Sunday, August 28, 2011

Publish in Print or on the 'Net? Part 2

Publishing via the 'Net

We've touched on the expensive way of getting published so now we'll get into the cheapest or “freeiest” (I know, there's no such word) method of publishing.

The World Wide Web offers budding authors a chance to get their works published and possibly reach more people than is possible with print books and there are several ways of going about it. Let's explore them:

a.) Make your own website - This is probably the most expensive way to get published on the 'net. You purchase a site or pay to obtain the rights to a site and write your books/articles there. One advantage of getting a website is the freedom to design the site as you want it. As with a book's cover, how you design your website may influence if people will visit or pass it by.

You can write your book so that anyone can read them for free or you can offer people a short glimpse into your books and have them buy the whole book if they find it interesting enough. There are also other ways to make money from these sites other than selling. If your site draws in a lot of visitors, you can have businesses advertise on your site and you can earn from either the mere posting of the ad or get a small cut whenever someone clicks on an ad. Some people have earned enough from blogs that they can afford to leave their regular jobs. Be warned, however, these people are usually the exceptions. There are lots of bloggers out there and quite a number are interested in making money out of their postings.

b.) Create a blog - There are lots of blog sites where you can post your stories or whatevers for anyone to read. If you're only interested in sharing your work and not in earning from them, this is probably the best way to go. If you're still interested in earning a little off the side, you can put advertisements on your blog. You can get Google Adsense to put ads in your site and pay you a small (and I mean "small") fee whenever someone clicks on an ad. As the site owner, you dictate where these ads appear. You can put them where they don't interfere with your writings or you can put them where they can easily draw the visitor's attention.

c.) Contribute articles to a webzine - This is a magazine on the web. One advantage of contributing to a webzine is that you have ready access to their readers. This is where I first got published...sort of. An editor asked for people who wanted to provide answers or insights to certain matters and I responded. I did this several times before the editor moved on to other things. Seeing my comments on the web and print version was a very satisfying experience.

eBook Publishing

There's one other method of getting your book to readers that I'd like to share and it's ebook publishing. An ebook publisher is similar to a regular publisher except that they will produce an ebook out of your piece instead of a print book. An ebook can be read on a computer or electronic reader like the Kindle, the Apple iPad or other similar tablet computer. Potentially, an ebook has a larger reach than a print book because millions of people access the internet at any given time whereas maybe a few tens or hundred thousands of people are inside bookstores at the same time.

There are two types of ebook publishers: full service publishers and you, the independent publisher (aka: indie publisher).

A full service publisher will proofread and edit your book, create an electronic cover and format it for reading on a number of readers. They'll also take care of distribution. Since they provide some service, ebook publishers tend to give smaller royalties though it's still more substantial than print book publishers, in the order of about 50%.

Now we're into what I call ebook self-publishing. Similar to self-publishing print books, you do everything or you hire someone to proofread and format the book and design the cover. The only advantage to doing it yourself is that it's free. Lots of authors do this and if you're a good enough English writer, a fair graphic artist and knowledgeable with formatting, this is the preferred way to publish.

A word about formatting. There are several formats out there that are designed to work with specific readers. A .doc file works with MS Word though this is not the preferred reader for ebooks. There's pdf for Adobe Reader (or any other pdf reading software), txt for Notepad, epub for the Apple iPad, and a few more.

Once you've gone through your book with a fine toothed comb, acquired or created a satisfactory cover and formatted your book, you're ready to distribute. This is done by submitting your ebook to a distributor.

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