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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

5 Expensive Publishing Bundles You Don't Need: Self-Publishing 101

Self-publishing can use up quite a tall budget, but are all these costs really necessary when you’re getting started? It turns out, only a few of the things you spend money on will actually get you what you need. You don’t need to buy everything at once, and there are some expenses that won’t get you a single new reader.

Here are the top five bundles offered to writers that you should think twice about before buying.

Vanity Press

With self-publishing as a booming industry, it might come as a surprise that vanity presses are still alive and well. These companies often charge a reading fee before charging you for publishing, often promising movie deals or a bestselling status.

This is not to be confused with hybrid publishers, which act more like traditional publishers in publishing only some of the books offered and making no promises of success. Hybrid publishing is a viable option for some and covers a lot of bases, but is still costly and not entirely the same as self-publishing.

You don’t need to pay anyone to publish your book. Hitting the “publish” button is free on Kindle Direct, Barnes and Noble and many other publishers. These publishers have wide reader bases, and readers shouldn’t have any trouble finding your book on their favorite book-selling sites.

Note: Don’t listen to any publishers who promise deals that sound too good to be true. No one can guarantee a movie deal or bestselling status or even a single sale. Whether you’re going traditional or independent with your publishing, your success relies on you.

Promo Packages

Book tweets, Facebook posts, and Reddit submissions can be helpful in promoting your book—but only if you do them right. People and pages who claim to submit your book to massive groups or large followings usually won’t give you the desired results.

Sadly, the people these promoters show your book to are either fellow book promoters, authors pushing their own books, or even bots—not actual readers who are interested in discovering your books. If you want to see how legitimate a service is, visit their pages and their followings and see how active their most recent promotions are.

Book Tours

Yes, it is possible to set up and run your own book blog tour. You can read more about that process here. But there are other groups willing to do it for you for hundreds of dollars.

It’s tempting to go with the paid option because you won’t have to get your own hands dirty looking for someone who would be willing to read and say marvelous things about your book. But bloggers do care to hear from the author directly. Your involvement tells them you care and that you’re willing to go the extra mile. If you find bloggers yourself, you’ll also be able to customize your tour to a set of very specific blogs that hit the right spaces.

Layout and Design

Your book’s layout is absolutely important, and it makes up a bit chunk of the impression you’ll make on readers. Unfortunately, layout can be expensive as well as extremely difficult if you do it yourself. At least, paperback layout is.

The good news is that while having multiple formats of your book can be a good way to pull in extra streams of revenue, you don’t need to start out that way. If you’re just getting started in publishing, you can stick to producing ebooks and building your audience. Most of your sales will likely come from ebooks, besides, so you’re not missing much. The best part? Ebook formatting is minimal, and many services will automatically format your book however you need.

Added bonus: This is also a great way to save on covers, which cost more if you want a spine and back as opposed to just the front image.

Review packages

Reviews are also critical to your book’s success, and sadly, Amazon really isn’t okay with your buying them. While review “packages” are usually shut down as soon as they’ve been discovered, some services will allow you to pay to receive a premium review. But do you need that?

Many authors have been successful in getting reviews simply by offering a free reader magnet and then asking readers if they want to sign up to be a part of a review team. Giving books away for free to everyone who says yes sounds counter-intuitive, but when you’re starting out, it’s more important to get eyes on your books than it is to make money. Once you’ve established a better reputation, you can make your writing more exclusive all around.

How have you saved money publishing? Please sign up to post to the comment section below. You can also click on the blue button to join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers.


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