There’s no doubt ebooks are changing the way we enjoy our books, so of course publishing, the process by which an author gets their work to their readers, is completely changing as well. If the term ‘self-publish’ means essentially having control over all aspects of the publishing process, then it’s never been more accurate than with digital publishing. Let’s look at what’s involved in the publishing process and how you can handle it on your own as an indie author using the same methods as traditional big publishing companies:
- Get funding upfront – big publishers provide this when you sign the rights to your book away to them, you can essentially do it on your own using your circle of friends and ‘crowdsource’ your funding with tools like Kickstarter and RocketHub
- Package your story – either in print or digitally, you have to figure out the proper way to format and output your work; this includes having someone edit it and someone to design a good cover; the way big publishers do it is they find and outsource to freelance agencies and individuals; you can do the same with sites like Elance and Behance
- Build a reputation – as companies, big publishers develop a presence; you can do it with your own online presence by using social networks and various community-based platforms like GoodReads and LibraryThing
- Market your story – as you build your reputation, leverage your social networks, plan out a tour by finding and contacting venues to do readings at, send out review copies, get a table at a convention; the web is a great communication tool for finding these opportunities the same way a big publisher would do it
- Sell – make sure you have a proper site setup where people can buy your book; big publishers usually outsource this to someone else and you can do the same; you can also use the same online marketplaces big publishers use like Amazon and Barnes & Noble; or get a better cut with Smashwords and Indie Aisle
Start small and build up little by little, repeat the write and promote cycle with every story you release and you’ll get better at it along the way. The publishing process used to be so complex only a big company could handle all its moving parts, but with new tools and communication methods that the web has brought and continues to bring, it’s now possible to do it on your own, and become your own publishing empire.