As a publisher you must decide on which format(s) you will publish your book. Do you want to publish e-books only? Do you want to publish print books only? Both?
Each carries with it a cost uniquely associated with the format published. E-books tend to be the cheapest to produce. But unless you are a top-notch do-it-yourselfer, you will still need someone to design your cover, your book’s interior, and convert your manuscript to e-book files. Depending on the book itself, this could cost anywhere from $100 to several hundred. The more graphic intensive (read labor intensive) the book, the higher the cost will be.
For print books there will be setup fees. If you want to keep your own copies in stock, expect printing and shipping costs. What about audio books? Production, studio, and narrator fees aren’t cheap so expect to dig deep into your pockets if you want to hear your book on your iPod.
PRINT BOOKS ONLY
Is there a future for print books or has the digital revolution started this format down an inexplicable path to extinction? If I had a crystal ball, I could answer that question with some degree of certainty. Print is still the largest medium and will continue to be that way…at least for a long while. My personal opinion is that print will be here forever. It might diminish its stronghold, but I foresee no extinction for the printed word. At some point in the future, the equilibrium between print and digital will find its own fulcrum. The fulcrum might shift from time to time (like the current resurgence in popularity of vinyl records), but print will always be around.
As much as I am a printed book fan, I am also a Kindle fan. Perhaps, since my wife and I travel a lot, it makes more sense (to me) to travel with one book-sized reading device that can hold thousands of books rather than hauling around several books from destination to destination. I find fiction more enjoyable to read on my Kindle, however I find non-fiction best suited for my needs in the print format. I’m a die-hard DIY person. I buy and use non-fiction books for reference. I mark pages with sticky notes. I find it downright painful to use my Kindle for reference as I haven’t mastered the art of bookmarking and fast retrieval of those bookmarks. For me, research is easier and faster with print books. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating one medium over another—just stating a personal preference. And my point is, I am not alone in that preference.
Print books still sell—a lot. Non-fiction and fiction alike. Most beach goers and poolside readers don’t want to contend with sand and/or water getting on their electronic reading device.
As an author of print books, you must take a more active role when it comes to promoting your books than with e-books only. That means getting out and doing book signings at local bookstores and libraries. If an author’s name and face isn’t out there greeting the reading public, then that mountain of boxes stacked around your house will never dwindle in size.
Many authors/publishers are choosing not to invest in print at all but instead are opting to publish e-books only . There is nothing wrong with that if that’s your choice and that’s how you want to be represented. There is indeed a market for e-book only authors and a lot of money can be made without ever seeing your book(s) in print. But keep this in mind, as fast as e-books are growing, print still holds the lion share of the market. One day that might change, but as close as it has gotten, it isn’t there yet. And also keep in mind that there is still a strong resistance to e-books by many diehard print book lovers. If you choose to publish only e-books, your book will never reach their hands and you run the risk of permanently alienating them as readers. The best thing you can do as a publisher is offer your reader a choice. Remember, you don’t want to miss a sale therefore it makes sense to offer your book in as many formats as possible.
PUBLISHING BOTH P-BOOKS & E-BOOKS
Most traditional and independent publishers take this route. And there are advantages. As I mentioned above, if you publish both print and electronic books then you saturate your potential market exposure. Another advantage is that the same manuscript [and usually formatted interior design] can be used for both mediums. If your interior is print ready, most of the work has already been accomplished for conversion to e-books.
Another question that seems to pop up for publishers who publish both p-books and e-books is when to release each medium to the public. Some publishers release the print version first and allow the e-book version to follow later. Other publishers do the opposite. The current trend is to release them at the same time (same release date) and personally, I think this is the way to go. I’ll discuss the intricacies of choosing a release date later.
Another big decision with print books is which format(s) to print. Do you want hardcover or paperback? Trade or mass-market? What price should you charge? At first the task might seem daunting and intimidating, but, as I will detail later, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re reading this now and your book is 100% finished, meaning you have a cover, and your interior is already designed, then you are only a couple of weeks away from having a top-quality print book delivered to your doorstep and literally only hours away from seeing it available in e-book form for purchase online.
But don’t be too hasty and jump the gun. There is still a lot left to consider before publishing your book. Remember, do this right.
If you would like the entire book, Publishing Unchained: An Off Beat Guide To Independent Publishing, Click here. Available in eBook or Trade Paperback