Publishing Options for Authors

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by Corina Koch MacLeod

There’s never been a better time to be an authorso say key players in the publishing field. Here is their advice to authors of all stripesindies/selfpubs, traditionally published and hybrids:

1. There are lots of options for getting books to readers:

  • Find an agent who can sell your book to a publisher.
  • Create a PDF of your book and sell it on your website.
  • Self-publish an ebook through online bookstores, like Kindle Publishing, Barnes & Noble PubIt!, Apple iBooks Author and Kobo Writing Life, using the author tools offered at these sites.
  • Submit your book to a distributor like Smashwords, so your book is available in every possible e-reading format.
  • Self-publish a print book using print-on-demand (POD) services like CreateSpace and Lightning Source.
  • Publish your book through book services like Lulu and Bookbaby: they offer packages that can take care of some of the practical aspects of book production, such as cover design. 
  • Crowdsource your book through sites like Wattpad. Crowdsourcing invites audience participation and can help you to determine your book’s readership.
  • Crowdfund your book through sites like Pubslush or the Redhat Project. Producing a book costs money. People who believe in your book idea may invest in it by making a donation. Donations can be used to pay for the productionediting costs, interior design and cover designof your book. Crowdfunding sites can also help you determine if your book is salable.
2. You don’t have to do it all.

Tim Sanders, CEO of Netminds, says that “the word ‘indie’ is a misnomer.” While you certainly can do everything on your own, that might not be the best use of your strengths, or time. What makes a quality bookgood writing, an error-free text, good interior design or formatting, a decent coverhasn’t changed with the ebook revolution. Your readers still expect a professional, quality product.

Can you execute all of the required book elements to professional standards? Perhaps. But it’s okay if you can’t. Keep in mind that you’ll be competing with those authors who have found a way to craft a professional product on their own or with the help of others. Be honest with yourself and consider hiring out for those aspects of book publishing that aren’t your strong suit. 

3. Work to your strengths.

In the new publishing climate, authors are responsible for self-promotion and marketing. And there are lots of ways to get the word out: tweeting, blogging, curating, status updates, podcasting, speaking engagements, videocasts, teaching, pinning, and the list goes on. But it’s not possible to do it all if you want time to write your next book. It’s better to be strategic. Who is your audience? How will you reach them? Pick the social media platform that resonates with your audience and energizes you. Finding that sweet spot is time well spent.

4. You owe it to yourself to be an expert in the publishing field.

The publishing field is in flux at the moment. Changes occur from week to week. To stay in the game, keep yourself informed. Below are a few resources that will help you keep a pulse on all things publishing:

Digital Book World
Ebook Ninjas (podcast and links)
Shelf Awareness

Publisher’s Lunch

Publishing Trends
Publish Your Own Ebooks, by Gary McLaren

Perhaps you have a few favourite book publishing sites. Feel free to post them in the Comments section below.

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