Self Publishing Today: Easy, Affordable, Better for Authors

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Years ago, I helped an author who wanted advice on self-publishing for a series of books he was writing. I’ll call him John. John told me that for one of his books, he had paid a company $10,000 to help him self-publish, and he ended up hating both the product and the process. And for all that, the company didn’t market or sell the book for him. So for his next book, John had obtained a small traditional publisher. However, he hadn’t liked their edits, and they were taking a long time to get his book published. For the third book in his series, John was looking for a new solution—one where he would be in control.

John’s story isn’t unique. As my work brings me into contact with self-published authors, I hear frequent variations on it from disappointed authors who’ve spent large chunks of money getting others to help them publish their book.

Self-publishing is entrepreneurship, and today’s digital innovations make it possible to become an author-entrepreneur at low cost and low risk (if you’re willing to DIY). In the last five years, publishing platforms (including Pressbooks) have democratized publishing and removed the need for intermediaries to get your creative work into the market. 

Today it’s simply not necessary to spend a lot of money to self-publish your book. Doing so hinders your ability to respond to your audience—revising and reissuing books in a timely way; creating new installments in your series…

You can now self-publish for practically nothing with very little help—if you’re willing to do the work. (Our latest book, the recently revised Pressbooks Guide to Self-Publishing, is a great guide to publishing on a shoestring if you’re interested.)

That’s not to say there aren’t aspects of book publishing that you should pay a professional to do: editing for one, unless you’re a professional writer or editor already; designing the image for the cover that may influence people to buy your book; maybe buying an ISBN depending where you plan to publish.

But everything else can be done for very little with a professional result.

I became an evangelist for Pressbooks after using it myself for several books (I’ve since used it for five books, with more in the works). I wanted to make sure that Pressbooks thrived, because it’s changing the game for self publishing authors like me. People who have the ideas and ability to write books quickly, and enough digital skills to get them out there and market them. But who may not have background in graphic design or ebook development (which is like Web development, but lots harder, with a lot of complicated rules and standards that can get a book rejected if it doesn’t comply).  

Before Pressbooks, someone like me would need to pay an ebook developer and graphic designer hundreds to thousands of dollars to format their book professionally. Or, do it myself with less than professional results. With Pressbooks, you can cut those costs out of your budget and still have a beautiful book. (And now, Pressbooks even lets you design your own cover too.)

Now, as the marketing manager for Pressbooks, I get constant testimonials from other authors who have discovered and wielded the power of Pressbooks to power their book series.

Here’s one I received recently from a Pressbooks user.

Hi Guys – it’s a great day for me, because this morning I discovered
that my first novel is now being sold on Amazon e-books! All thanks to
you – a brilliant site and wonderful support from the team; honestly, I
cannot thank you enough. Pressbooks has made it for me.

It’s interesting, because there are two books on Amazon with the same
title…If you click “Look inside” on each one, you will find they are very different
in appearance and layout. The other one doesn’t seem to have any
chapters or breaks and doesn’t really look like a book – more like a
very long .doc file. Mine is really professional, thanks to
Pressbooks. All I did was to export mine to to a MOBI format and send
the file to Amazon, and low and behold it worked perfectly with no problems.

You are most welcome to quote me on this.

For only $99, you can have the same experience. 

Pressbooks’ $99 EBOOK+PDF Pro package includes:

  • MOBI files (for Amazon)
  • EPUB files (for other ebookstores)
  • PDF files (for print and print-on-demand)
  • Cover generator
  • 250 MB storage (for images)

This is everything you need (except editing) to publish in Amazon or print copies through our ISBN-free printing program. (If you want an ISBN for other ebookstores or print-on-demand outlets, you can get one for $19-$125. Learn more.)

Compare that to the $10,000 John spent to get his book to market, and publishing is a whole new world, accessible to individual authors like me and you.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it, and support us at Pressbooks as we work tirelessly to make publishing possible for you. 

Elizabeth Mays is the marketing manager for