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The internet has made life a lot easier for independent publishers. Anyone with a good idea for a book can easily become a successful author by publishing on the internet. The sales of eBooks are increasing from day to day and this has been further boosted by the advent of mobile e-Readers.

You can earn money publishing a book online if you are ready to put in some work, and this article will help show you how to get started right now.

  • How to Get Started With Writing a Book
  • How Much Money Can you Make by Publishing a Book?
  • Can you Make Money on a Self-published Book?
  • How Many Books do you Need to Publish to Make Money?
  • How do I Get Paid for my Book?
  • Where can I Publish my Book and Earn Money?
  • Is it Worth it to Self-publish a Book?
  • Is Amazon Publishing Worth it?
  • How Much do Amazon Self publishers Make?
  • How do you Get a Book Published for the First Time?
  • How do Small Publishers Make Money?

How to Get Started With Writing a Book

Research popular topics

Online publishing is not just about writing anything that comes to your mind. You have to be sure that there is a ready market for the material that you want to publish. Take some time to find out the type of topics that are in demand. You can make a lot of money if you discover a niche that does not have too many authors.

Read Also: Borrow Money to Make Money

An easy way to do is to look at the bestsellers list on popular websites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also find out the hottest releases in the publishing industry by checking newspapers, magazines as well as bookstores. “How to” books have always done well in the market and they can be written by anyone who is ready to do some research. People always want to know how to do one thing or the other.

Make sure your writing is properly edited

If you want your books to sell, you have to ensure that you proofread them carefully. After you have done the first draft, you should take time to go through the material line by line to correct spelling and grammatical mistakes. If your proofreading skills are not good, you may consider giving it to a friend or a copy editor to do it for you.

Using the right format

Once your text has been properly edited, the next thing to do is to convert it to the right format. There are various types of electronic readers on the market and each of them operates in a particular format. It is advisable to make your book available in a format that is compatible with the most popular electronic readers.

The easiest way to do this is to start with a Microsoft Word document with simple text and headers. This file can then be converted easily to an HTML file for different types of electronic readers. Page numbers are not necessary because they will become irrelevant once your file has been converted to HTML.

How Much Money Can you Make by Publishing a Book?

Authors can expect to make a full-time living provided they have multiple books, know how to market them well, and an active, engaged fan base.

There are a ton of factors that play a role in how much authors make in a year, including books sold, royalty rate, and book printing costs. No two authors will make the same amount, though we all wish we could be lumped with the income of J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

Depending on which route you take to publish, your earnings will differ. Here, we use the example of Justin and Alexis Black, students of ours who sold over 6000 copies of their book in under a year, and authors of Redefining Normal compared to the average traditionally published author:

Traditional Earnings:

Book retail price: $14.99

Initial Royalty Rate: 10%

Income per book: $1.79

Books Sold: 6000

Earnings: $10,740

Self-Published Earnings:

Book retail price: $14.99

Initial Royalty Rate: 60%

Income per book: $5.74

Books Sold: 6000

Earnings: $34,440

As you can see, there’s more than a $24,000 difference between traditionally published authors and Alexis and Justin’s book, at the same number of copies sold. These two students of ours were actually able to buy a home with their additional book earnings, as well as quit their jobs to pursue their author and business goals. (Small disclaimer: the above calculations were made using print copy rates only, they may have sold variations of types, including ebooks).

While most people think traditionally published authors make more than self-published authors because of the fame of authors like Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, that’s not actually true.

How much an author makes per year depends on:

  • Royalty rate earned per book sale
  • Up-front advance offered (traditionally published only)
  • Scope of book marketing
  • Size of audience
  • How many books are published per year
  • How many books are currently out
  • How many books are actually sold consistently

The averages actually swing higher in favor of self-published authors, as you can see in our real example above.

Note: Traditional publishing houses may have a lower printing cost through partnership deals or owning a printing press, but a $4.45 printing cost was used in the above calculations for both.

Regardless, you can see the major difference between the two: several dollars per book for a self-published author and sometimes not even a full dollar for traditionally published authors.

