Self Publishing On Internet

Electronic publishing costs money, but self publishing on the internet allows writers to publish their ebooks online at their own Website and keep 100% of the royalties.

New writers have a tough time getting that first book published. Luckily, many can be "discovered" by publishing on the Internet, which can often lead to their work winding up in print, or "hard-copy."

However, many of the current electronic publishing Web sites are little more than vanity presses. The majority require fees to publish books online, so new authors are paying up front costs of $700.00 or more. The author will then receive as little as 10% in royalties and have to pay for expenses, such as credit card disputes.

The average cost of an e-book is $5.00 for titles written by unknown authors. Ten percent of $5.00 is $.50. If you are an author receiving royalties of ten percent on a printed book priced at $20.00, you're way ahead. Even at forty percent on a $5.00 digital book, your chance of selling as many as you would in print form is unlikely.

The reason for that unfortunate fact centers on marketing. Like self-publishing houses, electronic publishers don't seem to do much advertising the work of their authors. For obvious reasons, their market is the unpublished author.

Currently, if you are an author wanting to publish on the Internet, you have two options: go with an electronic publisher and pay them to publish it, or become an Internet self-publisher. The advantage of the former, and it is a big one, is that an electronic publisher will handle all of the ordering process. They take care of delivering your book to the reader, and most importantly, credit card processing.

But there are also advantages to becoming an Internet self-publisher. The most obvious is the 100% royalty on your work. And there is something to be said for having complete control over its production.

The first thing you will need is a Web site, and one of the easiest things to find on the Internet is a company to host it. Things to consider when choosing a Web host are connection speeds, reliable servers and included features. There are two very important features the author needs. One is a password-protected directory; the other an auto-responder.

A password protected directory is simply a space on a server that requires a password to access. You will want to upload a plain text file of your book to this directory. Then once a customer orders your book, he or she is given that password.

The next thing to acquire is a merchant account. This is by far the most difficult and sometimes, the most costly aspect of the self-publishing venture. But it is as necessary as any other step to take. The one thing that makes electronic commerce successful is the impulsive buyer. If the customer has to take the time to write a check, address an envelope, and drop it in the mailbox, he also has time to change his mind.

One option is the growing number of processing companies found on the Internet. For a fee and/or percentage of sale, they will process credit card orders and deposit your share in your bank.

Once everything is set up, the next step is promotion. One of the best and least expensive ways to reach people on the Internet is through mailing lists and newsgroups. But before you start promoting your book using these free mediums, take some time and read what other members are posting. And don't post an advertisement in a mailing list that is strictly discussion. You will certainly learn the meaning of "flame" if you do.

So once you find the appropriate list, write an ad describing your book. As an incentive, offer the first few chapters for free, followed with the URL to your Web site. Once there, potential customers will find an email address where they can request the free portion of your book.

This email address actually leads to your auto-responder. Once it receives an email message, it automatically sends the free portion of your book to the email address of the person sending the message without you having to do a thing. So anytime of the day, a reader can make a request, receive the chapters and read them. Then with their credit card, they can order via your online form the password that will allow them to access the remaining chapters stored in your password-protected directory. The other advantage of the auto-responder is that you will know how many people request your free chapters. This lets you know the effectiveness of your ad and if you are providing enough "hook" for your readers to purchase the rest of your book.

This whirlwind tour through the Internet self-publishing concept leaves out many important things to consider. For example, how long do you want customers to have access to the book? Do you give them a few weeks to read or download it and then change the password? And once your hard work is out there for the world to see, how much protection do you have over copyright infringement?

If your goal is to get your work out there while making money for your labor, Internet self-publishing is an inexpensive way of doing it. And as long as the work doesn't stop with the words "The End," you may accomplish your goal and more.

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