Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

Self-publishing when you are broke, Part 3

In part one, we talked cover, and in part two we discussed editing.

Now we have a crucial decision to make. You wrote a book, and it’s all ready to go with a great cover and fantastic text, but where — and how — should you publish it.

I originally started out this post trying to corral all my information gathering into a neat little place, but there’s a great post from David Carnoy over at Cnet that covers a lot of the basics (and a link to a companion post about non-ebook publishing).

Let me cut to the chase and tell you what I did and why.

Amazon, like it or not, currently owns the lion’s share of the ebook market. No, not everyone has a Kindle, but just about everyone can download the Kindle app to a tablet or laptop/desktop. Now add in the Kindle Direct Program. No, not everyone loves it, but here are the bonuses:

70% of the price you set for your ebook goes INTO YOUR POCKET so long as the minimum price you set is $2.99 or higher. (Keep in mind, we are broke here, so this is A Big Deal.)

If Prime members borrow your book as their free book for the month? You will get some money for that. YOU CAN GET MONEY FOR PEOPLE READING YOUR BOOK FOR FREE. I can’t stress that enough.

Up to five days in each enrollment period, you can list your book for free to promote the title. Win.

Did I mention 70%? And best of all, if you have your file all formatted (follow the directions; it’s not that difficult) and your cover all done, there is NO FEE TO START SELLING YOUR BOOK.

Now, the downsides: You can’t sell or list your book anywhere other than Amazon for 90 days. That’s suckish when you have people with Nooks and Kobos and what all else or who hate Amazon with a fiery passion. You can, however, offer a print version via CreateSpace and Amazon is completely copacetic with that.

Amazon also holds your first royalties for 60 days. So you have two months of no money in your pocket.

Now, compare that to places that take a percentage off your sales or require a setup fee, and you’re ahead of the game.

Note that I am only starting out here, so this may end up as a dumb move in the end. But for zero cost, I’m able to get my book out there, get reviews, gauge interest in it, and make some money while you’re doing it. For a first-timer, this seems like a pretty sweet deal.

And at the end of the 90 days? I can do another splash when I port it to other formats.

Now… tools you need here. Run, do not walk, over to Calibre and download their software (runs on Windows and OS X). This is a free, open-source program that allows you to convert your files. All you have to do is save your manuscript in HTML format (all major word processing programs should allow you to do this), import it into Calibre, and convert it to anything from .EPUB to .MOBI. You’re already going to be messing with an HTML file for the inevitable typo you will find (KDP requires edits be done in HTML form), so this should be easy.

Best of all, you can work from one file and not have to pay a third-party a percentage of your sales like you do with Smashwords. Sure, it’s easier to pop it in once and be done with it, but again, we’re broke. Every penny counts.

By the way, feel free to drop me a message or comment here on Goodreads if you have questions or want to know details about anything I’ve posted so far.