I’ve been working on my book for a decade and half and I’m finally near finishing it, I don’t really think it’s good enough to be picked up by a publishing house (or whatever they’re called) so I want to try my hand and publishing it myself through a website that will print it and send it to who ever buys it. I know these types of services exist but I’m not sure of the best place to go or is there a better way of doing this that will limit expenses on my behalf, like kindle?
Have you tried Swoonreads , Inkitt, Sweek? There are some websites that publish books by just reading your manuscript.
Publishing on Amazon through KDP is free for both kindle ebooks and physical copies. Publishing on Draft to Digital or Smashwords to all the other stores is also free, though they take a percentage of your sales. But before you do this I’d consider publishing your book to a free story sharing website like Wattpad. Also, if you decide to publish to Amazon or elsewhere I’d recommend being professionally edited, having a genre-appropriate cover, and doing a fair bit of your own research about the process.
It depends how much you’re willing to spend on book cover/ editing, or if you can do it yourself. For me, I self-published paying near-nothing - did all the editing myself and designed the book cover, with the only cost being the stocks I used. I used amazon kindle direct and lulu - I 100% recommend both, as amazon’s better for ‘getting it out there’ whereas lulu has better quality. Lulu I believe is fine if you just publish through them, however from what I’ve read steer well clear of any of their paid plans if you choose to use them.
Hope this helps!
What makes you think your book is ready if it’s not good enough for traditional publishing? Self-publishing is not an avenue to publish inferior books (as a matter of fact, that attitude is what has given indie authors a bad rep) but a strategic avenue to bring your book to market without sharing profits with third parties like agents and publishers because authors decide to pay for editing, cover, and marketing themselves. Even if publishing on sites like Amazon is free, a lot of time, effort, and resources are required to polish your manuscript beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to compete with the millions of books that are out there.
Sorry for being blunt, but I fear you are setting yourself up for an expensive heartbreak. Self-publishing costs a lot of money - covers, editors etc. And you have to engage in marketing, self-promotion and outreach if you even want to give yourself a fighting chance.
Before setting out on that route I would strongly advise to get some READER feedback.
Wattpad is a great place to dip your toes into the water, it’s also safe and nobody will give you nasty one star reviews because the novel you spent so much time on was not ready for the public eye.
You say yourself it’s not ready for trad pubbing yet. If that is the case, it’s not ready for self-pubbing either.
Yes, you can get it out there without any editing. But what happens then? Please, think carefully about what you are doing here
Keeping in mind all the caveats mentioned above, if your book is ready and you can handle all the design, editing, etc—or can afford to pay for it—Lulu is a pretty good option. No upfront costs if (as mentioned) you don’t buy one of their promotion packages, and they will distribute both print and ebooks to pretty much everywhere (including Amazon). Or one can choose to sell only through their site.
When it comes to promotion, even trad publishers will expect you to handle a lot of that yourself.
Stephen, what’s the advantage of using Lulu as opposed to simply uploading your files to Amazon or Draft to Digital?
Draft to Digital is ebook only, I believe. If one doesn’t intend to put out a print edition, it might be fine. My objection to Amazon is that you are pretty much locked into selling there and nowhere else (and I personally don’t do like to do business with the devil )
Only if you choose to be in Kindle Select (Kindle Unlimited). Otherwise you are free to sell wide. I believe the only restriction is price matching.
If you have the funds to self publish WELL, then there are many places to post.
A word of advice: If you’re going to use an aggregator (a site that where you upload once, and it posts to other sites for you), do NOT use the aggregator to post to big sites like Amazon. The aggregator site takes a commission on top of the commission charged by the site it posts to.
For the little sites where you might sell just a handful of books, the ease of working with an aggregator makes since. But for the big sites where the bulk of your sales will occur? No. Upload to those sites individually.
No it’s not. D2D offers ebook, print, audio and library distribution.
From D2D’s site:
We have phased out our print distribution through CreateSpace.
We do create paperback-ready PDF files for any books that use our conversion service (that is, everything except pre-formatted epub uploads). As part of the publishing process, we’ll give you the option of downloading a print-ready PDF file that you can use to create a pixel-perfect paperback at any of your favorite print-on-demand services.
I hadn’t noticed that as I still have print set up as an option on my dashboard (and I prefer Ingram’s anyway). But D2D still offer audio & library distribution. Does Lulu?
So…a few things come to mind. One, if the book isn’t “good enough to be picked up by a publishing house” why are you self-publishing it? Self-publishing takes money and a lot of effort, and I feel you owe it to yourself, and more importantly, to your readers, to only put out a book that can stand toe-to-toe with anything being released by “traditional publishers.”
Second, most self-published authors make 95% - 99% of their income through ebooks rather than print, so I would focus on that format rather than looking for a company that will print your books.
Third, there are many vanity presses in existence: Xlibris, Author House, iUniverse, and the like. But you SHOULD NOT use any of these. They are (a) overpriced (b) don’t care if you sell a single book – as they make all their money from the author. True self-publishing means hiring your own copy editors, cover designers, and either formatting the ebook yourself, or paying someone to do that for you. Then the question becomes where to DISTRIBUTE the book - and kindle is certainly where you’ll get the vast majority of your sales. You will need to think carefully if you want to enroll in “Kindle select” – which limits distribution to ONLY Amazon stores, or keep a “wide” distribution that will allow you to sell your book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google, and all the other online retailers.
While this is certainly “a” way to go. In general, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone new starting out. While self-publishing can be (a) easy and (b) cheap, most authors that take the approach you are recomending do not sell well. If you are going to go to the trouble of self-publishing, I think you should do so professionally and that means making investments in cover design and editing. Now, perhaps your books are selling well…I don’t know. But if so, you’d be the exception and not the rule.
That’s not true. They ONLY require exclusivity if you enroll in their “Select” program (renewable every 90 days). I do my self-publishing with Amazon and I’m not in select so my books are available at all the retail outlets including Google Play, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and many more.
I agree with this advice.
You make a fair point - I design covers commercially anyway and am hoping to go into a branch of Publishing as a potential career in the future.
My book hasn’t sold many copies, however I haven’t been actively advertising it and was surprised that I sold any at all For me, it was the experience (I published under a Penname) and the fact that a traditional route wouldn’t have been a viable option for me - it was something I enjoyed doing, as well.
I can see how someone intending to seriously try and sell/ make a living from their books might struggle, but if they have the right skills (and are willing to give advertisement their best shot) I definitely think it’s worth doing.
Agree with both parts of this. But … to be frank, Wattpad is not a good place to get READER feedback (I know, you didn’t say it is).
Wattpad READERS rarely give feedback, and when they do, it’s often inarticulate. Wattpad WRITERS sometimes give feedback, but it’s typically sparse and unstructured, and they get trained out of doing it, because a lot of other Wattpad writers don’t respond or respond negatively.
So I’d recommend joining a critique circle. There are some online, e.g. CritiqueCircle.You have to give-to-get, but otherwise free.