The following advice concerns the process of ‘how to self-publish’ with regards to turning a story into both a digital and physical book, available to purchase on the internet. It is based solely upon my experience and research, conducted during the publication of The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World. For the condensed version, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
First, you must plan the story. I highly recommend planning it extensively as I find planning is more difficult than writing. To learn about planning stories, I read several books and online articles about the topic – however, I do not have one source that I would recommend above others. Look around, find what works for you, then write.
To write, use Scrivener. I cannot recommend this programme enough. It is easy to use, allows you to move chapters around and make notes, and lets you compile your finished work into multiple formats. Simply put, anyone who wants to write, should use this. Download a free trial of Scrivener by clicking here.
Once you have written it, edit heavily. Editing is hard and tedious work and you should get multiple people to read and edit the story so that it gets to a finished state. Listen to feedback, accept criticism – it is invaluable. When I first wrote The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World, I asked for feedback, got it, then scrapped every single one of the hundred thousand words and started again. I am very glad I did this.
For Your Digital Book
Using Scrivener, compile the book into ebook format – .ePub for most ereaders or .mobi for kindle. Once you have done this, you may upload your book to the internet for distribution. There are two major ways to do this:
- Selling through your own website
- Selling through ebook distributors
I initially sold my book through my own site. This maximises commission, however, it does not help spread word about the book. People cannot leave reviews and you do not climb book charts which promote further sales. For this reason, I now sell through established ebook distributors. There are two easy ways to reach digital markets that I first used:
KDP allows you to sell through the Amazon store and Smashwords automatically uploads your book to major digital publishers (Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Oyster, Baker & Taylor – operates Blio, a popular e-reading app, and also operates Axis360 which distributes ebooks to public libraries, txtr, mobile phone appvendors – Aldiko on Android; Kobo on all mobile platforms, and other online venues). However, after listing my book through both Amazon and Smashwords for a few months, I had made less than $30 through Smashwords because my book is not big enough to promote itself through multiple platforms. By contrast, I had sold far more through KDP and I chose to experiment with KDP Select.
KDP Select demands that you grant exclusivity to them and in return, allows you to offer free book promotions, books discounts, and lists your book in the Kindle lending libraries. Thus I removed my ebook from Smashwords and offered a free promotion through KDP Select. In two days, my book was downloaded nearly 1,200 times and since the promotion ended, sales have been increased dramatically and the book is also being borrowed through the Kindle lending libraries – not to mention 1,200 people now have my book which they may read and talk about with others. My initial conclusions are that for a small, independent author (such as you or me), your book should be enrolled in KDP Select only. Right now these increased sales have pushed my book up the Amazon charts and generated further sales.
Publishing a Paperback
There are several self-publishing platforms, the leaders of the market being Lulu, CreateSpace, and Lightning Source. I investigated these extensively and eventually chose to publish my book through CreateSpace.
CreateSpace is owned by Amazon and automatically lists your book in the Amazon store. The production quality is good and the royalties are decent, and best of all, it’s completely free to use their service – if you can do the formatting and cover design yourself (which I did).
Write using Scrivener.
Publish digitally through KDP Select.
Publish physically through CreateSpace.
Sit back and watch the sales roll in… lies! Marketing is a whole new ball game and something I am yet to experiment in.
Self-publishing is something I am experimenting with and there is no perfect way to do it, so experiment and see what works with you.
Please note: Some links on this page are affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you click them and purchase their products. This does not affect the pricing and I use only links of products that I use myself and fully believe in.