Before the digital age, authors only had a few options to choose from to get manuscripts published. Traditionally, an author would have to invest with a publishing company and vanity press. This could cost thousands of dollars. Thanks to advances in publishing technology, authors can now DIY. Self-publishing is a great way to save money, get your book out there, and start making sales fast. However, there are a few things you need to know before you dive in.
Know the Different Methods
There are several ways to self-publish a book, most of which require different formats and up-front costs. Print-on-demand publishing is exactly what it sounds like. As readers buy your book, the book will be printed and delivered as needed. This is the most economical way to self-publish your book because it doesn't require the expense of printing large volumes up front. On the other end of the spectrum is the digital e-book. These books cost very little to publish, and there are a number of different formats you can use to publish them. Self-publishers often employ both of these methods as they allow optimal exposure at an affordable price.
Have a Marketing Plan in Place First
There are thousands of self-published authors out there scrambling to have their books read. This means you'll have some pretty fierce competition no matter how good your book is. Set up a marketing strategy before you start publishing. Think of how to market your book on different social media platforms. Who wants to read it, and where can it be found?
Yes, You Do Need an ISBN
Many authors think that because they're publishing a digital book, they don't need an ISBN. There are two reasons this logic is flawed. Firstly, an ISBN is the only way to name you as the publisher. Secondly, most companies require you have an ISBN, even if your only publishing an e-book. Some self-publishing platforms will provide ISBNs for you; although, HAVE CAUTION. This may look like an attractive way to save up front costs, but this option means you don’t own the content of that ISBN. You won’t be listed as the publisher. Do not make this mistake; purchase your own ISBN. ISBN's don't cost much, so there's no reason to skip this step.
Find a Good Distributor
Good distributors will offer various incentives for working with them and often provide access to an extensive distribution network. Decide where you want your book available and find a distributor that can fulfill that request. They're the best way to publish high-quality books at affordable prices. Most distributors offer bulk discounts and special membership offers. Once you find a reputable distributor your book is ready to go, and can be sold across multiple marketplaces and formats.