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An Introduction To The World of Self Publishing

Rasana Atreya, is a self published author who has written four novels, including the best selling Tell A Thousand Lies. In a freewheeling workshop organized by Youthopia, Atreya shared how the self publishing process.

Understand The Different Worlds of Publishing

Self publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing let the author keep 70% of the royalties. In contrast, publishers only pay 5% — 20% of the retail price for print and 17.5% for electronic books.

Work with trade publishers only when you receive an advance and expect to see your book on the shelf. Trade publishing can get you nominated for awards that usually don’t consider self published authors.

Avoid vanity publishers that charge hefty fees for designing, editing, and promoting your book. Tap into assisted publishing houses that let you keep rights to your book and help you in areas that you lack expertise.

Print on demand publishers like Cinnamon Teal, CreateSpace, and Pothi ship a printed copy of your book upon receipt of an order. 90% of self published book sales are ebooks while 10% of are physical books. Print on demand helps authors tap into a niche segment of readers who prefer consuming books on paper.

Golden Rules for Self Publishing

Rule #1 — Understand Your Platform.

Make your book available on popular self publishing platforms like Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Kobo, Google Play, and iTunes. This will attract buyers across different platforms.

Rule #2 — Know Your Genre.

The five most popular genres are romance, mystery, religion, science fiction, and horror. If you want to monetize your work, work with a popular genre.

Rule #3 — Set Your Own Price.

The standard price for a digital book is $3 to $5 and $15 for print. Experiment and tweak your pricing till you have a sense of what your readers can pay. Affordable prices let new readers discover your work.

Rule # 4 — Experiment.

With self publishing platforms, you can instantly change the price for a book. You can run experiments to understand reader response and analyze buying behavior.

Rule # 5 — Earn A Living.

Successful writers can make high five figures ($80,000+ per year) through self publishing. Authors are buying back reprint rights from trade publishers and self publishing their work.

Work With Professionals

Self published writers should invest money in editing, designing, proofreading, and marketing. Readers expect nothing less than a polished end product, comparable to a trade publication. Nothing kills trust faster than poor prose, sloppy grammar, and shoddy cover design. Professionals deliver immense value during the self-publishing process:

  • Proof Read. Use beta readers to fix plot holes before you commission an editor. Use at least half a dozen proofreaders to catch typos and grammatical errors.
  • Design. Hire a designer to get a beautiful cover for your book.
  • Promotion. Provide a free copy to bloggers in exchange for unbiased reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Book reviews are the best marketing currency for a self published author. You can also hire a public relations firm that can manage the outreach process to bloggers.

Tips For Aspiring Writers

Rasana Atreya shared the following suggestions for up-and-coming authors:

Tip #1 — Write.

Get your ass in the chair and write for at least three hours every day. Remember that you can’t edit a blank page or market a book that you haven’t yet written.

Tip #2 — Learn.

Join online groups on writing to understand the tricks of the trade. Check out Facebook, KBoards, and become a member of ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors).

Tip #3 — Network.

Spend time on Facebook and Twitter building a network. Your author friends will double up as your beta readers. Better still, exchange manuscripts with your co-authors and help each other out.

Tip #4 — Market.

Build a list of email subscribers through your blog. Notify subscribers of new books, promotions on existing books, and events you will be attending.

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