TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making Money by Publishing Your Own Book on the Internet

Making Money by Publishing Your Own Book on the Internet

By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
This week I published my first book on the internet, and I didn’t have to get an agent or be rejected by any publishers. Thanks to websites like Amazon.com, you can now make money even in a down economy by publishing your own book.
First, I’ll give you a little background. I wrote a short story for my youngest kids when we moved from one part of Beaverton to another a few years ago. Since that was the only house they had known, there was a lot of anxiety over the move. I wanted to help them by creating a story that would tie them to the new house and give them a reason to be excited. Our boy’s names are Matt and Josh, so the title of the book was called Matt the Muscle and Josh the Brain. Together they fight bad guys and save the neighborhood. You can check it out on Amazon by going to http://www.amazon.com/Super-Adventures-Matt-Muscle-Brain/dp/1440435502/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242599731&sr=1-4
The official website I created for the book is at http://mattthemuscleandjoshthebrain.com

They
enjoyed it so much that I wrote several more stories with the same theme. I started doing some research into finding an agent and a publisher for a computer book I wanted to write (I’m almost done with it) and I came across a crop of websites that do something new called “on-demand publishing”. You write the story and create the graphics in a word document program like Microsoft’s Word or Publisher. Then you save it as a PDF and upload the cover and the book file to the publishing company for free. Once it’s approved, they will send you a proof copy for a few dollars and you get a chance to okay it before it hits the market. Once approved, you decide the price and what websites you want to sell it on, and with the Amazon Kindle you can even distribute it electronically.

This is a lot different than the type of publisher where you have to pay a bunch of money to publish your book and they mail you all the copies for you to sell. These new companies don’t charge anything up front, and they print them one at a time as people order them online.  They can do this very quickly because of computers. The customer doesn’t even realize it because it can show up in as little as two days. You can order as many wholesale copies for yourself as you’d like and then sell them on your own, if you’re so inclined. You can definitely make more money that way, but it is more work.

We chose a company called Create Space because they are tightly integrated with Amazon. You can get to them by going to createspace.com. Lulu.com and cafepress.com are two others that offer a similar service. More are popping up all the time. Check with bbb.org to make sure they are legitimate and get a good grade before signing up.

So, it wasn’t all peanut butter and banana sandwiches as the king would say. We had our share of problems while doing this project. Amazon does take a pretty high percentage which caused us to raise the price a couple dollars more than we would have liked to, but it’s not a bad trade off since we didn’t have to pay anything to get it started. We also discovered that making graphics isn’t an easy thing. Fortunately my sister Kate does this professionally so we struck a bargain with her to do the pictures while we handled everything else.

Original artwork takes time for a kid’s book so we worked on revision after revision from December until April. After the pictures were done the formatting can also be a trial. Our submission kept getting rejected because of a formatting issue. We discovered that even though the spacing and text boxes in Publisher were exactly correct when we created it, the sizes got slightly bigger when converting to PDF. We fixed this by reducing the original format by around ten percent so when increased, the size would be equal to what was required. That slowed down the project by an entire month! When we got our first proof we were very excited, and when we showed the boys their story in print they believed they had become famous.

When my sister saw her graphics in the book the joy quickly evaporated when she discovered that the pictures were not as sharp due to us changing the sizes to fit the new smaller format. Kate then fixed the originals to match the new size and the second proof came out the way she expected. That’s a good lesson for you when you do your book. Save the pictures to the exact sizes you need. Otherwise they get pixilated or fuzzy.

Kid’s books are probably the hardest to self publish because it takes a team of at least semi professionals to do it right. Novels or other books that don’t require a lot of graphics are a lot easier. For the cover you should consider hiring a professional graphic artist. There are lots of them out of work right now so I would think a Craigslist ad would get you what you need for a reasonable price.
So now it’s time to sell some books! I will explain in a future article what we did to market the book and generate sales.
For more great tips, check back here and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK and at 10 AM in Seattle on KOL, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, I will always answer by email.
Published Monday, May 18, 2009 9:01 AM by Katatkoin