For example, using the book calculator tool above, plus the information in the chart above, we can estimate how much a self-published author could make selling only 35 units of their book each day (on average), on Amazon, and retailing the book for $4.99.

That author could expect to make over $9,000 in profit (before advertising costs, etc.) on their book in only 3 months. Imagine how much that author could make if they only charged a little more, or simply sold more books!

Can you Make Money on a Self-published Book?

Self-publishing is a viable option with tons of perks for authors looking to start their career, let’s talk about how to actually make money self-publishing. 

Step 1 – Write a good book 

With all this talk about marketing, sales, readerships, and platforms, we can’t lose sight of the writing itself. Your objective as a business is to sell your books, and it’s going to be really hard to sell bad books.

Before you worry about anything else, make sure you’re writing the best possible book you can. Make an outline, draft a few times, run some revisions, and have some beta readers look at it. Hire an editor. Maybe hire a proofreader, too. Do everything you can to make sure that you’ve got a book people are going to want to buy so that they want to, someday, buy another. 

Step 2 – Build a launch team 

A launch team, also known as a street team, is a group of people you get together to help you launch your book. These people are often recruited through social media—they may or may not be writers, but they should definitely have read and enjoyed your book and have a genuine desire to see it do well. 

Usually, these people will help you out in the runup to your release date. You’ll schedule different events and social media campaigns to generate hype, and your launch team will help you spread the word.

They can help contact content creators for reviews, generate traction on social media campaigns, and leave reviews on sites like Amazon to help the algorithm boost your book. Basically, they’re town criers, and their job is to let everyone know that you’ve got a book coming out and they should absolutely pre-order a copy. 

A launch team can be as big or as small as you’d like. If you’re a new writer, your launch team might be two or three people, and that’s okay! Having a little help is better than having no help at all. Make sure to communicate consistently with your launch team and make extra, extra sure to thank them—they’re promoting you and your dream for free, and that makes them angels. 

Step 3 – Have a marketing and publication plan

Do you know how an outline is there to keep you on track? You may not adhere strictly to it, but it’s there as a guideline—a good outline keeps you from abandoning your book altogether, and it greatly enhances your chance of finishing the project in a reasonable amount of time. 

What does this look like for marketing? Take a look at successful social media campaigns run by other self-published writers. Research things like giveaways, challenges, and cover reveal. Take a look at your publishing schedule and plan at least three months of pre-sale activities in the runup to your publication date. 

What does this look like for publishing? Make a budget for production costs and figure out how you’re going to manage your cover art, formatting, and editing. Pick out your artists, formatters, and editors, and once you’ve found out how long you can expect them to finish their respective job, start mapping it out. In general, you should allow for about three months of production time (editing, cover art, etc.) after you’ve finished drafting your book. 

Leave some wiggle room in case of delays and emergencies, too! Maybe you decided to format the book yourself and it’s way harder than you thought it was going to be. Maybe your cover artist isn’t working out. A too-tight schedule won’t allow for changes—it’s better to be done a month early than to be rushing to fix a book that’s coming out in two weeks. 

Step 4 – Self-publish the right way by building an audience  

It can seem scary to self-publish knowing that most self-published books sell few or no copies. However, it’s important to remember that most people don’t know the right way to self-publish, and they don’t focus on the most important element of making money in self-publishing: to build a career, you have to build a dedicated readership. 

Here are just a few ways you can work on building an audience, and they don’t require your book to be complete, either—you can start working on all of these steps now, and ideally, you should! You want to build as big an audience as you can before your book comes out so that, you know, more people will buy the book. 

  1. Social media presence 

Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to establish a social media presence. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy—a Twitter account will do, or a Facebook page, if that’s more your thing. You can research which platforms are most popular with people within your target demographic. Younger groups, for example, will trend toward Tiktok and Instagram, while older groups tend to congregate on Facebook. 

Establish a social media presence that you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to post about yourself at all if you don’t want to—you can keep it strictly business. Post regularly, play around with what kind of posts you make and try to connect with other writers. 

