Online Self-publishing Tools
The publishing industry is in the midst of drastic changes. Perhaps they are not as sweeping as what the music industry went through last decade, but they could end up being more liberating for artistic entrepreneurs. If you’re an author and you want to self-publish your work, you’ve got a lot on your mind. You’re probably a freelance writer, with a number of different clients, which means you’ve got contract tracking software on your computer and who knows what else. You may want a self-publishing tool that is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of strain on your hardware. Here are five convenient online services for publishing your e-book:
Lulu—Lulu officially offers print, publishing, and distribution services for self-publishers, but they do much more than just traditional printing and publishing. Lulu works with 3rd party publishing companies in order to give you options as to how you should position your book. In this way, it acts as a publishing consultant, a technical editor, and a distribution platform all in one. In addition to offering many stylistic options, you can choose between publishing in digital form or as a hard copy. Lulu also makes it possible to distribute with an open source license.
Blurb—Blurb is similar to Lulu in many ways, in that it offers online publishing services. They differ in their layout options with the proprietary BookSmart software client that has six different styles. Blurb’s revenue has skyrocketed in the last couple years, hitting $30 million.
Createspace—Owned by Amazon, CreateSpace is a self-publishing tool similar to the Lulu and Blurb except it only accepts PDFs. Perhaps to make up for that deficiency CreateSpace allows you to create a book in the Kindle format. An additional benefit is the fact that your published work will automatically be linked up with the massive Amazon network.
CafePress—CafePress is an online retailer that sells a number of different products, including shirts, CDs, calendars and books. Their distinguishing mark is the virtual ‘shop’ by which you can sell your own products. Hypothetically, an author could set up a virtual bookstore of their own works and then use social media to drive people in.
WeBook—Combines publishing with social media by allowing you to collaborate on a book or let someone add to your story. It’s free, but you can’t import from any other editor and you can’t publish your book without having a high rating. A bit limited in publishing options compared to the other services listed here but it’s a qualitatively different service and may fit the business model you’re intending with your work.
These five services offer you varied but robust options for how to get your book out to the masses without an agent, a publishing house, or any of the other intermediaries. If you’re an author looking to self-publish, familiarize yourself with these resources. They may catapult you to your own bestseller’s list.