Best Self Publishing Platforms for Bloggers
When I first wrote an ebook for my blog, I knew I wanted to self-publish and get it out there to my readers right away. After weeding through what seemed like a million options, I chose three I considered the best self publishing platforms out of all of them.
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We have to narrow our options as bloggers or else run the risk of bogging down in all the information, don’t we? The platforms I’ve chosen allow me to reach more readers and provide them professional quality ebooks. If I can use the hours of reading I took up researching to help you make an informed decision…well, that’s exactly what I’m going for.
Since my 3rd grade year, I wanted to ‘be a writer.’ I wrote a Halloween story about a witch and my teacher raved about it. I felt ten feet tall! Since then, I knew writing would be part of my career. I’ve always been a tech junkie, too. In fact, my technical mind keeps me from really letting the fictional flow happen. Technical writing suits me so much better. You’ll be able to use these platforms for any books you want to write; they’re perfect for both fiction and non-fiction.
When trying to figure out the most productive use of my time for my blog, I wanted something that could both help me grow my email list plus bring in extra income. Writing ebooks seemed to be the most logical. I read a post from Writer’s Digest called 7 Tips for Turning Your Blog into a Book and that motivated me to move forward. While I’ve written four ebooks all for my faith blog, none of them were blog to book; they were independent topics instead. However, I still like the idea of turning my blog posts into a book. In fact, I’m working on that right now and am excited to see how it’s shaping up.
Throughout my experiences, I’ve found what I consider to be the best self publishing platforms that allowed me to reach the most readers and earn the most income. I don’t use the same platform for every single one of them. You’ll have to decide what works best for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.
There’s a myth I’ve heard that you have to pay big bucks to self-publish. That’s simply not true. You CAN pay big bucks if you want, but it’s never required. I’ve published/helped publish other authors multiple books and never spent much at all. For example, only one of my four personal ebooks cost me more than a few dollars to publish and probably not even that much. For that one, I did pay a graphic designer for a cover instead of creating it myself. I also had her create a book trailer and a few other promotional items. She charged me about $150 total. Even that is completely reasonable compared to the thousands some companies charge to help you self-publish. It shouldn’t cost you thousands. Ever.
Now, let’s get down to the good stuff so you can see your options for self-publishing and save yourself thousands!
These are my three favorite and most profitable self publishing platforms:
1. Create a PDF to sell or give away directly from your blog – writing a book and delivering it to your readers via your blog is definitely the quickest and easiest way to publish. You can use multiple programs to create your book and then save as a PDF. It’s easy to upload it, grab the link, and send it to your email subscribers after they sign up.
Or, use a payment processor like Gumroad, SendOwl, WooCommerce, or WP eStore and sell your PDF straight from your blog. The biggest advantage to selling a PDF from your blog rather than going through Amazon or another platform is that you’ll retain more of your profit. In fact, it’ll cost cents per book typically depending on which program you use to sell. Gumroad charges a fee per sale, SendOwl charges a monthly fee, and WP eStore has one upfront cost (it was $80 when I bought it almost two years ago). I’ve not used WooCommerce and am not familiar with it, but I do see other bloggers talking about it so I wanted to mention it here so you’d know it’s an option.
Advantages to a PDF Formatted Ebook:
-easy to design and format
-easy to convert to PDF
-you keep almost all royalties
-it’s simple to set up and to deliver automatically
-you’re responsible for all marketing and sales
-audience can be limited to your blog readers
-some authors don’t consider a PDF to be a ‘true’ ebook (but in the blogging world, they’re common, acceptable, and recommended)
For step by step instructions on creating a PDF ebook and delivering it to your readers as a free opt-in to grow your email list or to sell on your blog, check out my FREE video based course, Beginner’s Guide to Boosting Your Blog with an Ebook
2. Amazon Kindle – Okay, EVERYONE knows Amazon so I probably don’t need a big explanation here about what it is. When you tell people you have a book for sale on Amazon, they will be impressed. I promise! Sometimes, bloggers skip going the Amazon route, but I think it’s definitely one to consider especially as you’re working to build your credibility as an expert in your field.
