The cost to publish a book can be free or is can be expensive. Because I am an author who has published my books for cheap, I will share with you the way I did it and a few others that I am aware of. I will not speak about traditional publishing where you might have an agent who helps you with a various elements of crafting books proposals and other aspects of the process like marketing and distributing your book.
And, somewhere in this article I will share exactly how a new industry of book coaches has popped up with near magical tactics of getting your book ranked high on Amazon so you can sell more copies. Did you know that Amazon now lets obscure authors create ads based on searches for related books to yours, so you can be featured at the top of it’s search. Some Kindle authors have businesses completely centered around making book summaries and placing ads in Amazon. It works because it appeals to people’s innate desire to always grasp something faster, easier, and better.
How to Do Publishing without Big Publishing Houses
Okay, so if you have a small budget and computer literate, then you can go with a few different service companies that make it easier to self pulish your stuff than it used to be.
The first one is called Ingram Spark. This is like a sleeping giant. They aren’t talked about that much, but they have over 7 million books registered through their site. Ingram Spark takes your print-ready manuscript (with your own ISBN) and provides distribution to over 40,000 stores and libraries for less than the cost of your average cell phone bill. Ingram allows you to offer hard cover books (which can make you more money) while similar companies to not.
The second one is called Create Space (now KDP Print). It offers the same type of service that Ingram Spark offers without the need for an ISBN. Another nice feature is that it is free to make changes, but at the time of writing this (12.19.19) it costs $49 for every change you make to your Ingram Spark book after you publish.
A third one is called BookBaby. I know most of you will not have heard of CDBaby, but is a story worth reading about. Basically, BookBaby is offering to Indie Book Publishers what CDBaby offered to Indie Artists. Something unique they offer is cover design services. You can do your own cover design wih KDP, but just remember that it will be template-based.
Are your aware that if your self-published book does really well, you do not have to do much to get picked up by a big publishing house like Penguin? Ingram Spark offers connections to whatever you might need as a author, and BookBaby goes over an above to put more money into your pocket for each sale and maek the process easy by providing services in house. You may start out just selling books from your garage or from your own online store, and end up smiling as you pass by your book on shelves at airports.
Hacking the Best Seller Lists
As promised, in this section, I will share with you a few insider tactics that new authors use to get their books seen and make a few hundred sells if not skyrocking to fame and fortune.
I wish I could remember the marketer’s name who did this technique called “the ethical bribe” to sell multiple copies of his book on Amazon and hack the best seller list. I was on his email list, so I was tickled by the audacity of this guy. He was dropping emails telling everyone about his upcoming book launch for weeks in advance, and he was also asking people NOT to buy his book yet (Amazon does not pre-selling books thing now). Now, this guy had made online info products for years. He had quite a few eBooks under his belt, and he had products that he had made through collaborating with friends. So, he offered us like $1000 worth in electronic books and info products in exchange for buying his book on launch day.
There are other tactics like choosing an obscure category that a lot of people just would not think to publish in, and then there is sending out review copies to get 5 star reviews early on to drive sales. People also pay, that’s right PAY good money for those endorsements from famous authors and influencers that they feature on their covers. Again, there are companies and coaches that are dedicated completely to getting your book seen and sold, so if you’d like to focus solely on being a self-published author, then I recommend you look them up. I am not recommending any because the ones that I have seen are unreasonably expensive.
So, in sum, the three tactics for hacking the best seller list were:
1) Have a launch list that you email about the date of when your book is coming out, and bribe them to buy on your launch day with electronic goods that cost you next to nothing to deliver.
2) Mail out review copies to family, friends, and influencers. Ask them to leave their reviews early on so that you can get more sales.
3) Pay for endorsements that you can feaure on your cover. Other authors who have also hacked the best seller list are not a bad option, but famous people are used to doing PAID ENDORSEMENTS for almost anything you can think of.
My Process for Low Cost Publishing
I have to tell you, it feels really good to tell people that I have two books on Amazon that they can go and purchase (eBook only). And, I have a few more that I have written that I will be using the same exact process for publishing in the coming year.
So, I do all the writing myself. And, I do basic editing. You can use services like Grammarly to clean things up. I have sent a copy to a family friend to get a second pair of eyes on the copy. Then I looked on Fiverr for publishing services and paid for close editing of the book and formatting for Kindle. I did the uploading to the Create Space (now KDP Print) platform myself, and then I asked my mom to buy a copy.
The very first book I published direct to Kindle was when there was practically no training on how to do it, and there were fewer people looking at it as a career. My book ranked pretty well, and I sold a few copies without advertising at all. It is unrealistic now to think that you can publish to Kindle without some sort of advertising or marketing strategy. My second book, published quite a few years later, did not sell.
Well, I hope you found this information helpful, and if you have any questions, post them in the comment section below. I would love to help you get your work out there.