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Self Publishing Your Book and Selling it on Amazon

Self publishing your own book

The latest estimates indicate that the number of books published annually has now surpassed the one million mark. Now, here’s the amazing part. Apparently, about 75% of those authors chose self publishing for their books instead of going with a publishing company.

The traditional role of publishing companies has officially been eclipsed by a new breed of self publishing services that have opened up a whole new world of opportunities for aspiring and experienced authors. How would you like to self publish your book?

With self publishing you don’t need a book deal

I have absolutely nothing against the idea of submitting a book proposal and getting picked up by some major publishing house. If that’s the route you choose, then more power to you. Still, I think it’s only fair to warn you that getting a big advance check on your book deal is probably not going to happen.

As their grip on the world of book production and distribution has loosened, the publishing industry has become much more frugal in the way they use their dwindling resources. If you are an unknown author, not only will there be no advance payment, but you will probably be expected to handle your own promotional campaigns as well. For all but the elite, the glamour of getting published and promoted by a big publisher has vanished.

Technology to the rescue

These days, the aspiring author has a lot of choices when it comes to getting a book to market. Some of the most popular options are outlined in 6 Ways to Publish Your Own Book. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on only one of those options.

When I was ready to publish my book TRUE SELF, the choice of which available self publishing service to use was a no-brainer. I chose Createspace for one very important reason. Can you guess what that reason was? The answer is simple, they are owned by Amazon. If you want to go self publishing route and have your book listed on Amazon, go with Createspace.

My experience self publishing on Createspace 

One of the things I really like about Createspace is how customizable the process is. If you want experience self publishing and keep it really simple, here’s the process. You can set up a free account, choose the dimensions of your book, use their cover creator software, upload your PDF book file, and hit the submit button.

As soon as you enter your book title, they will even give you an ISBN number for free. That’s a savings of between $55 and $125 right off the bat. In fact, except for the cost of ordering a proof copy of your book for final approval ($3-$4 + shipping) you can do the whole thing for free. If you have a question, they have a service called “Call Me” and as soon as you click it a customer service professional will call you on the phone. It’s amazing!

From self publishing on Createspace to selling on Amazon

Once you approve the proof copy of your book, it only takes 5-7 business days to see it on Amazon. The “Look Inside” feature is also handled by Createspace, but it takes a couple of weeks to set that up.

The quality of the books produced by Createspace is very impressive. The cover, binding, paper, and print quality are as good as any major publisher I have seen. I designed my own cover and had quite a few interior images and charts which naturally took more work on my part, but the results made it well worth the extra effort.

What about Kindle?

Kindle publishing has become so popular that no serious author can afford to ignore it. I got some bids from ScriptLance for Kindle formatting and they averaged about $150, but then something wonderful happened. Just in the nick of time, Createspace started offering a Kindle ready file conversion service that formats your book into an electronic Kindle eBook for Amazon. The pricing for this service starts at only $69 and again, they provide the required ISBN number (not the same as your print book).

As it turned out, the formatting for my book cost slightly more because of all the interior images and charts. The thing is, it was very reasonably priced and I had peace of mind knowing that it was being handled by an in-house team of experts. If you are thinking of self publishing your book, the last thing you want is to rely on some unknown company who may or may not understand Amazon and Kindle.

Go ahead, self publish your book!

If you have been dreaming of self publishing a real book, but didn’t know how to go about it, I suggest you seriously consider using Createspace. I hesitated because I didn’t know where to start or which company to use. Don’t make the same mistake. It’s easier than you probably thought to use a self publishing service for your book and you can start immediately.

If you already have content like an ebook or a series of articles you really like, why not take the next step. If you jump on it, you could complete the self publishing process and have your book on Amazon within a few weeks. Believe me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from holding your very own real book in your hand. Really, what are you waiting for? You know you want to, so, go ahead and give self publishing a try!

Have you ever wanted to publish a book?
Do you think that self publishing would work for you?
Can you tell that I like CreateSpace?
The lines are open!

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19 Comments

  1. Matt Clark November 23, 2010 Reply

    Some great tips here, thanks for sharing.

    • Jonathan November 23, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Matt, not seeing much action on this post and I am wondering is it’s just because people underestimate the social proof and authority value of having a published book.

  2. Zeenat November 23, 2010 Reply

    J!!!!
    If I could truly come there and hug you…I would. You have answered all my queries in the post. I have been inching towards self publishing my book early next year, but the whole process seemed so daunting.
    I love how simply you shared all this info….You are truly truly the biggest hearted guy out here :) Thank you thank you thank you…
    I am gonna get to Createspace asap!
    Lots o love,
    Z~

    • Jonathan November 23, 2010 Reply

      Hi Z, I am more than happy to walk you through the process. I learned a lot the first time around and I am more than willing to share so your book journey goes smoothly.?

