The End Is Near For Free And Cheap Self-Publishing

Self-publishing for free or on the cheap

Self-publishing has the reputation of being a free or very cheap way to publish a book.

In a sense, it is true. Free self-publishing for an ebook is easy on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). There are also ample free book promotion opportunities you can find online and on social media.

You can create a basic ebook cover for free by using free images from sites such as Pixabay and then adding a title and author name on top of it in Word. Or you can use free online ebook cover creators.

You might find that a friend can help you with proofreading. With a lot of luck, perhaps you have a one who has some knowledge of editing and grammar.

 

Free, but how successful?

Free publishing is all well and good. But the problem is that there are so many self-published authors now that it is very hard to stand out in the crowd and attract book buyers.

The popularity of KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited means that the Kindle Store is awash with millions of ebooks.

Selling your book is tough going. Social media is wall to wall with book promotion posts and messages.

Often these are circulating within a crowd of other hopeful authors because authors have the bad habit of following other authors.

There is also the issue of product quality associated with cheap self-publishing, which can be detrimental to book sales.

It goes without saying that the quality of many ebooks is very poor. It almost always because they were prepared on the cheap, or for free.

With that said, self-publishing is definitely here to stay. No amount of denigrating self-published ebooks will change that fact.

Self-publishing will continue to deliver ebooks covering the whole spectrum of quality and in huge numbers every year.

 

Self-publishing is a big business

However, this is an excellent opportunity for smart authors who realize that self-publishing is not about being free or cheap.

Many authors change their mindset and start thinking about how to exploit a business opportunity.

They understand that with market research, business planning, and a little investment, self-publishing has the potential to be a profitable business. The ebook market is massive now and still growing.

Publishing has always been a business model based on gambling on the success of one or two titles. But it has worked for a very long time for traditional publishers.

If you want to succeed in self-publishing, an author is going to need titles, and the more, the better. Only a handful will probably succeed.

Writing will be the number one priority to create a lot of saleable products.

They will need to market smart and look for paid advertising and book promotion opportunities, which give at least a modest return on investment.

Smart self-publishers will hire a professional cover designer and a competent editor to help produce high-quality books.

But like almost all new businesses, self-publishing will probably run at a loss for the first year or even more.

But most of all, successful authors will understand how to differentiate their product in the market, and continually seek out market niches that they can exploit.

All of these factors are business 101.

 

Making self-publishing your business

Many authors have already succeeded in making self-publishing their business. It is because they worked very hard to make it their business.

More will follow and succeed, I am sure. But it will only be those authors who realize that there is nothing much that can be gained from self-publishing on the cheap or for free.

Why? Because a product, including a book or an ebook that sells well, was never created, produced, marketed, and promoted without incurring at least some expenses.

Self-publishing gives you the chance to create your own small publishing company.

It doesn’t mean that it requires thousands of dollars to be successful in self-publishing.

A few hundred dollars can go a long way in increasing the chances of a book’s success.

Investing in professional book covers for ebooks and print on demand paperbacks is essential. So too is paying out a little to help you produce a first-class manuscript.

For your book marketing, there will be some costs to advertise and promote your books.

These expenses are not going to break the bank. But they will definitely give a book a much better chance of success.

 

Summary

Yes, free self-publishing is an option for many new authors.

If your primary aim is to simply publish your story, then using a free publishing service is for you. You can even publish print books for only a few dollars.

But, to be honest, you shouldn’t expect that you will make a lot of sales or money. The market is far too crowded and over-supplied.

On the other hand, if you decide to invest a lot of money in vanity publishing, there is no guarantee of success either. Publishing, in any form, is always a risk.

The best advice for new authors is to dip your toes into the market and see what happens. Some authors will find a degree of success, while others will not.

But there is one factor that always separates the two outcomes. It is always the quality of a book that counts.

If you write a great story, produce a high-quality manuscript, have a brilliant cover, and write a compelling book description, you have a chance.

It is always the cream that rises to the top.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

7 thoughts on “The End Is Near For Free And Cheap Self-Publishing

  • December 8, 2018 at 6:31 pm
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    Are there reputable self-publishing or traditional publishing companies that put process above profit, and the author at least on equal footing with the companies in question? Nearly everyone that I have reviewed to date has had numerous complaints filed against them at the Better Business Bureau.

    Am I asking the impossible or am I just being unrealistic or idealistic?

    Reply
  • February 15, 2018 at 2:43 am
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    I’m writing a children book. I’m almost done with it. It’s going to be a chapter book. I also wrote a picture book. I can’t draw who does the drawings and will it cost me anything?

    Reply
    • April 15, 2018 at 3:15 am
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      There are plenty of freelance artists who will do the art for you, and yes, it will cost you. How much depends on the artist, and you will need to negotiate the terms with them and put together a contract. If you’re serious about your children’s writing, it may be worth joining SCBWI(the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and checking out some of the children’s writer/artist discussion groups on LinkedIn. People often ask questions such as this and get answers from artists. Hop3 this helps!

      Reply
  • May 6, 2015 at 8:24 am
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    You were right to turn them down. I’ve been offered similar “deals” in the past. I eventually was accepted by a traditional publisher. The works in question were never published and, looking back, I can see why. Whether we authors like it or not, many traditional publishers are aware of what can sell and what can’t. I can understand why some might like a book but not consider it part of their genre. For example, my publisher will not consider a beginner book on astronomy,

    I think the self-publishing route is worth considering. In your case (and mine), we have published books so can believe in what we do.

    I have seen it written many times that a lot of self-published books are written by people who think they can write but can’t but that doesn’t diminish the efforts of those who can write and choose this route,

    Reply
  • May 6, 2015 at 8:21 am
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    Thanks for your comment, Gina. All I can really say is that when a publisher asks an author for money, it’s then vanity publishing, and self publishing is always a better alternative to that.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2015 at 11:34 pm
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    I recently turned down a publishing contract with British publisher (Austin McCauley) because they offered me a contract with the prevision that I “contribute” to publishing costs to the tune of 2500 British pounds. Their stated reason was that, although their editorial board liked my book, their financial board felt that since I was not published in the genre of adult literary fiction, they needed to minimize their risk. I have published over 30 children’s nonfiction books, most available on Amazon.com.

    Do you think I was right to turn them down? What advice do you give for pursuing a traditional publisher first? I’ve had one other publisher (Sourcebooks) take it to the editorial board level, but it didn’t make the final round. Right now, I’m concentrating on getting an agent. What do you think?

    Reply

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