The Two Faces Of Self-Publishing And Choices For Authors

The Two Faces Of Self-PublishingThe paperback and the ebook are the two faces of self-publishing.

A book. You know, a thing with a cover and pages.

Cast aside by many in the last year or two; the book survives, however, and I’m sure that passionate authors still want to see one with their name on the cover.

Yet although it is still one of the two faces of self-publishing, many authors ignore the book.

Oddly enough, Amazon is one of the companies that can make a book happen quickly, easily and cheaply via its Createspace print on demand subsidiary, or more recently, now publishing paperbacks directly from the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) dashboard.

There are other companies such as Lulu who can offer the same service, but what is fascinating about Amazon’s Createspace is that unlike their KDP wing, it can distribute a self-published title to almost every bookstore, library or online bookstore in the world.

No exclusivity, no special clauses and no rules that forbid you from offering your own book on your own website.

Update: Amazon KDP now also offer paperback publishing but does not yet offer distribution to bookstores.

It’s easy to self-publish a book.

I have used Createspace for many years now and it is an absolute joy to hear from readers of my books from all parts of the world.

It is also wonderful to be able to tell potential readers of my books that they can order them at their local bookstore, absolutely anywhere in the world.

Well, perhaps Antarctica may be difficult.

Kindle ebooks have restrictions.

But when this fantastic self-publishing service is compared to the strict, almost draconian rules, terms and limitations that are part of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing of ebooks, you really have to wonder if it’s the same company.

While KDP Select is known for its restrictive nature, including not even being able to offer your own ebook on your own website, the standard KDP still has nasty surprises.

For one, it is still impossible to offer an ebook for free via KDP, unless you sign away your rights and grant Amazon exclusivity. And even then, it’s only for five days every three months.

I won’t even mention mysterious algorithms that differentiate between KDP and KDPS or can affect an ebook’s ranking in microseconds.

While Amazon’s treatment of paperback and ebook self-publishing has two faces, so too does its Kindle Direct Publishing face. Does that make three faces?

There is no doubt that the publishing industry as a whole is in an ebook frenzy at the moment.

But within this turmoil, there are also two faces that are becoming clearer by the day.

Oddly enough, it is a facet that brings traditional and self-publishers together for a change.

On one side there are the authors and publishers of fiction and non-fiction, who are following the age-old formula or producing novels and books for people to read and enjoy. Years sometimes in the making.

Then on the other side, there are the ebook marketers.

Those who pump out rapid Kindle ebooks intent on making fast money.

So blatant, that this is even being done by algorithms to sweep the Internet for content.

Can you believe that one programmer produced 100,000 Kindle ebooks? Yes, this is the ridiculous, but there are many, many writers pumping out words to fill Kindle ebooks that have no motivation other than making a quick buck, and definitely no interest at all in having their name on the cover of a real book.

Of the two faces of self-publishing, ebooks and books, the authors and publishers who still believe in the craft of writing books will survive in the long term.

The quick buck marketing writers though will disappear in time.

The world is not that silly that people will continue to pay for rubbish.

While the ebook insanity continues, though, there is still the book, the humble paperback, which Amazon continues to support, unrestricted.

Perhaps, though, this is the all too forgotten face of self-publishing. The book.

The form that true authors yearn to have their name on.

Recommended reading: Jane Friedman has a terrific long-read post on How to Self-Publish Your Book, including both ebook and paperback self-publishing.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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