I remember the very first time in high school that I completed a short story that somebody else enjoyed reading. Ah, the rush! The satisfaction. The months of churning out dull stuff had finally paid off. I’d been published. What I’d published was actually good.
It was at this time that I started dreaming of writing the New York Times bestseller. The book that would surpass all books, except the Bible. At the time, getting a publisher to look at your work wasn’t easy, if you were an unknown. There were Vanity Presses that would publish for you, but the cost was $700 and upward.
Then, along came digital printing. I have written and self-published three of my own books using a digital printing service online. Two of them cost less than $7.00 to publish. This article is how anyone can use digital printing and self-publish his own books and pay less than $12.95.
Digital printing has pushed self-publishing to a whole new level. People who dream of publishing their own book can simply create it, upload it to a website and have it converted into digital format. The books are printed only when the creator purchases them. The author can have just one or 100 books printed at a time. There’s no stack of printed books in some warehouse, closet or attic taking up space.
There are many self-publishing outfits on the Internet, but there’s only one that I know of that provides this type of print on demand. The company goes by the name of Lulu.
First of all, to self-publish a book and get it to market for $12.95 or less, I’ve made some assumptions. The writer has to be computer literate and Internet savvy. He or she may not understand how to write HTML or Java or Joomla. A basic understanding of using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher and some type of graphic software will suffice. If the writer does not have a computer, public libraries are equipped with computers with high-speed Internet connections. Library computers usually have Microsoft Word installed at the least. The writer will also need an email address, notebooks, pens, pencils and resource material.
Next, you’ll need an idea of what you’ll write about. Most writers have known for years what they’ve wanted to publish. Some have written that novel or biography or how to book in a spiral notebook that’s hidden under the bed collecting dust and cobwebs, as the writer awaits his opportunity. Now is the time to pull the notebook out, dust it off, clean it up and begin typing it into Microsoft Word. There’s no need to double space, just remember to indent and use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
What the writer is doing is creating what’s known as the first draft. When the first draft is completed, proofread and edit for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. A wise writer will check for the accuracy of dates and facts he’s used in his book. If at the beginning of the novel, the protagonist is 20 years old, then by the end of the novel, he should not still be 20 if the novel spans a 15-year period. If a writer is in love with his or her own work, it will be hard for him to edit objectively. For the sake of greatness, the writer needs to divorce his work long enough to give it the kind of critical editing it needs to be worth the read.
Once an author has edited and corrected his work, he or she should rewrite the book and let a trusted literary friend or teachers read and critique it for them. The next step is called the final rewrite, in which all corrections and changes are made, and the literary work is perfect.
The next set of steps involves the self-publishing process. First a writer will find a published book and copy its front-end style – title page, copyright page, introduction, dedication page, table of contents if one is to be included. The writer will format his book the way he would want the inside pages to look and to press specifications. That’s part of the reason it only costs $12.95 or less to self-publish; the writer does just about ALL the work himself. Next he will upload his manuscript to the press and follow the document conversion prompts.
The writer must next be concerned about front and back covers. Hadn’t thought about covers yet? Covers will either sell or repel your book. The press usually has some free cover art the self-publisher can use. Or, the author can create his or her own with digital photo graphic software as inexpensive as Kodak Easyshare, which is usually free when purchasing digital photos on a Kodak CD at Wal-mart. Create the cover and upload it to press. If the writer used any photos inside the book, he or she must be sure they haven’t infringed on any copyrights, and they have permission from all parties to publish the photos.
Once the formatted book and covers have been uploaded, the press will convert your document and covers, and within minutes, your self-published digital book appears right before your eyes. The writer gets to price his own book for sale. The press charges for books as they are ordered. In other words, there’s no minimum or maximum number; there’s no inventory. The online service charges are based on a production fee and the number of inside pages. A perfect bound 6×9 paperback book with 150 pages or less will cost the self-publisher $7.50 to print. The print on demand service also offers free International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), an online storefront, and marketing tips to self-publishers.
Writer, what are you waiting for? It can’t get any easier and cheaper than this. Of course, for the book to reach New YorkTimes bestseller status, the author will have to wear many other hats: that of marketer, seller, advocate, promoter and so on.