Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So you want to self-publish!

Important things to do before you self-publish your first book.
Whether you are publishing a Print on Demand (PoD) book, an online ebook, or publishing through a vanity publisher, this list of things to do before you self-publish is really important, and is cross-genre. If you publish a children's book or a novel, you will still need to understand these important issues with self-publishing world wide from New Zealand.
Grouped into five categories, we will take a look at each area over the next month to get a better handle on things. These five categories include: Legal and Financial Issues, Understanding your Market, Building your Platform, Creating Great Content, and The Technical Stuff.
Bevan and I have been publishing for over a year now and have learned a lot over that time. By no means do we know everything, nor are we experts in this field. Bevan had spent 10 years working in IT support and is currently training to be a Civil Engineer. I have spent 10 years working with Video and TV production in NZ and Hong Kong, so as you can see, our backgrounds do not warrant us being experts in self-publishing at all. But together we have published over 60 children's ebooks and what we have learned is worth passing on.
So in a sense we are still learning in this field, and it is our desire to help you and give you a hand in publishing your own creative works. Feel free to add to or ask about anything we post here. These posts will stay up on our forums for anyone to read and re-post. We just ask that you cite us as the copyright owners and our websites: www.findlaybooks.com and www.facebook.com/findlaybooks
So if you are based in New Zealand (NZ), have published or are interested in self-publishing, or are interested in working with an author to publish (e.g. you're an illustrator) then this is a great place to start your journey to self-publishing. Please keep in mind that this is all written from our experience and as neither Bevan or myself have done any formal training in ebook authoring or self-publishing, nor have we been to university to study art and literature, we do apologise if our format or our wording isn't formal enough – we are teaching from experience.
So you want to publish a book? Well you have come to a right place.
We have five topics, or five categories to teach everything you need to know about self-publishing – and then some! If we leave anything out, please leave comments and ask questions and we'll get back to you.
Legal and Financial Issues. This category teaches what legal and financial things you will need to do before you start publishing. It will cover copyright, DRM, common/public domain material, banking, accounts, taxes, contracts, and royalty payments from NZ sales. We'll also look at selling overseas and the implications of that on things like tax and royalty payments, getting paid from overseas and the options available, and how to pay your illustrator, etc.
Understanding your Market. This is a basic teaching on genre, marketing, professionalism, different types of publishing and how they all work. This will include different ways for getting your story published here in NZ, and a look at what are the best options for publishing overseas. We'll look at how the different ways to publish affect the way you market your books and we'll explore other mediums for publishing – like book apps.
Building your Platform. This will cover the stuff you need to do that helps you sell your books, no matter what format or retailer you use. If you don't have a platform to sell from, then you won't sell books. This will include retailers in NZ and overseas, social networking, and author's forums.
Creating Great Content. This section is all about creating a story that others will want to read, and creating everything else that will go with it to help sell the book. This will include: getting the story down, working and reworking the story, using a professional editor, creating a great blurb/description, designing the cover, creating an author's bio and much more.
The Technical Stuff. Because there are a few different ways to publish your story, this section goes into a bit more detail on how this is done. Knowing the technical stuff is what will allow you publish your story in different formats – e.g. what does it mean to use a vanity publisher? What is needed to publish as an ebook? What is an ISBN number and how do I get one? What is the fastest way to get my book up online without losing most of my royalties? What do I do if I want to get my ebook printed?
So this is just a brief look at what we will cover in the next few weeks. If you have other questions that you want answered, then please ask us. Some of these topics require a lot of explaination ie Withholding Tax, and others will just be a skim over as we will assume you know most of the stuff anyway – like writing for different genres.
We'll post links to different articles, blogs, forums and research material and we'll do our bestest (yes this is a word!) to include what we think you need to know before you begin publishing.
All the best for your self-publishing journey!
~ Joy Findlay and Bevan Findlay ~

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