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Self-publishing FAQs

I get these same questions so often that I decided to turn this into a blog post:

  1.  I have a manuscript. How do I self-publish it?Before you self-publish this:
    * If you have writer friends, get them to beta-read your manuscript.
    * Get your manuscript edited.
    * Get your manuscript proofread.

    Then:
    * Commission an cover for ebook (print/paper book cover will be separate).
    * Get the book formatted for ebook (and print/paper book, when you’re ready for it).
    * Create an account on Amazon and upload formatted ebook file.
    * Set a price and make it ready for sale with a click

  2. Do I publish as an ebook, or a print book?* Start off with the ebook.
    * Get it formatted as an ebook.
    * Upload to various vendors like – Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, pronoun.com etc. You cannot upload to many international vendors (like Apple) directly.
    * When you’ve learned more about the process, learn how to upload the files for print/paper books.
  3. How do I pick an editor?Ask around. If you’ve read a book you liked, check the acknowledgment section. The author will often thank the editor.

    Talk to multiple people. Ask for sample edits. Maybe the first three chapters, to see if the editor and you are on the same page.

  4. How much does it cost to have a book edited?Prices vary widely, but between Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 25,000 for every 100,000 words.
  5. How much does Amazon charge to sell my book?There is no charge for you to upload your book and sell it. The royalties they share with you will depend on the price you set for the book.
  6. What is ‘genre’?Each book needs classification in order to find a category to sell it under. Some examples of genres are: Romance / Horror / Thriller.
  7. Give me the formula to make my book a bestseller.No one can give you that, not even traditional publishers. If they could, they would ensure that every book of theirs was a best seller.
  8. Can you suggest a ‘banner for publishing’?I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Self-publishing is when you, the author, create an account on Amazon, Apple etc, and upload your own book. You set the price, and you collect the royalties. If you give control of this to someone else, they will be the ones controlling this.

    At various self-publishing workshops I conducted, I heard horror stories of stolen copyrights, and stolen royalties.

    Do the research. Spend the time learning about what you’re getting into before taking the next step.

  9. I have a ‘package deal’ from a prestigious company. They are asking for money. Or: they want to share the printing costs.Money should flow from the publisher to the author, and not the other way around. Anything else, you need to be careful.

    Lot of reputable traditional publishers are trying to cash in on the self-publishing phenomenon. They’ve tied up with not-so-reputable vanity publishers. Since the vanity publisher often approaches the new author under the banner of the traditional publisher, understandably, authors are confused.

    A good rule of thumb: if they are asking for money to publish you, be careful. Traditional publishers do not need money from you – they already have your work.

  10. Can I get help with self-publishing?Lots of “publishers” will be desperate to sell you their services. Don’t buy packages because you don’t know the quality of editors, cover designers, book formatters etc. Join writers’ groups. Ask questions. Learn everything you can, before jumping in.
  11. What about ISBNs?Ebooks don’t require ISBNs. When you upload your book to Amazon, for example, they will assign their own proprietary ID for your book.

    When you do a print book, the vendor (like CreateSpace, pothi.com etc) will assign you an ISBN. If you want your own, apply from the government of India, though I have not bothered to do this.

  12. How do I get my royalties?When you upload a book, you set the price. If your book is priced between $2.99-$4.99 you can keep 70% of your sale. Otherwise 35%. No other charges. If your bank account is linked to Amazon, your royalties will get deposited there.
  13. I’ve self-published my book. Can I submit it later to publishers for traditional publishing? What happens to the ebook then?

    Unless you have cracked the Amazon/NY Times bestseller list, no, you can’t. Unless you can get creative and generate demand for your book, there will be a limited number of buyers for your book. Once you exhaust those, no publisher will be interested.

    In the extremely unlikely event that a trade publisher offers you a contract after you’ve self-published, what will happen to your ebook / printbook / audiobook etc. rights will depend completely on how much clout you have. You might be able to negotiate to keep certain rights though, honestly, I don’t see that happening because trade publishing contracts have gotten extremely restrictive. They are claiming rights to everything, and in perpetuity.

 

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  1. June 30, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Samasti's Weblog.

  2. Natasha
    June 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Very useful article Rasana, thank you. Reblogging.

  3. Natasha
    June 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Natasha Musing.

  4. June 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Reblogged this on mamatha jahnavi.

  5. June 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Sai Scribbles and commented:
    Reblogging this fabulous compendium of Self Publishing FAQs by Rasana Atreya. I credit her for inspiring me to Self Publish my first book (and my upcoming one too!)

  6. June 30, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Reblogged this on The Diary Of A Rolling Stone.

  7. June 30, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Sharing it on my blog. Thanks for the publishing tips.

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