Entry into the e-book era has come hand-in-hand with more self-published authors. In fact, self-publishing has become so popular over the last few years that the Big Five traditional publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster) only account for 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists.
As such, more individuals are endeavoring to write their own e-books. For some, this is a creative outlet where they can finally release their works of fiction without the hassle of finding an agent and undergoing an onerous editing process.
For others, self-publication acts as a supplement to existing entrepreneurial pursuits. With websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Blurb making the self-publishing process easier than ever, the only questions that remain are how, what, and why you should self-publish.
Selecting Your Topic/Genre
If fiction writing is your forte, then you’ve likely had a topic and genre picked out since the day you started writing. However, for entrepreneurs and freelancers looking to promote their business or services, this requires further consideration.
Self-published books serve as excellent promotional content if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur aiming to establish credibility within your field. This can be achieved by writing books focusing on self-improvement, productivity, or money management.
Furthermore, you may want to consider publishing educational materials that will solidify your reputation as an expert on a particular subject. For example, if you are a freelance bookkeeper or accountant, you may write an e-book about personal finance and budgeting advice. This later serves as a guide you can distribute to clients, and a way to promote your services to potential readers.
Advantages & Benefits
An excellent topic notwithstanding, you must ensure your content is of the highest quality, as well. If people wanted to read an exhaustive sales pitch, they’d pay more attention to advertisements. Your self-published product should not serve to solely promote your business, it should offer insightful advice.
For fiction writers, you should make sure to read and re-read your book repeatedly. As self-publishing foregoes the editorial process, you are responsible for catching your own plot holes, spelling errors, and grammatical oversights.
That being said, while self-publishing can be exhaustive due to the amount of responsibility it places on you as the writer, it still retains numerous benefits. For starters, it allows you complete creative control. You determine your cover art, book length, title, and how you wish to market the finished product.
Additionally, you experience higher royalty rates, without worrying about high payouts to your agent or publisher. Nonetheless, the e-book publishing service you use still does take some of the profits – although not nearly as many as the traditional route.
Lastly, you can guarantee faster exposure through the self-publishing route. Publishing through a traditional book publisher can take a year at the very least. If you have a time sensitive piece of material you’re looking to release, taking matters into your own hands is the way to go.
This cannot be stressed enough: always give your book a final read-through. You are your own editorial team. Ask friends and family to take a read-through and provide feedback as well, or seek out a freelance editor to read the book for a small flat fee.
Next, determine the self-publishing platform you wish to use. Some publishers, such as Barnes & Noble, require you to purchase an ISBN. Meanwhile, others just take a percentage of your book sales. Amazon’s CreateSpace service has no setup fee and offers a free ISBN, but does take royalties.
One benefit to publishing with Barnes & Noble is that, if your book makes enough sales within its first year of publication, they will offer it in-store. Note that, once the book is published, it’s up to you to garner a readership. Use social media to entice readers. Facebook and Twitter ads are your friends when it comes to this. Determine your target readership for the book, and direct your promotional social media posts toward that audience.
Whether you have a fictional work you wish to profit off of, or are self-employed and looking to make a name for yourself, self-publishing is certainly worth a shot. In the event of the latter, publicize your e-book as a resource guide. As with anything in the age of the self-made individual, your success will depend on your writing abilities, ingenuity, and know-how.
Ellie Batchiyska is a PR Coordinator for EveryUSB, a custom flash drive manufacturer that offers eBook publishing services for entrepreneurs and authors alike.