You want to publish a book. And you’re not the only one. In fact, according to research I recently encountered in a newspaper, almost every second person wants to publish a book. So how do you do it and is there a better way?
Publishing A Book
If you are famous (known in your field at the very least) or have recognized talent, it’s easy: agents actually go out of their way to arrange publishing your books. Because they know that the revenue will be worth it.
If your name, however, isn’t known by your potential target group, your chances for a good publishing contract fall drastically.
Basically, you can contact one of the many publishers out there offering self-publishing (just Google it, you’ll get tons of relevant local results) and arrange it with them. Unlike when you’re famous, as a “normal” person you’ll have to pay for each copy of your book.
The price per copy will be higher for a small order and will progressively fall for big scale orders.
Even if money isn’t a problem, your troubles don’t end there. While some publishers might offer (paid) help to promote and distribute your book, in most cases you’ll basically be on your own, sitting at home with useless mountains of your book’s copies.
You have to understand that no one will simply pay you to take over the distribution – as there’s no guarantee that people will buy it.
After all, we live in times where we get more and more dependent on technology and we do everything digitally, including reading.
So, you might think that publishing a digital edition of your book is the solution?
While it might make it more accessible and contemporary, there’s no guarantee that anybody will pay to read it. People are not only less interested in paying for information, they don’t have the patience to read a whole book only to get a single insight either. A book is a publishing form limited by its own closed format and is mostly outdated.
The Better Alternative
If you have something to say and you want to reach as many people as possible, you have to create open content that encourages readers to interact and keeps them engaged. In two words, you need to start blogging.
Before you conclude that this isn’t something for you, before even considering it, take a moment read about why it’s probably your only option to be heard:
- Form of content demanded by the public. Think of it. When you decided to research how to publish a book, did you read a book about it or a post online? If even you aren’t interested in books, why do you assume others are?
- Accessibility is the keyword to success in the 21st century. We want answers and we want them now. We don’t want to waste time reading long texts or searching after a book in book stores. We want to get answers right away, just after “telling” our smartphone what we’re looking for. This trend isn’t going to turn around and this is the reason Google started providing internet users with short answers extracted from websites upon search, making even a website visit unnecessary.
- The new generation is more into video and short content. The only way to serve the right form of content is via a blog or a publisher as YouTube. A book will never be able to compete with modern content forms.
- A book is static and once complete, it can only get obsolete. A blog can be edited and updated constantly to keep up with developments and trends and to serve your target group in the best possible way. It can also support multiple content formats.
- Both publishing a book and starting a blog has its cost. However, while a book can only bring revenue from sales, a blog can earn you money in multiple ways (commercials, exclusive content, memberships, partnerships, courses, etc.). Additionally, you can in fact start a blog for free – and this is actually a good choice for a beginner.
- The number of readers you reach out to isn’t limited by the number of published copies when communicating via a blog.
- Likewise, the size of content doesn’t make a difference for the price you pay for hosting. Keep in mind though, that if you expand considerably, that is hundreds or thousands of pages or many long videos, it might become necessary to switch to a higher grade hosting option.
- When publishing a book, you’ll have to split the eventual revenue with your partners (publisher, promoter, bookstores, etc.). When running a blog, the revenue is yours.
- A book has a firm format: introduction, presentation, conclusion, and eventual thoughts for the future, if relevant. A blog gives you the freedom to explore your thoughts and experiment.
- A book is written in a specific language and should undergo an expensive and time-consuming translation in order to be published in another language. A blog can easily support multiple languages and can be almost translated automatically (you should still check it for errors). The only thing you need is the right translation plugin.
If You Still Want To Publish A Book
If you still want to publish a book, here’s a list of the 4 best options:
- Lulu – They promote it as a free service. However, you’re still introduced to manufacturing costs for printed books already in step one of the process. If you want to pay, though, or would like to try your luck with an e-book, go ahead. It’s a pretty advanced service helping you with all from start to distribution and sales.
- Amazon – Publish a book to print or as an e-book. You can use free tools but will have to pay the cost of the actual publishing. You’ll also need to share your royalties with Amazon. They can take up to 30 % of your revenue but will help you to distribute your work.
- Kindle Direct Publishing – Amazon is behind this service and this means that you’ll get the same benefits and costs as if using Amazon.
- Blurb – is a service helping you publish a book in almost every format and can help you with distribution as well. You pay for publishing and a distribution fee.
If You Want To Start A Blog
If you changed your mind and want to start a blog, here’s what you have to do:
- Choose a name for your blog. It’s called a domain name. Here’s a guide to choosing a domain name.
- You can start a free blog or a professional blog almost for free.
- If choosing a professional blog, you should buy your domain name.
- You should choose a hosting plan.
- You have to install WordPress (or another CMS) on your server.
- You should choose a WordPress theme.
- Start blogging.
- Promote your content by inviting friends and family as readers and by posting on social media.