How to Self-Publish: Printed and E-Book Publishing - Part 1

This is Part 1 of our series on self-publishing (printed and e-book publishing). You'll find links to more publishing resources at the bottom of this page.

Self publishing is becoming increasingly popular and gaining ever wider acceptance.

In fact, more and more traditionally-published authors are switching over and choosing to self-publish some of their books.

Why are they doing that? Because self-publishing offers a number of potential advantages:

1) You can earn more.

When you publish traditionally, you'll normally only receive a small percentage of book profits. If you self publish; most of the profits can be for you.

Recent studies by suggest that self published authors on bestseller lists are selling more, earning more, and receiving better reader reviews than traditionally published authors.

2) You maintain total control over the publishing process.

As a self-published author, you get to choose the book cover and design and make sure that every aspect of the finished book fits your creative vision.

You can also make changes whenever you want to. I know one self-published author who changed her book cover three times and changed the title at least once, testing different options in order to optimize sales.

3) You maintain the rights to your work.

I know traditionally-published authors with books that have gone out of print. If the publisher decides not to print more of their books, there's not much they can do about it because they've given up their rights. The books fade away, and the authors stop earning from them.

As a self-published author, you can keep your books in print as long as you want.

Of course, self-publishing does have some disadvantages.

The downside of your total control as an author is that there's no outside filter, no one telling you, "This book isn't ready to publish yet."

Many self-published authors choose to hire an editor to help ensure the quality of the work. Most of the other disadvantages of self-publishing are related to this lack of a filter.

1) Self-publishing is still seen in some circles as less prestigious than traditional publishing.However, it is gaining increasingly wide acceptance.

2) It's generally harder to get a self published book into offline bookstores, libraries, and schools, although it is likely to become easier in the future.

3) It is still harder to get unpaid reviews for self published books from well-known book review outlets.

However, Publishers Weekly now offers self published authors a paid review option for $149-$199 (note: even if you pay, they do not guarantee a review!). Kirkus Reviews offers a similar service, but charges a whopping $425-$575.

If you don't want to pay to get reviews for your book, there are still plenty of options open to self published authors. For example, you can contact book bloggers or top reviewers.

A final disadvantage you'll hear about self publishing is that you have to handle all of the book marketing by yourself. Unless you actively market your book, it is unlikely that many readers will find it.

On the other hand, this isn't so different from traditional publishing, where much of the burden of book marketing now falls on the authors.

Self-publishing options

Do you want to publish your book in digital format? Or do you dream of publishing a printed book that you can hold in your hands?

Either way, there a number of simple and inexpensive self publishing options available to you.

1) E-book publishing

Probably the easiest option is to self publish an e book to sell in online stores such as, Barnes & Nobles, and Apple's iBooks, or on your own website.

Depending on the kind of book you're publishing, an e-book might also be the most popular option for your readers.

In fact, in's studies of genre fiction bestsellers, an amazing 92% of the top 100 genre bestsellers were Kindle edition; looking at the top 2500, this was 86%.

There are a number of services that make publishing an e book as simple as formatting a Word document, buying or creating a cover design, and then uploading everything into an online tool.

Some e-book publishing services:

  • Kindle Publishing Direct (KDP)
  • BookBaby
  • Barnes & Noble's PubIt
  • Smashwords
  • Apple iBooks Author

2) Print-on-Demand, or POD (sometimes mistakenly called "publishing on demand")

Print-on-demand (which people sometimes mistakenly call "publishing on demand") is a way of publishing a physical book that you can hold.

With print-on-demand, copies of your book aren't printed until people order them. This means that you don't have to pay money up front for books that you might not be able to sell.

Some print-on-demand services:

  • CreateSpace

If you want to publish both POD and ebook versions, one easy option is to publish the POD version first on CreateSpace, then pay them $79 (currently) to convert your book to Kindle format for you.

3) Offset printing

The other alternative for printing physical books is traditional offset printing, where you print a specific number of books ahead of time. The cost per book tends to be less than with POD... but then you have to sell the books afterward. is an example of an offset printing service.

Go to How to Self-Publish: Printed and E-Book Publishing - Part 2


Printed and E-Book Publishing - Next Steps

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