technology, the use of electronic data and devices is increasing each passing day. The impact is also on the publishing industry as anybody with an internet connection today can create an eBook and self-publish it on popular platforms to make it available to millions of readers. Also, the easy availability of the internet and electronic devices has made viewers prefer to read eBooks and other forms of digital media. Applications such as the OneRead Cloud Reader app have made it easier for users to read eBooks online. In fact, authors too have started exploring other mediums of publishing, eventually leading to an upsurge in various self-publishing methods.
The best part of self-publishing an eBook online is that it overrules the need to get your book published by a local publisher which is time taking and less profitable. Also, publishing your book via a local publisher makes your book available to a specific area which is not the case with self-publishing. In this article, we have successfully discussed the things that you need to know before self-publishing your eBook. Also, we have mentioned each and every step that you as an author will be following to self-publish your eBooks. If you aim to self-publish a bestseller, then this article with a detailed and step-by-step guide to self-publish the book will help you a lot. Also, to make sure that your eBook is safe on the internet and to prevent users from illegally copying it, you can use eBook DRM security.
To know about the reasons to convert your PDF eBook to ePUB3, refer to this article.