This is the part two in a series of articles that will guide you from creating your e-book to publishing it online. This is based on my experience of self-publishing several novels and anthologies over the past few years. The novels I am referring to here are gay, and both erotica, and non-erotica.
How do you start?
Everyone should write a book, they say, and why not? I’m all in favor of that. But can everyone publish a book? These days the answer is yes. It used to be that, to self-publish your own writing, was an expensive business. For a start, the only way you could achieve some kind of saving in cost was to have thousands of copies printed, then there is the distribution and the binding, the cover art and the type setting. Now though, all that has changed and you don’t need to get a leading publishing company on board in order to see your work in print.
There are some, of course, who argue that unless a ‘real’ publisher has seen you work, edited it and published it, then your work has not been accepted, or somehow verified as being ‘good’ by those who know. That doesn’t wash with me. The only people who matter, when it comes to accepting your work, are you and those who read it.
How it gets presented and publicized, and indeed published, can now be entirely in your hands, thanks to certain online companies. And the really nice thing is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to finally hold your written work, in book form, in the palm of your hand.
And as for cost? Well, talking about non-explicit writing (some companies will not entertain erotica or pornography, adult material etc.), there is no reason why your book should cost you anything, apart from the printing and delivery of what you order. Sounds too good to be true? Well, let me tell you that I have published several books, through an online company, and all I have paid is the printing and postage costs, I don’t even pay the mark-up that I myself put on them, which other buyers pay. And I didn’t have to order hundreds of copies. If I want one copy I pay for one copy, it is printed and sent. If someone else wants one or one hundred copies, the same applies.
Who is this company? Well, here are probably several, but I use lulu.com. And I found this site/company after reading an article about the (now defunct) British publishing house Gay Men’s Press. I was going to send them a manuscript as they’d considered my manuscripts in the past, favorably, but I discovered to my sadness that they had gone out of business. It was a very small publisher, I grant you, but the article put the blame at the door of online publishing houses such as Lulu.com; so I went and had a look.
I now make a small but regular amount of money from selling my books through them. I have my own storefront online which I can customize; I can set my own prices, and make up my own formats. You can also pay to have someone do this if you want, I don’t though, I like to try it myself. The site also provides templates, so you only have to copy and paste from your word processor into a template and you’re book is almost ready. They even convert your files to the correct format for printing.
But, back to the main point. There are companies around who can and will print your self-published writing for you, so if you’ve ever wanted to have your own book in print, you now can.
Over the next few articles I will tell you how I did it, from actually writing the book, to preparing it for publication, to marketing it. I can’t promise to tell you how to write well, nor how to make money, but I can let you in to my secrets.