Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing

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The Riddle Report 01 02 2021

A new year has started, and you are dissatisfied with your writing career. Perhaps you are making money writing for someone else, but publishing books has not really happened for you. You wrote a book that you think is the all-American novel, but you can’t get it published.

You’ve tried the traditional press and they won’t look at your novel unless you have an agent. So, you went out and submitted your books to agents, most of whom turned their collective noses down on your book. And those interested were either in the wrong genre or too expensive.

What to do When Traditional Publishing Doesn’t Work.

There are several options, but we are only going to look at two: Self-Publishing and Indie Publishing.

Self-Publishing.

Self-Publishing has been around for a while. The name suggests that by using their service you are self-publishing your book. That you are in control.

This is not accurate. You, the author, are actually paying a publisher to publish your book and the publisher gets the benefits. Here’s a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  1. No agent required, although some suggest you should get one.
  2. Time from signing contract to actual publication usually only a few months.
  3. Virtually able to have book published.
  4. Author owns ISBN.
  5. Royalty paid.

Disadvantages:

  1. Publisher still in charge.
  2. Author gets low royalties, usually a formula that starts out at 8% or something similar.
  3. Marketing tools available with a price.

On the face of it self-publishing looks good for the author. And for some it probably is good. But if you want to have control of your book from creation to marketing, then there are problems. In the list of Disadvantages, I listed “Publisher still in charge” as the first disadvantage. Why? Because if the publisher is in charge of your book then you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

Try this simple quiz:

  • If I use their editing services, do I still have final say?
    • Most self-publishing companies offer their authors their editing services. In some cases. they may charge for it.
    • When I published my first book, I used a self-publishing company, but I chose to do my own editing. Why? Because I did not want them to make any corrections unless I agreed to it and I wasn’t convinced that they would do that.
  • How long do I have to review a Proof before returning it for correction or publication?
    • In self-publishing the publisher makes the rules. When I was with a self-publisher, I was given 72 hours to proof the book. Sounds like a lot of time, but you are proofing to find any and all mistakes. For example, I found errors that were repeated throughout the book. I found some and noted them, but not all. So, some errors remained in the published version.
  • Can I pull the book, edit it, and republish after I have already published it?
    • Yes, if you are willing to pay for another book. Generally speaking, once your book is published, it is done.
  •  If so, how much does it cost?
    • This varies but I would estimate between $400 and $800 for one book.
  • How much help do I get marketing the book?
    • I didn’t get much. They did have a variety of tools I could purchase. But actual help, no.
  • What do the marketing tools cost?
    • That varies from publisher to publisher. In my opinion, too much.

Although the answers to the above questions are not ideal, self-publishing is still better than traditional publishing in that you do have more control than before and the book gets published faster.

INDIE Publishing

In 2014 my wife, Teresa, and I went out to lunch at a small McDonalds located in Murdock, part of greater Port Charlotte, and made a very important decision. As we sat there and discussed my writing career and the possibility of hers, although at that time she hadn’t started writing her first novel yet, we decided to establish our own publishing company called T&R Independent Books. The T was for Teresa and the R for Ronald.

Let’s look at the Why form our own publishing company.

Up to that time I had been publishing using what is commonly called self-publishing companies to publish my books. But as I studied these companies I discovered:

  • They controlled the content
  • They controlled the cover
  • They determined the royalties
  • I still had to do the marketing

In other words, while I had more freedom and control that I’d have with a traditional publisher I still didn’t really have control of anything. By going independent and truly publishing by myself, I would:

  • Have control over the content
  • Have control over the cover
  • Determine the royalties
  • Still do the marketing

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider myself a control freak. Rather, I believe that if the author is going to invest his or herself into writing a book, any book, then they deserve to benefit from it.

Case in point. With traditional and self-publishing companies the average author’s royalties are scaled. It varied from publisher to publisher but in general it might go like this: 8% of retail for the first 2,500; 15% for the next 5,000; 25% thereafter. Now the numbers I just used may not be accurate (I did it from memory), but the concept is true.

But by doing my own publishing I can receive 35% or 70% right from the start! That is a major difference.

What about the content?

With traditional publishers you generally have to first go through an agent who then tries to find a publisher. The agent has certain criteria which may involve you changing the content. But just finding an agent can be long and frustrating. Then the agent gets to tell you whether the book is good enough for publishing based on their expertise.

Even self-publishers exert control. For example, say you are writing a book and you quote from the King James Version Bible. It is possible they will substitute a different version whether you agree or not. They may also reject passages they don’t like. In other words, just because you are pleased with your results they might not be and can act accordingly.

Another thing involved is the ability to correct. No matter how or to what extent you have had your book previewed and edited, there is always the chance of errors. Moreover, the publisher may have printing errors. I ran into this with my books. I was sent a ‘Proof’ copy and given about three days to review, find errors, make corrections, and return (electronically, of course). (For more on this see above in section about Self-Publishing.)

