The second topic covered at the ORAcon2013 conference was called the Self-Publishing Revolution, although they talked about traditional publishing, digital only publishing and hybrid publishing. Here are the bullet point notes I took:
- Traditional Publishing. This is when an author goes through a publishing house, often through a literary agent.
- Digital Publishing Only. This is self-publishing in e-formats only.
- Self-Publishing. This is when the writer does everything themselves, and publishes in both print and e-formats
- Hybrid Publishing. This is when an author publishes through two or more methods mentioned above.
Reasons to choose Digital 1st/Digital Only Publishing House
- Higher royalty percentages
- 35%-50% of net as opposed to 25% traditional
- No up front costs to you
- Free editorial input
- Wider distribution (than doing it on your own)
- Most pay monthly or quarterly (traditional pays 2x/year)
Reasons to choose self-publishing
- Complete control (from cover art to editorial to pricing, etc)
- Can distribute through most retailers
- Potential to earn more money
Examples of what a self-published author gets in percentages from these retailers:
- Amazon: 70% at $2.99
- Barns & Noble: 65% at $2.99
- Smashwords: 85% for direct/55% for 3rd party sales (the speaker mentioned that they had a lot of problems, and suggested using Draft 2 Digital instead, which had comparable percentages)
- CreateSpace (I didn’t get their percentage)
When Self-Publishing: Cover Art
- Check for typos
- Study other cover art in your genre
- Remember it has to look good on a thumbnail on a website
When Self-Publishing: Content Editing
- Often done by “book doctors”
- Content editors fix plot/characterization/arc issues
- Can be very expensive
- Many authors skip hiring a content editor and/or rely on beta readers/critique partners
- Cost. Figure approximately 1cent/word. You should get 3-5 pages for free to test the editor before hiring. Be wary of cheap editors. Be careful. That’s a lot of money. Make sure you are getting quality editing!
When Self-Publishing: Formatting
- 3 main formats: .epub; .mobi; .pdf
- Barns & Noble & Amazon will let you upload a .doc or .rtf file and convert, but the formatting tends to be sloppy and inconsistent and difficult to correct. Not recommended.
- You can pay for eformatting.
- Print formatting is different. You can use CreateSpace or LightingSource. Your size options will be 6 x 9 or 5 x8. Remember, higher page count = higher cost. If you have a 100,000 word count, go with a bigger size to save a lot of money.
- Through Lightning Source, all bookstores would be able to order your book, but it costs $40 for even the slightest mistake in formatting. They mentioned even they (professionals who do it all the time) get “tricked” and have to pay $40 for uploading a non perfectly formatted book. CreateSpace is free to re-upload and fix mistakes.
- Interior formatting is done in Word or Indesign
- Standard font is 10 to 12 point
- You can choose cream or white paper; cream is thicker and costs more.
- Kindle assigns an ASIN to your ebook when you upload it.
- If you distribute through smashwords or ARE, you can use their free ISBNs.
- To publish direct with Apple or Kobo, you must have an ISBN.
- Can purchase an ISBN through http://www.bowker.com
- $125 for 1 or $250 for a block of ISBNs (keep in mind that you need a different ISBN for every version of your book: print, amazon, etc.)
- KDP Select (Amazon’s Program) options. Your book must be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days & you get 5 days where your book can be free in that period
Marketing a Self-Published Book
- Best marketing plan is a good book.
- Eye-catching cover, great hook, solid editing is a must.
- Promote the same as a traditionally published book. (Traditional publishers will little to no marketing for you, so you are doing the wokr either way.)
- Don’t doubt the power of FREE. It’s the best promotional tool. Give away a book/novella for free while launching the release of a novel or series. Free novellas/short stories/serials will promote you as a writer.
What a Publisher can do that you can’t…well…maybe you can nowadays.
- List books for pre-order and specify a drop date
- Get your book into additional retail outlets and/or libraries (However, Amazon has some options here)
- Foreign Sales (Well…Self-Pubs now have options here too)
For Foreign Sales
- Market Prices for professional literary translators range from $30-35/page ($6,000-$9,000 for a translation)