Self-Publishing Info: Can We Share?

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I have been reading everything I can on self-publishing, and now that I am getting to the actual phase where I will submit my book for all the world to see, I am getting nervous about what to do! I feel like so much of what I read is conflicting information.

ISBNs-

One reliable source recommends obtaining your own ISBN, another says just use the free ones provided. Have your name listed as publisher or someone else? Does it matter? Some say it does—others say it does not. Huh?

Print on Demand-

Whether a single person orders a paperback version of my book or not—I totally want to hold the book in my hand! So, this is probably just for me, but hey, you never know …

So, do I Go with Lightning Source or Create Space? One source says that if you want a chance at having your book in an actual brick and mortar book store you need to use Lightning Source. But Ingram Spark (Lightening Source) is a little confusing to me—and more expensive. But sure, I would love for a customer to be able to order a book directly from B&N or Borders. But the likelihood of that happening is slim to none, according to another book I read …

Where to Publish-

Publish direct to the source (Apple, Amazon, Kobo, etc.) – or use Smash words (or others)? I have to say this one is where I am the most confused. I am willing to lose some money to have someone upload my book everywhere, but I have also heard that this can cause some formatting/conversion errors. I am wondering if this is why a book is popular on Kindle, but when I download it on iBook’s—the formatting is all messed up (and I delete it) …

Although it is super time-consuming and tedious to upload your work everywhere maybe it is worth it. I know a lot of people work with Amazon exclusively, but I am holding back on that. I am an iBook fan, and I just want to put my book everywhere. I am sure there are awesome benefits to exclusivity (I have read about them), but I am most likely going to skip that option.

Converting/Formatting-

Don’t even get me started on how confusing this topic is! POD books have a different format than eBooks. Uploading to kindle requires something different than the other guys. Overwhelming to me!

HELP! PLEASE! I have read so much, but I am still swimming in this sea of information. Can you share what you are using – what worked or did not work for you? Real experience that is more straightforward. Maybe we could all learn from each other. THANK YOU!!!!

*Sorry for lack of sources, but I can’t keep anything straight. I have read so much.*

What to do? What to do?

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53 thoughts on “Self-Publishing Info: Can We Share?

  1. I shall be of absolutely no help whatsoever, but I did want to pop in and wish you all the very, very best with your book and sincerely hope lots of lovely WordPress chaps leap forward with words of wisdom. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used Create Space to publish and have been pretty happy with the result. With the distribution options your book does show up on the B&N website, but won’t be in the stores. Generally speaking, though, as a self-published author, the only brick and mortar stores that will stock your book are indie stores in your community that you establish a relationship with. However, some of those will be averse to the idea of stocking a book printed by an Amazon company (Create Space).

    As far as formatting for ebook, I didn’t want to tackle it myself, so paid a small fee to have it done for me (then wrote that off as an expense on my taxes).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I used lulu.com to get myself a paperback copy of my book. I found their process reasonably easy to use and the paper and print quality is really good for a sensible price. You should definitely get a paper copy for yourself even if you don’t make paper copies available to buy. It’s a really great feeling to hold a physical copy and think, yeah, I wrote that : ) I’ve not looked in to CreateSpace or other POD sites, so can’t comment on those, sorry.
    I only have experience with KDP and Word as far as e-book publishing/formatting/converting. It is tricky to get the formatting right (probably a lot easier if one has a good understanding of html and style sheets). I had a lot of trouble with headings, indents, and the TOC not coming out right early on and highly recommend using Amazon’s preview tools to see what the book looks like on various devices before hitting ‘publish’.
    There’s a free Smashwords style guide e-book that one can download. I’d recommend reading through that if you want to use Smashwords. As far as I could tell there’s no option to preview before the book goes live with Smashwords and that put me off a bit, but I haven’t ruled out putting my book on there at some point. If you are concerned at all about DRM, Smashwords does not give you the option to add it, KDP does. If you have any more specific questions in future I will try to help if I can. I have a load of websites that I referenced bookmarked in my favourites folder. I need to sort through them and try to remember which of them were the helpful ones. A lot of them may be those that you have already visited if you’ve read a lot of information.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, thank you so much for all of your advice- I really appreciate it. I will definitely use the preview function for Amazon! I will be in touch if I have more questions- thank you for the opportunity to pick your brain 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All of us are in the same cyber boat about self publishing. You really have to wade through a lot of conflicting information to see what makes sense to you. I have been doing this for a few years and am still sorting things out. As for formatting, my books are on Kindle and I use a formatter that formats to Kindle specs. Other platforms use different specs. So that means if you want to go on different platforms you have to reformat to say Nook, or whatever you choose. Always a good idea to check with each platform to see how they want it formatted. My formatter costs $60 per book, but that takes the headache away for me as I don’t trust myself to get it right for Amazon Kindle. If you can format to different platforms good for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I too used Lulu for POD. Worked fine for me. I created my own publishing company (business license and all through the locality where I lived then), registered a web-domain with that name, bought an ISBN for the book and uploaded it to Lulu. They initially converted my POD book to iTunes for me and to an eBook for Nook on B&N. The book is available as a POD book from Amazon, B&N, Lulu and most other online sellers. Through Lulu it’s also available on Kobo as an eBook. More recently I uploaded a Word Docx file to Amazon to make it into a Kindle. It’s not that tough doing the formatting cleanup on a Word document to fit for Kindle, just tedious. You need to remove page numbers and headers. You replace them with chapter headings on the page where they start and apply a style to them. That enables the table of contents to be created. Once that’s done, you go in and edit it out the dot leaders to the pages where the chapter starts. Note that since eBooks, regardless of whether they are Nook, Kindle, iTunes or whatever, are free-flowing so there are no fixed pages; they are formed on the fly by the reader. Also, fonts are somewhat irrelevant for eBooks since the reader can adjust the font to whatever they prefer anyway. What matters is having a nice cover for display on the website of the seller.

