This should be of great interest to you Indie authors/publishers out there. I know many of you have mastered Kindle's publishing platform, but you may not have tackled PutIt yet. Here's your chance to learn more.
PubIt! for Profit: How B&N is Changing the Publishing Game
By: J. Onell, who has written about radiology technicians and how to become one through online courses.
For new writers, getting your book published often feels like the holy grail. Finally being published will mean that all your hard work is validated, but actually getting there is no easy task. Besides the actual writing itself, you’ve got to find an agent and develop an angle to hawk your creative work to publishing houses across the nation. Getting a publisher to bite is even harder, when it seems that the publishing industry is shrinking more and more every day.
Enter PubIt!, a newly launched self-publishing platform from that most-gargantuan of booksellers, Barnes and Noble. PubIt! is a new service that essentially removes that last half of the publishing equation: it lets authors upload their work for free, and then converts it to an e-book file. The book can then be purchased off of Barnes and Noble’s e-book store and downloaded to the Nook, iPad, iPhone, or a computer.
This approach is pretty revolutionary, for a few reasons. Barnes and Noble is essentially giving new authors the visibility of its online marketplace, which is used by millions of book-buyers on a regular basis. Unless you are lucky enough to have a friend with a very popular blog, it would be difficult to stir up this sort of visibility on your own, without the publicity efforts of a real publishing house.
But, of course, Barnes and Noble is no charity, and there is ultimately a price for their services (although it’s free to upload your manuscript). Publishers (that’s you, in this context) set the price of the book on Barnes and Noble’s marketplace, between $0.99-199.99. Depending on the price you set the book at, good ole’ B&N takes a chunk. For items priced between $2.99-9.99, Barnes and Noble takes a 45% cut; for books priced outside of that range, they take a whopping 65%.
While a 45-65% cut might seem like a lot, it’s not really, when it comes to book royalties. Someone publishing a $9.99 mass market paperback wouldn’t be surprised to be getting $.50 per book in royalties, whereas you’d receive $6.50 if you were going the PubIt! route. Of course, with PubIt! you are responsible for hyping your own book, and in most cases this will result in a lower volume sold. In one sense, it’s a tradeoff between doing the publicity for the book yourself, and having the time and patience to wait around and find a “real” publisher who will pick up your work.
While PubIt! has gotten a lot of attention lately, it’s not the first to try this independent e-book publishing angle. Smashwords is a company that has been publishing and distributing e-books for indie authors for a while now—it even distributes its books to Barnes and Noble’s bookstore, Amazon, and other mainstream forums. According to its founder, the average Smashwords author has earned about $15,000 on their uploaded titles.
It’s not huge money, but in many ways it proves the validity of the independent distribution approach. For folks who are tired of looking for a publisher, or who are excited about the idea of grassroots media, such an approach can be a viable way to get your work out there and gain a following. Publishing in this way could even be an avenue to proving the wider appeal of your work to publishing houses. One thing is for sure: as virtual media continues to supplant traditional books and magazines, the idea of what it means to be a “successful author” continues to change. PubIt!, and indie publishing in general, fills in the vacuum created by dwindling publishing houses, gives authors control over their work, and all-in-all seems to be a positive step in the evolution of the printed word.