Monday, November 21, 2011

Self publishing

    You know, our world just keeps getting better. Today I discovered something that, while not exactly new, seems relatively unknown. Perhaps its because it is a niche market thing. I don't know. Let me explain.
   
    You see, for a while now I have been an avid fan of a piece of software called Scrivener. It was originally a Mac only product, but has recently been moved to Windows and Linux as well. If you do any kind of writing, this thing is awesome. I am not sure what I can compare it too, but take my word for it. This thing is great. And, it just got better. Well for me anyway.

    Amazon sells books. Well they sell a lot of things, but books are a major part of that. In fact, any Amazon customer can (and probably already has) sign up for Kindle Direct Publishing. This is a free service that allows (would-be and other-wise) authors to self publish their work for free and Amazon will sell their work in the Amazon book store.

    The catch? Well, none really. Amazon will give you 70% of total sales of whatever you publish. They list it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and a couple of other countries. You can receive your payments via old fashioned cheque, or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). You can even specify the currency to be paid in. It really seems like a fairly sweet deal. After asking a few questions in some writing forums online I found more than one author who uses this services exclusively and they make a fair amount of scratch for their work.

    So how does Amazon selling your stuff for you involve software? Scrivener now has a feature to "Publish" your latest creation directly to Kindle format. (Free software plugin download from Amazon required) You can choose your cover art, build a table of contents (or let Scrivener do it for you), and more. Basically, with a few tweaks you can have your novel or whatever ready for primetime in no time.

    Once you're happy with the way it looks, you just upload, set your price and wait. No more agents, no more publishing houses. Now, you go strait to your target audience with your creation. A few simple clicks and you are a published author. Of course, you still need to write something first. In any case, it is option for new aspiring writers that can't seem to find a home with an established publishing house.

   So, if you have tried to pitch your novel and have more rejection letters than you shake a stick at, give it a try. What do you have to lose?