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The world of publishing is changing thanks to the Internet. People aren’t willing to put their fates in the hands of traditional gatekeepers anypmore. Writers aren’t just writers anymore. In a lot of ways, writers are the new publishers.
It’s easier than ever to convert your words into a final product that can be sold and delivered to readers, which is why so many writers feel enabled — perhaps even entitled — to take the process into their own hands. Many of them benefit from doing so.
But I’m not just talking about the print-on-demand kind of self-publishing. There are a handful of new web services and tools that kick it up to the next level.
Most publishing platforms are all about walls of text. Whether fiction or nonfiction, it’s easy to produce a book without any pictures. But what if words aren’t enough for you? Or what if you just want to simplify the whole self-publishing process? That’s when you turn to Blurb.
Here’s How It Works
First, you use one of Blurb‘s tools and templates to create the book itself. They provide a handful of desktop and online apps as well as a few plugins for Adobe software. If you already have the book in PDF or Word formats, you can just upload that instead.
Blurb can publish photo books (which are printed on photo-quality paper), magazines (which come in Economy and Premium versions), and trade books (which come in Economy and Standard versions).
Digital books are available to be made in Fixed-Layout and Reflowable formats. Fixed-Layout ebooks are optimized for iPads while Reflowable ebooks are optimized for iPads and Kindles in EPUB3 and KF8 formats, respectively.
Pricing can be a bit complicated because there are many factors that go into it, so hop over to the Bookulator and play around with the options to see how much it’ll cost you to create and/or print the exact book you want.
Booktrope is a hybrid publisher, blending aspects of the traditional publishing world with the new world of self-publishing and resulting in something novel. In essence, rather than managing their own staff, they use a community-sourced approach.
Here’s How It Works
Editors, proofreaders, designers, and marketers can apply to join the Booktrope community. Not everyone who applies will make it through the application process.
Authors must also go through an application process that involves questions about the author’s background, experience, and details regarding the book being submitted.
Once all of that is done, a system called Teamtrope helps match authors with editors, proofreaders, designers, and marketers to form a cohesive team of similar experience and interests. Everyone collaborates to produce a final product using Booktrope’s tools to aid in the process.
Both print and digital books are supported.
Unlike traditional publishing, Booktrope revenue is only based on the sharing of royalties amongst the creative team. That royalty is 70% and paid monthly. They do not offer any kind of advance against royalties.
All financial data for a given book is available to the entire creative team that worked on the said book.
Git and GitHub are seen as collaborative tools for programmers, but they can prove surprisingly useful even for non-techy writers — especially if you combine them with a new web service called GitBook which integrates seamlessly with the former to make publishing easy.
Here’s How It Works
Using the Markdown syntax that has become so popular across the web, you simultaneously write and format your book contents with ease. Once written, you can one-click export to a digital format (ePub, Mobi, PDF) that adapts to whatever device is reading it.
How does Git fit in? It’s used for the book’s revision history. If you want to publish an updated version of the book, a simple
git push is all that’s needed. If you don’t have your own Git repository, you can use GitHub.
GitBook has its own marketplace where published books can be distributed for free, for donations, or for profit. Revenue is transferred to your U.S. bank account or PayPal account. There are no selling fees except when users purchase using PayPal. You retain all rights to your books.
With a free account, you can work on 1 private book at a time. Plus accounts ($4.99 per month) can work on 5 private books at a time. Best Seller accounts ($14.99 per month) can work on 15 private books at a time and maintain up to 5 distributed books at once.
A distributed book is one that GitBook distributes to these other major ebook marketplaces: Google Play Store, Amazon Kindle, and iBooks Store.
Have you run out of ideas to write about? Or maybe you have too many ideas running through your mind? If you’re suffering from writer’s block because you can’t decide what you want to write about, why not let readers decide for you? That’s what Unbound is all about.
Here’s How It Works
Authors can list their story ideas on the Unbound site, describing what they’d like to write and how those stories might play out if written. Users can then pledge money towards a particular idea.
Authors can list several pledge tiers with each tier offering different rewards. Example rewards include naming characters after supporters, inclusion in a Thank You page, or even lunch with the author.
It’s an ingenious twist on Kickstarter for writers.
Unbound aids in the entire publishing process, including edits, designs, and delivery of the final product — either print or digital — to those who made pledges. When all is complete, Unbound owns the worldwide rights for the book and shares 50% of all profits with the author.
While authors can submit ideas for not-yet-written books, Unbound may request evidence of your writing quality before accepting. Unbound is a UK-based company but will accept non-UK authors based on writing quality.
Let’s be clear about one thing: the publishing game is extremely difficult to break into. While these services will certainly make it easier, by no means will they make it easy. It’s going to take a lot of sweat and tears on your part.
When the road gets tough — and it’s definitely going to get tough — make sure you have what it takes to persevere and succeed. If you need a bit of help along the way, check out these motivational TED Talks.
Have you ever published a book? Did you do it all yourself or did you employ a service to help you out? Tell us about what you’ve written and your struggles with publishing in the comments below!
Image Credits: Open Book Via Shutterstock