Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works, such as books, newspapers, and magazines.

Pros of Self Publishing

Speed: An author finds out right away whether a book is a hit with readers; there is not a six-month or longer delay typical with an established publisher since the usual back-and-forth steps with a publisher are bypassed. It is possible to release a book within a few weeks after it’s finished. Further, it is possible to avoid the lengthy process of trying to find a literary agent to secure a publishing contract.

Freedom to begin the next book. An author can self-publish and then begin work on the next project, potentially being more prolific, although this presumes that the first book won’t need any marketing effort.

A greater share of royalties. Self-published authors earn four to five times more per unit than if an author works with a traditional publisher, sometimes 70% of the sale price.

Pitch books straight to the readers. There is no intermediary censoring what might be shown to the public. The route to readers is more direct.


Cons of Self-Publishing

High rate of low quality books: With the growth in activity in the self publishing industry, the book world has become flooded with titles, much of it of low quality, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for self-publishers to differentiate one’s offerings from the stew of average offerings. The quality of self-published works varies considerably.

High rate of low sales: Most self-published books sell very few copies, although there are approximately a dozen books that sell into the millions.



Factors to consider before Self-publishing

Time: While most aspects of writing depend on factors that vary greatly among authors, getting a book traditionally published is a notoriously time-consuming process. First, your manuscript must be accepted by a publishing house, which is an ordeal in and of itself; most houses accumulate a “slush pile” of manuscripts that takes months to work through (if ever!).

Once the publisher reads your pitch, they may still choose to reject it, but take heed: many authors—including incredibly successful ones have had their novels rejected by several publishing houses before they were offered a book deal. So don’t give up too easily.

If your manuscript is accepted by a publishing house, putting the book together and printing it require many months. It can sometimes take several years to put a new book on the shelves.

With self-publishing, however, you personally design the layout of your book and determine how many copies will be printed. This greatly expedites the printing process. You could be holding a copy of your book in a matter of months. If you decide to self-publish an e-book, it could be on the digital market in much shorter period.

Money and Responsibility: There is a good reason that traditional publishing takes so long: many experts collaborate to design a high-quality product. Once the manuscript is polished, the author’s work is done. It’s up to the publishing house to design, prepare, print, and promote your book.

If you self-publish, you’re on your own although you should work with different book experts to give yourself a competitive edge and with great publishing power comes great financial responsibility.

Writing the manuscript is just the beginning of the process. You must then commission cover art, organize the book’s contents, manage the printing process, decide how many copies to order, and market your work.

While traditional publishing houses foot the bill for all of these steps, if you go the self-publishing route, each cost will come out of your own wallet.

Keep in mind that though a publishing house will cover all of these costs, it will also keep a cut of the book’s profits. If you self-publish, every dollar you make is your own.

Control: Because traditional publishing houses aim to maximize profits, editors may want to change things about your book to make it more marketable.

Sometimes, authors are not happy with these changes. It takes a great deal of trust to allow someone else to rearrange your work.

Many authors prefer to maintain control over all elements of their writing. If the thought of an editor going through your manuscript with a red pen makes your hair stand on end, you may prefer self-publishing, as it allows you to decide which parts of your book to keep and which parts to cut.

The Choice Is Yours: Determining which publishing route is right for you boils down to personal preferences pertaining to all of these factors. Would you prefer that experts handle the details, or would you like to have plenty of input in the publishing process? Are you determined to see your book stocked at major retailers, or do you trust your own marketing abilities?

These are questions to ask yourself while deciding whether to publish traditionally or to self-publish.

Both methods allow access to large readerships and have the potential to be greatly fulfilling for authors.

Regardless of the publishing route you choose, an error-free manuscript is required to impress both the editors and readers of a well-published work.

Self-Publishing Process

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Finalize with the manuscript. Give it your best input (after submission you will not be able to have additional content other than what the editors request for).
Comprehensive editing. This is the bulk of the work because you want an editor to comprehensively look at your book’s flow, grammar, sentence structure, paragraphing, redundancy etc. At this point, you will have back and forth with your project manager and the editor on emails, phone calls, chats and convened meetings. This stage can take up to six months. Then you will have the final manuscript which you will commission to the design stage.
Cover design & inside text layout. As the design phase continues, have an independent proofreader go through the edited manuscript to ensure the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted. This is where a graphic designer does the cover and inside text layout to suit your target readers.
Get ISBN. The International Standard Book Number is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency - in Kenya, the agency is KNLS. An ISBN is assigned to each separate edition and variation of a publication. No. of digits: 13 (formerly 10) Check digit: Weighted sum Example: 978-3-16-148410-0
Second proofreading. Have a second proofreader go through the designed manuscript to ensure the text is flowing well and that the font types, sizes and line spacing are appealing to the eye. Changes can further be made at this stage towards perfection then you commission the final files to printing phase. You should aim at getting above 95% perfection of the book that meets international standards.
Print-On-Demand or Offset printing. You can do print-on-demand (i.e flat rate irrespective of copies you order per time) or do bulk printing through offset printing that guarantees you a lower cost per unit for more copies ordered.
Get copyright. Copyright law makes it easier for authors to make money selling their books by preventing bookstores from buying one copy of a book, making copies of the book, and then selling the copies to their customers.
Book pricing & launch. You should now price the book at this stage and plan on a launch whether virtual, convened or media coverage.
Distribution. Develop a strategy for your distribution. Display in bookshops is for visibility and distribution and not necessarily for sales. You must develop a marketing strategy to drive the traffic to the bookshops.
Join authors & writers clubs. Join Authors Clubs and any other support groups to get help with marketing strategy. This should include help and training in setting up your book on social media platforms, book program launch, ebook selling on Amazon, ekitabu, snapplify and the likes as well as countrywide distribution through ecommerce platforms like Jumia.
Marketing strategies for authors. Once you have set up your book on all the right platforms, here's how to start generating traffic. 1. Blog and Podcast interviews 2. Your own Blog and Podcast 3. YouTubbe Channel 4. Join Support Groups online (Facebook reader groups are also working very well for many authors) 5. Join local clubs for authors and readers alike. TBC have one that's very good 6. Utilize Digital Marketing, both on free platfroms as well as paid campaigns 7. Use your mailing list to send informational content to your readers 8. Collaborate with other authors - combining one book content with another is becoming the way to go. But the winner of it all is Turn your book into a program
Book programs for authors. Book sales alone will not gain you the mileage you need. You will be disappointed. We buy T.D Jake's or Myles Monroe's or the likes books, not only because they have written the books but because they also have other programs we follow or know them from. They have earned our trust in one way or another, so we get comfortable to read their content. You need to turn your book into a program. If you organize a workshop and have a registration fee (or not), most of the people attending will connect to you faster and are likely to buy your book as opposed to if they found it in a bookshop and you are a random guy (or lady). Some of the ideas include: 1. Workshops and Conferences 2. Self-Study online courses 3. Live Coaching programs 4. Paid Webinars, Online Conferences, Seminars 5. Speaking Engagements. These are very cost effective ways that will enable you reach the global market right from your house or office.

Self-Publishing facilitated by CLC Kenya

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