  1. Email newsletters 

People don’t believe that email newsletters work, but they are perhaps the best possible way to reach your readers. 

Advertise your newsletter somewhere people will see it—maybe it’s a banner on your website or a link on your social media page. Offer an incentive for signing up to your newsletter, like a free short story or a set of writing prompts. Offer incentives in newsletters themselves to get new subscribers whenever you publish, and make sure to keep your newsletters short, sweet, and interesting. 

  1. Author websites 

If you don’t already have a website, setting one up using Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace is pretty easy. If you don’t intend to publish anything soon and you don’t have the money to drop on a domain, don’t worry about it for now, but having a website ready to go will be super helpful down the line. 

A website is where readers can go to sign up for your newsletters, buy your books, learn about you, and find out about any other services you might offer. 

Step 5 – Keep publishing new work 

If you really want to make money self-publishing, you should be ready to publish more than one book. 

Ideally, your platform will grow as you continue to publish books. Each new book release will grow your readership. If you write one book and never write again, it’s likely that your reader base will taper off and dwindle over time. The best way to recruit new readers to buy your work is to publish new work for them to buy. 

Some self-published authors, particularly in romance, will churn out a dozen books a year. This can definitely rack up some cash, but it’s not for everyone, and it’s not necessary.

You might only be able to publish a book once every few years, and you can still build an audience that way, especially if you have other new content coming out more regularly, like YouTube videos or podcasts. 

How Many Books do you Need to Publish to Make Money?

A typical book author barely makes more than minimum wage. You receive an advance and 10% royalties on net profit from each book. If your book retails at $25 per copy, you would need to sell at least 4,000 copies to break even on a $5,000 advance. Mack Collier, author of Think Like a Rock Star, estimates that he earned $15.63/hour for writing his book, working 25 hours per week over a period of 9 months.

That depends entirely on how good the books are, whether they are in a genre with decent sales potential, and how well you build your platform and promote your books. Your best bet is to write a series in a genre you enjoy. Stand-alone books and genre-hopping kill sales.

Income is based on sales of books. So if you write one book and if like Amanda Hocking, as described by Rikraj, you sell a million copies a month, you wouldn’t need to write anymore. If you write twenty books and sell one or two every month, you’d need a “day job.”

How do I Get Paid for my Book?

Unless you’re already a celebrity or best-selling author, traditional publishers will expect you to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting your book. No matter what you’re writing; fiction, non-fiction, ebooks or even blog posts, if you want to make money, you’ll have to become a marketer.

Authors typically make money either through a traditional book publishing company, or through a self-publishing marketplace. In either instance, the author earns money based on how many copies of the book are sold. In traditional publishing, the company often gives a writer an advance on their book, so they can cover their cost of living while they write, and then they repay the advance from royalties on the finished book.

Some writers also choose to be ghostwriters, where they earn a flat fee for writing the book, then allow the person who hired them to claim authorship and earn revenue from the book sales. Let’s take a closer look at the two main methods authors use to make money.

Your first step is to learn how to get that cash. As an author, there are two basic ways you earn money, from book sales or stuff you sell based on your book’s content. Below are other options.

  1. Sell T-shirts, coffee mugs,  or other promotional items with characters or phrases from the book on your website. You can also sell on sites like CafePress or Zazzle. If you’re particularly crafty, try Etsy.
  2. Offer traveling tours where the author takes a group of readers through the places that inspired your book. Use a site like Vayable.
  3. Set up a crowdfunding campaign on sites like Indiegogo to raise money for expenses.
  4. Sell exclusive bonus material, such as additional or extra chapters, poems, or short stories through your website or Fiverr.
  5. Get advertising income. Sell ads based on your book on sites such as Wattpad Futures. Or try earning through affiliate programs like Amazon Associates
  6. Offer a fiction-writing workshop.
  7. If you’re a nonfiction author, create and sell an online course. Or use one as a lead generator for your consulting services. Use sites like Udemy or Skillshare.

Where can I Publish my Book and Earn Money?

