So you’ve just slayed the beast and completed a book.
(Before continuing this tutorial to publishing online, we’d highly recommend pausing to take a breath and congratulate yourself…See, that was nice, right?)
Now, after writing an entire literary work and giving yourself kudos, you’re looking to get your story ‘out there’. This article explains how to get your book published online, and why you’d want to post your manuscript on the world wide web.
Why Publish Books Online?
First order of business: Nowadays, you don’t really need to print, i.e. traditionally publish. In fact, authors save money and time (and the environment) by publishing online. Allow us to explain:
- Money: Ebooks are far cheaper to publish and purchase than physical books. This is a win-win for the writer and reader, as both benefit from lower production costs. (Compare the cost of designing, printing, transporting, distributing, and marketing a book to the cost of WiFi.) Also thinking long-term, ebook authors make far more in royalties than hardcover and paperback authors. As one literary agent shares, traditional publishers typically keep 75% of the book’s revenue!
- Time: You’ve just finished the project you’ve spent months—or years—toiling over and you’re ready to introduce it to the world. Reader’s Digest estimates that the traditional route typically takes somewhere between nine months and two years between signing the publishing house’s contract and launching the book. (Yikes!) Alternatively, online publishers can provide that same publication gratification today.
Second order of business: Readers love ebooks. As mentioned above, they’re cheaper and more accessible than traditional printed books and have more opportunities for interaction. Many online publishers have comment sections, allowing readers to communicate with authors and one another.
Ebooks also have quicker production times, meaning there’s less drag between sequels and generally more content to consume. As Mike Harmon, advocate for digital publishing writes:
“We are currently living in a digital age where we constantly look for new content and instant
gratification. People are habituated to operating mobile devices daily for as many as five hours.
When they have access to multimedia-rich interactive content on their phones and tablets, why
should they turn towards a printed book which offers nothing but static pages with text? So, in every way, digital publishing is better for the readers as well as for the publishers.”
Final order of business: Publishing a book online does not mean your book will never exist in print. Depending on your publisher and their terms and conditions, you may be able to have your cake and eat it too (aka have your novel online and in hand).
For first-time authors who dream of seeing their very own paperback lining the walls of Barnes and Noble, there’s a way to conduct a bit of market research before firing up the Gutenburg. Digital publishing is a lower-risk environment where you can gage your book’s popularity, track its analytics, and identify its target audience, without the intense financial investments of traditional publishing.
So think of it like this, publishing your book online is not forfeiting your dreams of traditional publishing. Rather, the internet can act as a low-cost case study that informs your later decisions when you go to print.
Websites Where You Can Publish Your Book
Let’s talk about genres. Not every online publishing platform is right for every author. The best ones will have a wide readership, provide strong royalties for their authors, and have a somewhat defined target audience. Like dating, you’ll want to couple up with an entity that fits your style and helps you grow.
Here are the top online publishing groups according to genre.
Online Publishing: Fiction and Fantasy
Are you a well-read creative who has a knack for complex world building, substantive character development, and unpredictable additions to the hero’s journey? Are you looking to get in league with other talented authors, be introduced to hungry fiction readers, and possibly earn some coin along the way?
Fictionate.me is an online self-publishing website that allows authors of fiction, sci-fi and fantasy to get their start for free! (It’s also home to a whole host of vampires, druids, changelings, fairy princes, zombies, steampunk stories and evil koalas—but we’ll let you discover all that on your own.)
Fictionate.me is unique because it allows authors to publish their work as a completed novel or chapter by chapter. The ebooks are also placed behind paywalls, meaning authors can start earning money on their first day of posting! Go here to read more about this online book publishing service and kickstart your writing career.
Online Publishing: Non-Fiction
Have you seen a marvel? Experienced acute devastation? Crossed paths with someone particularly noteworthy?
Creative Nonfiction (CNF) may be interested in hearing about it. This online ode to things that really happened publishes short stories in their magazine, smaller ‘booklets’ highlighting poignant and true narratives, and complete books in their series called ‘In Fact’.
“I hate to even ask, but what technically counts as creative nonfiction?” you may be wondering. Well, as they put it: “In some ways, creative nonﬁction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of ﬂavors, ideas, and techniques, some newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonﬁction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, a tweet; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.”
The platform’s only true requirement is that you submit “true stories, well told”. Click here to submit or look into submitting with CNF.
Time to Publish
Winston Churchill described the author’s struggle best when he wrote:
“Writing a book is an adventure to begin with, it is a toy and an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”
We hope this article gives you the direction needed to fling your creation out to the public; we wish you strength and success.
Author’s Bio:- May Gauthier is an Orlando-based freelancer, who feels exceptionally weird writing about herself in third person. She has been featured in Iridescent Women, Robot Butt, Religion Unplugged, and The Troubador; and collaborates with fictionate.me, a platform where you can get your books published online!