Where Should You Self-Publish?
Back in 2021, I self-published my very first children's book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss. It was such a great experience as every step was a new learning curve for me. The closer I came to publishing the more I realized some of my mistakes along the way. The first and ultimately the worst of them all was the dimension of my book.
10x8 is a very common size for a children's book and when I went to see if Amazon supported the size, I had read the information incorrectly stating that they would do custom sizes as it did not standardize 10x8. Come to find out, 'custom sizing' only meant the sizes they currently had available for publishing.
Of course, I panicked and hurried to find another supplier to which I found Blurb while doing my research. There, I was able to launch my physical copy while keeping the eBook copy on Amazon.
So, who should you choose when it comes to publishing your first book and avoiding the disaster I went through? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
1. Great Pricing- Amazon allows for authors to not only set their own pricing but allows them to order their own books paying only for the labor costs. This keeps pricing down and allows authors to sell their books at a great price.
2. Publishing and Plagiarizing Checks- While uploading your book to your account Amazon as a great program which shows how your book will not only look once it's published but tells you if something is wrong with the set up. This process allows you to catch any mistakes before hitting the publish button.
Once that button is hit, your book goes through another process of being checked for plagiarism and if your book content is as you said it is. This can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. The longest mine has ever taken was just over a week.
3. Known Worldwide- Amazon is known to be the biggest online book seller and can be seen worldwide. This allows your book to be shown to potential readers around the world. Not only do they support physical copies but eBooks and audio books as well which gives even a bigger range for users.
4. Fulfillment Center- Amazon does all the hard work for you by not only making your physical copy but shipping it to the buyer. This means you don't have to keep any stock on hand.
1. Slower Shipping- If you don't have Amazon Prime, shipping could take a while before getting your copy. This is because they make the book on demand and then have to ship it. This is not only slow for you but for the readers.
2. Gets Lost Easily- Even though Amazon is known for being the best book seller in the world this is also a draw back. Millions of books have been uploaded to Amazon which makes it easy to get lost. Unless you are constantly putting money into ads your story may never see the Best Seller's list.
3. Reviews- Reviews can be considered a pro and a con but I, myself, consider it a con. Without reviews your book is lost in the sea of books Amazon sells. If someone does stumble upon it, most often times they won't take a second look due to the fact, they don't know if they can trust the product.
Anyone can also leave a review even if they didn't purchase the product. This means poorly starred reviews can be left giving your book a bad look.
4. Dimensions- Even though Amazon supports many different dimensions when it comes to publishing it may not support some commonly known or often used dimensions seen in other publishing houses.
5. Quality and Customizing- When it comes to quality and customizing your book, Amazon gives little to no options. This means your book may be paper thin with a flimsy book cover.
6. Set Up- Setting up your author account and getting ready to publish your book takes time and once you click one button there is really no turning back.
1. Set Up- When setting up my account for the first time, it took me step by step with everything laid out. This made publishing the book easy and a pretty fast process.
2. More Modern- The site itself feels more modern and high quality which users like and feel more comfortable with when it comes to searching the website. There are clean, crisp photos with modern text anyone feels comfortable clicking on.
3. Customizing- Blurb not only allows you to publish an everyday old novel but allows you to customize as much as you want. This includes dimensions, hard cover versus soft covers, quality of paper, paper color, etc. This allows authors to have their book exactly how they want.
4. Fulfillment Center-Like Amazon, Blurb fulfills book orders directly from their site. Since they are a smaller company who only focus on selling customizable books shipping is fast and is delivered directly to your door.
5. Published Instantly- Once you fill out all your information about your story and hit the publishing button, your book is live. There is no waiting, and you can instantly get a copy.
6. No Reviews- Blurb does not allow for reviews which means readers may not be deterred if there happened to be one or two bad reviews as seen on other sites.
7. High Quality- Because Blurb only focuses on books, the overall quality is high and something you would see in a bookstore.
1. High Pricing- Since the books can be customizable and are of higher print quality, the overall pricing for them to produce your book is extremely high. This means you might not get so many readers buying your books.
2. Hard to Navigate-Even though the website is modern, finding your book may be hard to navigate as there are several clicks before getting to the bookstore section. This makes it harder for your followers and readers to find your book unless you give them the direct link.
3. Customer Service- I had one specific question relating to ISBN to which it took quite a while to hear back. Once I did hear back, I was still left wondering what exactly I needed to do as the email was not user friendly.
4. Author Copies-Even if you are the author of your story, you still have to purchase the book at full price.
From the pros and cons above who would you decide to publish with? Even after my experience with the wrong dimensions I would still choose to publish with Amazon again. In fact, I published my second book, a low content book for writers, to help support their writing skills called 45 Writing Prompts for Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Writers.
Due to the cost alone for both myself and for the customer Amazon takes the cake. I would rather my words get out there for others to read than for someone to spend an arm and a leg to get it. Now that I've gone through the process twice, it's pretty easy for me to go through the necessary steps at a relativity fast pace when publishing a book.