A quick guide on how to self-publish your novel online

Going down the E-book publishing memory lane before the advent of print-on-demand (POD), the internet and all the fancy toys and softwares we now have, publishing a book, say a novel, required that person (usually the author) gets in touch with a vanity press (vanity publisher) and pay an amount of money (usually, a fortune) to have their books published. Plus, the author compulsorily had to sell the rights to the publishing house and accept an advance on future royalties. Basically, everything had to be done totally at the discretion of the publishing house. However, the vanity presses lost their sway at the arrival of POD technology, and more so the advent of the internet birthing the era of self-publishing.

Presently, the same degree of retail publishing that conventional publishers have is now readily available online to everyone out there who can as little as scribble a few lines across a few pages via services like CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Amazon KDP, etc.


Before You Go on to Upload Your Work Online,

Take a moment to consider these questions which will help you make informed decisions:

  • Do you know where to find your desired audience online?
  • Would your readers rather prefer print to digital or vice-versa?
  • Does ‘E-book only’ work for authors in your genre, or do they mix a lil’ print alongside?
  • Does your novel require color, as this may pose difficulties in producing and distributing it across different platforms?

Another thing to really consider in your quest to publishing your novel online is that you’d have to be cool with being online all the time. You may also need a website of your own and wait a lil’ while longer for the profits to start rolling in.


A Thing or Two about Online Publishing Services

This is really going to sound really crazy but the first thing you need to know about online publishers is that: they are not publishers. And that’s because, unlike traditional publishers, they are not accountable for the quality of the novel and neither claim any rights to it. The features of E-publishers (most of them, anyway) include:

  1. Sometimes, a little tech know-how is required to work with the tools provided to help you convert, upload and list your files.
  2. You keep 100% of the net profit, if you pay an advance fee, usually a token. If not, a certain percent of your net will be cut by the publisher, especially the distributing class of publishers.
  3. You have the privilege to upload, take down, change cover design, and make your novel available for sale through multiple mediums of through your very own site.

A few self-publishing services out there include Amazon KDP, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, IngramSpark, etc. amongst others.

Another very important factor to consider in publishing your novel online is:

Book cover design

They say, ‘do not judge a book by its cover’…..yeah, right! Tell that to academic geeks who bury their noses in large management or scientific tomes, and other boring pieces. Truth is, we all just books by their covers. For instance, you’d most likely give a second look (or even buy) a book on ‘how to make money’ that has visual illustrations of money, such as stack of bills or flashy cars than you’d a book on the same subject without any illustrations. Book cover design is as important as any other aspect of publishing a novel, online or offline.

In order to maximize your sales you might need to set a low price for your piece, especially if you are an unknown author. This would encourage readers to want to try out your novel and also keep you afloat in a very competitive market. Also very important is writing an amazing and professional review for your novel. Sometimes your Amazon page is all a potential buyer needs to see to make the decision to take a chance with your novel. If you cannot do this by yourself hire a freelancer to put down a great review for your novel.

With this information, I believe you are ready to make it as a self-publishing author. If you have any more questions please leave it in a comment below and we’d respond promptly.

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