Des Pensable, copyright 2015
Ever wanted to publish your own book about your pet’s love for poetry, your advice to the Prime Minister on how to run the nation, an illustrated guide to women’s smoking habits, your best fishing story or perhaps how to hold a beer glass correctly so that you didn’t look like a bogan. Then here’s a quick guide of how to do it.
Step 1 Write your masterpiece on a computer in Microsoft Word as most publishers only accept it as a word doc or docx file. Some also accept it in Adobe pdf format. Note that ebooks don’t have page numbers only chapter headings. The reason is that in an ebook you can change the size of the text which would normally change the page numbering.
Step 2 Get two or three friends to proof read it and make suggestions about its content, the layout, the grammar and so on. Beware! Friends and family are good for finding spelling errors but bad for judging quality. They are afraid of hurting your feelings. If it’s a “vanity” project – you just want to see yourself in print then keep going skip the professionals and do it all yourself – it’s fun and inexpensive
If you’re serious about writing a novel then get a professional reviewer to read it and make suggestions. This will cost you money. The rate is based upon the number of words – $100 to $400 is not uncommon. This is probably where you’ll get annoyed, dispirited and think the reviewer is an idiot or you can take their advice and rewrite the whole story again and again and again until it’s great.
You’re also going to need a cover. E-publishers generally supply a cover designer program so that you can do it yourself or you can pay for a professional which will cost $50-$ 300 depending on what you want.
Step 3 Log onto Smashwords.com and read their how to publish your own story guide. They will tell you that 95% of people never make any money out of their books. Many NEVER sell a book. If it’s mainly for friends and relatives then there is no problem. If it’s to provide shelter and sustenance you’ll probably perish.
They have a written and a video format guide that you need to read as your work will end up running through their format checking machine. If it’s not right the machine will send it back to you saying please read the format guide and resubmit your work. So you can’t dodge out on reading or seeing it.
The cost of producing an ebook is free. You will have to agree to give them a small percentage of any sales you have. They don’t produce paperbacks so you’ll have to go to the next step if you want to have a book for the coffee table.
Step 4 If you want to see your masterpiece in paper it will cost you money. The cheapest option is the use a Print On Demand (POD) publisher like Lulu.com who do both ebooks and print on demand paper books. They can produce books in a wide variety of sizes. They have a very neat format guide for each book size. If it’s mainly text like a novel or poetry then you cut and paste your work into their format guide and hey presto you have it. They also have a format checking program but it’s mainly to check that the layout is correct. It assumes you have had it proof read and reviewed.
The next step is to add a cover of your own. Lulu supplies a cover design program which is quite easy to use or it allows you to provide your own to its template specifications.
If you want to publish a book with lots of coloured pictures, the layout is more important than with text and it will take you more work and the final product will cost you more. The cost per book as expected reduces with volume. If you’re interested in a small number of black text on white paper books with a coloured cover, say 1- 20 think about $5 upwards per 100 pages. If you want dozens or hundreds then you can get substantial discounts for volume. Coloured illustrations will add to the cost.
Lulu will also sell your book for you in their on line store and if approved on the general world market through other book stores such as Amazon. They will however, take the lion’s share of the profit. They have neat program that tells you their share and your share.
One final comment worth considering is that both Smashwords and Lulu are US companies. If you sell anything though them the US government will withhold 30% of the sales value for taxation purposes. It is possible to get a tax waiver form and send it to them and they will only keep 5% of your sales value. Inevitably you’ll have to chase them to get it back.
There are lots of other e-publishers that you can find on Google and the services obviously vary. The two I have talked about here I have tried and found their services very easy to use and give very professional results.
E-publishing is VERY EASY these days. Why don’t you try it?
Check out my new fantasy novel Visions of Chaos published in both ebook and paper.
or my web site site www.despensable.com.au for more stories.