Self-Publishing Q&A with Inventing Reality Editor Rob Bignell

Today, I’d like to share the answers to a few questions that I often receive from clients and readers of this blog. 

Q: Who do you self-publish with? 
A: I’d recommend publishing your paperback with CreateSpace and then publishing your ebook with two different companies – Kindle DP for your Kindle ebook and then Smashwords for your iBook, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader ebooks. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and result in high page rankings for your titles on search engines. All of the arguments anyone gives for using other companies rarely will ever translate to increased book sales that justify the added expense or trouble of using. 

Q: In what order should I publish my books? Paperback first? Ebook first?
A: Start with the Kindle ebook. If you format your Kindle ebook to Smashword’s specs, you can do the proverbial two birds with one stone thing; later, you can go back and jazz up the look of your Kindle ebook. Do the paperback last; the paperback is the most difficult to format, so you want to catch as many possible errors as possible before you start formatting it, and working on the ebooks first will help you identify the stray typos.

Q: Should I buy my own ISBN?
A: I recommend buying an ISBN so that you (or your company) are the publisher. But if you’re on a budget, you certainly can let CreateSpace assign one to you; I believe Smashwords sells them for $10 for their ebooks. Here’s an article on the pro’s and cons of it. If you do buy your own ISBN, buy it ONLY through Bowker; that’s the only company the U.S. government (and hence most retailers, distributors, etc.) recognize as a legal assigner of ISBNs.

Q: Did you find a great book/resource to help you navigate the options or did you learn along the way?
A: I learned it all on my own by referring to a number of different (and sometimes vague as well as contradictory) sources. Because of this, my first book took me a few months to ready for publication; now I can do one of my own books in a few hours for paperback and the major ebook formats (so long as it’s already been edited/proofread). I do have a guidebook available that will take you through the entire process, step by step.