There are several ways to publish your work online… and make money, too! But one service, in particular, has become the go-to resource for authors because of the profit potential and ease of use: Amazon self-publishing.

Regardless of your experience level, Amazon has democratized the publishing business so anybody with an interest and desire to write and publish a book can do it. You don’t have to be a professional writer… or have been previously published… or have any internet business experience at all to start with Amazon self-publishing. Anybody can use this platform to get their work out into the world and into the hands of waiting audiences.

As the world’s largest online bookstore there’s an opportunity to get your book self-published on Amazon and reach your target audience regardless of your topic. You can write about something you’re passionate about. Fiction. Nonfiction. Biographies. History. Children’s books. 

Popular categories on Amazon include self-help, health, and fitness, cooking, hobbies, romance, travel, young adult… the list goes on. You can bet there is an audience for just about any topic out there.

You might already have a topic or topics in mind. If you don’t, that’s fine too. In both cases, you should check out Amazon and scan all the different categories and bestseller lists. This will give you an idea of what themes or subjects sell and have profit potential.

If you see your idea often when doing this search — run with it. If not, you might want to try a more popular topic with a built-in audience. Books that are in the top rankings or have a lot of customer reviews and feedback are signals that there is an audience for your topic on Amazon.

You can also spot the “gaps” when doing your Amazon search. This means looking for popular and trending topics out in the world that are not covered well already by Amazon books. You can bet there are plenty of people who would love the buy the book you produce.

Of course, to have Amazon self-publishing create a steady income for you, you do need to take some steps. Your books aren’t going to sell themselves. Because you are the publisher, you’re also the marketer. You have to get the word out about your book. And you won’t be an overnight success. But you can make money… and the opportunity is growing.

One of the authors that is an example of this growing opportunity is Adam Croft, who writes and then puts out his mystery novels through Amazon self-publishing. He started in 2011 and was on track to make $1.4 million in 2016.

One other key thing to note, when self-publishing books on Amazon you don’t have to write long books that can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. You can start off by writing shorter books that are very focused on a singular topic and charge a lower price for those books.

As a matter of fact, Amazon Kindle books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 tend to generate the most amount of sales revenue per book sold. This is good news for those who suffer from writer’s block and don’t feel they have the time or focus to put out a larger traditional book.

Is it Worth it to Self-publish a Book?

Being a self-published author means that you’re in charge of the production process — which comes with the following advantages: 

Bypass industry gatekeepers

Most traditionally published authors have to go through two rounds of gatekeeping before they get a green light for their book’s publication: they have to find an agent first. A publishing house must then accept their manuscript, submitted by said agent. In both stages of the process, authors compete with thousands of others who also dream of a publishing deal. 

For this reason, many take months, if not years, before they can get their book into production — if they succeed at all. Genres like poetry or short story collections are particularly tough to publish the traditional way since most publishers don’t see their market appeal, especially when they come from debut authors. 

However, with self-publishing, there’s no question as to whether your book will be published since no one can tell you “no.” From poets like Rupi Kaur to the author of Still Alice (which was adapted into an award-winning film), many authors have gone through the submission-rejection cycle and decided that it’s better to take matters into their own hands. 

Quicker publishing timeline

A big part of a book deal is having a team of professional editors, designers, and marketers working on your book, making it a top-notch title. Although this is great, a collaboration of this scale can be frustrating and time-consuming, with many emails sent back and forth between you, your agent, and the in-house professionals.

More importantly, a small publishing house works on at least a handful of titles a year, and bigger ones work on hundreds of them. Your book must be fitted into their wider publication and marketing schedule, meaning you’ll likely have to wait longer than a year before your work is published. 

On the other hand, if you choose to self-publish, the timeline only depends on how quickly you and the professionals you hire to edit, design, and market your book can get things done. Communication between each party is much simpler and more efficient this way. And the sooner you finish, the earlier you publish!  

