Is Self Publishing a Book Really Free?

self publishing a book seems to be free and magical, but not necessarily the case.

Self Publishing a Book Seems Magical & Free–but, Truthfully, it is Hard Work & Costs Some Bucks

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Book Coach-Speaker

Now that digital publishing has spawed the concept of self publishing a book–the book publishing industry has entered the field of the World Wide Web. Therefore, the obvious question rises on the horizon of online book publishing. Is it possible to make money when self publishing a book? In this article we address the question for those considering entering the ring of digital book publishing.

Self-Publishing a book is more doable with this Free Self-Publishing Toolkit by Deborah S. Nelson from Publishing Solo

History of Book Publishing

Book Publishing reaches back into history; and traditionally was an pricey venture. The printing press was an expensive piece of equipment in the first place, as well as the set-up for printing just one book. Consequently, this required an up-front investment for printing at least 10,000 books to make one book affordable. See the video below which explains in more detail the difference between digital publishing and traditional publishing.

Now that digital publishing allows any of us to print just one book affordably, that makes self-publishing doable for a one-person or small enterprise.

Money Required for Self Publishing a Book

Before we can talk about making money in publishing a book, we need to talk about the costs involved to get started. Since expensive printing equipment or set-ups are not required, anyone with a simple computer and an idea for a book can enter the field of book publishing. With no large investment required, the potential profit obviously skyrockets.

However, expect to put in some sweat equity, or pay labor costs to prepare the digital file for publication. For more details about costs involved in publishing a book read, Real Self-Publishing Costs to Publish a Book.

Millions Made by Publishing a Book with Digital Publishing

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How Much Does Self-Publishing Success Cost?

Digital publishing equipment has made a new self publisher era possible. No longer considered ‘vanity publishing,” many successful traditionally published authors are getting excited about the size of their royalties made by publishing a book themselves. Take Barbara Freethy, for instance, author of 34 novels including the Wish series and first author on Kindle and Nook to sell one million books. She has been writing for 20 years and was published through four different publishing houses. Freethly is now self-publishing. “Once I saw how well my self-publishing books were doing and how much more attention and focus I could put on my own books, it was a pretty easy decision [to continue self-publishing] because those books have been doing so much better,” Freethy comments.

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Amanda Hocking has made millions with her romance series on e-book platforms as well. Considering now, that the self-publishing industry is estimated as a 52 million dollar industry in 2012, there is big money to be made in publishing a book. Self-publishing figures appear to be eclipsing traditional book publishing numbers many times over.

Amanda Hocking and Barbara Freethy are just two of the most well-known millionaire authors. Indeed, this article just barely scratches the surface. Huffington Post Live has a comprehensive video interview with some of today’s most successful self-published authors. Therefore, with the publishing playing field leveled, they interview Hugh Howey, Darcy Chan, Bella Andre, Jasinda Wilder, all New York Times Best Selling authors, and all approaching 1 million or more in book sales. So, with royalties what they are in self-publishing, you can bet those sales numbers has brought each of these authors millionaire status.

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Self-Published Bestsellers Top NY Times List

Self-Published Bestsellers are Romance Authors

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author/Publisher Publishing SOLO & VRTG
Self-Published Bestsellers

Self-Published Bestsellers

Romance authors are some of the self-published bestsellers exploding in the self-publishing genre. With the middle man of traditional publishing out of the loop; books are less expensive and authors can make a real living from royalties. Interestingly, rejection letters from traditional publishing companies are commonplace such as with romance author Stevens, who hit number one on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

A recent event in Seattle covered by a local news station interviewed self-published bestsellers and romance author S. C. Stevens:

SEATTLE – Hundreds of excited fans will line up to see celebrities in Seattle this weekend. They aren’t movie stars or musicians, they’re writers, and some are best-selling authors with passionate followings.

They all started without the help of a publishing company, taking part in a revolution in the book world that lets writers print their own books, and make money while they’re at it.

Author S.C. Stephens is part of the Seattle author event, which is a short trek from her home in the Puget Sound region.

For Stephens, a day at the office starts with a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Next stop, her computer, just a couple rooms away.

Gone are the days of being a bookkeeper, commuting between businesses, and answering to multiple bosses.

“I usually worked over 40 hours in the week just to make ends meet,” Stephens described.  “It’s just completely changed all of that. I quit all of my jobs and I just stay home with my kids.”

She quit all of her jobs except her dream job. Stephens spends her days weaving romantic tales that have fans gushing over the “epic love story” that’s “utterly delicious, addictive and angst-filled.”

Those reader reviews on Amazon are for “Reckless,” the final book in a trilogy that began as a self published phenomenon.

Stephens launched the series with “Thoughtless” – a novel she first published, free to read, chapter by chapter online.

“They loved it. Almost instantly there were reviews and comments. They were falling in love with the characters. It was very strange,” she laughed.

When Stephens decided to stop giving “Thoughtless” away for free, she used a self publishing website called Smashwords. On the site, authors publish and price their own e-books, getting them directly to major retailers.

Mark Coker founded Smashwords.

“It’s been incredible fun to see writers who were previously rejected by the large publishers now selling hundreds of thousands of books,” Coker said.  “It’s great to see writers dreams realized.”

Coker knew what authors faced, after penning a book with his wife that no publisher would take a chance on.

“Smashwords allows me to take a risk on every single author.  It allows me to give every single author in the world, every writer in the world, a chance. A chance to publish, a chance to be read, distribution to the world’s largest retailers and the opportunity for the readers to judge whether that writer is worth reading,” Coker said.

He founded the company in 2008 and helped authors self publish 140 books. By 2012, Smashwords was a $20 million dollar company that published more than 200,000 books.

Authors are making money, too. Coker says an author earns about $2.00 by selling a self-published book for $2.99.

Through a traditional publishing house, he says the book would have to sell for $10.00 for the author to make that same $2.00 profit.

The driving force in the self published world is romance. Author Colleen Hoover was living in a Texas trailer park when she self published her romance novel “Slammed” through Amazon.

“I did try to query agents and I got a lot of rejection letters,” Hoover told ABC’s Nightline earlier this year. “The book had already come out and I was getting rejection letters after it hit the New York Times.”  (See More)

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How Can Your Book Be Among Self-Published Bestsellers?

Not all self-published books are self-published bestsellers, but many self-published authors make a good living by keeping 100% of their royalties. Are you a romance writer? Have a dream to publish a book among the self-published bestsellers? Want to learn how to self-publish in 3 days?


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