6. Six Different Options for Publishing Your Book.
There are primarily six options for self-publishing your book, an e-book, a physical printed book-both of which are sold just on line, a printed version of your book that you sell in bookstores, a quick print stapled version that you might give away, a PDF book that you can sell on your website and maybe an audio book. Inside each of these are different formats and binding options.
A. E-Book. When we say e-book we usually think of a Kindle book, sold on Amazon. Kindle books are usually created using MS-Word and are read using a Kindle reader or app. The Word file is saved in html or mobi formats and uploaded to Amazon. But there are also other kinds of e-books which use the epub format and a wide variety of e-book readers. These are distributed through sites like Barns & Noble with the Nook, iTunes, Kobo, Sony and many others. Overall about 80 or so. E-books can also be created as pdf files and sold off your own and other sites. Kindle and epub books have an interior file and a cover file.
B. A paperback print book. For this format we use a service of Amazon.com called CreateSpace.com. They are the print-on-demand self-publishing side of Amazon.com. Someone orders a book and the individual book is printed, packed and shipped to the customer. Amazon collects the money and drops it into our bank account. CreateSpace is a fantastic service. We create an interior and a cover pdf file, upload them to CreateSpace and we are a published author on Amazon. There are also many other ways to publish your book, including hardcover, spiral, saddle stitch (staples), audio and maybe even video. Publishing on CreateSpace keeps you just on-line on Amazon with a paperback book. You can also take your book to bookstores and worldwide distribution using companies like IngramSpark.com
C. A book you can sell in bookstores. I am not recommending this route yet. You are just getting started but you might have the question of how do I get my books into bookstores. One of the negative sides of CreateSpace.com is that they don't really sell to bookstores. Bookstores don't order them because you can't return the books that don't sell like you can with a traditional distributor. To be in the distribution bookstore system we would look at IngramSparks.com. Ingrams is the largest bookstore distributor in the world with 39,000 outlets. They are very similar to CreateSpace, print-on-demand, similar formatting and uploading. But they work with stores. The also work with the on-line print-on-demand stores and the e-book stores. Don't go this route until you have published a couple of books and are ready to start acting like a publisher.
What most people do is options 1 and 2, a Kindle e-book and/or a CreateSpace print book. I recommend doing both of these. It doesn’t matter a whole lot which you do first and if you time it correctly you can launch both formats at the same time. A Kindle e-book is usually the route most authors go for a book launch because they can price the book at $.99. It makes for an easy sale.
A few people in my Facebook author group have started using IngramSpark.com and spreading their books beyond Amazon. It takes a bit more work and a little money with fees, but to be in stores you need to be with IngramSpark.com. Ingram is the world’s largest book store distributor. Something like 39,000 outlets around the world. There are other options for your books, a quick print book, which is great for a handout or a book in the lobby of your business. And a PDF book which you can use as a lead magnet or sell from your website.
D. A quick print book. This is an option where you can create a simple little 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" book, usually from MS-Word or InDesign. This makes a great little book that you hand out to potential customers. Generally, this method is for books under 32 pages that you want to distribute locally or hand out. The book can be created very quickly and very affordably. This format works great for a Top Ten Questions & Answers types of book. This book generally also has an interior file and a cover file for printing.
E. PDF book. One of the cool things you can do with your book is that it can also be turned into several other products that you can sell or give away. You can use the PDF you already have from the printed version. The same file can be given away or uploaded to a site like Gumroad.com or Sellby.com and sold from your website. You can also use it as a lead magnet to get people to sign up for your email list. Attach it to one of the auto responder reply emails.
F. Audio Book. Record your book and turn it into an audio or video book, or even a podcast for iTunes, SoundCloud or Sketcher. Each chapter is an episode. Your book is a readymade series just waiting to be broadcast. Each chapter can be record using a video camera and you now have the material for an on-line course, with a PDF bonus book. It can all be the same content just in different formats. Turn each chapter into a blog post. One advantage of blogging the book is that Google will bring you an audience and by looking at your stats you will see what part of the book is resonating. Once you know this you can start expanding that chapter into the next book.
ACX.com is like CreateSpace but for audio. It is a division of Amazon and handles their audio books.
The key here is to deliver your book in as many formats as you can to as many readers as you can. How does your audience want their books delivered? Figure out how and do it. Primarily though it is usually an e-book with Kindle and a print paperback book with CreateSpace.Check out my entire course on writing, designing and publishing your print or e-book. I go into much greater depth on creating books, How to Publish Your Book, click here