Keep more of the royalties 

An obvious benefit of self-publishing is the royalty rate. Traditional publishers tend to give you 5-20% of the book’s selling price after your advance (usually, several thousand dollars paid once your manuscript is acquired) has been accounted for. The rate also varies based on the format: hardcovers have a higher author royalty rate than paperbacks — though you’re expected to sell fewer copies. 

On the other hand, self-published authors often get 50-70% royalties, depending on the book format and the printing or distribution platform you use. You get paid a higher rate as an indie author, as you did more of the work!

Hold on to your rights

One other important thing about self-publishing is that you keep the right to publish your book in all formats. 

When a publishing house acquires a manuscript, they’re essentially buying the rights to publish that manuscript. These may include:

  • Primary publication rights (being the first to publish a book in the market);
  • Subsidiary rights (to publish the book in other formats, like audiobook or film); and
  • Foreign rights. 

While most big publishers with hefty bargaining powers will want at least some subsidiary rights, good literary agents will advise that you give up as little of these rights as possible. You can sell these rights to other, more suitable publishers and studios yourself if you want to publish in different formats and markets. 

If you self-publish, you won’t have to worry about signing away any of these rights. Once the opportunity comes (as it did for Andy Weir’s The Martian audiobook), you can sell subsidiary rights to the highest bidder and earn more for your own hard work and creativity. 

Complete creative control

Going down the traditional publishing route, you’ll have to consider the opinions of many professionals from various departments. You often won’t have much say for parts of the process involving market research and technical knowledge, like designing the book cover or creating marketing material. 

By contrast, self-publishing allows you to be involved in every aspect of the book’s production. You should work with and take in the feedback of expert editors and designers who understand your genre and target market, but they’ll work towards realizing your vision and no one else’s. At the end of the day, you get to make the call over everything, from the book’s content to its cover. 

Is Amazon Publishing Worth it?

It’s incredibly easy. You can write and upload a Word document as your eBook and it’ll look fine on Kindle and other platforms. If you want to get a bit fancier with formatting you can upload an HTML file (you can quickly save your Word doc into HTML with one click, so Word is still viable!)

It’s cheap. No publisher fees. No printing costs. You can even create a print version of your book based on the eBook version, with a service called CreateSpace. Overall you’re looking at very minimal costs of $20-50 for cover design (a good cover is SO important for sales, more on this later), $20-50 for a proofreader or editor, and that’s about it for getting your book out.

You can start earning money quickly, and if you price your book between $2.99 and 9.99, Amazon gives you 70% of the cut. Not a bad deal considering they let you use their technology to publish your ebook, and then help you promote it on their massive eCommerce platform with millions of regular visitors.

Based on the pros and cons above, we would say that if your only objective is to share information you know and turn that into revenue, you’re better off looking into consulting, coaching, or creating a video course that you can sell for a much higher price point than an eBook.

However, if you have some spare time and believe that being able to point to the fact that you’re a published author on Amazon will help boost your credentials or career, then it’s worth it.

Self publishing on Amazon is also worth it if you can use the clicks and views that your eBook receives to boost another venture. Do you have a newsletter or email list? Put a freebie into your book and offer it in return for an email signup.

But self publishing a book on Amazon is not a “home run” play by any means. The highest paid authors on Amazon have a series of books and have spent years building that up. And the highest paid authors on Amazon KDP tend to be fiction writers, too.

How Much do Amazon Self Publishers Make?

The income self-published authors make on Amazon varies greatly from writer to writer. The format of your book, how many you sell, and decisions you make when you’re setting up your book for publication can all affect the money you make.

Royalty rates on Amazon

The royalty rate on Amazon changes based on your format and a few other factors. eBooks and paperbacks, for example, each have their own rates. eBooks have two possible royalty rate options on Amazon. One is 35%, and the other is 70%. What would make an author choose half the royalty rate? Not every title is going to be eligible for the bigger royalty rate. According to KDP’s website, these are the qualifications to get the 70% royalty rate:

  • The list price must satisfy the price requirements. Currently, the USD minimum requirement for a 70% royalty rate is $2.99. Any price below that will be rated at 35%
  • The list price must be at least 20% lower than the price of the physical book listed on Amazon. This means you can’t be eligible for the 70% royalty rate if you sell your eBook and physical books at the same price.
  • The eBook must be available everywhere in the world the author or publisher has rights. That means you can’t have the 70% royalty rate if you limit your book’s availability.
  • The 70% rate is also only available in certain regions.

