As self-publishing indie authors, one of the first big decisions you’ll be forced to make is whether or not to bring it to print or launch an ebook. It’s a tough decision that can, in large part, be based on who your audience is. However, the ebook industry is growing rapidly and is expected to continue growing through the next several years even as the print industry shrinks.
Why Starting with an eBook Is Your Best Bet
As an indie author, you are often responsible for all of the costs of publishing your ebook. It’s a significant but worthwhile investment, but printing adds to that cost – before you know what kind of success the book will experience. Starting with an ebook is your best bet, because you can measure the book’s reception with your initial ebook readers and determine whether or not to follow up with a print book.
8 Benefits of Digital Publishing: Why You Should Launch an eBook
Why launch an ebook first? It can not only get your book out there more quickly and cost effectively, but it can also serve as a test market before investing in print. Here are eight benefits you’ll discover when you launch an ebook:
You already have most of the tools you need to launch an ebook: a laptop, an internet connection, software for writing (Word, Google Docs, or other tools), and an email address. By publishing digitally, you can get your book to market more quickly, reach your audience and discover how well the ebook is being received. It also lets you price the publication at a more reasonable level because you’re not having to absorb the cost of printing, binding, and shipping.
Instead of having to have a proof copy of your manuscript with specialized formatting to accommodate book page size, binding, margins, and paper weight, you simply push a button and click submit. And voila! You have a book – one that is often more engaging and interactive than anything you can do in print.
Create a Better Experience for Readers
Have you ever read a print book that is printed in such a small font that it’s difficult to read? Perhaps the font was too small, or the book was too thick to comfortably hold. When you launch an ebook, you can create a better experience for readers by allowing them to control the size of the font. Readers can enjoy interactive elements like links to videos and extra content. You can even add a dictionary.
Fix Mistakes After Publication
You should hire an editor and proofreader. You should ensure that your book goes out at the highest level of quality possible. However, if you or your proofer did miss something, or if some real-world scenario unfolds that forces you to change your story, ebooks are easy to change even after publishing; anyone who has purchased the ebook can update it for free and new readers will never know the difference.
Data Driven Decisions
When you launch an ebook, you get information about where the book sold, how it sold, and how many sold. You will also receive reviews on the ebook which can help you not only improve future ebooks but also to know whether or not you have the potential for a print book or even a series of books. This information is not as readily available when you publish traditionally, and sometimes you must wait months to get any usable data.
Reach More Readers
By launching an ebook, you can reach more readers more quickly. And in our instant-gratification society, being able to find and immediately have a book you want to read is even easier when you can shop from your phone, tablet, or computer and never even leave your home. It also makes it easier to reach worldwide audiences, which can have an exorbitant cost when printing and shipping books.
Do Something Great for the Environment
According to the Sierra Club, the United States produces about 20,000,000 tons of paper in a year. That takes more than 50 million trees. Unfortunately, we only recycle about half of what we produce. Digital publishing, on the other hand, is very environmentally friendly.
Readers Can Buy More Books without Buying More Bookshelves
One of the greatest things about ebooks is that you can carry nearly an unlimited amount with you. Your readers can carry 100 books instead of two or three. A kindle fits in a carry-on bag for vacation without encroaching on restrictive weight limits. It’s no wonder more and more readers are leaning toward ebook purchases.
eBooks Do the Hard Work
By starting with the launch of an ebook, you can work out the kinks of the publishing industry before investing too much money in printing and shipping costs. Starting with an ebook is a great way to test the market; then you can add a print option once you know it’s worth the effort.
Print-on-Demand Is a Cost-Effective Way to Offer Your Book in Print
Investing thousands in printed books can be a costly mistake. They may never sell, or worse, they will eat your profits with shipping costs. Print-on-demand is a viable option for most indie authors. It allows you to set the price of the book to cover the cost of printing; the book is distributed by the printing service you use.
What Is Print-on-Demand?
Print-on-demand is a publishing service in which individual copies of your book are printed as they are ordered. Shipping is included in the cost. The biggest benefit is that you don’t have to print, store, and ship books yourself. The drawback is that in some cases, the quality is lower in order to keep the publishing reasonably priced. Depending on the service that you choose, is that you may not have access to the analytical data you need. Information that tells you who is buying your books and where they are is important. There are several print-on-demand services to choose from. But for most indie authors and publishers, the best bet is to launch an ebook first, learn through feedback and analytics, then add print-on-demand.