    You must have a separate ISBN for POD versus eBook. You can buy your own or allow the site publishing your book to supply one. I went one way with POD and the other with eBooks.

    To me, the economics are simple. The more markets and formats in which your book are sold, the more opportunity for readers to buy your book. Even if you don’t need or care about sales, if you care about readers, you have to recognize that all do not worship at the Church of Amazon or Apple; nor do all shop at chains but some will buy from local brick and mortar stores. Going through one of the POD companies will get you distribution for online ordering everywhere, even the indie stores. It won’t get your book stocked on the shelves anywhere. But you might be able to get a local store to take some of your books on consignment.

    I can’t offer any help at going directly to IngramSpark, etc. Just be sure you stay away from AuhorSolutions and any of the affiliates: AuthorHouse, iUniverse, xLibris, Trafford, etc. Check pred-ed.com if you aren’t sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for taking the time for your feedback- that was very helpful. I have been looking into lulu as well. Did you upload your document as single-spaced? I have kept it at 1.5 spacing during the editing phases- but am not sure when I convert. Thank you again!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Re: line spacing, 1.15 is “industry standard,” but I needed more lines to the page, to make my nearly 200,000-word book fit the printing budget. A spacing of 1.5 would look too far apart, and could leave the impression that the text had been spread thin to fill up space. The 1.15 setting is a pre-set value in some versions of MSWord, but in others you have to enter it manually.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog is definitely worth a browse through. And then another browse through and another browse through 🙂 She has self-publishing tips and advice on basically everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have never used Lightening Source but have used both Amazons CreateSpace and Kindle and Smashwords.

    With regard to Create Space for POD (Print on Demand) paperback editions. Formatting can be a challenge so I opted to use one of their ready formatted templates. It worked really well and meant the books where accepted by their system. The only warning I would give is to watch the last paragraph in each chapter which have a tendency to reformat themselves. You just need to highlight them and apply the formatting used for the previous paragraphs.

    When it comes to the Kindle edition you can use the ready CreateSpace template edition and simply add the other elements as directed in the available guidance notes. The biggest headache with this is creating the interactive Contents List but again it is not that difficult if you follow the guidance.

    With Smashwords you have the advantage of your book being made available (BY THEM) to a variety of different sites including iBooks, Kobo, Nook (Includes Barnes & Noble) etc. Do not be put off by people who say it is difficult to format for Smashwords. All you have to do is download Marker Cocker’s (Founder) free formatting guide and follow it step by step (do not try and skim through it). I am far from being tech savvy but, having taken time to follow the guide, was successful in getting my book through their system first time.

    The only site the above do not cater to is Google Play Books. But again it is easy to add your book there. All you need is a PDF which you can easily crate on any computer from your CreateSpace template edition.

