SELF-PUBLISHERS ARE SIMILAR (in a way) to traditional publishers inasmuch as they do everything for you. However, unlike traditional publishers who are taking all the risk and putting up all the money, self-publishers require you to pay for all the services up front. Also, unlike traditional publishers, self-publishing companies aren’t exclusionary . They aren’t looking for the next “Great American Novel,” they’re looking for the next person who can pay their exorbitant fees. Therefore, as long as you can pay, they will publish your work.
Self-publishers come in all types and sizes. Some print their books on cheap pulpy stock using household glue so that the book falls apart almost as soon as it’s opened. Others use a better quality of paper and the book may actually last a year or two. It all depends on what you’re willing to pay for.
Self-publishing companies offer editing services, formatting services, marketing plans (although no actual marketing), and book cover designing services…all for an additional fee or two. When finished, they ship the books to you (the number of books you receive, depends on how many you paid for). After that, it’s up to you to sell them. If you’re lucky and you can convince all your friends, relatives, book club members, church members, and members of the PTA to buy your book, you might break even.
However, few (if any) book stores will take on any of your books–though, some will let you do book signings in their facilities. Libraries, also, will not carry your books, but again, may allow you to give a talk or do a book signing.
In fact, the only place anyone will be able to purchase a real-world copy of your book is from you. Therefore, all packaging and shipping costs are yours to incur (unless you remember to pass them along to the buyer).
Some self-publishing companies will convert your book into an ebook or audio book…for an additional cost, of course. And some of these companies will even designate a spot for your book on their book store web page. However, if you want more of a web presence, you can pay them to help you set up your own website.
These companies are very accommodating and helpful…as long as you’re willing to pay their fees.
[The Next in This Series: The Pros and Cons of Being an Independent Publisher]