For some people, writing a book is the easy part. I know. You’ve worked hard, poured out your heart, and now you’re looking at your final manuscript. The product of hours and hours of your time. What do you do with it now? You think about publishing.
Publishing and selling your book is another matter altogether. It’s not part of the creative process, so many creatives (like you!) struggle with the details. When I first started helping clients, I didn’t even know where to start!
The good news is that now I can share the knowledge I’ve gathered as a ghostwriter with you. You have four primary options for publishing your book, and each one has its pros and cons.
A PDF ebook is probably the simplest method to publish your book. All that’s required with an ebook is to click “Save as …” in your Word document and choose “PDF.” Then, if you want it to look professional, you can lay it out in In-Design or Canva (I use ebook templates created by Biz Template Babe, and they make it so easy!). Then you can sell the resulting file on your website, list it on ClickBank or E-Junkie, or upload it to other ebook marketplaces online.
Ebooks don’t quite have the authority that printed books carry, but if you’re on a budget and don’t have the skills to format your text for print, then this can be a viable option to get you off the ground. It’s also a great way to share your book with advance readers to get those all-important testimonials. Even better, it can give you a great lead magnet to build your brand!
Kindle Direct Publishing
The darling of the self-publishing world, Amazon’s KDP marketplace makes it easy for you to publish your book. In fact, with just a few minutes of formatting and several minutes spent on their step-by-step uploading system, you can have your book on their virtual shelves in no time.
With its incredible popularity and the ability to offer “free days” during which anyone can download your book at no cost, Kindle is a great way to build a buzz quickly.
Print on Demand
The best choice for self-published authors is a relatively new technology that allows a single book to be printed on demand. Until just a few years ago, if you chose to self-publish your book, you’d likely have to shell out for hundreds if not thousands of copies in advance, leaving you with a garage full of books to sell on your own. No fun, trust me.
Print on demand is different. Buyers order your book from sellers such as Amazon (whose Create Space arm is itself a print-on-demand enterprise) or IngramSpark, and the book is printed and shipped for you. This makes it easy and cost-effective for everyone to become a published author.
The most time-consuming and challenging option (but often the most rewarding), getting your book published with a traditional print publisher will also get you the most audience and press. The drawbacks are many, though. To start, it’s challenging to get a traditional publishing house to take on a new author. Second, if you manage to get the attention of a publisher (you need an agent first), your royalties (the amount you earn from your book) will be minimal—maybe as little as 8% of the net cost. Finally, the length of time it takes from manuscript submission to final publication can be years.
All that said, a book with a traditional publishing insignia on the spine does carry a bit more weight when it comes to press opportunities than does a self-published book.
Many new authors initially choose the ebook format and then move to Kindle or print on demand. Given enough buzz and sales, traditional publication becomes easier to attain as well. The important thing is to get your book written and then publish it where you’re most comfortable. The rest will come naturally!