Your Publishing Options: Traditional, Self-Publishing, Print, Ebook And Audiobooks

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The publishing world is exploding with opportunity right now …

… and many authors are finding new ways to build a career with self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid combination of the two.

I am passionate about empowering authors to discover the right path for each book. The most important thing is to know your options, so read on.

Self-Publishing Overview and Tips

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Self-publishing

5 Important Steps Before You Self-Publish

What is Your Definition of Success? How will you measure it?

How to Self-Publish An Ebook

How to format an ebook and a print book with Vellum

The Pros and Cons of Exclusivity with Amazon

How to Self-Publish A Print Book

How to Self-Publish An Audiobook

How to Record Your Own Audiobook

What if you need help self-publishing? How to find the best service and avoid getting ripped off

Sell More Books with Boxsets and Bundling

Turn your Non-Fiction Book into a Workbook

Why Publish a Large Print Edition and Tips on How To Do It

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish?

Successful Self-Publishing Tips with Joanna Penn and Mark Dawson

Top 5 Mistakes of Indie Authors and How to Avoid Them

Need a professional editor, cover designer or formatter?

How to Find and Work With A Book Cover Designer

Click on the buttons below to find my lists.

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View Comments (70)

  • This is a great piece! Another great self publishing site is Foboko.com. They offer a community of writers to help you throughout the process.

  • Joanna, I have come to respect and follow you as I sense that you are genuine. I bought you course with CJ and am enjoying your banter....it works!
    I have always written but never published anything excepts for a few poems. I have a blog, The Lang Report and have let it languish due to my brother passing (needed a break)
    I want to jump into KDP in a big way because whenever I start writing...I can't stop! It's like a fire hose so I guess I am blessed that way.
    I am writing to ask 2 questions:
    1) I want to learn Scrivener....what the easiest way to tackle it while keeping it simple :)
    2) I have been looking at the process of publishing, i.e., formatting, compiling, etc. and I am just getting more and more confused. I want to publish a ebook or short story just so I can overcome the trepidation of going through the process. What do you suggest?

    You assistance would be greatly appreciated. Oh, I also wanted to ask if you have plans for additional courses...I like your approach.
    Thanks, Mike

    • Hi Mike, I'm so glad you're finding all the material useful!
      In terms of your questions
      1) When I bought Scrivener I watched a tutorial video on their site or YouTube and I also bought David Hewson's ebook http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Scrivener-ebook/dp/B004ZG7BMU/
      That's all I needed to get started - I still don't know all the functionality but that works for me. There's also a new book Scrivener For Dummies, from Wiley - I'm interviewing the author Gwen Hernandez in November.
      2) Did you get the ProWriter Independent Publishing course? http://www.thecreativepenn.com/selfpublish/ which is one I did with CJ?
      You mention doing other courses - well, we did 4 that kind of covered everything :)
      To publish an ebook on Kindle, you can also just follow the Help directions on their kdp.amazon.com page - format the ebook file using Scrivener, then load up with a cover and description and you're done!
      Thanks, Joanna

  • Hi Joanna,

    Some great advice, thanks for the considerable efforts you clearly put into sharing.

    I am UK based, linked to a not for profit project that is about to finish a non fiction 300 page book, on Innovation, with some tables and diagrams internally (it will go out via Lightning Source International) .

    I am amazed at the difficulties we are having finding interior designers who could help take a MS Word manuscript and then layout via Adobe InDesign for LSI. Maybe its just our bad luck/poor contacts but most seem not to be interested or have credible experience. We're happy to pay the going rate but cannot find the UK based expertise with the right mix of experiences.

    Do any of your pages/links have lists of experienced designers or can anyone else point us in the right direction. Any guidance/comments much appreciated if you can...

  • Hi Joanna,

    Can you recommend a POD publisher for children's picture books? I've already published two adult novels via KDP and CreateSpace, but since this is a picture book, I was wondering who to use for that? I've got the story and the illustrations in JPG files ready to go.

    Thank you!


  • Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!|

  • Hi Joanna! As one of your ever-faithful followers I have been doing lots of research on self publishing and watching your videos. I am still confused on some issues. I have decided to go with scrivener after watching your video with Gwen and I have been in contact with JD Smith design for info, she is so helpful. I prefer to ask you my question though since you are a pro! .....When you say that you can download an Efile to createspace for POD distribution can that be the same formatted file I would use to download on kdp for an ebook download because if so, why did I read somewhere that the ebook form and the POD should have 2 different bookcovers? Also, I was recommended by one formatting service that on the copyright page where you list the publisher, it is advisable to not use your own name as it gives the book an amateurish feel, that I should make up a publishing name. How do you feel about this and if I was to do that I am sure it would have to be a registered name?

    • Hi Debby -
      if you read the help at KDP and Createspace you will get all the answers you need!
      But just quickly from my perspective:
      * You output from Scrivener a) Word doc that you format for print or/ pay someone to format for print into a PDF print ready file
      b) a .mobi file or .epub file for upload to KDP and other ebook publishers
      In terms of cover design, the ebook can be the same as the print for the front cover but clearly you need 2 files
      a) a jpg or gif of the front cover for the ebook format
      b) a print ready PDF for the print cover that includes the back and the spine
      On the publisher name, it's up to you - I don't think the reader cares or even reads that page.
      Please do read the detailed help on the publishing sites for anything further - thanks, Joanna

  • I am a seventh grader and I've only been writing for two years and my sucess has been gravitational! I have made short stories for people in my neighborhood, and they have just been eating it up with a spoon. I got all of my tips from this website and from you. Thank you so much!

  • I finished writing my first novel and I am having problems finding a POD publisher who is trustworthy. Can you recommend someone? I saw one company that is royalty free but their reviews seemed less than honest.


  • Hi Joanna,

    I was wondering if you had any advice on self-publishing specifically for Australian authors? In 2014 my online literary magazine Writer's Edit will be self-publishing an anthology. I'm currently looking into the best print-on-demand platforms for an Australian audience.

    I'm running into a number of factors I hadn't quite considered yet, such as a U.S. Tax ID, shipping costs to Australia, expanded distribution only in America and from memory, there are also a few issues regarding payments into a non-U.S. bank account.

    Do you have any experience/recommendations for Aussies wanting to self-publish?

    As always, finding so many wonderful resources on your site, so thank you!