Self-Publishing is a growing phenomenon around the world as aspiring writers are now discovering that they can bypass major publishing houses and sell their works directly to the public.  Consumers are now armed with Amazon Kindles, Barnes & Noble Nooks, and of course Apple's iPads, and mobile phones.
Increasingly, consumers of these products are looking far and wide to discover new and less expensive reading.

There is a relatively new, and fast growing market of self-published works for these devices.  Although self-publishing covers a wide range of topics including business related categories; the top sellers according to the Wall Street Journal are in these categories:Crime/Mystery/Thrillers, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, and Romance.

So, how do you break into self-publishing?

Well, it is fairly easy and inexpensive.  Also, like everything else in this world, you can spend more money if you choose to roll the dice to get better results.

First, you need to locate self-publishing programs.  Finding self-publishing programs, (usually online tools), are relatively easy by doing a Google search.  Some of the most popular programs are with Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.  Steer away from self-publishing programs that try to sell you "magic in a box" programs that guarantee results for only...$$$$.

Secondly, you need to ensure you have a good word processing program and the ability to convert your work to the format asked for by the publisher (Usually a .pdf file format is sufficient.  Note:  There are free tools for word document to pdf conversion at download.com.  Or, use OpenOffice, a free downloadable word-processing suite that can "print to pdf").  

Also, you may consider purchasing royalty free photos, art work, and drawings through a company like iStockPhoto.com to help enhance your work.  Depending on the scope of your work, you may consider purchasing editorial services to help you put out the best product possible.  Some of these services are available from companies such as elance.com

Thirdly, consider pricing your work at an affordable price.  You need to see what other books in your genre are selling for these days.
Many self-published works are selling for 99 cents...a carryover pricing model from Apple's iTunes.  Some works are free!  The free self-published works are generally loaded with web links to other websites with the hope that the reader will follow, (Hint-Hint!  This is an excellent marketing strategy).

Other considerations include: Paying for a book review by companies like Kirkus Reviews. In addition, a standalone website with a shopping cart along with purchasing online ads such as Google Adwords can also help your prospective audience find you.  The advantage of selling from your own website is that you get to keep 100% of the sale unlike Amazon or Barnes & Noble that ask for around 30% of your sal (Semiam Solutions can help with the website and Adwords marketing management).

Finally, look into being prolific rather than have a strict focus on quality.  I know, I know...this sounds horrible.  However, a friend of mine who self-publishes extensively compared it to fishing by throwing chum in the water.  He said you can spend a lot of money by throwing a can of caviar in the water and get some results.  Or, you can throw a bushel full of cheap chum in the water and get a lot more fish.  He also stated that in time, your quality improves through putting more product onto the self-publishing market.

So, there it is.  My Christmas gift to you, my fans.  A quick synopsis on how to get into self-publishing and make yourselves money or get your company noticed on the internet.

Best wishes to you and your family for this Christmas season. And, a very Happy New Year to you.

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