Self-Publishing Tips for Physicians, by George Smolinski MD
I often am asked, “I have a great idea for a book (or alternatively, ‘I have a book I wrote’), how do I publish it?” Publishing a book, like many things in life, can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, but in today’s world of eBooks and digital media consumption, producing your own book is can be a fairly painless task.
Its estimated that over 80% of Americans feel that they have the makings of a great book rumbling around in their brain, but only a select few ever put a pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) and write their book. Part of the reluctance stems from the intimidating nature of trying to get one’s book accepted for publication by a major publishing house, but fortunately in today’s world, there’s an easy work-around. Its called Kindle Direct Publishing.Let’s back up a bit. I’ll take for granted that you already have your book written and edited. That is by far the hardest part, but unless you have a book done already, most of this blog post will unfortunately not apply to you. Assuming you do have your book written, there are several key questions that many people have regarding self-publishing. I’ll answer these in the following paragraphs to help you on your way to self-publishing success.
1.I have a great book idea, how can I get it in front of a publisher?
This is a superb question, but let’s take a look at some realistic appraisals of the publishing industry. First, although the concept of being picked up by Random House or the like has definite allure, its pretty close to impossible to have your book reviewed and accepted by them. Here’s a fun fact: One of the most successful book series of all time—Harry Potter—was rejected by over a dozen publishers and even the small publisher who did accept it (Bloomsbury) initially rejected the book. It was only when the editor’s eight year old daughter read the first chapter and deemed it worthy that the book was published. In competitive genres like self-help, medical texts, and fiction, its nearly impossible for a publishing house to notice you. As such, I highly recommend that you look at publishing on Kindle (and alternatively, or in addition, iBooks), as their Kindle Direct Publishing and iBooks Author publishing platforms are incredibly easy to use. You simply upload your book, your cover, write up a description for your book, choose your price, and that’s it! That way, your book is guaranteed to be published AND you retain control over pricing, distribution, and promotion. I’ve co-authored a book that covers the details of the Kindle Direct Publishing platform and gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get your book onto Kindle, “How To Publish A Book: Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing & Build Your Business Now!”, available on Amazon by followingthis link.
2. How much will it cost me to self-publish a book?
This is a superb question, and the honest answer is “zero dollars to well over $5000 dollars”. In today’s digital age, if you have the skill (or time to learn the skill) to lay out your book into a format accepted by Kindle Direct Publishing (such as a MOBI format) or iBooks (an ePub format) and design your own cover, you can do it yourself! As a matter of fact, I did just that with a children’s book I published myself with my twin sons back in 2013, “The Story Of Jubby Jubby Jow Jow” (Note 1: this is an actual book you can still find on Amazon. Note 2: my sons were 7 when we published this). The layout and cover are very important, as a great-looking book--both inside the book and the cover--will provide your reader with an optimal reading experience. However, if you haven’t the time or skill to do this, you can easily outsource the cover creation and layout of the book. Websites such as Fiverr.com and our own Gutenberg Reloaded site (www.gutenbergreloaded.com) have contractors that can produce a book layout and cover at a reasonable price. Normally, for a great cover and layout, a price of $200-$300 will yield a great looking book and cover design without breaking the bank. Obviously, top designers will charge far more, even into the thousands of dollars for a book cover, but for most self-published authors starting out, that’s a bit out of reach.
3. How much will I get paid if I write a book?
Yet another great question, and the answer is, “It depends on how hard you want to work!”
Truthfully, when you self-publish a book, there’s numerous options available to help you promote your book, and the better your book is promoted, the more money you’ll earn from royalties. This is a lot of work, but can yield great results if you know how to promote a book effectively. Amazon’s royalty structure for eBooks priced from $2.99 to $9.99 is 70% to the author, 30% to Amazon. That’s a pretty reasonable royalty share, but know that for books from $0.99 to $2.98, the share is only 35% to the author, and 65% to Amazon. But, for even for the baseline $2.99 book, you’ll earn $2.08 for each sale. That may not seem like a lot, but top sellers on Amazon sell dozens, even hundreds of books each day. If you can effectively promote your book (something that we also help folks with), you have a great chance of earning a reasonable amount of money with your book publication.
In closing, publishing a book today is easier than ever, and if you’ve already written your book, you’ve done the hardest part! The entire publishing part is simple, straightforward, and by using contractors to outsource the cover and layout design, you can easily get your book published in a very short time. We are always happy to discuss the book publication process and answer questions—please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help!