Advancements in technology have opened up the literary world for hopeful authors. Not too long ago, the only way for writers to get their work published and distributed was with the help of big-name publishing houses. Thanks to the Internet and a variety of tools, self-publishing is now a popular and easy method for individuals to market and sell their books to the masses.
Based on discussions with some authors who have successfully self-published, there are several tech services that make the process easy. Here are the top three they mentioned:
1. Online Self-Publishing Platforms: One of the very first thing someone who wants to self publish has to find is a website that will do the printing, publishing, and distribution for them. CreateSpace and LuLu are two of the largest. Both offer “print on demand” services, which means that books are printed only when someone orders a copy, so neither the author nor the publisher is responsible for unsold inventory.
“One of the greatest benefits of publishing now is print on demand,” explains Jed Diamond, PhD, author of several books focused on helping men live long and well. Jed is the founder of the website Men Alive, and has been self publishing since the 1980s. His most recent book is MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress with SimpleEnergy Healing Tools. “In 1983 I had to buy 2,000 books to get the price per book down to a price that anyone would buy.” Diamond said. ”Now I can literally have one book printed when I need it and the price is not only reasonable, but you can actually make a decent profit.”
2. Social Media: When authors go through the big publishing houses,they get the support of a marketing team to help promote their book. When self-publishing, most authors have to do the selling themselves. Perhaps the best free way to get exposure these days is through social media. Sites like Twitter, Linked In, Google +, and the app Goodreads all allow writers to reach out to potential readers.
Bonnie Nordling is a children’s writer who is currently working on self-publishing her first book series about the time-traveling teddy bear Sir Teddy Bertie. Nordling is fairly new to the industry, and without the backing of a publishing company she had to work on getting attention through social media. ”Social media has helped me finally feel like an ‘author’ because I am linked to other authors and am constantly reading tweets and messages from people in the same industry,” Nordling said. “You get to learn about your competition, but the trick is to not let it intimidate you. Social media is fun and when ‘work’ is fun, then it is even more likely to pay off.”
3. Cloud/Data Backup: Authors don’t write a book in one sitting (at least not most of them). It takes time and effort. It takes several drafts and edits. So what happens if someone is three-quarters finished with their newest book and their computer crashes? That’s where cloud and data backup services come into play. By having their writing backed up somewhere other than their computer, a crash or accidental deletion becomes much less disastrous.
“My computer only had to scare me once with that blue screen of death before I started to back up on the cloud every time,” says Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, self-published author of several self-help books for women and love, including the upcoming Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie. “Using cloud technology also frees up your computer space, which is often needed for authors.”
Diamond, Nordling, and Wish all agree that online publishing sites, cloud, and social media are extremely important for authors who want to self-publish. The beauty of self-publishing is that it allows anyone to write a book and get it published. However, in order for it to actually be purchased and read, authors have to do a little more than just ink their stories.