Blue Handle Publishing
What if I self-publish?
This topic is very near and dear to Charles (our founder) because he went down this road. He decided to build Blue Handle Publishing alongside the new Book Puma Services Platform in response to this stressful process.
There are many places to access information on how to self-publish or how to do it. There are small groups on social media sites such as Facebook as well as videos on Youtube. The problem goes back to the lack of a centralized place to find information and a customer service platform. If you need help, just even a little bit, maybe a few hours worth, it can be difficult to find. You can find gig work, but where is the company to stand up?
The self-publishing world can be described as trying to build a car from a kit. You may have some directions, but you will need help along the way and probably some tools you don’t have access to. The problem there lies in which tool, which brand, and how much should you spend? This process can be fun if you are that type of jump in the archetype.
For most, the self-publishing world feels like standing in the middle of the ocean on a small platform with nothing in sight. Then you have to choose which direction to go, hoping it’s the right one. Then there is the question of finding your way back home, with anything when you get lost.
You are the author, editor, book designer and CEO of your own small company when you go down this route. You can hire people along the way and grow your company or hire temp workers, but it’s your job to make all of those decisions at the end of the day. That’s what self-publishing truly is, a GIANT LEAP OF FAITH!
Self Publishing is the publication of a work or manuscript by the author themselves rather than signing a contract with a traditional, established publisher. It’s the art of getting your own book from rough manuscript to finished product, and making it available in distribution channels for purchase (consumption) by the reading world. If you have a finished manuscript and cover, you can easily and economically (for free!) self-publish ebooks with services like Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital, which offer a platform for self-published authors to reach readers. If you want to self-publish and also sell print books, companies like IngramSpark offer printing and distribution services that can be used by anyone, not just publishers. Self-publishing can feel daunting, as you are doing all of the work to write, edit, design, market and distribute your book, and there is a lot of information out there on the internet that may or may not be helpful.
Pros of Self Publishing
A primary benefit of self-publishing is that you don’t have a contract and you maintain full ownership and creative control of the work. You are compensated for all sales of the book without a percentage taken out of it by a publisher. You are 100% in control of all decisions. If or when your book takes off, you will get all of the royalties, minus any vendor fees you may have to pay (printing fees etc). When working with a traditional publisher, their various departmental teams do most of the legwork, resulting in less payout for the author. It is very hard to get noticed and traditionally published, so self-publishing circumvents the barriers to the traditional publishing industry. Doing it on your own at first with services can allow you to build an audience and cultivate a voice that makes you marketable to bigger publishing houses.
Cons Self Publishing
Self-Publishing can be challenging, as you as the author have to do everything, and it requires a lot of research and tenacity. You have less direct access to resources than traditional publishers do, such as bookstores, printing connections, publicists, graphic design artists, and editorial teams to name a handful. You also have to pay for the cost of publishing your book yourself without the benefit of receiving an advance. All publishing costs associated are fronted by you as the author rather than the publisher. You can make lots of mistakes along the way, and without someone teaching, helping or guiding you, mistakes can happen. You may release a book with issues or have formatting problems with your cover or the interior. As you learn, you will get better, but the process can feel overwhelming, especially if you are only self-publishing one book and don’t see yourself as someone wanting to publish lots of books.
How to Self Publish
How do I self-publish? This question is very broad and each person may take their own approach, but there are a handful of industry tools and services out there to help self-published authors. For ebooks, there are platforms such as Draft2Digital and Kindle Direct Publishing. You just have to provide a properly formatted manuscript and the corresponding artwork and these services will push it out onto their platforms for ebook purchase. It is important to double check the formatting requirements before you upload any manuscript for ebook consumption. You also need to purchase ISBNs and copyrights, (Bowker is one place to purchase) and assign an ISBN to the finished work in each format. Draft2Digital provides free ISBNs if you use their service. If you want to self-publish print books as well you need to utilize a printing resource such as IngramSpark and provide the required formatted work. Marketing is also important when self-publishing, as you should make sure to have social media platforms to help boost and promote your work. Utilizing advertising and marketing features from Amazon, Instagram and Facebook will help promote your book and reach new readers.