But by publishing the book myself I am able to take my time and do a more thorough job of previewing and editing. And, if there are still errors in the published version, I can correct the errors and republish at no cost to myself!

What about the Cover?

I have discussed Cover Creator in previous blogs, but Kindle’s Cover Creator and Photo Gallery provide free pictures or frames in which I can upload my own pictures. Moreover, if I am willing to hire someone to do a professional picture including the bar code, I can do that. Just have to meet KDP’s criteria.

And one last thing: Writing a book can be and is stressful; so is marketing. Having greater control over the publishing removes a lot of stress; and having greater control over price and royalties is far more rewarding.

The result is that you can approach marketing with far less stress than before.

Have you considered Indie Publishing?

More and more authors are discovering the value of the Indie approach. Yes, it requires more work on your part, but it’s worth it. Go to our website and check out our videos, all free, that give you a head start on building your own writing and publishing business.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Book Cover and more

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Book Cover and more.

Ideas for this Article come from Penny Sansevieri, Author Marketing Experts

Book Cover

Different publishers have different criteria for your book covers. We use the criteria that KDP requires. When we are working with an author, we point out that when using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, you have access to templates that come with pictures or you can provide your own. If you are using the proper dimensions, the picture will fit within their templates forming a great cover.

Some people prefer to hire outside help and use their own pictures. Please remember to get someone who is certified to create KDP approved covers. Failure to do that will delay your book’s progress.

About the Book or Information Sheet

In your Media Kit you can have information that would also be included on your website. Here you include a sheet that tells a reviewer the Title, Subtitle (if any), Author, Publisher, Release Date, Category, ISBN, Format/editions, and Price. Follow with: Please mail a copy of the review (‘interview’ or ‘Tear sheet’) to your name or your publicist.

Book Plate Labels

These are attached in separate documents. The labels should be on Avery 8164 or equivalent.

Tip of the Day : Know the publishers criteria for covers; don’t forget About the Book and Labels.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Ron’s Tip of the Day Media Kit

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at Media Kit.

Ideas for this Article come from Penny Sansevieri, Author Marketing Experts

During the next few days, I will be writing about:

  • Press Release
  • Author Bio
  • Head shot
  • Book Cover
  • Fact Sheet
  • News Release
  • Release
  • About the Book
  • Labels
  • Collateral material

Penny Sansevieri’s Author Marketing Experts is an organization dedicated to helping authors (new or old) to achieve their marketing goals. She’s written a number of self-help books that are easily read and helpful.

These tips come from her Media Kit in a Box which is loaded with useful information. I recommend you seek her out at authormarketingexperts.com.

So, watch this blog for some useful hints about creating your own Media Kit. And don’t dismiss the topic. If you plan on having tv/radio interviews or plan on placing your book in a bookstore, then a Media Kit is a must.

Tip of the Day : Follow this blog and learn about your Media Kit.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

How to Compare CS with KDP That Will Help You Publish

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a deeper look at How to Compare CS with KDP That Will Help You Publish.
As I prepare to publish my latest novel I thought a few comments upon publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) versus CreateSpace might be appropriate. This is especially true since this is my first ‘fully KDP printed book.’ What I mean by that is this has been a KDP project from the start. Previously I either published with CreateSpace or started with CreateSpace and published with KDP.
My first overall observation is that Kindle Direct Publishing is every easy to use. As I have progressed with the book I have noticed that KDP is actually a tad simpler to use than CS. It is easily understood, information is easily inputted, and the whole process is user friendly.
Now let’s take a look at some specifics.
TITLE

As with CreateSpace Kindle Direct Publishing is very easy to use. For the Title you simply enter your book’s title. If it has a Subtitle you can enter that in the appropriate box. It is a very easy process equal to the CreateSpace experience. I am very pleased.

DISCRIPTION

With the allowance of up to 3247 words you have ample space allowed for your description.

SERIES

You can input the Series and Series Number if your book is a series. Because I want the Series to be prominently displayed on the cover I enter the Series name and number in both the Subtitle and Series boxes.

EDITION NUMBER

An edition is a particular version of a book. The edition number tells readers whether the book is an original version or an updated version. If this is the first time you have published this book, enter the numeral 1. If the book was previously published and the version you are publishing contains significant changes, enter the numeral 2 (and so on).

AUTHOR

Probably most of you won’t have the same needs as I do. My author name is R. Frederick Riddle. Like in CreateSpace the input form has a First Name, Middle Name, and Last Name. Since I am primarily focused upon my middle name, I want it to be displayed on the cover. However, if you provide the middle name in the middle name box it won’t be displayed. So I simply type R. Frederick in the First Name box. Works like a charm!

CONTRIBUTORS

If there are multiple authors you will want to list them here. This is similar to the Author entry. You can add as many authors as you need. Since I am the only author of my books, I skip this part.

