When I went looking for images using the Creative Commons search of Flickr I could almost smell the chemicals we used to use when we wanted to make multiple copies of something using a mimeograph machine. Those machines allowed an early form of self-publishing, particularly of things like newsletters.
Obviously things have changed!
Self-publishing and ebook readers have made it possible to publish and sell works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and the like without going through a traditional or trade publisher.
Although tech has made it possible to self-publish, it’s a brand new and often confusing field. These links will help you sort it all out.
Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Self-Publisher is still the go-to book about how to do it right.
Bowerman doesn’t yet address ebooks in detail, which isn’t surprising – the various formats are anything but simple to address. Smashwords is a site that will help you get ebooks together, but formatting for Kindle, the most popular ebook by far is still a problem.
Using Amazon’s CreateSpace is one approach – read the terms and conditions closely and consider how tightly you want your publishing and your sales point to be connected. I get a little uneasy giving Amazon that much power.
The Seattle Times has an article called Amazon.com trying to wring deep discounts from publishers which gives interesting insights about some of the major changes happening in publishing today. They also provided a transcript of a live debate they hosted with publishers and authors about Amazon – a valuable read if your considering self-publishing, or even trade publishing.
I’ve used Lulu.com with some success – I have six books there. So far I think they only offer .pdf for the Kindle – better than nothing. Their blog is often helpful and interesting.
A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing is a fairly strident and opinionated blog about self-publishing – I can’t decide if I really like it or not, but he does have some wonderful information from time-to-time.
The Book Designer provides a weekly selection of links to the self-publishing world in his “This Week in Blogs.” You’ll find a link on his left-column.
AuthoPublisher is an award winning blog that often addresses self-publishing, and also includes trade publishing. For example, Sharon Hurley Hall wrote an article called Why I’m Betting on Kindle for Self Publishing which helps clarify why Amazon’s Kindle is so important.
You’ll notice I don’t have a single link here to the service bureaus that heavily advertise they’ll help you publish and market your book. Many of them are a modern version of vanity publishing – they’ll sell you all sorts of services and you’ll end up with a handful of books and no profits at a huge cost. Be careful. Get references. Read Bowerman’s book so you know what you’re about.
What have you self-published? What are you considering self-publishing?