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Highs and Lows of Self Publishing

I haven’t blogged for some time, because of the steep learning curve I’ve found myself on with the next step in the self publishing process. The Kindle content and the cover photo have long been live on Amazon, and re-uploaded several times: https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=Karrana&ref=nb_sb_noss_2,,

The next step has been publishing in hard copy, that is, paperback books.

One of the highs of self publishing on Amazon, is that you don’t have to pay money to a third party, or wait for months while publishers decide whether to publish your manuscript or not. You earn 75% royalties rather than what publishers can afford to pay you. You can publish first as an ebook for Kindle, and re-upload until you are satisfied with the product, before ordering paperbacks. Amazon KDP gives feedback when you first upload, advising of any spelling and other errors. There’s a lot of information on the KDP website for the first-time author/publisher: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/.

Forums and help lines exist also, both on KDP and outside, in particular the helpful Kindle Board forum site: https://www.kboards.com/

One of the downsides of publishing with Amazon, if you live in Australia, is the cost to purchase the book in hard copy. I discovered that I couldn’t order Author Copies at a print-only price, which I could have done if I lived in the northern hemisphere. Having contacts in France, however, meant that I could send gifts of the book to relatives for the print-only price and a small additional shipping cost.

Fortunately, I had already opened an account with IngramSpark which also operates here in Australia. It’s a Publish-and-Print-on-Demand company with an office in Melbourne. Their procedure for formatting and ordering hard copy was in line with Amazon’s. Lightning Source to the rescue! Lightning Source is a printer and distributor of print-on-demand books, a business unit of Ingram Content Group. Within very little time, I had ordered a proof copy to be sent to my address in Coogee for a lot less than Amazon’s fees. I await the arrival of this precious cargo, hopefully before I press the publish button on this post.

Another problem was finding a venue for my Book Launch. There is mistrust surrounding self publishing, as many poor quality manuscripts were published in earlier days. Amazon has put a brake on this, by implementing strategies to prevent badly written books being uploaded. For example, I was able to re-upload my document until I had perfected it. I am more than happy with the care and support Amazon provided me and would recommend them to others wishing to try self publishing.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that a progressive bookstore in Glebe was open to my holding a book launch on their premises and supporting me with catering, wine and publicity. Here is a link to their publicity brochure for my forthcoming talk.

Many writers are keen to learn about the process of self publishing, especially if they are proficient at self editing, as well as skilled at creating longer written works. I naively thought that I could offer an Author Talk/Book Launch in a library for my debut novel Karrana, and broaden it to include Self Publishing also. The talk would have focused on my publishing journey, as well as information about self publishing with Amazon. Having met up online with others who know a lot more than me about this publishing process has chastened me. I now realise that my knowledge of self publishing is still in its infancy and the task would have been huge and beyond my skills to achieve.

eWould I accept a publishing deal from a traditional publisher if it came along? Of course, I’d consider it, since much of the work involved in self publishing is taken away from you. Still, I’ve enjoyed the journey and processes involved in creating my own publications. And holding the book in your hands for the first time is almost as good as giving birth.


5 Comments
  • DERRICK WASHINGTON
    Posted at 09:07h, 21 August Reply

    Hi, Anne, I read your article and I understand your concern about uploading your book cover. In fact, many self-publishers run into similar problems. To rectify the problem you are having with uploading your book cover, try checking to see if it’s the correct file format (PDF). If you’re uploading this file format, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    • Anne Skyvington
      Posted at 14:43h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks, Derrick. Someone else said that they often receive a message from KDP to add minor measures when they use 5×8 book size and not 6×9. I’m indicting my husband to look at it when he has a moment. I’m so glad you read my article. it might be a simple case of my having made a minor change and not having sent a PDF of the whole doco, as you suggest. So kind of you to offer assistance.

  • DERRICK WASHINGTON
    Posted at 09:07h, 21 August Reply

    Hi, Anne, I read your article and I understand your concern about uploading your book cover. In fact, many self-publishers run into similar problems. To rectify the problem you are having with uploading your book cover, try checking to see if it’s the correct file format (PDF). If you’re uploading this file format, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    • Anne Skyvington
      Posted at 14:43h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks, Derrick. Someone else said that they often receive a message from KDP to add minor measures when they use 5×8 book size and not 6×9. I’m indicting my husband to look at it when he has a moment. I’m so glad you read my article. it might be a simple case of my having made a minor change and not having sent a PDF of the whole doco, as you suggest. So kind of you to offer assistance.

  • IAN WELLS
    Posted at 11:01h, 02 December Reply

    I really believe almost anyone can write, one simply needs to be courageous enough to try. Wanting to be read is not vanity. There is a lot of talent out there and the self-publishing route opens the door to just about any subject, genre or niche market. But it takes courage to set out and to set up on one’s own. I think a self-publisher needs to seek advice but not be discouraged if an “expert” agent’s assessment is not positive, the self-publisher needs to listen and learn and to try again. The market is big enough for everyone and every piece of work if it is good enough. Quality is what is required, quality and the bravery to give it a go.

    I think you should be very proud of your decision and the path you have chosen, self-publishing means you have a large degree of control and that you retain the rights to your work. There should be no contract disputes following that path. This is why I think bravery is a more appropriate description than vanity for what you have done and are doing. This bravery also comes in when you allow others to see your work. It’s never easy to “put it out there” into the public eye even though you have spent so much time agonising over each sentence, writing and re-writing, polishing and re-polishing to make it say exactly what you intended , having friends and family read and re-read drafts and making it all as perfect as possible.

    Unlike you I don’t have that necessary bravery and am too lazy to spend the necessary time refining my jottings. I prefer to limit my writing’s exposure to friends and family in its raw format hoping and trusting it will not offend and that it will be appreciated for what it is.

    Well done, Anne. As I always say, right on, Anne, write on!

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