DISCLAIMER: Key word: Personal. This is MY blog and MY feelings. Anything expressed in this post is because of my PERSONAL experience and might not reflect the opinion(s) of others that happily publish through indie presses. When you’re reading, please take that into account. The ONLY reason I am giving my personal experience in this post is because I feel its important to hear someone’s experience so that others can learn. Like anything, I ask that you do your homework and not take my personal experience as gold. If no one spoke out, there would be NO change in the world. I’m choosing to use my experience as a stepping stone, not only for myself, but for others that might be in the same boat.
I’ve recently went to self publishing after a very bad experience at an indie publishing house. Because of that, I’m a bit bitter about houses. I’m not going to knock all of them because I’m sure, in fact I know, there are some amazing houses that treat their employees with respect and treat their manuscripts with the most professional attitudes possible. For me, I didn’t have that. AGAIN, THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE with the house I signed with and might not reflect everyone’s opinion that may have had a much different experience publishing through them.
With that said, I’m trying very hard to get over the fact that the publishing house [I signed with] spent less than $400(and that in my opinion is over estimating) and took more than 30k for their slit. **Note because of an email I received: They claim to have spent 4k(thousand) PER book on promotions, edits(which I had to request my books to all be re-edited), book covers, and more. I’ll let you use your own judgment on whether or not you think that is a true statement. For me and to keep the peace, I’ll just hold back my opinion on it and stick with my original post.**
Yes, it was what I signed. I signed the contract agreeing to give them half of my royalties, but I never expected to get so little from it. We live, we learn and we grow. That’s what I’m doing. I’m angry; I will not lie, but most of all, I’m on a mission to make sure others aren’t ripped off the way I, and many others were, from these small Indi presses that basically only load your manuscript on the sites. I want to remind you, that NO house makes YOUR name. YOU make your own name. You write the books, you represent your brand. Houses(if done right) only help the process. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that the only reason you made it was because of them. I KNOW I did this on my own. Maybe it wasn’t that way for others, but for me, it was. I’m sorry now I didn’t self publish from the beginning. Letting someone else steal your achievements by saying that THEY made you into what you are is so wrong. The fact is, I could have done it with or without them. Did I learn? Oh, yes, both good and bad things. I know they said they spent 4k on promotion, but until the email I received, I never knew or heard anything about it. You’d think they’d be telling the author how much they’re doing to help them grow or telling them their business plan for the sale of their books, but again I’m going to zip my lips on what I really feel. Because of this, I know wholeheartedly that I DID MY BEST. I PROMOTED my books. I sold my books. Did they help, sure, but I did about 98% of it on my own.
I MADE MY NAME. SIMPLE AS THAT.
With that said, I’m going to give you the run down of what to do. This is just a simple template on how to self publish so you CAN BE THE PUBLISHER and make all your money.
First thing, it will cost you money to get started. You have to spend money to make money as they say, but the amount of money you’ll put out is nothing compared to the amount of money you’ll take in if your book sells well. I’m going to give you a run down of my personal expense so you can get a clue as to what it cost to put a book out there. Again, this is MY experience and each person might differ.
Book cover: I pay anywhere from $100-$140 that is for a full package which includes an ebook cover, 3d images, social media banners, full professional wrap, and much more. I use Jay Aheer from simply defined art. I love her. Here is a link to her page.
An example of one of my wraps…..The watermarks aren’t on the final. This was a proof.
Editing: This should be your most expensive investment when publishing a book. Because of that, you can spend close to $500 or less on a full manuscript. If you’re budgeting for a rough estimate, I would use a estimated value of $450 to go by, but know it can be less or even more. Most good editors will have proofreaders, line editing, and two read troughs. CLS Editing is great and she offers PAYMENT plans! Which most don’t. Just keep that tucked in your head 😉
Beta Readers: Use them, love them, watch them…. but remember they’re not your editor, so don’t expect too much from them. They’re there as your support. Most good beta readers will catch things you never could. Why? Because you have author brain. It happens. You read what you think should be there! It happens. Beta readers are fresh eyes and they’ll catch things. Also, Grammarly as a FREE feature that allows you to load and check for minor things. It works great as a stepping stone to your editor. Most Beta readers, at least all I know, do this for free in exchange for a free ebook, but make sure to work that out with the people involved.
Here is the important part…..EDITING. FORMATING, and BOOKCOVERS is what all these “indi presses” do for you and then they take 50%. Some do promotion, but most will clearing state in their “contracts” that this part is on the author themselves. So you still have to do the work and you’re paying them. I guess you’ll figure out what is fair. Oh, as a reminder… READ your contract! And make sure the contract is SIGNED(not electronic) by both the author and the publisher. Other than that, legally the contact is void unless it clearly states in the contract that the parties are agreeing to electronic signatures. Make sure there’s no room for a publisher to find loop holes. Reminder: ISPN number are generated free, for the most part, so if they say they purchase them… get proof.
