Self-Publishing Advice From An Author

So I know that there a lot of posts and articles pertaining to this topic, but there seems to be a never ending amount of people who are just unsure about it.

The first time I told my family I published my book when I was 16, they either didn’t believe me or thought I got scammed. Now neither of these were true but there’s a few things you need to know before you either write it off, or jump head first into it.

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The million dollar question is, IS IT FOR YOU?

There are many different advantages and disadvantages to self publishing.
Here are the pros,
Seeing your work in print is always great. As long as you have a good cover artist and a better editor, holding the book you’ve worked on for so long is a great feeling.
Self-publishing gives you freedom to do whatever you want with your work. However, there isn’t that many things you can do unless you get really, really lucky.
Besides selling a few lucky copies to friends and family, you can’t do too much. Unless you get incredibly lucky with some promotional service and get recognized, you’re going to be disappointed.
I’ve self published three novels and two poetry books. I don’t regret doing it because for where I was then, it was the best option.
You just have to know where you are as a writer and decide what’s best.
However here is where it turns to an upside,
As much as I love printed books and holding them in my hands, ebooks are very popular right now. If you can format your document correctly for Kindle, THIS is the way to go.
Amazon has a service that I highly recommend you enroll your book in. It’s called KDP Select. To my knowledge, this service is exclusive to Createspace. This allows you to use promotional services and receive higher royalties. The catch is that you have to ensure that your book may not be sold on any other online platform. But when it comes to Ebooks- who else is there besides Kindle? Google Books? Give me a break.
It’s not too bad considering these facts:
I am an unknown author at this time. The great promotion service they offer is a total of 5 days you can select to have your book for free. I used two of these days on a Wednesday and Thursday and did no manner of advertising for it. A Song For Swans received over 100 downloads just for those two days. Now while there is no financial gain from this, the real gain is just getting more exposure and people reading your work.
However here is another tip you must be aware of BEFORE YOU DO IT. I’ve done the free promotion three times now. The first time will always be the most effective. Like I said before, I reached over 100 downloads in those few days. The second and third time reached 20-30.
So if and when you decide to take this route, make sure you do as much promotion as possible on every available platform before starting it.
CASH COW WARNING!
There are self-publishing websites that offer “package” services that I’m not saying are a downright scam, but I would recommend against it.
Packages that go up to tens of thousands of dollars that could be spent so much better elsewhere.
Let’s say a site wants $600 to print your book. This package includes sending you, 25 posters, 100 business cards, 25 copies of your book, and a few small advertising stints on either a radio station or a banner ad for a day on some website. This is a realistic offer on some sites and I have to tell you, please God do not do it.
Go to any of the sites listed below, printing cost for 25 copies will be around $100-200. Go to Zazzle and make business cards and posters for $50 or less. Get you art for said posters and your book from sites that offer free stock images. Just make sure you have permission from the artist and give them credit. Advertising? Do the Amazon KDP option. Do local signings. Get a blog or website to shine a spotlight on your book. What did you spend on all of this? Max – $300.
Disclaimer Maybe there is something that I just haven’t picked up on with these types of sites, but I haven’t seen any upside to them.
Here are self-publishing sites that I know to be trustworthy.
Createspace – What I’ve used the most. (Best for Ebooks)
Lulu – Just a little more expensive than Createspace BUT offers Hardcover dust jacket which is really cool
Diggypod – Slightly more expensive but still trustworthy.
Instantpublisher.com has been used by a friend I know and it printed a fine quality paperback.
Hope this was helpful on some level
Thanks for reading – Zac Zinn
— Here are examples of Createspace products–
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And here are examples of a book printed though Instantpublisher.com –
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