Self-publishing at a glance

There are three main ways that you can self-publish your book:

  • in print
  • as an (electronic) e-book
  • as an audio book

For now, this info blog focuses on how to self-publish in print or e-book format using the ‘DIY’ method based on my own experience.

Self-publishing involves quite a steep learning curve but with the range of free templates and help available, it is perfectly possible to do most of the legwork yourself.  At the same time, there are some fabulous and reasonably priced freelancers out there who you can call on to check your files at the last minute if you run into trouble and I’ll include info on this at the relevant points.

Self-publishing in print

In the early days of self-publishing (‘vanity publishing’) aspiring authors would pay a vanity publishing company to create and publish their work.  This was not only costly, but would very often leave the author with a stock of books to try to sell once friends and family had been exhausted.  Happily for today’s authors there is another way – which is using ‘Print on demand’.

As its name suggests, with ‘print on demand’ your book gets printed after the customer places an order. This is made possible by digital printing, which has none of the set-up costs and high volume print-run requirements associated with traditional printing in order to make it economically viable.

Digital printing on demand is music to the self-publisher’s ears because orders as small as a single book can be fulfilled without affecting your retail price.  You can read about the popular print on demand options here.

Self-publishing e-books

As well as, or instead of, self-publishing in print, you can choose to self-publish electronic books – formatted for the Kindle, Kobo and other e-readers.  E-books can be downloaded instantly across all borders, which makes them an attractive proposition for both buyer and seller. In addition, the royalties that authors can earn on e-books are significantly higher when compared with a print equivalent. You can read about self-publishing to Kindle and other e-book formats here.

Audio books / podcasts  (Updated June 2014)

There are clearly enormous potential markets for audio books, including:

  • children
  • those who are visually impaired
  • walkers and runners
  • commuters and holiday travellers
  • unable to read due to illness
  • anyone else too busy to find the time to sit down and read!

I’m keen to make The Secret Lake available as an audio book but until I find time to research this area properly and try it out, you might want to look at the links below. The first three links offer great insights into how to take advantage of the ACX self-publishing platform to create audio books and distribute them via Audible, which is an Amazon company. The last three links are for simpler ways to produce your book in audio. If anyone would like to suggest additional links to add here please email me.

An early recording of The Secret Lake on YouTube

Back in November 2012 I created a YouTube reading of the first three chapters of The Secret Lake using Garage Band and iMovie on my iMac. I definitely read too quickly and it’s a bit ‘hissy’ but it’s worth taking a listen to see just what you can do from your office at home! I will blog on how I did this  at some stage (famous last words!) – but it was really a case of playing around with Garage Band and iMovie until I worked it out. For a simple marketing tool it’s worth investigating.  Here is the link – please do share with your children age 7/8-11!

Karen Inglis reading Chapters 1-3 of The Secret Lake

7 Responses to Self-publishing at a glance

  1. Amina Vierk says:

    Hi Karen
    I’ve found your article very genuine and interesting, thank you! I’m at present in a slight ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’ state with pink wine in my case, so i’m quite pleased i’m able to write this note to you. You sound really genuine and sincere.
    I write because some years ago, i wrote a lot of short stories, then went to live abroad and didn’t do anything about them. They’re of mixed genres. Would i be able to publish them on Kindle? Are these popular? I once had a very good response from a Women’s magazine asking me to produce more of their particular market brand for them to consider this one story i sent them.
    I’d love to know if Kindle is appropriate for short stories: some paranormal, some of ‘deja vue’, some very here and now of conflict and resolution. I’m afraid i’ve not written for about 5 years but yearn to!
    Thank you in advance for reading my note and hopefully for a response.
    God Bless. Amina Vierk

  2. kareninglis says:

    Hi Amina

    As far as I’m aware you can publish whatever length story you wish on Kindle.

    After a quick Google I’ve found someone who has self-published short stories:

    If you look at the comments you will also see that he links to info on formatting (though I would not recommend trying to do the formatting yourself unless you really understand HTML and are very tech savvy!) :

    And this info on Kindle Singles may be of interest (but 10,000 words is probably too long for you?)

    How you price it will probably be trickiest, but maybe you could start with a free one and see how it goes… I think the best thing is to Google around ‘short stories on Kindle’ and read some blogs and see what others are doing! One comment I just spotted re short stories says: “it’s a good idea to state in the book’s description on Amazon how many pages the book contains. Just to head off customer anger. ;-)” – ie if your book is only a few pages and you’re asking someone go pay even a modest price they may not notice this in the book details which Amazon automatically inserts re no of pages – so make sure it’s mentioned in the book description. I suppose another idea might be to bundle several stories into a collection.

    Best of luck and sorry I can’t be of more specific help :)

  3. ItchyFootMum says:

    Just a note to thank you for sharing what you have learnt about self-publishing so willingly for others of us who are picking our way through this newly-discovered jungle! I am delighted to hear that this route is giving you a direct route to your readers. Hope things continue to develop well for you. Good wishes.

  4. kareninglis says:

    Many thanks! Best of luck to you on your self-pub journey. Have you joined the Alliance of Independent Authors? You’ll get some great support/tips through them. I’d have loved that resource when I first started out on this! All the best, Karen

  5. Mark Parish says:

    Hi Karen
    Just a quick message to say thank you for your kind assistance a good few months back.. It has been a challenging process but our first book “Pugalugs – The Beginning” is now complete and is available on Amazon and our website. Your site provided such an array of information without which we would probably still be working on getting the book into print. Our official book launch is on 24th January at a local book store and our second book is now being illustrated…. so we just need to get out there and sell sell sell now!
    Thanks again and Best Wishes

    Mark :-)

  6. Hi Karen
    Just a few words to say that I have found your site very informative. I self published on Amazon nearly 12 months ago via a third party, whom I paid for the preparation. Sales however have been disappointing particularly as the third party had stated that my first children’s novel deserved to do well, no criticism of them is intended here. I have just complete book two in the series & I am currently working on book three. I did feel like giving up at one stage until I saw your site and way forward, daunting though it is. I am not the best person in world at selling me! or my books. But your advice on here does give me some hope.
    Many Thanks Karen.

    • kareninglis says:

      Many thanks, Graham — and I’m glad you’ve found it useful. The key with children’s books is really to get out there and meet your audience I think! You can also sell online but far fewer books as marketing is all indirect. Very best of luck all the same! Karen

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