I was standing in a large chain bookstore, sifting through the shelves with my phone in my hand. I was taking pictures of fonts. Yes, fonts. I wanted to get some ideas of styles I liked as I began planning the design for my own book.
The woman browsing next to me also had her phone in hand. She smiled at me and shyly confessed that she was shopping for books by jotting down notes in her phone. She liked coming to the bookstore and finding what she liked, then going home and ordering them from Amazon.
I love visiting bookstores. The smell of new books, the atmosphere, and a cup of fresh coffee. It's one of my favorite places to be! But when I'm on a budget - and who isn't - ordering online can be more economical and efficient. Especially if you save up your purchases and order them all at once to get free shipping!
This brings me to my main point as we get into week 3 of our series on self-publishing.
Amazon is the number one space for online book sales.
I'll be honest with you. I'm not a numbers gal. I've read article after article citing what percent of book sales happen through Amazon as opposed to other retailers. The numbers are ever-changing, but trust me. It's a lot.
Why is this important to me as a self-published author? (The new trendy term is 'indie' or independent author.)
Because as a self-published author, your book is less likely to end up on bookstore shelves. That's the reality of it. It CAN happen, but most brick and mortar stores now require a book to be published by a traditional author before they will purchase it for their stores. This is just something to consider when deciding if self-publishing is right for you.
What is the difference between Createspace and Kindle Direct?
Createspace is the free service offered by Amazon for publishing your book in PRINT. It is called a print-on-demand service. When someone orders your book from Amazon, it is printed and sent to the buyer.
Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon's e-book service. When you upload your files to Createspace, you are given the option to have your files converted to e-book for availability on Kindle, or you can visit KDP directly and set up a separate account if you have a professional formatter create your files for you.
More about Kindle Direct Publishing...
When you create an e-book using Kindle Direct, you will be given the option to enroll in KDP select. This makes your book available exclusively on Kindle, but it also has many benefits. To learn more about this option, visit this link.
What I like about Createspace...
- You work on your own timeline. Upload files when YOU are ready.
- The process is simple. The program walks you through a step-by-step set up. Here's a look at my book homepage, where you can see how each step is checked as its completed.
- Notice the "Member Support" link on the left? That's where you can go to get live help!
- You are given an online copy to proof before you approve your book. You can also order a print copy to be mailed to you to proof as well. (I did this, and found a problem in the print version I didn't see on the online version. I had to upload new files, order a print copy again, and proof a second time.)
- Your online 'bookshelf' makes it easy to set pricing, see how much your royalties will be, track sales, and more.
What I don't like about Createspace...(only one thing)
- You can't set a release date or have a pre-sale. This makes marketing and setting a launch date a challenge, but more about that next week. However, you CAN set a release date with your e-book on KDP.
3 important things you need to think about:
1. What size should my book be?
On Createspace, you will find a list of standard book sizes. There are many standard sizes, and it's best to pick from those. Here is my super-technical process for choosing a book size...
I picked my favorite books on my shelf at home and held them in my hand. I decided which one felt best when I held it. Then I copied that size.
2. What is an ISBN number, and do I need one?
Click here for a great article by Joel Friedlander about the ISBN. The good news is that Createspace will assign you a valid ISBN when you create a new book title. Remember this: you will need to get your ISBN assigned first, then give it to your formatter to include it on your copyright page.
3. What do I include on my copyright page?
This is a tough one. I enlisted the help of an editor to assist me with the correct copyright information for different Bible versions I referenced in my book. I would definitely suggest professional help in making sure you have the correct copyright information. Here is an article that helped me with this, as well. Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page
You can also find other helpful articles on my Pinterest page, Self-Publishing Tips.
Next week we will look closely at marketing your independent book. Is it that much harder when you don't have the help of a publisher? We will answer that question and more! Any questions so far? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.