Indie publishing is the real deal
learn all about it . . .
There are many independent presses, various choices of distributors, and multiple book formats available to independent authors who want to control their own work and publishing platform. Many authors have chosen to self-publish rather than go the traditional publishing route, which most often leads to disappointment. What used to be the ‘high standard’ of traditional publishing is now more often the true vanity or ego publishing. Many mid-list authors have been buying back their publishing rights from traditional publishers in order to go down the Indie publishing road and actually make money.
Why? Many reasons, some personal, but common reasons are:
- higher royalties
- control of design
- control of editing
- no long waiting (hoping not to get dumped while waiting)
Perhaps this sounds bias, but after reading about all the options, the processes entailed, and other authors’ stories, it quickly became apparent that the responsibility for the marketing platform, (the hardest part in my opinion), falls on the author even if signed with a traditional publisher. So why not self-publish! It only makes sense.
Here are a few suggested resources to help you decide what’s best for your journey.
If you want to self-publish you need to consider your book’s format. Most self-published authors release eBooks and also use POD (print on demand) for the paperback. You will need to write your best story and then format the file for print in a PDF format. Most popular today are eBooks and the formats used in digital readers and smartphones are either epub and/or Mobi files.
The most popular eBook distributors are:
- Amazon Kindle for eBook no longer supports Mobipocket – the Mobi format *Update: they now use epub format!
- Rakuten Kobo (now these eBooks are available at Walmart) for eBook uses epub format
- Nook Press (Barnes & Nobel’s digital store) for eBook uses epub format
- Apple iBook Store uses epub format (you must load the file onto a dashboard using a Mac. If you don’t have one then use a third-party aggregator, more about that below.
- Other reader streaming services like Scribd, Reddit…
If you don’t want to load the files directly, or don’t want to manage the various dashboards for each distributor you can use an aggregator site like these options:
- Smashwords (now partnered with D2D) sells all book formats and distributes eBook files to other distributors like B&N Nook, Kobo, and Apple stores, Scribner, and other reader sites. If you’d rather not load those files directly this is a good alternative. They use epub format and also accept word documents, but Word files must go through its Meatgrinder and pass inspection to be approved to distribute to other stores. The rules are posted on the website.
- Draft2Digital distributes eBooks to various distributors (now converged with Smashwords) same as above, plus to the list used by libraries, also using the epub format. They do not require special formatting, so if you aren’t tech-savvy this is a good option. I do format my own files, so I don’t know how the output looks, but many have used this service with great results. They are also beta-testing POD.
POD Printers for print on demand,
the most economical for self-publishing avoid warehouse costs and distribution issues.
- Amazon now uses KDP print for paperbacks and now have a beta program for hardcover. One dashboard to access your Kindle eBook and your print paperback.
- INGRAM: Lightning Source for POD paperback and/or hardcover for small publishers
- Ingram Spark for self-publishers – the site also lists requirements to follow
- There is always a small local printer with minimum runs – usually, 1,000 or more copies required, which you would be responsible for all inventory warehousing and distribution of the product.
- Other companies that do the print services for you may have higher costs. These are best if you want small runs and are not in it for major profit but more for personal use, like gift-giving to family members or for business adventures.
Be very careful – there are many sites that offer services and charge for things that should be free, and can sometimes take your money needlessly. Never sign a contract unless you fully understand the fine print. For more detailed info about this subject read David Gaugrhran’s bewares blog David also has a lot of helpful marketing information and more…
Beware of print companies that disguise themselves as a publishing service or hide behind a legitimate publishing house’s name. They will take your money (with high unjustified fees) and then run. Before you enter into costly service agreements or sign contracts – with companies like:
- Abbott Press
- Xlibris Publishing
Read the fine print – don’t give away your rights.
There are other companies like Lulu that will provide as many services as desired at a cost, and it may be a valid choice for short print runs if you don’t plan on mass distribution. No longer advisable, they are associating with the piranha BEWARES by David Gaughran
There are hybrid Indie publishers like She Writes, (I am a member of the She Writes group, however, I do not use the press services). More about Hybrid Press options is here in a post by Jane Friedman. Also, small college and independent presses will publish a few titles each year upon approval.
Consider all the choices listed in the Independent Press and other pages,
Discover the path that best suits your journey. Find the right solutions for you.
The digital publishing world is changing all the time, with new software and copyright laws, so remain curious. Stay informed. Learn more about digital publishing here –
Check your eBook files with these links
You don’t need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle books. Download one of our free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on all your devices.
This site uses EpubCheck to provide validation information for EPUB 2 and 3 documents. If you are creating commercial EPUBs in volume, you must install EpubCheck instead of using this site.
Save time for writing.
A guide to information for self-publishing authors.
Next Page: Communities & Resources