“OPEN” BOOK PUBLISHING
IS ALMOST A MIRACLE!
31 Reports and Guidelines
Ebook / $4.95
Table of Contents
5. If you’re already an established publisher, how might the open publishing help?
Book Preparation for Open Publishing
7. Nine things to do to prep your ebook before you tackle the publishing
8. Nine more things you must then do to quickly produce an open published book
9. The Bowerman way to convert your bound book into an ebook bonanza!
10. How do you create and sell e-versions of your bound books?
11. Steps to create an ebook from your bound book text for Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and Scribd
13. Almost free artwork to help create your own ebook .jpg cover
14. Five more ways to share your ebook’s contents...
Publishing the Books
16 . Eight-step computer process to publish in Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb, and Scribd
Specific Open Publishers
20. Publishing your book at Scribd
21. Twenty steps to submit your bound book to CreateSpace
22. When competing with yourself makes sense by submitting to Amazon’s CreateSpace
Publishing Six Open Books in Six Days
26. Fourth posting, now at CreateSpace, of a new book to be published six times in one week
29. Fifth posting, at Lulu, of a new book to be published six times in one week
28. Sixth and final posting, at Kindle, of our new book to be published by six publishers in one week
29. Twenty days later: an update of the six-day postings
Some Future Thoughts
30. Will the current ebook craze topple or replace publishers as we know them?
Here’s what this book is all about:
For me the title says it all: “Open” Book Publishing is Almost a Miracle!
About four years ago some printers decided to change their business model, and that changed the entire publishing landscape. They told authors and publishers how to submit their books—it didn’t much matter what they were about, as long as they weren’t too dirty or bizarre—and, if a few sensible steps were followed, they would produce a printed book and would help distribute it. Free (except for about $25 postage to get paperback proofs back to author, to proof. Totally free for ebooks). And it’s fast too.
Your digital books, called ebooks, were posted and usually available to buyers in minutes, at most, hours. The publishers showed you on your computer screen what the book looked like, text and artwork, as quickly as you sent it electronically and their software converted into their house text. If the submitter wanted it to look differently, he made the adjustments and sent it in again, until both were satisfied. The publisher paid from 30-85% of the royalty when the ebooks sold (usually monthly, starting 30-90 days later). No shipping, no warehousing, and usually no tax.
And also no guarantee that anybody would find the book in the publisher’s thumbnail catalog. But sometimes buyers did, particularly if the book preparer helped promote the book, often with the aid of social networks. Fiction usually outsold nonfiction. Artwork suffered. But an industrious producer could write and prep a new book monthly, some weekly, and forget about the publishing altogether once they learned to decipher and complete the submission requirements.
In this book I will focus on five such ebook publishers: Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Lulu, and Scribd. (Smashwords also sends many of their submissions to Apple, Sony, Kobo, and more.)
Three more houses followed a parallel philosophy and produced ink-on-paper books, mostly paperbacks. They are CreateSpace, Blurb, and Lulu again.
Here, the submitter had more steps to follow. They had to send a full cover (front, back, and spine), usually as a .jpg and a minimal size. (Yet all three had a do-it-yourself process on their website to help the author create a free cover.) The submitter got a chance to hand-read their book’s printed proof when it arrived a day or two after the submission steps were completed. They had to give a thumbs-up to the publisher (or not). They also paid for that proof’s mailing—that’s the $25 or so.
With the bound books, until the publisher received an order from a buyer (with payment) nothing was printed at all (besides the proof). That’s because the books were produced one at a time by the P.O.D. (print-on-demand) method. Again, no warehousing. These publishers pay you a royalty of about 30-35%.
In publishing there’s a costly devil hiding in the process called the ISBN number. The numbers used to be free and given in volume to every new publisher. But now they cost about $250 for 10 (they come in lots of 10, 100, and 1000), so if you put out 10 unique editions of books they are $25 a book. In theory, you should use a different number for each kind of book: paperback, cloth, digital (a different one for each format), and so on. But almost all of the “open” publishers will give you free ISBNs. (You need your own for Smashwords premium books and for Lightning Source.) For those providing free ISBNs, this process is doubly free.
There’s a lot more to say about this near-miracle: much of that appears in the pages and reports that follow. Why does it look like a miracle to be able to write and publish any book you want fast and mostly free? Because in the old days, like a decade back, you really had two choices: (1) get another publisher to sit on your approved manuscript for 18 months, then pay you about 10% in royalties a couple of times a year, or (2) self-publish it, which took a ton of learning, work, and writing—then finding somebody to buy it, and then sell it! The second, (2), cost from $2,000-5,000 to do it right, and unless you were niche publishing and pretesting, there was no guarantee you’d come close to breaking even.
The first route didn’t work for about 98% of those who tried to get their novel or how-to book bought; the second was a reinventing of the printing wheel for every tome.
And then some companies pop out of the printwork and ask you to write for them, and they’d not only take care of all of the stuff that writers hate (like marketing), they’d even pay you a royalty if your book was anywhere near as good and popular as you thought it was! (They’d pay you if there was only one sale too.)
That’s almost too much introduction because it’s all explained in greater detail in the good reading that follows.
A few confessions and I’m done.
As soon as I had a handle on “open” publishing I wrote a book to show others how to tiptoe through the submissions paths of all seven of the publishers mentioned above. So bear with me if I mention How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days about 200 times. Many of the reports began as individual blog posts, thus the repetition.
I have updated almost all of the reports, almost all originally written in the past 30 months. But a few I left exactly as they were because they shared state-of-the-art information and opinion of the moment, and it’s fun now to see how much of what they predicted (and did) has survived as the industry matures.
There’s also a wee problem with what these new publishers are properly called. They are a kind of vanity press, but that always meant to me that the writer paid a bundle up front, and almost none of it came back later in sales. Yet here you don’t pay much, if anything, so that kind of scheme doesn’t work.
I started calling them “ancillary” publishers because I heard a few others use that term and it made a lot of sense. (I may have been the first to use it in print.) But then I recently heard several of those actual publishers call themselves “open” publishers, meaning I think that they are open to print anything decent sent their way, as opposed to the very narrow (closed) method of the large houses accepting a wee number of the queries or proposals sent. So I mostly use “open” publishing too.
That’s it. If this is your kind of thing, I don’t want to delay you from digging into the $5 bonanza that follows. Particularly if you’re frothing with anticipation to see your book in print right away—without having to invest a dime!
Gordon Burgett, author of 41 books and publisher of 75 more, talks about...