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A Common Contemporary Publishing Model : Self-Publishing Markets • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

A Common Contemporary Publishing Model

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Linton Robinson
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A Common Contemporary Publishing Model

Postby Linton Robinson » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:53 pm

There really aren't "markets" for self-publishing. There is THE Market out there, there's YOUR Market, hopefully, but the whole idea of self-publishing doesn't involve selling your work to anybody but end-consumer readers. Even wholesaling is mostly an agency affair.
Just to clarify.

There are a lot of ways you can put your book for sale by yourself. Mosf of them suck. If they are advertising in a magazine or on a website, they almost certainly suck. Those are the "vanity" or "subsidy" or "hybrid" publishers, anybody who charges you upfront costs. There is no such thing, if you think about for a split-second, as a "self-publishing company".

Here's the configuration that is working out for author/publishers. It requires very little, or zero start-up money. It doesn't require you to sign away any rights. There are no contracts (with an important exception I'll mention) and anything you do can be unpublished and dissolved at the touch of a button.

Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) This is the 900 pound gorilla of people making money off their books online. You upload your MS, it goes straight onto amazon.com as an ebook. No cost involved. Your work must sell for at least 99 cents. Any book under $2.99 pays you a 35% royalty on sale. Books over that pay 70% royalty. You qualify for an amazon author page, can get reviews, can use several promotional tools to help move your title. This is really the backbone of most SP ebook sales. It's really easy to format for Kindle.

KDP SELECT This is a special case of KDP, in which you place your book in the program for 90 days during which it is exclusive to amazon, no e version sold elsewhere. You can make it free for 5 of those 90 days. This is the "contract" I mentioned, but even it does not attach your rights to your work in any way, just means you can't see it elsewhere while you're on the program.

SMASHWORDS This is the "other" ebook provider, a very innovative and author-friendly company. Excepting the KDP Select program, most writers will be on it as well as Kindle for a couple of reasons. First, it extends your reach considerably. Kindle may be the big seller, but iPads and IPhones and Nooks and Sony and Android also have readers. And they might be YOUR readers. An extreme case, what if your book is about using iPhones as sales tools, or ways to do cool nerdy stuff on an iPad? Second, they allow the use of a coupon, a code you can give people to allow download of your book for a discont, even free. Many use Smashwords coupons to give away books to get them reviewed on amazon: regrettable considering what nice guys SW are. Also, whereas Kindle downloads can only be read on a Kindle (or Kindle emulator on your PC) SW allows readers to download all conceivable formats, from .mobi for Kindle, to ePub, the "universal" format, to pdfs to .doc files, even html for reading right online. They also allow you to specify a percentage of the book (max 20% I think) of your book to be read as a sample. Those distributions require ISBN.s but they can be had for free, or for $10 fronted against profits if you want to get fancy. Easy to upload your .doc file to SmashWords, tricky to get it accepted for the "Premium" distribution to all those other stores. Excellent tutorial on how to do so. You can get it done for $30, but it's worth knowing how.

CREATESPACE I got mentioned a lot for saying that a paperback is "bling" to an SP writer, a status hood ornament giving cred to their ebook. Obviously it's much more than that, but there's truth in that concept. If nothing else it's something you can send to reviewers who won't read ebooks. It's something you can buy and resell off your site (for more profit) or signings and events or consign to local stores. It's something people might buy. You'd be kind of lame not to add this to the "constellation" of your book. CreateSpace is an amazon company, and it hooks you up right away. Very easy to link with your ebook, meld reviews, etc. No costs involved. Profitablity is enough to make money competing with other books, even doing a bit of wholesale. Ease in formatting is intermediate. You need to convert your word processor file to a pdf. Easy enough,but it's worth learning how to do it pretty. Also cover to a pdf, fitting into a template so it wraps around the book correctly. Not rocket science. CreateSpace produces books by "POD" process, printing them as ordered.

LULU.COM This is another POD producer (PLEASE don't read that in the dumbass sense that people use "POD Company" top describe financial models--it's just a process like offset printing or xerox). They print their books on Lightning Source and mark them up, so are less competitive. They offer advantages in certain cases: hardback books, color art books, special sizes. They also produce ebooks and a few other sidelines.
The big thing they offer is EASE of uploading. You just stick in your .doc file and push a button. Yes, it's good to have thought it out and use smart fonts, indents, spacing, etc, but it involves nothing you don't already know. The cover is literarlly child's play to produce. Kids can do it. You can even just pick some stock covers of theirs, lay in your title and go. Or upload artwork into a clever wizard. I suggest Lulu as a "sandbox" for super-newbies, and some master it, but never quite get CreateSpace, but they are on the boards with a paperback, anyway.

These three main platforms constitute the massive bulk of all self-publishing production. If you want to put your book out, get free accounts on them all and start fooling around.






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