Publish yourself

Internet has got a nutcracker-like hold on book publishers. It is forcing a shift from paper to e-books, which shaves off margins and fuels piracy. It is now prodding many writers to self-publish their books and find readers on their own.

For long, self-publishing was seen as the last gasp of the failed writers. Not anymore. 2011 may well go down as the year self publishing came of age. In the Kindle 100 top selling ebooks of 2011, there were 18 self-published titles.

Many self-published writers are selling thousands of copies of their e-books and making a small fortune. Most notable among them is Amanda Hocking, a Minnesota-based fiction writer, who had a shoebox filled with rejection slips sent by paper publishers. She was so broke she did not have $ 300 to attend an event in Chicago. To raise this money she turned to self-publishing and in 20 months made a neat $2.5 million and emerged as the face of the new sunrise industry.

As in any industry for every star, who is born, there are countless many toiling for the elusive success. So competition is heating up here as well and the average price of self-published books, along with ebooks in general, is plunging, says Piotr Kowalczyk, analyst.

People, who buy self-published titles, are obviously price sensitive; they do not always go by the media reviews and are willing to take a leap of faith. Mainstream writers, publishers and media may not take them seriously, but the early experience shows they are in good number to support the self publishing phenomena.

Blogger Amit Agarwal recently gave a few tips for budding self-publishers in WSJ. There are popular web sites such as Kindle store, iBookstore, NOOK and Sony Reader, where you can announce your arrival. You can type your novel in Word and convert it to html, using an inbuilt option in the software. Then using Mobipocket Creator, a free tool, convert the html document to a Kindle file. Using ‘Kindle Previewer’ preview how your work looks in a Kindle e-reader. Then go to these sites and upload following the instructions, without forgetting to set a price for those, who want to take a leap of faith.

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