Depending on your goals with your book, you might opt for the 35% rate. For example, if you want to offer an eBook for 99 cents as a sales funnel for your business. But if your goal is to make as much money as possible, you’re likely going to want to cater the way you publish to hit those requirements for the 70% royalty rate.

Paperback royalty rates are a little different. Through Amazon distribution channels, KDP offers a 60% royalty rate. If users enable expanded distribution, the rate drops to 40%. According to the KDP website, paperback royalties are calculated with this formula: (royalty rate x list price) – printing costs = royalty payment

So if your book is listed for $16, the printing costs are $5, and you’re selling through Amazon distribution channels, this is how you would calculate the royalty you receive on each book: (.60 x $16) – $2 = $7.60 Which gives you $7.60 per book sold!

How do you Get a Book Published for the First Time?

Getting your book traditionally published is a step-by-step process of:

Step 1. Determine your work’s genre or category.

Publishers and agents often focus or specialize on certain types of work. They may publish only fiction or nonfiction; they may refuse to accept poetry or memoir; and so on. It’s important to correctly identify what you’ve written, at least in broad terms, so you can find the right publisher or agent to approach. Your genre or category also affects what materials you’ll be expected to submit.

  • Novels and memoirs: Most first-time authors must finish their manuscript before approaching editors/agents. You may be very excited about your story idea, or about having a partial manuscript, but it’s almost never a good idea to submit your work at such an early stage. Finish the work first—make it the best you possibly can. Seek out a writing critique group or mentor who can offer you constructive feedback, then revise your story. Be confident that you’re submitting your best work. One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is rushing to get published. In 99% of cases, there’s no reason to rush.
  • For most adult nonfiction (except memoir): Rather than completing a manuscript, you should write a book proposal—like a business plan for your book—that will convince a publisher to contract and pay you to write the book. Find out more information on book proposals and how to write one. You need to methodically research the market for your idea before you begin to write the proposal.
  • Children’s work: In most cases, you should have a finished manuscript. Children’s picture book writers do not need to provide or submit illustrations, only the manuscript.

Step 2. Find publishers and agents.

Once you know what you’re selling, it’s time to research which publishers or agents accept the type of work you’ve written. Again, be aware that most New York publishers do not accept unagented submissions—so this list includes where to find both publishers and agents. This is not an exhaustive list of where you can find listings, but a curated list assuming you want to focus on the highest-quality sources.

  • Duotrope.com. Since the decline of Writer’s Market, this is the best database for identifying publishers. Subscription required.
  • PublishersMarketplace.com. This is the best place to research literary agents; not only do many have member pages here, but you can search the publishing deals database by genre, category, and/or keyword to pinpoint the best agents for your work. Subscription required.
  • QueryTracker.net. About 200 publisher listings and 1,000 agent listings. Basic service is free.
  • WritersMarket.com. Thousands of agent and publisher listings were once found here, but the site is currently inactive.

Step 3. Prepare your submission materials.

Every agent and publisher has unique requirements for submitting materials. The most common materials you’ll be asked for:

  • Query letter. This is a 1-page pitch letter that gives a brief description of your work.
  • Novel synopsis. This is a brief summary (usually no more than 1-2 pages) of your story, from beginning to end. It must reveal the ending.
  • Nonfiction book proposal. These are complex documents, usually 20-30 pages in length, if not double that.
  • Novel proposal. This usually refers to your query letter, a synopsis, and perhaps the first chapter. There is not an industry standard definition of what a “novel proposal” is.
  • Sample chapters. When sending sample chapters from your novel or memoir, start from the beginning of the manuscript. (Don’t select a middle chapter, even if you think it’s your best.) For nonfiction (non-memoir), usually any chapter is acceptable.

