My route to self-publishing a book took a very long time.
Many years ago, I finally got around to finishing a book I started to write just before my daughter was born (she’s now 14!). Sleepless nights and endless nappies took their toll and my notes and ideas were just lost in a drawer for many years. Then one day I got my mojo back and voila! I just hit it, writing out endless reams about the direction I wanted the story to go and finally, putting it all into a Word Document on my laptop. Even the formatting and checking my English grammar took a long time, it’s amazing the things you forget from school English lessons! So the book came to fruition, well almost. I attempted to send it to a few publishing houses with fingers crossed, along with a banging synopsis, but in all cases I got a big, fat NO. Not one to be put off (I mean, how dare they not like it!) I researched the route of self-publishing.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Back then, self-publishing was in it’s infancy but still didn’t seem very difficult. I created an account on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and uploaded my Word document. Your book needs to meet certain content and quality guidelines. I received a few notifications about margins, headings, paragraphs etc. but overall it was pretty easy. If you don’t have your own front cover to upload then they have a huge selection you can choose from.
There are a lot of settings directly under your control like title, description, keywords, categories, etc. and you can also specify the author name, where to display it, write the author bio and decide on price. You can earn up to between 60-70% royalties on the list price you set, minus printing costs if you also choose this option. Initially, I set it to be a Kindle downloadable book, but I also decided a few weeks later to create a paperback version. A bit like a Print on Demand service, you can set it up and specify the size of the printed book, and there is no upfront cost to pay to create it initially.
Kindle or Paperback or Both?
I was quite excited about the thought of actually having a paperback copy with my own name on as author, even if I never sold one single copy. Initially, I ordered a Proof Copy, which is like a snapshot of how it would look before it goes to print. With a proof copy you can check for grammatical errors, typos and formatting and review images or graphics to make sure they meet your expectations. Ordering proofs isn’t mandatory though and you can submit your book for publication right away, it’s up to you. Proofs are different from regular copies. They have a “Not for Resale” watermark on the cover and no ISBN number. It was useful for me as I realised I didn’t like the size of the book I had chosen to be printed so I was able to make that change. Once you are happy with your proof and have made any changes, you can submit it. During printing, the book has a unique barcode placed in the lower right-hand corner of the back cover and of course, I wanted a copy of that one too so I ordered another copy, but this time it was the all singing, all dancing version….and here it is!!
The great thing about self-publishing is the rights to the book are your own. You keep creative control and can make changes to it at any time. It also means you can get your book to market fast and in a few minutes it can be on Kindle stores worldwide. It will also have 100% availability as printing on demand means your book will never be out of stock.
You can literally write a book about anything. Mine was a fiction book aimed at 8-10 year olds, but there’s no reason why you can’t even write a travel book to supplement a travel blog, or a ‘guide to…..’ some thing or some hobby that really interests you. It took me 10 years to get around to finishing off my first book, so you may not see the sequel just yet, but I’m actively writing ideas down and flushing out the story, so at least I can say its ‘in progress’.