Today’s post is the next in the series based on my OWFI Ebook seminar. Last Tuesday’s blog answered the question, “Why Go Ebook?” There are a slew of reasons to go Indy and one of the best answers I’ve found is–why not? In today’s publishing climate, the brick wall surrounding traditional publishing continues to grow. Those on the “wrong” side of that wall hammer head first into the barrier without making a dent.
Yet a goodly percentage may be–indeed, IS–quality work. The audience, though, isn’t there to make it $-worthy for legacy publishers to show interest. Today, not even the legacy publishers know how to predict the future. Even the lottery winners who get that agent, and then a book deal won’t necessarily sell a boatload of books–about .5% will see success.
Just because you CAN go Indy doesn’t mean you should, though. Much of the wannabe offerings may be crappiocca that mainstream has the good taste to turn away. Lots of garbage shows up on the Indy side of the brick wall and frankly, it can give self publishing a bad name. Publishing statistics from Publishers Lunch indicate at least 3.1 million books were pub’d in 2010. That’s not counting all the Indy books, though, since there’s no way to track ‘em.
The folks doing particularly well are authors who previously pub’d with legacy venues like Bob Mayer now mining their backlist by turning it into Ebook gold. To increase your chances it pays to practice your craft, hire pros when necessary (especially editing), ask questions and plan carefully. Oh, and write a damn good book.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
So you’ve done all of the above, and have decided to leap into the Indy pond. Do you want to make your book available on Amazon Kindle? What about the Barnes & Nobel Nook? Don’t forget the iPad and Apple stores, Kobo, Android, Diesel…and on and on. Is your book straight text/fiction or a nonfiction book with tables, sidebars and photos? What about children’s books with full color illustrations? Learn about each platform to find your best fit.
Each platform has different challenges. The required formatting may be different for each, as well as the software and/or coding. Can you do it yourself or do you need help?
Most Ebooks support only the simplest straightforward format. That’s fine for text-only fiction books. If your book requires images, tables or other higher-end formating, that can be a pain-in-the-furry-nether-regions. Trust me–my first Kindle-ized book, Complete Kitten Care, has dozens of pictures that I finally figured out how to format (and yes, I’ll share the how-to later in the series). You can either do-it-yourself or go through a conversion service.
I have NOT used any of these services but they come recommended by those who have–please do your own research!
[caption id="attachment_1285" align="aligncenter" width="473" caption="Feed me! Choices can cost time and/or $$...how deep are your pockets?"
Ebooks offer challenges to overcome.
ISBN or AIN
Depending on platform you’ll need either an ISBN# or AIN (free from Amazon Kindle). For those with backlist books, you must have a different number assigned to the Ebook than the physical published book. The ISBN works with all platforms and may be required for some, while the free AIN works only for Amazon Kindle. It’s most economical to purchase several ISBN# at once so budget for the cost and plan ahead. Some authors pool resources and purchase a block of ISBNs to share. The current cost (which may change in future of course) is:
- Single ISBN $125.00
- Ten (10) ISBN: $250.00
- One Hundred (100) ISBN: $575.00
- One Thousand (1000) ISBN: $1,000.00
Yes, you need one! It cannot be the same as the print version–unless you own or have purchased the rights to the design. The cover sells your book and can make or break that “impulse buy” so important for a first time author–and especially an Indy author. You can do it yourself, but be sure you know what you’re doing or a crap-tastic cover will label you an amateur and no matter how good the story, folks will snub your book. I used Photoshop software and have a huge personal catalogue of dog and cat images, so I didn’t have to purchase photos/images. There’s quite a cottage industry among Indy publishers, though, for low-cost (and quite good!) cover designs so don’t despair.
Unless you’re already a best-selling author with a NYC publisher, there’s virtually no difference between the marketing you’ll need to do for your own book. In terms of cost, think time and quality spent rather than $$.
How will you balance your time, cost and vision?
You have three paths to Ebook publishing. Choose based on what you want out of publishing, your personal resources (time and $$), and you can have success with each.
Kindle and PubIt are virtually dummy-proof, FREE, but don’t cover all platforms
Use Publishing Service
Smashwords or Lulu are common choices and cover several platforms, but have costs involved.
Submit to Epublisher, let them do it
Next week’s installment describes what each platform (Kindle, PubIt, Smashwords, Lulu, etc) requires, cost, and more, so stay tuned! Oh, and the step-by-step Kindle-ization format tips will also soon be posted.
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