    I hope this helps. Please note I am no expert and am simply sharing from my own experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have only fiddled around with it.
    I plan on investing because it’s recommended for self-pub
    Author Kim Golden self-publishes and has resources about Indie Authors on her website- kim-golden.com

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In a nutshell, this is what I did:
    CreateSpace for paperback, using their ISBN.
    No Kindle contract.
    Independently signed up with Barnes & Noble Nook. No ISBN needed.
    Smashwords, using their ISBN, for e-books formatted for Kindle and everybody else.
    It will probably be easier for most Indie Author-Publishers to format first for e-book, and then do a paperback.
    I posted the details at my blog: http://wp.me/p30cCH-1F7

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I used Create Space for hard copies for friends and family, but have actually sold a few there as well and I was happy with what I received as a result. In the beginning, I started with Smashwords and did Kindle separately. Currently I have my book exclusively on Kindle so I can use the promotional features. The first round was kind of a test run, but what I did figure out is that you should take the time to format each one for the platform you’ll be using and that it’s nice when someone you know brings you a copy of your own book to sign. I still have a ton of things I’m unsure about, but am hoping that when I put out my next book that I’ll be more savvy. I read books by Michael R. Hicks (because he’s a self-published author and I actually knew who he was) and some others. I found Mr. Hicks’ book particularly interesting with just good hints and tidbits. I don’t know if any of that helped, but feel free to ask questions if you have any. I tend to ramble a bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As a writer and a bookseller, I didn’t want to publish under Create Space, that’s as good as saying “Self Published” to any bookseller out there. I use Lighting Source. All you have to do is convert your book to e-pub on Calibre, buy your ISBN, then upload to Lightning Source. They are really responsive and helpful. Now that a few schools are using my book for some programs, they can buy copies through local book stores. Anyway, that’s my two cents on the issue. I know people who have done well with Create Space too.

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  12. A lot has been mentioned already so I’m keeping this short (She says and lies). First of all, I recommend the book “The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing” by the authors of The Indie Voice http://theindievoice.com/. It covers the whole process and also includes infos about taxes and small business requirements (in the US).

    I can’t say anything about paper publishing but for ebooks, the general recommendation is that you publish on amazon yourself because it will be you biggest point of sale. You can cover all other outlets with a service like smashwords or draft2digital https://www.draft2digital.com/. Some authors also like to publish directly on Kobo, as the interface is easy to use but your book will never outsell amazon there so you have to decide it is worth the trouble.
    You could also start slowly and publish on amazon exclusively first, that gives you some advantages for pricing (I heard that there’s even a service for translating your work but I’m not sure). Then, after 3 months, you go non-exclusive and publish everywhere else.

    A great resource is the site of Joanna Penn http://www.thecreativepenn.com/, who shares her experiences about publishing and self publishing there. If you like to listen to authors telling of their experiences, the podcasts at http://rockingselfpublishing.com/ are well worth your time.

    Good luck with your book, enjoy the wild ride!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi Brittney. I’m in Canada and our ISBNs are free. I use Smashwords for extended distribution and am very happy with their service. No issues. I don’t have to monitor so many accounts and my book is sent to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and more! There are no formatting issues because I followed their guidelines to a tee. I also use CreateSpace. It’s absolutely free to upload your book and again, the most affordable service I could find. My paperbacks are distributed on Nook, Indigo, Amazon and more, as well. I, like you suggested, am only looking to get paperbacks into my hands so I can attend events and sell them locally. CreateSpace works brilliantly for that. I, via Black Widow Publishing, offer author services to help you where you need it and to send you off in the right direction, if you need more assistance than simply reading blogs can offer. http://www.BWPbooks.com 🙂 I hope you’re able to find all your answers! Good luck on your publishing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Try Pressbooks for ebook formatting. If you use WordPress, you can figure out Pressbooks and it formats your books into PDF, Epub and Mobi. I’ll be doing some webinars shortly on ebook formatting using Pressbooks and manually formatting for POD, but I don’t have a date yet since my next book is my main concentration right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I suspect you have more info than you know what to do with by now, but here are my answers:

    Go with Createspace. They’re the easiest ones to use, and give you your own free ISBN.

    Publish on Amazon. Go with KDP Select, as it offers the easiest marketing opportunities. You can expand to Smashwords, B&N etc afterwards, once you understand marketing a bit better.

    Have a look at my posts, http://nicholasrossis.me/2014/10/11/i-just-published-my-book-now-what/ and http://nicholasrossis.me/2014/02/21/a-zguide/

    You might think your job is done as soon as you publish, but sadly it’s only just begun 🙂

    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I saw this earlier and I wished that I could add something constructive, but basically, I hired a writing consultant to put it all together. Decided to go with Amazon/Kindle option. It a couple of hundred dollars and well worth my time, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

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