If you sell on Amazon, have a quality book, and readers leave positive reviews, you’re ‘in like Flynn’. What? Where did that expression even come from? Ha. I just know it means you will be credible….part of the ‘in’ crowd of writers. It’s not difficult to publish on Amazon, either (although it takes time to get everything just right so the finished product is top-notch and professional). You do some special formatting, save it a certain way, upload it, and off you go. There are many programs that say they’ll format it for you, but really it’s easier and typically better quality for you to format it manually. I’ll be creating a course for you in the next few weeks showing you how.
Advantages to Publishing your Ebook for the Amazon Kindle
-Amazon sells MORE books than all the other online book retailers combined.
-It’s FREE to publish on Amazon
-It’s fast. You don’t have to wait on agents or publishers and can instead have your book ready to sell within about 12 hours.
-You control the pricing.
-Amazon will often help promote your book especially if you move up in the rankings through sales and reviews.
Disadvantages to Publishing on Kindle
-Amazon keeps a large percentage of your sales. For example, on a book of mine I priced at 2.99, I get about $2.00. That’s approximately 33% to Amazon. Kind of a bunch.
-You may not be able to price your book as high as you could if you sold it on your blog. Amazon ebook buyers usually are looking for those $2.99 or .99 deals. Depending on your topic, you could possibly sell from your blog for $10 or $20. I’ve even seem some bloggers sell their very niched, extremely focused ebooks for up to $75. Wow. I haven’t sold any for that price. Yet. 🙂
-competition is fierce and it can be difficult to rank
I’m in the process of developing a course for you on publishing to Amazon. Fill out your info. below and submit to get notified when it’s ready. It’s the only email I’ll send you (unless you sign up for something else from Tech Gramma, too).
In the meantime, check out my, Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Publishing on Amazon.
3. CreateSpace – If you’re looking to create a professional quality print paperback book, CreateSpace provides clear directives and a straight forward platform. Sometimes, having a physical book helps when promoting your brand and blog. I don’t have all of my books published in paperback, but two of them are. I take them to conferences and retreats so that I have something in print to share or sell.
Many readers prefer a print book. With CreateSpace, your paperback can sell on Amazon alongside your ebook. This is another way to add credibility and establish yourself as an expert. CreateSpace is a print-on-demand company which means that they won’t print a book unless one has been ordered. This saves you from having to purchase up front and run the risk of not selling.
When a reader purchases your paperback through Amazon, they pay Amazon. Then, AMAZON ships the book to the reader; you don’t have to deal with the sales or shipping at all. Once a month, Amazon deposits your payments to your bank account. Easy! The only time I have shipped books myself, I bought 50 books to sell at a women’s retreat. I had some leftover afterwards and so I sold signed copies from my blog to move the inventory. I know! An autograph from me? Ha. But people like that personal touch and they did sell. It still boggles my mind.
Advantages of Publishing on CreateSpace
-you have a physical copy to sell or use for giveaways (great for building your list and readership)
-it integrates with Amazon and gives you the same Amazon Kindle benefits listed above
-it’s FREE to publish through CreateSpace
-print on demand means you don’t have extra stock sitting in boxes
-you have to price your paperbacks pretty high to earn much of a profit. Obviously, it costs the company to print the book. If you buy directly from them and sell it yourself, you can do better profit-wise. My books (of about 180 pages) cost just over $2 plus shipping if I order directly. The cost per book I pay ends up being around $4-$5. The more you order, the better deal you get on shipping. When you sell them on Amazon, your profit is even less and so authors typically raise the price to somewhere between the $12 to $20 range in order to make money. You may have noticed before how pricey the print copies are. That’s why.
-it can be more tedious to get the formatting right compared to publishing an ebook. Having an ill-formatted print book can be disastrous. Credibility gets shot if you send out a sub-par book. That being said, it is absolutely doable (and remember…it’s free, so if you don’t have much or any budget, you can still self-publish!)
And yes, I’m working on a course for CreateSpace, too! lol If you sign up for the Amazon course notifcation above, I’ll also let you know about the CreateSpace course. SECRET TIP: I’ll be bundling the courses for those on my notification list. Shhh…
What I Want You to Know More than Anything
Self-publishing does not have to be expensive nor is it too difficult for you (or us together if you want me to show you) to figure out! Writing ebooks has been one of the best things I’ve done for my blogs. I knew I wanted control – over pricing, content, cover design, etc. and self-publishing has allowed me that control.
Let me know ANY questions you have about self-publishing no matter where you are in the process.