The formatting, unless you want something really fancy, can be simple. I’m going to tell you the jiff of it.
**This is specifically for Amazon and Kindle formats**
Formatting: Play by play, that looks beautiful in kindle form.
- NO TABS EVER. They look good in the script but they will mess you up when conforming to the kindle or any other formats.
- The entire doc should be in JUSTIFIED. There will be places where you’ll want to center the text, all you do is highlight those areas and then hit centered. Chapter headings will fall under
- Indent .5 on first lines only with a 1.5 line spacing. For anything centered or Chapter heads, you’ll want to make sure the indent is taken out. What I do is highlight them and just change that way. Same with any pictures you might use. To make them look good, you don’t need the indent. The only thing indented should be the actual text.
- Times Roman at a 12 pt font is the best, and even publishers will require this.
Simple, right? Pretty much… there will be times you’ll want and need to tweak the doc. The best thing, just play with it, but remember to SAVE the doc first so if it messes up you have it. With that, SAVE.. BACK UP, EMAIL… save your doc anyway you can in different place while you write. Believe me, this could save you if your computer crashes.
So you have your final document. It’s all pretty: edited, formatted, and ready to load.
The next step, and you can set the account up any time, would be to go to Amazon KDP(Kindle Direct Publishing). It’s linked to your Amazon. Now, if you use a pen name, you’ll want to make sure that the KDP and the amazon account it’s linked to is in your real name. This will never show to the public. It’s only for you.
Set up everything, which will include payment options for royalties. The easiest, direct deposit into your bank account or paypal. They do offer a check, but it can take much longer to get to you. Once you have that all cleared up, you’re ready to load your baby.
This is what the screen for YOUR account will look like. (these are screenshots. I’m sure not the most professional way to show you, but hey, you get the idea.)
You’ll want to click on the box where it says, “Create new title.” yep, pretty simple so far.
After you click that, the introducing KDP select will come up. This is where you’ll want to decide if you want to be in Kindle Unlimited. I have had great success with it, and so have other authors, but this must be your choice. The following instructions are based on the “yes”…. although, most are exactly the same. So. Click yes, enroll. Then you want to set your price for the book. They do 35% or 70% royalties. No brainer really, you want the most 🙂 BUT… if your book is less than $2.99 you have to do 35%. KDP will walk you through this. Then it will take you here,
Simply enough, fill out all the details. If you are republishing a book, then in the edition number you want to add two. Scroll to this…
Add Contributors. CLICK: this is where you’ll add YOU as author(use pen name if applicable), then editor, and cover artist. Usually no more than that…but use your judgment. Next…..
This is NOT a public domain. You own your rights…which, I will do another post on later 😉
Age range… pretty easy to figure out. Who do you write for? That is the range. Erotic must be 18 or over.
“I am ready to release my book.” You can do a preorder, but if this is your first book, you might just want to do a regular release.
Load your book cover. If you have a professional one, they’ll have the right size and pixel for ebook. If not, the image must be at least 1800 x 2700 pixels in size. That is a standard size ebook, but it doesn’t look well in print. JUST ebook.
The digital rights will vary if you are in KU, follow instructions.
Load the edited version of your doc. Now, important!! SAVE DRAFT. Then you’ll want to view the kindle version. This will give you what your doc will look like if it’s on kindle. This way you can make any necessary changes to the document before you hit publish. 🙂
After all that is done….. you hit the big PUBLISH! Amazon usually take up to 48 hours for a book to go live. So remember to allow time for that. It will also flirter some content. Amazon is reachable thought the costumer service number and then just ask for KDP.
Now, you’re a self published author. You can follow your sales and KU orders through the reports section. You can follow your royalties, but remember KU will affect those and same with returns.
Your book is LIVE, now what?
Promote as you see fit. Some like myself will share in groups, but word of advice, try to divide it up. You don’t want to spam and then people will skim over your posts because they’re sick of seeing your name 😉 But with that, be personable and make yourself known. Interact with your readers and develop a relationship with them. Be you. They’ll love the you are.
Join groups, but make sure to read the rules. Make friends with bloggers, they can be a great partner.
Social media is almost a necessary evil. Speaking from experience, just don’t get caught up in the drama 😉
SO MY EXPENSE for self publishing a book: around $400. Average: I spent about $380. Again… that might go up or down with the amount of words in your document and whether you need a paperback.
I hope this was helpful. I really just wanted to let you know that YOU CAN DO IT! There is NOTHING that a publisher can do that you can’t. Most small presses aren’t stepping stones like you might think. They’re only middle men between you and Amazon. If you can afford it, this can be a very profitable choice for you.
I’m going to do another blog post on paperbacks 🙂 So look for that later.
If you have any questions or need help, I’m always willing to help you out. You can look me up on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck. Go kill it!!
CONGRATS YOU ARE NOW THE PUBLISHER!!!
***This is my opinion. This is my experience. Some things may be different, please make sure to follow all instructions on KDP.***
Thanks for the advice – the screenshots are great 🙂