Welcome Zach and Shellie Maddox, husband and wife team behind two new self-published books, and two of my in-real-life friends. They are sharing an invaluable take on the ins and outs of self-publishing in today’s edition of the Everyday Author series. You can read Shellie’s introductory post here.
I came across the book Platform, by Michael Hyatt. He writes that content is king and platform is queen. We started a blog at zachmaddox.com, building the site with iWeb and switching to WordPress for better functionality.
Traditional publishers and self-publishing
The devotional format of our books did not lend itself well to traditional publishing. We decided to become our own publishing company, Redefining Faith Resources, and publish the books ourselves.
ebooks and print copies
Although living in the digital age, it is nice to hold a book, especially one prompting you to journal. We wanted to find a way to offer a print version as well as an ebook. This led to CreateSpace, a branch of Amazon providing authors the ability to upload covers and interiors, with books made on demand (MOD) through Amazon.
Once an account is created with CreateSpace you need to decide the size of book (we chose 5” x 8”), the color of pages (white or cream), full color or black and white printing, and if you want to pay for help putting the book together. Once you have decided on the size you can download Word templates to fill the interior pages. Look at other books for formatting when setting up the book interior.
Judging a book by it’s cover
Books are judged by the cover. You have made no monetary investment so far but, if you are going to pay for anything, choose to pay for a cover design. Prodigy Pixel did both of our cover designs. Each cover cost $300. They provide a high quality front cover resolution and the various sizes needed for iBooks Author, Kindle (KDP), and B&N. They also provide the full cover for CreateSpace. Check out Faith, Hope, Love and Unveil Me on Amazon to see the front cover and full cover images.
Some editing required
If you need editing help, Critique My Manuscript, is a great resource. They have different price points for every category.
To upload to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) your book needs to be in a .mobi format. CreateSpace offers to take your book and convert it for free. To upload to Nook Press (B&N) your book needs to be in an ePub format. For our books we chose to have the book conversions done with Your Digital Book. They charged $179 to take the books in Word format and convert them to .mobi and .epub files (price varies depending on the size and type of work) . To avoid this charge have CreateSpace upload the book to KDP and you can upload the word document to Nook Press and see how the versions compare.
If you publish through CreateSpace you have the option of using one of their ISBN’s or you can purchase one from Bowker. When you list the book on Amazon the publisher is listed as CreateSpace instead of you or a company name of your choice. We purchased a 10-pack of ISBN’s from Bowker to publish books under the company name “Redefining Faith Resources”. You will need an ISBN number for the print copy and an ISBN number for the e-copy.
Once you have an ISBN, cover, and manuscript ready, upload your book contents on the copyright office online for a copyright certificate. There is a $35 fee, taking about two and half months to get the certificate in the mail. You can proceed with publication as soon as the work is registered.
Once your book is registered with the copyright office you can upload your material to CreateSpace, KDP, Nook Press, and iBooks. They all require separate accounts. Most want to send proceeds into a bank account with direct deposit, a couple will send a check to your home. If your books are in the correct format the upload process is simple. CreateSpace required our print books be listed no less than $5.38 (the price is based on book length). KDP required our ebooks to be listed between $2.99 and $9.99. Nook Press required our ebooks to be listed between $0.99 and $199.00. iTunes gave us the option of putting our book into several “tier” price brackets, from free up to the list price of the print copy ($5.99 for our books).
After uploading to KDP, our books appeared on Amazon within 24 hours. It took about 36 hours for our books to show up on Barnes and Noble (through Nook Press). After uploading our book to iTunes, using iBooks Author and iTunes Producer, it took 10 days to show up in the U.S. store.
An author page
Amazon has Author Central, where you can set-up an author page to display your work. We set one up forShellie and myself. You can personalize your page with social media feeds, blog feeds, pictures, and video.
Total cost options
- Print version and ebook version made available through Amazon by CreateSpace – $35 for the copyright registration
- Print version and ebook version made available through Amazon by CreateSpace with a professional cover – $35 (copyright) + $300 (cover) = $335
- Print version and ebook version made available through Amazon, B&N, and iTunes with ebook conversion and professional cover – $35 + $300 + $179 (conversion) = $514
- All of the above plus your own ISBN – $250 (for 10-pack)/10 = $25 per ISBN – $35 + $300 +$179 + $50 (using 2 ISBN’s) = $564.
Not an exhaustive list
There are many finer points and details to the process, but this covers the main hurdles. Each site has information to walk you through the specific process and procedure. If you need additional help, comment below and I will try to answer your questions.
What are you waiting for? Take a leap and publish a book. Someone could gain from your understanding! You never know who’s life you could change by sharing what you know.
What advice do you have in regards to publishing a book? What is holding you back from putting a book together? Share your comments below.
Zach and Shellie what an incredible resource you’ve provided us with!
Thanks for sharing all your self-publishing secrets and for allowing us into the behind-the-scenes process behind your new books. Blessings on you and your future writing endeavors!