Self-publishing your book can be one of the smartest, most cost-effective choices you ever make as a writer. With the market gearing more towards digital distribution and steering away from traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores, large publishing houses have become far too selective about what they buy. Even if your book was sold to a publisher, the terms of the contract are much less lucrative than they would have been in the times when huge writers like Stephen King and Orson Scott-Card got their start. Self-Publishing is extremely easy to get started with and there are many sources available to authors which enable them to get their book seen by growing numbers of people.
When I decided to look into self-publishing, one of the first companies I checked was Lulu. They are a “do-it-yourself” self-publishing house which allows you to create all of your content online and have it submitted for publication that very same day. They have tools available to allow writers to create cover art and when the book is created, authors can set their own price. This cuts out the middle man and allows for a larger profit margin for the author. Keeping money in your own pocket and out of the hands of major publishers is enough to make any author jump for joy. Like any other business, Lulu does need to make money. That is why they set a base price for any book sold. Depending on the type of binding and the number of pages your book will have, this price will vary. In order to make money, authors will need to raise the base price. Any profit made from the sales of books above the base price will go to the author directly.
I am thankful that I did my homework before starting to publish my novels. There are many mistakes which can be made if the author is not careful. For starters, it is extremely important to avoid pay services at all costs. These services are also referred to as “vanity presses.” They will offer to publish your work for a fee upfront. These companies also encourage you to buy a large number of your books at a slight discount for you to personally sell to readers. This is not something that any writer should have to go through to see their works published. Typically, money should flow to the writer, not from them. One company in particular who is notorious for this is “Publish America.” I encourage all writers to avoid this company like the plague. They promise to purchase books with an upfront payment. The truth is that they buy your book for a dollar and then encourage you to buy copies to resell. The just don’t bother telling you that first. Publish America looks legitimate on the surface and many writers swear by them. That’s simply because they provide the allure of being a real publishing house, when in reality, they will “buy” books from anyone, regardless of quality.
Just remember to be careful and make the choice that is best for you. Publishing your work can be a brutal experience, but when matters are taken into your own hands, it can be rewarding as well.