You already developed marketing content for your business. It may take the form of articles, blog posts, Web content, Twitter tips, Top 10 lists, white papers, or tools you’ve created for clients. You can leverage that valuable information by compiling it into a print or e-book. With today’s accessible publishing tools, it’s also easy, inexpensive, and valuable, too:
- Books position you as an expert in your field.
- Books can create a form of passive income.
So, do you know what tools are available to you? Do you know the effective shortcuts that keep you from cutting off an arm and a leg to pay for it? Here are some starting points.
Of course you can always pursue publishing with one of the Big 6 traditional publishers—Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Macmillan, The Penguin Group, and Hachette—but you lose time and control there. It’s typically a two- to three-year process of finding an agent, working through editing to the house specs and the design, and the actual production of the book. You also will need to, for the most part, go with their editing suggestions and cover design. Marketing is still on you, except for a short initial push, and that valuable shelf space in book stores.
Indie publishers, a segment of which is considered vanity press, offer an option in between traditional publishers and self-publishing. They hold your hand through the book creation process and charge you for various steps, including printing. You often will need to store your own inventory and manage your own distribution with these companies.
Almost all the publishing folk I’ve run into like Lightning Source. Many say their printing quality is excellent, but their best benefit is their association with Ingram, the book distributor. They’ve recently added a print-on-demand service, as well, which stops the need for inventory.
LuLu offers many of these same benefits, but one of its differentiators is that it prints hardcover books as well as the softcovers typically published by other providers.
Here’s a Live Hacked article comparing Lightning Source with some of the other publisher options to be covered below.
A note of caution: There’s quite a bit of speculation about the integrity of a group of indie houses, including Author House, iUniverse, and Abbot Press (Writer’s Digest). Do your research.
More and more boutique e-publishers are entering the market no, too. I happen to edit for one very reliable e-book, and now print, publisher—Desert Breeze Publishing—out of California.
Again, I urge you to do your research before using or, especially, giving any book rights to an indie or e-book publisher. Search online for ratings and comments, or talk to a publishing consultant. Find the great ones, amidst the chaff.
My favorite publishing option, and the resource most accepted in the publishing world to-date is the Amazon platform including CreateSpace (for print books, CDs, and videos), Kindle Direct Publishing (e-books), and ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange).
This on-line portal allows you to do everything yourself or, for a fee, can help you with various publishing steps from book creation through marketing. To use CreateSpace for a print book, here are the basic steps:
- Open an online account
- Fill out their online form, to get an ISBN, pick book size, paper color, pick distribution options. You may opt to pay a minimal fee for extended distribution, which gets you into the computer systems of the larger book store chains.
- In the online form you’ll also upload a book blurb and author bio.
- The site provides access to design tools and templates to help you create your cover spread and interior layout.
- Once the materials are completed to your satisfaction, you upload PDF files.
- You review an online proof once CreateSpace approves your materials (usually within 48 hours)
- When everything’s perfect in the proof, you click a button to publish.
- CreateSpace will automatically generate an Amazon book page for you (typically within 48 hours)
- Then, your book is available and CreateSpace will print up any books as they are ordered (print-on-demand)
You manage Kindle e-book creation through CreateSpace.
Another author favorite is Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of indie e-books. The beauty of this platform is its ability to publish e-books in all reader formats: for Apple, computer, Kindle, Nook, etc. Its upload process is very similar to CreateSpace, but may take some additional formatting.
I often tell authors to budget at least $5,000 to create a quality book… your biggest investments will include editing, design and layout, and the base cost of books you plan to sell yourself.
If you already invested time in creating quality blog entries, for example, you should be close to having finished documents to compile into a book. This means you could get away with a medium-priced editor and a design contest—through Mycroburst.com for example, upload everything yourself and spend only a few hundred dollars.
You can save a ton, if do almost everything yourself, but you a solid skill set in design, writing/editing, and marketing to be able to do this effectively. Your best bet is to hire professionals, especially for editing and design.
I challenge you to build your credibility and generate passive income. Simply look at your marketing materials to see what you might already have on deck to compile into a book.
Tell us about your book publishing experience or tools…
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth