Publishing a book for yourself has become a much easier task compared with just several decades ago. Pretty much everybody with a computer, a word processor can create his/her own content and convert to some format (ePub, Mobi, PDF, etc) that can be then sold as ebook or printed book through print on demand (POD) services.

However, on the other hand, there are so many ways that you can publish, which is the best place for you to publish? I am trying to address this question.

1. Sell it in your own website

Assume that you already have a website that you used for blogging or personal branding purpose, you can directly sell it in your website. To do that, you would need to add a way of payment in your website (such as Paypal, Credit Cards) or offline payment such as (checks, WestUnion).

2. Publish through major book distributors

Selling through book distributors is a good way to get access to large reader base. Actually, most distributors has added options for self publishers.

2.1 Sell in Amazon

Amazon is huge in terms of book selling and thus deserve first look. The Kindle Direct Publish (KDP) program provide you the tools to create books for Kindle families.

Amazon offer 2 levels of royalty options for you: 35% and 70%. You can review the details of the royalty calculation in the pricing page. Intuitively, you would want to pick the 70% royalty for yourself. However, there are several issues to be considered: if your book are considered public domain content then you are not eligible for this option. And you would need to set the price to be 20% lower than all other channels. The big influence of Amazon also give them a lot to say about how you want to set the price of your book.

2.2 Sell in Barn & Noble

B&N is also a good option for publishing because of the wide availability of Nook. B&N allows you to publish through NOOK Press. The royalty calculation in Nook Press is based on the listing price:

List Price — Royalty Rate

$0.99 – $2.98 — 40%
$2.99 – $9.99 — 65%
$10.00 – $199.99 — 40%

€ 0.99 – € 2.49 — 40%
€ 2.50 – € 9.49 — 65%
€ 9.50 – €199.99 — 40%

£0.75 – £1.49 — 40%
£1.50 – £7.99 — 65%
£8.00 – £120.00 — 40%

2.3 Sell in is actually a POD services company with their own book store. You can create your eBook or physical book with them. For example, manufacture a 100 page book for only $3.25. You can then sell the ebook, printed book in or other distributors such as Amazon Kindle, Apple iBook, etc.With Lulu, you get 80% royalty for printed book and 90% for ebook according here.

2.4 Other Distributors

For other smaller distributors you can either publish through their own POD services (for example Baker&Taylor)  or through third party publishers that partnered with them (for example, Scribd, Oyster books).

3. Publish through third party Publishers

3.1 SmashWords

SmashWord partnered with major distributors such as iBooks, B&N, Scribd, Kobo.

The way of publishing in SmashWord is more close to the traditional publishing. You submit Word document or ePub document according to their style guide. And they will publish for you with the partners.

The royalty for publishing in SmashWords is roughly 70.5% (you will receive the royalty through Paypal).

3.2 BookBaby

BookBaby can be considered as a publishing service company as well. The pricing is straight forward and good. With $0 or $99, you get 80% for royalty, with $249 plan you get 100% royalty.The difference between $0 and $99 plan is that for $0 plan you need to convert the ebook format (ePub or Mobi) by yourself and for $99 plan they convert it for your (word, text, PDF, etc). They can help you distribute your ebook to the major channels similar to SmashWords.

BTW, the conversion of ebook format is not hard, if you want to save $99. You can use the Calibre software I introduced earlier.

4. Publishing for eBook only channels

Actually, as a guy working in technical world. This section excites me most. Many of the tech books are published in the platform that I am going to describe in this section with more text based languages such as MarkDown. If you havent’t try out MarkDown yet, I strongly recommend you to try it out with any one of the many softwares that supports it. It takes you about 5 minutes to get started.

4.1 LeanPub

LeanPub allows you to use MarkDown language to write your book with files stored in DropBox, in the browser or use GIT+GitHub. It is very convenient to use it. When you publish with LeanPub, you get 90%-50 cents/sale.

4.2 GitBook

GitBook allows you to collaborate and publish book there (version control is not a problem with Git, of course). They also support Markdown. With GitBook, you get 80% of the book sales.

5. Should I Publish This Book?

Well this is not a question about “where” or “how”,  it is rather about “why” and “whether”. First you need think about why you want to self-publish that book. Here are several wrong reason you might have.

  • Get RICH quick: If you want to get rich quick by writing a book. You are on the wrong track. Based on this article, the self-publisher earning is lower than the traditional authors (partly because the books published with traditional author/editor model could result in higher quality books) and 20% of them derives no income from the book they self published.
  • Be FAMOUS: Well, refer to the first point. There are just too many books that published with no readers.
  • It is EASY: Actually, Easy should not be your reason to do anything.

After all, writing a book is hard work that requires talent and discipline.

Happy Publishing.

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Where should I Self-publish My Book
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