With the rise of mobile devices, online marketplaces such as Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and iBooks and an ever growing range of digital publishing platforms, self-publishing at the highest level has never been so accessible to John and Jane Smith. Whether an ebook, novel, tutorial, monthly magazine or newsletter, the independent publisher now has a plethora of affordable options that completely level the playing field in the publishing jungle.
A Little History
Traditional print publishing used to be accessible only to established companies with the commercial clout to front sizable upfront costs. This financial barrier proved a deal breaker for many lesser mortals with aspirations of success in the publishing world. The digital era removed this obstacle and opened the floodgates, allowing the public to finally share their voices with the wider world for relatively little to no cost, bringing about what has become a self-publishing revolution!
The first form of digital self-publishing on a grand scale was in the form of the humble ebook and blog. Originally intended as nothing more than a form of online journal, blogging grew into a phenomena that has yet to be surpassed. That being said, it is largely a web based entity that has not fully embraced the new mobile world in which we now live. Mobile means apps. And to successfully self-publish in the mobile world, you need to do so via an app! There are now a number of platforms and services available through which to do this.
Kindle Direct Publishing
KDP is Amazon’s free self-publishing platform that enables individuals to publish their work directly to Kindle e-readers, such as the Kindle Fire, and Kindle apps on third party devices. Publishers can earn 70% royalties if signed up to KDP Select, a program that requires 100% exclusivity be afforded to Amazon. Outside of this option, publishers only receive 35% royalties, a figure that, when compared to other mobile publishing programs, drew criticism from around the industry. Questionable policies notwithstanding, KDP represents the most seamless route to mobile digital self-publishing currently available to the average Joe.
iBooks is Apple’s native iOS app that allows readers to access and download ebooks from the iBook Store. Individuals can publish to the iBooks Store free of charge via iTunes Connect (also free to sign up to). Publishers receive 70% royalties as standard but also have the option to offer their books for free.
The App Store & Google Play
The Newspaper & Magazine category of the App Store (formerly Newsstand) and Google Play offer the ability for individuals to create their own standalone app through which to publish regular magazines, journals or newsletters. Things get a little more expensive once you enter the realms of app development, with developer program subscriptions, hosting and a third party mobile publishing platform (such as Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Paperlit or Magcast) to be taken into account. But the trade off is your very own chunk of magazine app real estate which you can tailor to your own brand and purposes!