First of all, thank you guys.
Why you ask?
Well, if I said “for everything” would it be cheesy?
Yeah, I guess it is.
Um, so trying to keep it less cheesy, I’d like to thank you again for all the support and kind words that you guys have kept coming in these few months of my experience as a blogger.
Why all this sudden showering of gratitude you ask?
Okay, here it comes!!!
My first ever short story collection is finally published!!
Oh oh, the kindle version too!
(The printed version is way too costlier on amazon.com, so don’t buy it there; I didn’t have any say in it, as dear old Amazon put up a minimum list price after considering printing charges, royalties and what not! Go to Pothi’s, but don’t blame me for the shipping charges!)
Cue the happy dance!!!
Okay, so what do you say after you have announced your book is published?
(Yeah, you know my name now. Frothywinter is Varsha Hebbar in reality. *Gasp*)
I’d like to mention a few links that helped me along the way (Publishing is several times harder than writing, so I hope these links help whoever’s trying out self publishing. I thought I’d make a separate step by step post on how I went through the entire self publishing and the mistakes I made along the way, but time constraints But I’m sure these links will help you a lot. So, here they come)
- I wasn’t kidding when I said WordPress was of great help. There are so many authors who have taken up self publishing and want to share their experience through their blog and their posts. For example, I learnt of ISBN and PCN numbers and how important they are in this post by Putting my feet in the dirt. Likewise, there are so many other posts scattered around in the blogosphere. So go on, read them all!
- Then there’s Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. I first came across KDP on a platform called Reedsy, where every query regarding your writing is answered. And not just that, you have weekly writing prompts coming directly to your inbox, allowing you to participate (there’s a cash reward, how cool is that?) and making you write more. Writer’s block? What’s that?
Coming back to KDP, you got to remember one important point. India only allows the Kindle version of your book to be published. You can put up your book on Amazon.com, but the shipping charges are double the amount you spend on the book itself.
(Not kidding- Don’t worry, I cancelled the order. Lol)
Of course there are platforms like Ingramspark that offers Global Connect options, but then again, I decided to go to a site that would help me reach out more efficiently to Indian readers (Pothi’s, as you’ll see in the next point).
But if you are okay with Amazon.com or if you want your book only in the Kindle version, then KDP is amazing!
Then there’s Createspace.
I don’t really have anything against it. Infact it’s helped me a lot by giving me a proper trim size template,
while Ingramspark just confused me with a pdf that had this
They also offer you a proof copy and cover creator option (so does KDP, whose options are better if you ask me).
But the thing is, Createspace has a lot of difficulties when it comes to publishing within India.
They ask for a lot of details, like IBAN numbers, swift code and other bank details that I had to pester my dad for days together to get. And still being months away from turning eighteen, I neither have a PAN number, nor a bank account and had to annoy my dad for his account details. He did warn me that we probably had to open a new trade account, but again that’s a different set of problems. Then I come across this site via Google, that literally put a full stop to the entire publishing process (I had gone via Createspace first, only discovering KDP after wasting days here with no result in the end). Indian Banks DO NOT have IBAN numbers. WTH!
If not for coming across KDP, this book wouldn’t have been possible at all.
Createspace isn’t really an issue for US dwellers, so this message is restricted to people outside it. Don’t waste your time on it.
3. As I said earlier, KDP only offers Kindle editions within India. So for printed versions, I went to quora to check what others had been doing.
And then I found this:
So, Pothi was the last option.
Of course Pothi was exactly what I needed. They definitely did not have templates, so I was once again glad I did go to Createspace, even though it did turn out to be futile in the end.
But as you could see in the beginning image, my book was finally accepted and went onto the Pothi online store. I did not distribute it to other online platforms like Amazon.in and Flipkart because they put extra charges on it (and my dad was pissed about me spending more time on this than bothering to check about my new college and the upcoming academics there. Lol) But I’m glad, atleast I had an option now, and knew what to do next time.
4. Coming back to the pre-publishing part, once you’ve finished with your writing, you have a number of jobs that might look very easy but will end up leaving you pretty clueless about how to carry it forward. The editing, formatting and creating the cover page to a name a few. You have a number of options concerning how you want to finish these jobs to finally plunge into the publishing process. For editing, you have the option to hire an editor from freelance websites like Upwork or even Reedsy. But if you do not want to spend on editing, you can take up editing tools like Pro writing aid.
This is what I did, and it’s pretty good for a free website.
For formatting, I approached my dad. But of course, if you hire an editor, they usually format it for you…I guess?
There are a lot of options when it comes to your own cover page. Createspace, KDP and Pothi all have their own cover page creators. They offer a lot many themes, image options, fonts and a preview of how it might look in the end. Or you could once again approach freelancers to get it done for you. At first, I decided to contact a freelancer that my dad claimed to be his acquaintance. But even after sending a mail, I didn’t receive a response, so that option closed. And I really couldn’t afford to waste any more days. So, I did check out the image options in the cover page creators, but wasn’t really satisfied with it. After that it’s obvious where I went.
Unsplash it was!
If you aren’t aware, then you cannot use Google images for your personal purpose cause they usually belong to someone else, or are a part of some other site, whose permission you need in order to use it for your own work. Unlike here on Unsplash where the photos are literally free for your use. And such good ones that too!
5. After finalizing your proof copy and your cover, and hitting submit, the self publishing platform usually takes up to one day to finalize your book and give you the good news e-mail about its publication. You need to fill in all the bank details so that the platform can make it’s payment to you. There is all that info about royalties that is pretty important but since I’m not very clear about it myself, I suggest you do look into it yourself on a valid site.
Things I still have to look into, for next time:
- Set up a separate trade account and learn how you’ll get paid through foreign currencies
- Learn more about royalties.
- Buy ISBN number from Bowker and not from any other website for free.
So, that’s it guys! I hope that was helpful. If you do know of any other simpler methods when compared to the ones I used, then I’d be really thankful if you did mention it down in the comments. And if you have any more queries regarding the process I followed, you are always welcome to put it down in the comments or reach out to me via the contacts section.
Have an Awesome day! ❤