So many options
At last you have a finished product and you are ready to send it out into the world. But how do you get it there? These days (2017 as I write this) independent authors have a huge range of services available to help get their work published. They will be covered in more detail in later sections, but in brief they are;
Get a publishing contract
Broadly speaking, this is when someone will pay you for some or all of the rights to your work and they will take care of the editing, proofreading, marketing, cover, layout, etc. for you. There are pros and cons to this and it is right for some and not others. If you are offered a publishing contract – well done! Very few are! But as this website is about self-publishing we will leave this one here for now.
These are companies that will do a lot of the hand-holding for you, but in general you should be able to retain your rights. They might be good options for people who don’t want to know anything about publishing a book, or people who feel it is technically beyond them. But consider this – you just wrote a book. That is beyond most people. There is very little, if anything, that a publishing service can do for you that you can’t do yourself. And remember, their business is getting you to buy their services. Actually selling your books is not a priority.
Here we come to companies and services like Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. These companies provide an indie author distribution to millions of customers, and sometimes a range of marketing tools and services as well for no more than a cut of the book sale price. Some even let you list your books for free. The downside is that you have to be the one to get the book ready for publishing yourself. That means designing covers to the right specification, uploading your work in the right format, writing your book description etc. It is more work than either option above but it puts you in complete control of your work.
There’s a wide range of websites and tools out there as well, which don’t involve you making a book. For example, Wattpad allows you to publish stories chapter by chapter. A blog (WordPress, Squarespace etc.) will allow you to publish your work on your own platform, and other platforms, like Tumblr, will let you publish fiction to a ready-made community.
No wrong answers?
Once you have a completed work the options available to you are very wide-ranging and for the most part, choosing one doesn’t mean you can’t ever go back and change your mind. Just make sure you’re not signing you life away
Let’s look at some of these options in more detail…