Clear-thinking author Clea Saal, espouses, “we believe, because we want it to be true”…
This applies whether talking about self-publishing or anything else. Any writer working hard to write and promote their book has high expectations… and the self-publishing author assistance companies play on that hope in their marketing. Some authors truly believe that they will get an offer at Hay House by publishing through Balboa Press, for example. After all, BP say they are a division of Hay House all through their website. No mention of probabilities. (Find out more in Penny’s ‘authors: are you being scammed’ article at Huff Post).
Self-publishing in Australia is no different to America and rest of the world. Thousands of hopeful authors (fiction or non-fiction), few traditional publishers accepting unsolicited submissions, and a fight for bookshelf space and online eyeballs. A perfect storm for the green self-publisher who needs help.
You can reason that author assistance publishers have to make a profit, so their fees and royalties are allowable. They are just providing a needed service to authors. Why then do they make it so tricky to work out royalties… and why do they skirt the issue of “will my book sell?” Marketing is certainly one of the most under-serviced areas in the whole publishing menagerie.
You can print on demand all you like, but we found that Print on Demand needs marketing pre-launch/post-launch. If you want a book retail distribution deal, don’t go print on demand, instead look for a Book Distributor willing to work with a quality book indie publisher. (No design your own covers or do your own editing). Have a budget for printing and realise you still must be providing POS materials, press releases and so on. See BPS (Booktopia Publishing Services) or other distributors.
Unbiased Self-Publishing Australia – Company Reviews
While Amazon (ex-CreateSpace) makes #2 on this list of Print-on-Demand Publishers, for those in Australia to publish at Amazon, they need to consider both US tax treaty administration (see my post) and book shipping. Shipping from USA can be costly and slow.
I’m not convinced that their full colour book printing has the quality that LSI/IngramSpark can provide, and this is still under what a mass book printer can provide, with its multitude of options.
After you’ve included for royalties, printing, and taxes, just ensure there is enough left for you! Kindle Print is reputable because its company is Amazon, while direct competitor IngramSpark is an arm of Lightning Source International (known to the entire publishing industry). But the same cannot be said for Author Solutions Inc and its litany of POD brands.
If you look up Product Reviews, you will find author reviews of Self-publishing companies in Australia. While you can find editing and self-publishing coaching services you need through me, some large companies are well-equipped to handle book production. I still maintain that our editing quality is higher! It is better to know the name of your editor than take a chance on a company’s offshore freelancer.
There are also easier ways to self publish with online training these days. Some, like my Book Creation Success Club, are even made for the Australian author! They contain the most needed guides and tutorials on IngramSpark setup, along with what to look for when outsourcing, legal matters, and marketing guidance.
Taking on More Roles
When you choose to publish a book using POD (print on demand), you have to understand that some tasks that were the traditional publisher’s responsibility are now the self-published author’s. For example,
- administration (ISBN, CiP, ebook uploading/review)
- the editing work
- supervising or doing the formatting and design
- legal matters
- presenter material, bookmarks, posters, etc.
As a self-publishing author, after contemplating all this, just writing the book can seem a breeze!
Establishing your credibility in print, online, and via the media is crucial to book sales. Being seen in magazine articles, on Goodreads (authors section), in Facebook reader groups, on Medium, in Amazon Authors’ section, and focussing on your niche industry are all great ways to gain readers’ interest.
Think about possible associations and institutes which would welcome a relationship with you. For instance, there is a coaching magazine (Coaching Life) where the community membership allows those writers who give a lot of rare value to publish an article. Community membership is $48 per year and includes a profile, telecall, as well as digital subscription.
All in all, confidence in your message and your writing is imperative. Whether you’ve decided to provide do-it-yourself books on a certain subject, cover a unique perspective on an issue, or inspire others with tales of overcoming hardship, there is usually a market for your niche, self-published book.