Thanks to the web, self-publishing is no longer a pipe dream. Anyone with a rudimentary grasp of writing can have their work published and in their hands literally within a couple of days, ready for distribution. The arduous task of knocking on the doors of publishers, the long drawn out review and subsequent approval / rejection process has been eradicated in many cases, with people turning to the web, getting their hands dirty themselves, and seeing the rewards as a result. The key to success with most of these companies, is that books are printed only when someone orders a copy (printing on demand or ‘POD’) and neither author or publisher are forced into buying superfluous amounts of stock.
This collection of websites are perfect for anyone that believes in the mantra that “there’s a book inside all of us” – and with a little leg work help you to reach the audience that you’ve always dreamt of.
Blurb offer free software to download to create your book, which you can play about with and utilise at your leisure without any commitments. A mobile offering is also available, allowing you to create fun visual stories with the media available on your mobile device as well. Offering publishers a number of tools to make your own physical or digital book, they have pretty much every audience catered for.
If you are for example, a blogger – you can easily turn your entire blog into a book with their Booksmart product. Photographers – may be more interested in Photobooks, and for the budding author in you, plain old textbooks are available starting at around £12.95 for a portrait sized book of 20-40 pages. The Blurb marketplace also offers you a way to sell your masterpiece through their store, where you can set your mark up, and pocket the difference.
Whilst £12-13 is a little on the expensive side compared to some other options, it is still low enough to test the market for your product, and with the average price of a non-fiction item being around £20 in the uk – leaves enough wiggle room for profit. I’ve used Blurb in the past to create portfolios of websites that I’ve worked on, as there’s something quite substantial about leaving a physical book of your achievements with someone, when everyone else is emailing a C.V. Personalised photobooks also make great gifts at an attractive cost.
Concentrating on not only books, but also items such a calendars, DVD’s and CD’s – Lulu is one of the best recognised self-publishing websites on the web. They have a wealth of services and options on their website with everything from services for major publishers to individual authors, getting your work to market across a variety of platforms and online and offline destinations – depending on your needs. Marketing of your book if you choose them as a publisher can be purchased on an adhoc basis – making it an attractive option to those with limited budgets that want to bootstrap. They offer everything from a fully blown publicist for your book, to showcasing your book at worldwide book events.
Notably they have the option for creating your own ISBN, which could see your book appearing on major websites such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, all as part of the Lulu publishing service. Other services that Lulu offer include the potential for your work to be distributed on Apple’s iBookStore – the marketplace for books on the iPad. Your existing work can be converted to Apple’s ePub format,w ithin the Lulu website for a once off fee, which gives yet another distribution option to publishers. They also have their own marketplace and all books published through Lulu are available for purchase on Lulu.com. You only have to look around their website for five minutes to recognise the wealth of services and products that they offer for anyone wanting to self publish on the web.
Amazon are big fans of the self-publishing model, and one of their not so well known acquisitions (2005), printing on demand company, Createspace offer self publishing across a variety of formats – not just books. Authors, Musicians and Film-makers can all receive royalties on work published through the Createspace platform. Recently Amazon made the decision to merge another self-publishing platform (Booksurge) with Createspace, so rest assured that they are going to be focusing efforts and resources into this site in the months ahead.
With an active community of users looking to receive recognition, Createspace not only lets you publish your work online, but receive feedback, reviews and assistance from others around the world looking to achieve the same goals as you. There is an absolute wealth of content available to assist you in your pursuits. There are both free and commercial tools inside to assist with everything from the design and layout of your book cover to the actual review process with other members of the community.
Marketing and distribution of your book is through the Createspace eBook store, or of course, from Amazon.com. Unfortunately for some Createspace is however alot more U.S based than some of its counterparts, so be warned that there may be hoop to jump through if you are outside of the States. For example: Lulu can pay you in pounds sterling to your PayPal account, has UK-based printers as well as US-based printers and it can get you listed on Amazon.co.uk as well as Amazon.com. That said CreateSpace have some pretty awesome marketing services that make it attractive.
Want to get published on the Kindle marketplace? – https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
Take your blog readership to a new audience, again on the Kindle platform but tailored exclusively for any blogger with a RSS feed, you could be exposed to a whole new audience (AND) get paid for the royalities from your content. Signup here – http://bit.ly/3q1v8R
Smashwords Distributes your ebook to the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store, an easy as pie way to create a PDF e-book from your content – http://www.smashwords.com
Only in beta, Pandamian allows you a publishing platform tailored to books, with prebuilt tables of content, and navigation between chapters of your book. – http://pandamian.com/