In order to participate in the journey of The Preparation Room, there are some things you should know, dear reader. There are a number of different ways to publish books, especially since the advent of the digital age. And as with many things, more choices can be positive, but overwhelming.

Self publishing is an option:

Yes, these days writers can publish themselves. Anyone can be an author. One can publish their work in print, as an ebook, or as an audio book. Or all of the above. Theoretically, I could publish my book chapter by chapter on this website, in the way Dickens serialized his novels. But if I did that, I wouldn’t get paid. And only those who visited my website would ever see my work.

Despite some obstacles, self-publishing a book in print or digitally is a choice many writers are making. The upside: total control. The downside: total work. The author designs the cover, the spine, the back cover or PAYS someone to do it. Ditto with the interior formatting of text and photos/illustrations/maps, or PAYS someone to do it. The author reformats the book for uploading to ebook, or PAYS someone to do it. The author narrates their audio themselves (I’d be as good as the voice actors or celebrities like Tom Hanks who do this…right?) and PAYS a company to produce it.

Let’s say our industrious author manages to get all this done, secures an ISBN number, and PAYS to have copies printed, and here they are, sitting in the living room. How do they get into bookstores? With great difficulty. Publishing companies have a distributor that stores the books and manages the inventory. They also have a sales team that sells the books to booksellers. If you are doing it yourself, you may be tripping around to local bookstores making individual agreements with them to sell your books on consignment. Do you venture past your city or town? If you want to sell books, you do.  Do you also sell books through your website, making you responsible for the shipping, the sales tax and so forth? For that matter, do you have a website? You will need one in any case, which you can struggle to create yourself or PAY someone to do it for you.

Some writers, when faced with this picture, choose to publish in ebook only, generally through Amazon, which is conveniently set up for you to do this. In this scenario you will be out much less money, and time, but of course there won’t be an actual physical object in anyone’s hands.

And you still must deal with promotion and marketing, which some people enjoy but most writers do not (because they would like to be spending their time writing their next book.)

The Preparation Room with not be self-published! Next post, in one week, will be about hybrid publishing.