Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To Self-Publish or Not

A lot of writers are asking themselves right now if they should take another look at self publishing or not. As a self published author I can say that I feel I made a wise decision on going self published.

Used to when an author self published they were snubbed by the big print published authors and not considered even published by some writing organizations. But times are changing and it's time to go with the flow.

Since Smashwords has come into being the word self publishing has taken on a new persona.

Smashwords.com is run my Mark Coker and is basically the newest and greatest thing since self publishing was invented, whenever that was.

At Smashwords.com an author does not pay one cent to publish his book. There are no expenses created by Smashwords to worry about. The only expense an author might have is buying a decent cover for his work, which is also easy to find and inexpensive if you look at the right places. And there is a choice on Smashwords.com that if you want to buy your own ISBN#, you can do so. However, Mark Coker goes the limit for authors and gives them a choice, you can declare Smashwords.com as your publisher and it costs you nothing, or you can pay it out of your royalties to buy a ISBN# for yourself. Either way it isn't expensive. Not like the big money that used to be spent to self publishing a book.

Now you do have to learn how to not format your book, and read the self guide at Smashwords.com on how to submit your work to them. But once you do read it, it is relatively simple.

Now, some of you may be shaking your heads and saying, "But I won't be recognized as published."

Depends on who you want to recognize you. If it is some multi published print author then, maybe not. If it is a reader, you might be surprised at how little they care how we publish our books. They want quality reads, if you can give them that, you've done most of the work already.

Since e-readers are basically coming down to meet the general public's idea of reasonable, we ebook authors are at the right place and time. Smashwords.com formats your book in most e-reader formats, for example, Sony, Apple, Barnes and Noble, (the Nook), Kindle for the Amazon reader. There is also pdf, html and several others. Already done for you once you submit your book.

This means that Smashwords also distributes your work to these outlets. This is where you make your money, in distribution. I know, I'm making more now than I ever have and I've been in the ebook business over ten years.

Whether you write Fiction or Non-Fiction, Fantasy, or western, Smashwords has room for you.

Now, let me set your mind at ease there are primarily only two avenues that might make you falter. One is finding a cover, and the other is editing your work.

As for covers, there are multi stock photo places with royalty free photos that you can enhance right on your computer. There is one model company that I recommend you check out because the photos are fantastic and the prices are so low you might ask why? Here's the url for the model covers, http://www.romancenovelcovers.com Jimmy Thomas has hundreds of pictures that are high quality and with a title put on them can help sell your book. You will have to invest in someone to put it on for you or learn it yourself.

As for edits, here's what I did, I went with e-publishers and they edited, some of mine were edited then re-edited by another publisher and finally gone over once more by me. Some I edited myself after years of learning of boo-boos. But having your work edited by someone who knows how is important and worth the money you might have to spend. Don't get the most expensive editor, ask around to your writing buddies and see who they use, or who is good. But get your manuscript edited before you submit it to Smashwords, so it looks professional.

So in order to self publish you must read the self publishing guide furnished free through Smashwords, buy a cover, or find a cover, and have your manuscript edited. That's your expense.

Once your books are loaded, you get a thorough read out of your royalties each and every day.

You'll see how much you made on each book, usually 60-70% of the sale price that you set for the book. You'll have automatic record keeping for your taxes, and your own information. There is no guessing with this. The records are clear and concise. Unlike with a regular publisher where you have to take their word for the fact that you sold any, here you have computerized reports you can print out and keep track of. What could be simpler than this.

What are some of the tricks to success: A good cover, good editing, writing a series, offering your books at a reasonable price, having sales, yes, you can have your own sales. Offering free books. Just some of the tricks of the trade. But you won't believe it till you try it. So try it!!!

Do I recommend self publishing---YES!

What books have I had self published. Read the list below.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

Courting Abby

Hannah's Man

Along Came Love

Nick's Baby

Pretend Mom

Heart of the Wild

Suspicions of the Heart

Strictly Business

Runaway Bride

Also short stories:

The Far Side of Lonesome

Halloween Witness

Tina's Revenge

Tina and the Bullies

Tina and the Teenage Mom

Children's books

Willy & The Spider

Poor Mo

Tick or Teet

Maebelle's Hat

JoJo the One Eyed Puppy







Amber Skyze said...

Great blog, Tina. It seems self-publishing is becoming the new thing. I hear the royalties are fantastic. Why have a middle man if you can do it yourself. :)

Redameter said...

So right Amber. It is come unto itself thanks to honest people like Mark Coker who doesn't choke the fees out of you. Self publishing is something every author should look into. There is money to be made here and I hope everyone takes heed of this. Also, for print books which I didn't mention there is Create Space sponsored by Amazon, where you can get a quality book out in print at a reasonable price.
So check these places out, there is money to be made.

Love and blessings

Paris said...

I have to agree that the cover and the professional editing are necessary when you publish in any venue. Thanks for sharing your insight into self-publishing.

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Rita - and I have to agree with you - readers don't care who pubs your work, they're concerned with the story.

As long as you get your name and work out, the rest will fall into place.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Wow Rita, I read your blog and got an education. Until now I haven't known anything about self-publishing. I saw the company, Smashswords, on the loops often but I didn't know they self-pub. Several of your books are very familiar to me and have been popular with readers. It's all about the well written story. You seemed to be doing quite well with your work, Rita so you are a good example for others to go by.

Redameter said...