Step 4. Submit your materials.

Almost no agent or editor accepts full manuscripts on first contact. This is what “No unsolicited materials” means when you read submission guidelines. However, almost every agent or publisher will accept a one-page query letter unless their guidelines state otherwise. (If they do not accept queries, that means they are a completely closed market.)

After you send out queries, you’ll get a mix of responses, including:

  • No response at all, which is usually a rejection.
  • A request for a partial manuscript and/or a synopsis.
  • A request for the full manuscript and/or synopsis.

If you receive no requests for the manuscript or book proposal, then there might be something wrong with your query. If you succeed in getting your material requested, but then get rejected, there may be a weakness in the manuscript or proposal.

How do Small Publishers Make Money?

The standard industry definition for a small press in the US is any publisher with annual sales below $50 million, or those that publish on average 10 or fewer titles per year. You might also hear them called:

  • Small Publishers
  • Independent Publishers
  • Independent Presses
  • Indie Presses
  • Indie Publishers

All mean the same thing: a publishing house that’s not part of the big, dominating houses. Small presses are important for writers, important for the industry, and—we would argue—important for the art of literature in general.

They are important for writers because they provide myriad publishing options, far beyond what the big houses could produce. Without them, less than a quarter of published authors would have their books in print.

They are important for the industry because they can take more risks than the Big Five. The newest trends and innovations often happen first in a small press, where passion can move forward faster than the speed of bureaucracy. Small presses helped bring us steampunk and erotica, among other genres that are now part of mainstream literature.

They are important for the art because they create a robust and vibrant ecosystem where many more authors, ideas, modes of publication, and other factors can thrive without the pressures of Big Business (™) weighing them down. So much of what’s best in literature can’t happen at that top level of commercial success, so it relies on smaller operations to get out in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. The Big Five are important, too. They’re just not the only important thing. Small presses make up about half of the market share for the book industry overall.

The Good about small presses is, as I mentioned, they provide more opportunities than the large presses could manage. That means more opportunities to be published, and it means places willing to publish work the big presses won’t handle.

Another advantage of small presses is that they’re, well, um…smaller. You will be more important to the owner than you would be to the owner of a larger press. This usually translates to better treatment, faster decisions, and a quicker print run.

Finally, most small presses will invest more of their proportional resources into your book. They have fewer titles, meaning more of those books have to succeed for them to stay in business. Many of the large presses will spend big to print a book, then offer very little in the way of promotional support.

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Small presses might be capable of doing less for you, but they’ll more often give you all they’re capable of. Basically, you’ll have a smaller pool of resources to draw from overall, but more of that pool could potentially be dedicated to you and your book.

The Bad about small presses comes from two things: size, and barrier to entry.

From a size standpoint, this translates mostly to a lesser scale of opportunity. They just don’t have the money to do a major publicity run like you see for James Patterson or Stephen King. Similarly, they won’t be able to get you into as many bookstores as a traditional press would. They just don’t have the reach.

Barrier to entry is the other disadvantage to being a small press. To make the big leagues, a company has to have its house well and truly in order. Ever since KDP Print and Ingram Spark made publishing cheap and easy to access, it’s become common for rank amateurs to become “publishers.” This puts you at big risk for Experience Two—working with somebody who means well, but who doesn’t know what he or she is doing.

The Ugly about small presses is the same ugly you see in almost every other corner of publishing.

Writers want to be published so badly, they are highly vulnerable to scam artists who turn that wanting into profit for themselves. Only a few small presses really meet this definition—and offer Experience Three—but they do enough damage that the whole industry is tainted by it.


Once your material is properly formatted, you can choose to upload it to smashwords.com or kdp.amazon.com. These are the most popular websites for online publishing. Of course, you have to first open an account with them.

The instructions for uploading files are quite simple so you should not have any problem at this stage.
Once your book is published, you can increase its visibility by promoting it. You can do this by sending messages to your friends and contacts on social networks. This is how simple it is to earn money publishing a book online.

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