PUBLISHING RIGHTS

Here you have two options:

  • I own the copyright and I hold necessary publishing rights.
  • This is a public domain work

Simply indicate which option is correct.

KEYWORDS

You are allowed up to 7 key words or phrases. It is recommended by experts that you use keywords that are not in the Title, Description, or Category. This can be difficult, but think about possible ways someone might seek to find your book. There appears to be some debate about whether words or phrases are best, so I recommend a mix. Again this is comparable to CreateSpace.

CATAGORIES

You are allowed up to two categories which I believe was the same in CreateSpace. Simply make your selections and carry it out as far as possible.

ADULT CONTENT

You’ll see this sentence: Does this book contain language, situations, or images inappropriate for children under 18 years of age?
Then you either select Yes or No.
Choosing Yes does not mean your book is pornographic, it simply seeks to identify the age appropriate level of reader.

ISBN

This might actually be a tad easier than CreateSpace. You are given choices for your ISBN.
An ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, is a unique 10-digit number assigned to every published book. An ISBN identifies a title’s binding, edition, and publisher. An EAN, or European Article Number, is a 13-digit number assigned to every book to provide a unique identifier for international distributors. The 10-digit ISBN is converted to a 13-digit EAN by adding a 978 prefix and changing the last digit. To publish a book, you can use either a free KDP ISBN or use your own valid ISBN (purchased directly from your ISBN agency).

PUBLICATION DATE

Your publication date is the date on which your book was first published. You cannot change it after publishing your title. If you leave this blank, KDP will automatically use the date on which your book goes live (i.e. it is available for sale) on Amazon.

PRINT OPTIONS

INTERIOR & PAPER TYPE (you can choose):

  • Black and White interior with Cream paper
  • Black and White interior with White paper
  • Color interior with White paper

TRIM SIZE

6 x 9 in. or a different size.

BLEED SETTINGS

Setting your interior to “bleed” allows printing at or off the edge of a page. It is used to support images and illustrations. Most books use “no bleed” unless there is a specific reason to apply “bleed.” Changing the bleed settings will not change the manufacturing cost.

PAPERBACK COVER FINISH

KDP supports Matte and Glossy finish. If memory serves me CreateSpace may have had more choices, but this seems ideal for most authors.

MANUSCRIPT

Upload a manuscript of your book interior content. For best results, we recommend using a formatted PDF file to create your paperback. You can also upload a DOC (.doc), DOCX (.docx), HTML (.html), or RTF (.rtf).
You can also download a KDP Template.

BOOK COVER

We recommend a book cover for a good reader experience. You can create a cover using our Cover Creator tool or upload your own book cover. If uploading your own book cover it must be PDF.
To use Cover Creator click on it. You will go to a very easy to follow page that will guide you and provide the tools necessary to taking advantage of their gallery.

BOOK PREVIEW

Preview your file to check for formatting and print quality issues. This is mandatory to continue onward. Every time you upload a new manuscript or make changes affecting the book’s interior you will be required to Launch Previewer.

SUMMARY

This shows a summary of your decisions plus the printing costs of the book.

TERRITORIES

If you don’t hold worldwide rights to sell and distribute your title, you must indicate the territories in which you hold rights. If you are publishing a public domain title, keep in mind that the duration of copyright varies between countries/regions, so ensure you set your territory rights to only include those territories where you have determined the book is in the public domain.

PRICING & ROYALTY

The List Price is the price a customer sees on an Amazon detail page. In certain marketplaces, the List Price displayed to the customer will include local VAT which is added on to the List Price you provide.
I always use Expanded Distribution.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

It can take up to 72 hours for your book to be available for purchase on Amazon. Until then, the book’s status will be “In Review” on your Bookshelf.
By clicking publish I confirm that I agree to and am in compliance with the KDP Terms and Conditions.

PROOF COPIES

Order proof copies of your book before publication. Proof copies are printed using your latest uploaded book files which may differ from your book’s live version. They will also have a “Not for Resale” watermark on the cover and a unique barcode but no ISBN. You pay only the printing cost for your selected marketplace times the number of copies. Shipping and applicable taxes will be applied at checkout.
This is the only place in which I’ve been disappointed. I liked where CreateSpace allowed you to have the book proofed right there online and you discovered the errors, etc. KDP only allows you to order a printed proof copy as far as I can tell. This will take more time. However, the disappointment is minor since it will allow me to actually hold the proof copy in my hands. Thus I will get the feel and appearance!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have been very pleased with the whole process of publishing the book although I haven’t published yet due to Final Edits that I am currently undergoing. But that is simply me uploading a new and improved manuscript plus another Book Preview.
So when comparing CreateSpace with Kindle Direct Publishing you (in this case I) can expect the same and, in some cases, better experience with KDP than with CreateSpace. This is always a good thing. It means that we, as authors, can focus on our writing and not so much on the publishing end of the process. In my opinion this has been a transparent upgrade that benefits me (and I hope you) as an author.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.