Why Self-Publish Your Book?
by Vicki Smart Penhall
Author of eight self-published books
and Lilly Penhall
Author, editor and/or designer of over a dozen books
“Self-appointed self-publishing gurus”
When I started writing down stories back in the year 2000, I had no idea how to get them in print. Publishing was something far away in New York City, and I had no connections. The publishing game used to be, “send your manuscript and wait,” usually for a rejection letter, which can be not only time-consuming (because most major publishing houses do not allow simultaneous submissions and take over 6 months to respond) and very disheartening, to wait so long to get a “no.” So, we decided to self-publish my books. After all, we had a printer on my computer system. Right?
What I discovered was that self-publishing can be costly. Printing off my computer was wasteful of paper and ink and very frustrating. Commercial print shops were no better. Just one bound copy of my first novel was $40 at Kinko’s! Yikes!
We explored small-press printing and found an ally. The cost to print 100 books without a fancy cover or any editing–things we could do on our own–started around $350 depending on the size of the books and number of pages. Sometimes you can get your cost as low as $2 or $3 a book if you order more than 100. If you want to have an inventory of books to sell on your own website or at bookstores, this is a good option for you.
But lately, “Print on Demand” self-publishing has become the new norm, applauded for its ease of use, affordability, and availability to wide audiences via online retailers such as Amazon.com. New technology makes it easy to self-publish your works, whether you have written a novel, children’s book. poetry collection, non-fiction or any other genre.
Most print on demand publishers offer free setup for your title and pay you royalties when your book sells on an online bookseller’s website. So you pay nothing to upload your book files and your book is made available on Amazon.com at no cost to you. When someone purchases your book, you get a percentage of the sale minus the printing costs and seller’s fees. Your book is available worldwide and to major brick-and-mortar bookstores, but it’s up to you to get people to buy your book.
This is what some would consider one major downside to self-publishing. Since you do not have a big publishing house to advertise your book or ask bookstores to buy copies, it is the author’s responsibility to either do the marketing or hire a marketing expert to promote the book. There are many venues for promotion, from social networking to bookstore appearances, that can encourage people to purchase your self-published book, and if you put in the work, many people have successfully become bestsellers after starting with grassroots marketing. This is a great article about some of the ways to accomplish this.
There are many options to consider when self-publishing, and many resources available to help you get your book in print as easily and inexpensively as possible without going through major publishing houses or indie presses who are very selective on who they publish (and often take “knowing someone”). We are here to help you, and want your book to be exactly what you want it to be.
In addition, ebooks are another platform that is becoming more popular because it’s more widely available to readers, it costs less both to produce and purchase, and because it’s almost all profit, since there is no printing and shipping involved. Many bibliophiles are put off by ebooks, but love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are a great way to put your book in the hands of readers worldwide.
But just because electronic books are easier to buy, does not mean they are easier to make. On the contrary, ebook sellers (Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and iTunes, to name a few) are even more strict on formatting, and ebooks can quickly become a complicated beast to create. Ebooks need covers and interiors designed, just like print books do, so trust your book to an experienced group of self-publishers like Penhall Publishing.
Here is a pretty good list of self-publishing companies, all of which provide different services. Some, such as CreateSpace, Lulu, Lightning Source and Smashwords, we have worked with in the past and others we have yet to use.
Penhall Publishing offers everything you need to self-publish your work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, spiritual books, art and photography books, children’s books, how-to books, legal books, nature books… any kind of books you write, you can self-publish, and we can help. From ghost writing and editing to captivating cover art, interior design (the inside of the book has to be designed too!) and publishing, we call on our years of expertise in the self-publishing business to guide you through the process of turning your dream into a reality of your book in the hands of readers all over the world.
Are you ready? Read “Self-Publishing 101” and “Costs of Self-Publishing” for more information on what to expect during the self-publishing process. Congratulations! You are taking the first step toward your dream.