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Publishing 2.0 is changing the way books are written, published, sold and promoted over the internet utilising Web 2.0 technologies.
Authors can now use these tools to self publish and get their message out there themselves. You do not need a publisher to write and sell your books, and you are not confined anymore by space or somewhere to store your books. You are not confined by price either. Here's why.
Writing your book has changed
Traditional publishers will assign you an editor and proof-readers, as well as a cover designer and type-setter. They have professionals to do this for you. However, these people also work as freelancers and there are people all over the world who you can employ to do this for you as a self-publisher writer. Sites like Elance.com and Guru.com have people who can do these jobs for you so your book is as professional as a “real” publishing house.
The ways of writing have also changed with technology. You can speak your book into a hand-held recorder and send it to a transcriber to put into words, then send that to a freelance editor. You can use a tool like Dragons which turns your words into text as you speak.
You can blog your book now. Write a post every day of 500 words on a related topic and in 6 months you will have substantial book. Setting up a blog is now so easy anyone can do it for free at sites like Blogger.com or WordPress.com.
Printing your book has changed
Print-on-demand (POD) technology is when you load a print-ready file to a POD publisher online. When an order comes in for your book, they print the book and send it to the customer directly. You get a smaller cut of the sale price but you have no stock to store, no postage hassle or costs and no up-front print costs. If you are a self-published author, you have the global rights to your book. You can have multiple POD publishers in order to lower costs from postage e.g. use Lulu.com in USA and Pothi.com in India.
Another new technology is the Espresso Book Machine that enables a book to be printed and bound in about 7 minutes. As these machines become cheaper and easier to use, people will be able to download and print books on demand. If you think that these machines could be hooked up to Google Book Search online and print anything, people may print your book just as easily as a traditionally published book.
Alternatively, you don't have to print your book at all. You can sell it as an ebook on one of the many ebook sites, or from your own website. The pricing of ebooks does vary but the information is still the same and sales are starting to rise. Ebook readers are available in many different formats and with the popularity of the iPhone with Stanza software, most people will soon have ebook readers in their mobile phones.
Selling your book has changed
Online book sales have changed the way people browse and buy books. Even small independent bookstores now have online sales, as well as huge stores like Amazon.com and BN.com. With Print-on-demand technology you can now have your book on these megastores alongside traditionally published books. The page is formatted the same, the availability is the same and to the public, there is no difference. When you have an Amazon page, other online booksellers will also pick up your book for their website so you get even more exposure.
You can also sell your book on your own website using PayPal to take credit card payments globally without the need for a merchant account. You can sell your ebook on Clickbank and have affiliates sell it for you. You can upload your ebook to Kindle so people can read it on Oprah's favourite ebook reader. You can sell your book on the iPhone through Smashwords.
Think bigger than just your local bookstore!
Promoting your book has changed
Traditional publishers have focussed on “in-person” promotion like book signings, book tours and traditional media like newspapers and TV. This is still valid promotion but can cost you time and a lot of money.
Web 2.0 changes the way authors can promote themselves for very little money. Here are just a few ideas:
- Write a blog about your book so search engines can find you. Include links to Buy your book now.
- Submit press releases online to free (or paid) PR services that are syndicated around the world
- Make a podcast on your book that people can download to hear your voice and get to know you
- Make a video book trailer and post it on YouTube
- Do a virtual book tour and visit websites in countries all over the world
- Submit your book to Google Book Search for even more search engine traffic
- Join general social networking sites and build up a group of people interested in your topic
- Join specific social networking sites for authors or groups about your topic
- Gain a following on Twitter
- Post articles on your topic at article sites with links back to your main site
- Upload your book and author details to Amazon and syndicate your blog there
- Build your email list with a free report and market to your hungry crowd
- Make your own pages on Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo and Hubpages with links to your own website
Publishing 2.0 is the broad term that encompasses all of these new developments. It is the future of publishing and it is here now for those authors that are ready to get online.