Online Distribution is Just as Valuable

So on this self-publishing vein…what about an eBook? This is a very hot topic of late, having been spurred on somewhat by the iPad launch and Apple’s new iBooks store.

A Book By Any Other Name?

An eBook is a book that has been formatted by a graphic designer except it’s then made available online via a PDF download, or an electronic flippable page format (just as a digital catalog or magazine). Online distribution and eBooks in particular, are self-publishing options that could enhance your distribution reach and help you (you are a starving, beginning writer) reduce costs to a negligible amount.

eBooks can be made available on a website or blog for pay with a little preview (such as a table of contents, introduction, or chapter) made available for free as a teaser. eBooks, also have the versatility these days of being accessed on one of the many electronic book readers: the Apple iPad, the Barnes and Noble Nook, the Sony Reader, and the Amazon Kindle. However you would have to research each of their processes to submit your publication for inclusion. There is a great book by Richard Curtis titled “How to Get Your eBook Published”  which can be of great help.

Sites such as iUniverse and Lulu specialize in eBooks and provide great information in addition to their publishing services. Once you have your writing project completed, you determine what your publishing goals are and select a package that suits your budget and distribution goals.

To Blog or Not To Blog

On the other hand, if you are considering writing smaller pieces, such as articles, and self-publishing them, you can go straight to a blog. Creating your own blog or website can be the quickest way to market.

Using eBooks on a blog means there’s no inventory, there’s no expenses, and yet there could be a revenue stream through advertisement, collaborations, and linkages. Just identify which free service you want to sign up with (Blogger.com and WordPress.com are the two most popular, free blog service providers), and then research ways to publicize your work (SEO techniques, eBook publishing sites) and develop a visitor stream. And figure out how to place ads and other revenue makers such as Amazon Associates and Google AdSense.

Many blog owners ask for guest posts in order to add variety and help provide well-rounded content to their readers. These are great opportunities for new writers to get their feet wet. Guest blogging elevates writers to subject matter expert status. Repeating guest bloggers become recognizable to the audience.

Authors take advantage of the visibility by cross-linking their other work in portfolio or website format to develop a bread crumb trail that helps people find your work–people like your next boss or editor!

There are a number of online resources that can help you get acquainted with adapting writing for blogs and other best practices for writing for an online format. Here is a brief list:

  • Writing for the Web – focuses on web journalism and online writing opportunities and know-how
  • Copyblogger – writing tips for online marketing success
  • Poynter Online – specializes in writers and journalist resources, industry, and information
  • Journalism 2.0 – a conversation about journalism and technology
  • ProBlogger – blogging for dollars, do you have what it takes?
  • Daily Blog Tips – best practices in developing and running a blog and writing online

In a world where few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, and first time authors have a hard time getting representation, self-publishing can seem to be the light at the end of the tunnel. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to make self-publishing succeed. What will your next step be in getting your work published?

Advertisements

2 responses to “Online Distribution is Just as Valuable

  1. We actually were discussing this at my last writer’s group meeting this past Sunday. One of our group leaders mentioned a site that publishes FlashFiction (works between 500 and 1000 words) and they do pay (only $50, but for a piece that short, I’d say that’s actually pretty generous). I’d have to ask for the site name again as I’ve already forgotten it.

    I don’t know if you’re at all interested but the group (Fox Valley Writer’s Group) meets at the Panera Bread in downtown Batavia every other Sunday at 11 am. I found the group through meetup.com In addition to providing good feedback, and prompts to keep the creative juices flowing, we tend to have rather interesting discussions about the writing process. There are 4 or 5 of us in the group that do have blogs and use that as an outlet to keep writing.

  2. Short pieces at $50 each is a good deal! I wonder if they have particular writing styles and topics they look for?

    I’ll check to see whether this is the same writing group I’ve on my Meetup subscriptions. My weekends are going to clear up soon when I’m done with classes for the term. Sounds like a friendly, intimate group!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s