How many of us have written a novel only to have it end up sitting, unpublished, on a shelve because no major book publisher is interested in publishing it and we are not sure if we want to deal with POD (print-on-demand) companies that sometimes take large chunks of the royalties and retain publishing rights. Too many writers have felt the frustration of not being able to get our work to the public who we feel will appreciate our words, if not our effort. While it is easy to simply give up or wait and try submitting the manuscript to publishers later there is always the option of taking the task of publishing into our own hands.
Now I know the idea of self-publishing your own book might seem like a daunting task or might not seem as tasteful as being picked up by a major publishing company but really give the idea a thought before you put it on the back burner. The majority of large publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts from the public and those that do are only willing to do that if they are sure they have a potential best seller on their hands. Other publishing houses are willing to accept manuscripts only if they come from the office a literary agent and many agents are not willing to accept unknown authors unless, again, they feel they have a chance of representing a potential best seller.
These days it is not unusual to find authors publishing their own work or having it published by POD companies without dealing with a negative stigma. While it might seem easier to give one of these companies some money and your manuscript, publishing your own work is not that difficult and, in the long run, you will earn more money. How is it possible to earn more money? You will be able to keep 100% of the profits and as long as you keep expenses down these profits, after the costs associated with getting starts, will still exceed what you would traditionally get from a public company.
The first step in establishing your own publishing business is to register a Doing Business As name or a DBA with at your local courthouse or government center. This might seem like a waste of time to those who are in a hurry to get started but it is necessary to get a DBA so that when tax time comes you can file a Schedule C and right off expenses associated with your business. Establishing a DBA is usually inexpensive but the fees vary from state to state.
Once you have your DBA you are pretty much ready to get started. The next thing you need to do is obtain an ISBN for your work. This is the International Standards Book Number which is necessary if you want to place your e-book or printed book for sale at online retailers. This number can be obtained through R.R. Bowker online for a fee of $205 for 10 ISBN’s. This might seem like a steep price to pay but remember you are actually reserving a total of 10 ISBN’s and when considering the fact that several POD companies charge more of that for the publication of one book and the registration of is ISBN your getting a good deal.
Why do you need so many ISBN’s? You don’t always need to use 10 ISBN’s right away but you do need a different ISBN for each version of your book be it the paperback version of your book, hardback edition, or e-book. Also you will have the ISBN’s available for the next book you want published or if you end up publishing for others. You only need to pay an additional $205 when you have used all 10 of your reserved ISBN’s.
Now that you are ready to get started you can decide if you want to sell your book in a printed format, E-book format, or both. The easiest, and less expensive, course is to concentrate on e-books since these files can be sent out via email in PDF format or on read protected CD’s avoiding shipping costs. Also there are several different software options available that can convert your text file into a variety of e-book reader compatible formats.
As soon as your book is ready to go you’ve got to make sure it is accessible to the public. Listing it with major online book sellers is one of the best ways to get noticed. Amazon has made it easier for self publishers to list their books and Barnes and Nobles has followed suit. Also Borders online site has begun listing more self published authors. If you have your own website you can always sell directly to your fans with the help of a merchant account. I currently use Card Services International and find their online credit card processor easy to use and convenient/safe for online buyers. Also Paypal is a user friendly choice for merchants and is widely recognized by the public as a safe tool for online purchases.