  3. Sandra Lee November 23, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for spelling out the self-publishing process so clearly for us. It’s very helpful and exciting to have this information. You are so awesome. Thank you.

    • Jonathan November 23, 2010 Reply

      Hi Sandra, I was hoping that there were those who felt as I did, wanting to go this route but not knowing how to go about it. If you have any concerns I am happy to provide more detail. Thanks for your kindness.

  4. Steven November 24, 2010 Reply

    Hey Jonathan, these are definitely things I have been interested in for some time now. I will keep them in mind, and I will undoubtedly want to use Createspace to make a Kindle version of my book. I remember hearing a recent report by Amazon saying that ebooks are outselling real books – this is a trend that will probably continue.

    I might have to e-mail you at some point to ask you some other questions about writing a book, formatting, and whether or not to hire an editor.

    For now:

    1) How long did it take to write the book?

    2) How long is it page-wise?

    Thank you!

  5. Jonathan November 24, 2010 Reply

    Hi Steven, I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but I have some difficulty thinking of Kindle formatting as an ebook because you can’t print them. They are strictly electronic. For years an ebook has been a PDF document delivered electronically, but also printable.

    I did not hire an editor and editing was probably the most difficult challenge. I built my book as a word document and then converted it to a PDF. All interior files need to be in a PDF format for Createspace. Hiring an editor would make the process much easier, but I wanted to gain some hands on experience with the process.

    My book was originally done as an ebook and it initially took several months to put together. It is a pretty involved book. When I decided to publish it I went through and reworked it in its entirety. I wanted to make sure that it could stand beside the best of the best. Publishing companies have teams of people to design, format, edit, and proof their books. To create a self published book of equal quality means being willing to go the extra mile on every step of the process.

    TRUE SELF is 248 pages in all. You can see the formatting up close by using the LOOK INSIDE feature on amazon.

  6. Dr Anthony Ossei November 26, 2010 Reply

    Indeed Jonathan, I think I’m gonna like this connection. You wouldn’t believe it but I have penned together over twelve books and the drawback to finalizing it, is publishing it.
    Are you suggesting that editing and proof-reading and that old “hype” are all well taken care of by Creatspace? that would be good news for me. A million thanks to you for all the pieces you have put together for me. Truly, I like the opportunity offered me. Regards!

    • Jonathan November 28, 2010 Reply

      Hey Doc, you can get Createspace to handle editing and proofreading but those services will cost you. If you want to publish without an out of pocket expense, you will need to do your own editing and proofing. They will publish your book and make it available on amazon. The rest is up to you.

  7. Naresh November 26, 2010 Reply

    Thanks, Jonathan, for this information. I was in fact looking for some such information to get my work published. Definitely I am going to look up Createspace and Kindle and put up my work there!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this information.

    • Jonathan November 28, 2010 Reply

      You are welcome Naresh. I have been very happy with their work.

  8. Mike King November 29, 2010 Reply

    Great tips here Jonathan. Self publishing is a great way to go if you have the network and diligence to self market it then as well. Way to go one such great tips>!

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Mike, I have a friend who went the publisher route and one thing that I thought of while reading your comment. The publishing company acts a lot like a coach with regard to promoting. She does all the work, but they keep her focused and scheduled.

  9. Miche' July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for this information. I have written a photobook and having some difficulties with the software for self publishing, including createspace.
    I thought it might be easier to go the route of finding a publisher but that doesn’t seem to easy these days either.

  10. Rj parker December 17, 2011 Reply

    Hi, thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have books on kindle that are doing well. If I were to use createspace, do I have to pay upfront for the books? Ie, if I want to print 20, do I pay for them now? Or is it simply print on demand. Also, can they take the 39 dollar startup fee out of my royalties?

  11. erica January 31, 2012 Reply

    i am a published author but the company i am with, i do not like how they are operating and what i like about createspace is that you are in control of your royalties and everything else a brand new experience that i am ready to take! thanks for reassuring me that i should do this :)

  12. Sue July 2, 2012 Reply

    This is a great article but there is a HUGE drawback to Create Space if you are NOT in the USA. They insist you file tax paperwork to the USA Tax authorities BEFORE you can upload and promote your book. This involves filing a rather complex form for non-US residents (I have a PhD, but found it almost impossible to understand) and it then takes at least a month after THEY at the Tax Authority, have received it,for them to get back to you with a Tax Number. Until you have that number, you cannot sell on Create Space. OK, if you write a book which is going to sell a lot, but if you’re just writing a book to see how it all works, and maybe expect to sell a few hundred, it’s a lot of bother for nothing. Create Space also withhold 30% of all revenue made by non-US residents in order to ensure the US Tax Authority get their money. It’s a joke to be honest.

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