Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My first Amazon/BookSurge self-publishing project

How would you all like to publish? Imagine a class putting a book together and having it available on Amazon.com! This could be really cool and the stripped down version is only $99 (though I'm not sure who would pay it)

This is a blog/web posting of the process that this guy followed to publish his own book on Amazon.


Ellen Scott said...

This looks like fun! I recently decided to turn some of my personal photos into a bound book using a partner of webshots.com, which won't have as wide an audience as amazon, and although it won't be 'professional', is still pretty nifty. $99 doesn't seem like much to pay for the thrill of having our work in print!

Dan said...

I agree. There are both professional and personal reasons to publish a book in this manner.

Professionally, I think that many people are a little sick of the extended amount of time that it takes a traditional publisher to get books to print. Not to mention the heavy price that they charge when it comes out. There is almost no financial return in publishing academic texts (unless 1000s of K-12'ers are using them). So, I'd figure that the small percentage you'd pick up on a self-published book would be worth it.

For personal reasons, I'd love to publish a book of pictures of my son and have my family able to buy copies on Amazon. Again, the professional services that do this, charge a crazy amount to do so. It would be nice to cut them out if possible.

Timothy Fish said...

I, for one, decided to give it a shot. I just submitted my pdf files for Church Website Design: A Step By Step Approach. Part of the reason I did was to discover how well it works. I figure spending $99 for publication and maybe selling 100 books is better than spending two years and who knows how much money looking for an agent and a publisher with the risk of the book not being published. Given the nature of some of the information in the book, part of it would have to be revised if I waited two years for someone to pick it up.

Dan said...

Good for you Timothy. If you ever make it back this way I'd love to hear how it went.


Timothy Fish said...

I found my book, Church Website Design waiting patiently on my front porch when I arrived home from work today. I am pleased with the quality. It turns out that it looks better in print than what it does on the computer screen. The book has images in it that appeared pixelized when I was working with the files. I expected this with screen shots, but there were also line drawings. In the book they are razor sharp, as they should be. Even the screen shots look better in the book than they do on the screen.

Booksurge predicted that it would take 1 to 2 weeks for the book to show up on Amazon.com. Since Booksurge is owned by Amazon.com I expected it to show up there first. It has already appeared on Abebooks and Alibris, but it has yet to appear on Amazon.

The book is priced at about $18.99. One of the two sites has it priced slightly lower. I didn't set the price and I won't be raising it, but compared to other books of the same nature as this book it is a very good price. If it was a work of fiction it might not look like such a good deal, but technical books and Christian ministry books tend to have significantly higher prices than fiction. That isn't to say that someone publishing fiction doesn't deserve that much, it is just that people have come to expect lower prices.

For my $99 dollars I got one book. Someone spent some time answering some of my questions, which is worth something. I get a higher return per book than I would have through a traditional publisher. I didn't have to spend money on a whole block of ISBNs. My book will be available for sale to anyone who wants it. I will have to do some marketing, but I would have to do that anyway. Other than that I just have to check my bank account to see how much money I have gained from book sales. Some people are critical of authors paying to be published, but so far, I am pleased with the process.

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