So you’ve written the next bestseller and you’ve decided to go down the self-publishing route. Not a bad choice! The number of self-published books has skyrocketed in the past few years, reaching well over 750,000 titles in 2016.
There’s a lot of potential in self-publishing with all the online options today. But without agents or meetings with reps, how’re you supposed to know how to choose the digital publishing platform with the greatest return?
Below we’ve compiled ten professional tips to help the novice self-publish their next eBook.
While there will still be lots to learn, these ten tips will help navigate you towards the best of the best, ensuring your book has a fair chance at success!
10 Industry Tips for Choosing a Digital Publishing Platform
Ready to publish but not sure what criteria to look for? We’ve got you covered in this quick reference list below:
Choose a Known Platform With a Positive Reputation
Let’s go ahead and mention arguably the most recognized self-publishing platform out there: Amazon, who has millions and millions of readers with interests all across the board.
If you want your book to succeed, you should hunt down those platforms with a good reputation for self-publishing. You can Google the success (or horror) stories of self-published authors who’ve used platforms you’re interested in.
Known platforms with positive reputations tend to have a big following, which means opportunity for big money.
Find a Platform That Will Reach Your Audience
Many of the most well-known self-publishers are restricted to company devices (like the Nook) or specific programs/apps (such as Kindle). That can limit your audience in a major way and could have a big impact on sales and reception.
Who has the most sales in the genre that matches your book best? Where does your intended audience read their eBooks?
You should conduct a little research on your audience to find out their shopping and reading habits. It’ll help you narrow your search for a publisher.
Consider a Platform That Provides an Editor
One of the major perks for signing over a book to a major publisher is the benefit of an editor. Editors will enhance your book, smooth out complicated issues, detect what you can’t detect, and polish your draft before an audience sees it.
This is a vital step in the publishing process. Writers may brush over the same mistakes again and again, creating a habit of it until they’re blind to glaring issues. But once a book is published, it’s out there for countless eyes to see.
Look for platforms that offer editors or coaches that can help you work through the unpolished bits of your book.
Look for Potential Cover Art Designers in Your Platform
Before a visitor reads your books description or digitally thumbs through its pages, they’ll encounter the book’s cover.
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ only goes so far in the publishing world. And sometimes the creative juices don’t flow as they should, causing writers to fall short of eye-catching covers.
Boil down the digital publishing platforms that offer cover artwork or artistic help if you’re not confident with your own.
Formatters May Help You Set Up Your Book
It’s common for writers to build their entire work in Microsoft Word or some other word processing application. However, readers aren’t likely to want to go through a Word document when reading for pleasure.
Writers need to format their eBooks in the same way that they would appear in print, which requires certain formatting skills. While you can find all the info you’ll need online, sometimes it can be confusing or frustrating.
To help, consider platforms that offer formatting help to ensure your audience purchases a quality product.
Keep an Eye on Price and Royalties
When it comes to eBook numbers, few things are as important as the selling price of the book and the potential for royalties off it.
Many digital publishers cap the cost of an eBook (and a rule of thumb is to not have an eBook ever surpass the cost of a physical copy). Also, publishers usually limit how much authors can earn based on a percentage (check out Amazon’s).
Read the fine print and only settle for a number that suits your expectations!
Watch Out for Limitations and Exclusivity
Some publishers will put a limit on how far an eBook can reach, whether it’s exclusive to their reading platform, if it is up for worldwide distribution or not, etc.
Limitations and exclusivity will only limit your potential, so make sure to find options that restrict exposure as little as possible. Digital publishers may list options that range in how much exposure or how exclusive an eBook is.
Read as much as you can before you sign anywhere, and research your options even within a single digital publisher.
Will a PDF Do in Place of an eBook?
We talked earlier about formatting eBooks and how they should appear just as they would in print. However, if you’re not working on a novel, then you might not need to worry about the formatting.
If so, you should probably look into publishers that don’t require all the bells and whistles; digital publishers who publish .pdf files.
Blurb, for example, allows you to create your own project in a program like Adobe InDesign and load it in .pdf files from your computer.
Does the Platform Promote Your Book?
Many digital publishers will offer their authors a promotional package or else provide tips on selling your eBook. However, you may want to determine your publisher based on promotions alone.
Are you already a skilled marketer with years of experience in digital ads? If not, find out what help your potential publisher can provide.
Will You Need Help Finishing Your Book?
While this sounds far-fetched (someone trying to publish an unfinished book?!), it’s not uncommon. Writers can dedicate years to a book only to come to the conclusion that they’re too involved and numb to eliminate problems.
Some publishers help with outlines and planning, copyediting and fact-checking. Inkshare, for example, is a crowdfunded program that works with writers and helps them brainstorm to a finished, promotable product.
Join the Conversation
If you still have questions about choosing the best digital publishing platform, then maybe it’s time to join the conversation!
At Chat Ebooks, we connect writers with other writers and readers, helping them overcome the early troubles of self-publishing.
We’re here to help authors like you succeed!