THanks guys, yes it is very important you get a decent cover and have your work edited, but after that the rest is a piece of cake. And you would be surprised at the money you can make at Smashwords.com. THe real money comes through the distribution. Mark Coker has worked hard to establish good business deals with his distributors and this pays off.

I'm making more as self published than I ever did with epublishing.

So once you have a good cover, and a good edit, try self publishing. You can publish short stories, poetry, all kinds of genres.

And the best part is, you will see profits for this. Also there is a no hassle record keeping that is fantastic for taxes and your own book records.

love and blessings

Redameter said...

Sarah Smashwords.com is the place to go for self publishing any of your books, short stories or poetry. You set the price. Run your own sales. Do giveaways. It's fantastic and I can't encourage you all enough to try it.

The volume of sales does not come from Smashwords itself, but it is Smashwords that has set you up to sell at distributors which pays the money. You have to give it a few months to see what I'm talking about because by then the distributors have your work and you will see real time results in sales.

I followed a fellow author on Smashwords.com and took his tips on marketing to heart. It is paying off tremendously now. So you learn as you go.

And the great part is, it doesn't cost you to self publish any longer. Not through SMashwords.com. I highly recommend you try it. Even if you just have a short story. I sent a little story in and put it up on Smashwords. And it sold 168 copies the first month it was out at B&N and that's only one distributor. So you can make money here.

Love and blessings

Renee Vincent said...

When I first came into this business, I self-pubbed only because it was not about making a career out of writing. I was just getting my book (Raeliksen) out there to the world because my late sister told me to finish it. Once it started to get great reviews, I decided to try submitting to publishers. Turquoise Morning Press signed Raeliksen, and the two books that follow in the series. I couldn't have been happier. However, people have asked me (now that I am under contract) in looking back, would I have done things differently? And I think no. I don't regret my self-pub venture. In fact, it just helped me educate myself on the industry and I still feel like it may be an option for later down the road. Right now, I'm comfortable at TMP and I love being under contract.

Great post, Rita! And wishing you the best!

Delaney Diamond said...

Rita, I've been thinking about self-publishing, but I wanted to start with a short story to learn the ropes and test reception.

I'm so glad you shared this information. It was very helpful!

Redameter said...

Delaney I encourage you to try. I think if you give it a little time you will be shocked at how you can make money.

Renee I don't know who you went with, but the older self publishing companies and nothing like Smashwords.com. Smashwords.com allows you to be in control of your work. And you make a hefty profit from it, because you get a bigger percentage of the profits. Older self publishing used to charge up front cost that were astronomical. It has changed greatly since those days.

I encourage all of you to try some self publishing with Smashwords.com

Love and blessing

Redameter said...

I sell more work through Smashwords.com than any other source for my writing. And...I don't advertise my self published books often. Does that say something for my work? I advertise, blog, and do everything else for my epublished books and they don't sell as well. SO what I'm saying here.

With less effort, and not much work, I'm selling more with self publishing. I've told many people and some just don't believe it. All I can say is try it.

Love and blessings

Cheryl Pierson said...

What an education! Thanks so much for this post--you really gave me some incentive for thinking about the self-publishing market. I am not a risk-taker, and I think that's why I've been hesitant to try it, but you have given us all a powerful lot of encouragement with this post!

Anne Patrick said...

Very interesting post, Rita. I wish you continued success, my friend!

Redameter said...

Thanks Anne and Cheryl. I kid you not, I am making much better self publishing than any e-publisher ever paid me. And with half the work. Once your work is up on line, and goes to the distributors, (where you make the big bucks) you will start seeing things.

Granted I did market as was advised. I got traffic to the page I was on, I put my first book in the series up for free. At B&N I got 2300 downloads of the first book. SO if even half of thoses buy the 2,3 or 4 book,I'll be making some money from that. My short story sold 168 copies the first month. I made money
where I didn't expect it. My series took off on Apple.

So if you have something in the closet you've been putting away, drag it out and put it up and see what happens.

It is so worth the effort.

Right now you never know what might make you a millionaire.

Love and blessings

Linda Swift said...

Very good article, Rita. I'm a slow starter. So I'm going with an Indie Publisher and see what happens. One step at a time. Then, maybe I'll have the courage to try self-pubbing next.

Adele Dubois said...

Thanks for the interesting and informative post. I'm definitely planning to go the Smashwords/Kindle/Nook route for my published works whose rights expired and have reverted to me. I finished the cover for my first project and look forward to launching the story this fall. Should be fun!


Fiona McGier said...

I put one of the novels in my series up at Smashwords as a free read on purpose...to allow people to check out my style to see if they want the other books in the series. Getting your name noticed is the important thing to readers; as you point out they couldn't care less who publishes the books they read, as long as they are good reads!
And you are right about it being easy to work with Smashwords.

Redameter said...

Fiona, ADelle, I wish you both luck. Even if they don't do a whole lot on Smashwords, give it time to get to the distributors. I don't advertise my self published books. Ever now and then I mention them on a list or something, but I don't do much paid advertising for them. So little effort is devoted to advertising for smashwords, except to let others know about the site.

Good luck, because who knows you could end up being the next millionaire.

Love and blessings

Rawiya said...

I'm a day late but what an educated post!

I have thought about doing it later down the line for a book I would like all three pseudos to take part in.

This is help reference. I will make sure to keep it.

Thanks Rita and much continued success!

Paige Tyler said...

Interesting. I see a lot of authors self-publishing now, but hadn't considered it. Thanks for the blog!