My DIY Indie-publishing self-help guide for audio and printed matter
Yes this is my DIY Indie-publishing self-help guide for audio and printed matter. I don’t know anything. I am trying to find out. Heidi says this is my Research Progression. I am taking you with me on a journey. A journey to the end of the blog. It is my hope that by we get down there to the bottom of blog we will have learned a great deal. You and I are on a journey of discovery together.
I have started already. My first step was to enquire of the hive mind. I asked my friends. I posted on social media and I got responses. Tons of suggestions, examples and encouragements. I have even started to collate them. I have no idea what most of their suggestions mean.
It is a sort of DIM blog = Do It Myself
Let’s find out.
Working titles seemed a good start. So I have put everything in lists according to what I think they are. What they are used for. Tips in sections.
It gets better and better as it goes along!
Here we go.
Yes I have got previous! I am published.
What is ‘being published?’ As I understand it the meaning is really just ‘made available’. Something created for others to absorb.
Therefor I have dozens of books. At one time I created a small book for every show I did and for every project. So out there somewhere are copies of dozens of little books.
Here is the Poetry Pirates Publication I did.
I might re-release that via Amazon, or possibly on adrianspendlowblog.com or
That would be published. I am starting to think that publishing has evolved. There is a whole new way and the new way is hybrid. The indie-publisher can utilise a whole host of presentations and formats it seems.
There are five years of my blog out there and there are indeed ways for such to earn income.
I understand that the same can be said of YouTube. That I am less sure about.
I will look into both as I go along with this.
Amazon of course will also be looked at. It was my first thought when it came to getting books and comic books out there. (Maybe audio too I don’t know yet.)
Many years back Ure Poetry Press published a collection of my poetry; I guess it is long sold out.
My double CD Anvari’s Gold sold well for several years, perhaps I ought to see if I could get a copy to re-release.
I have primary targets however:
The Boat Rises, an audio show with a Viking theme is being edited for release as we speak.
Steam Tales is written and partly illustrated and ready for formatting.
Here is a gathering of images I may be using…
Then illustration sourcing for this poem
Here is one of my drafts…
The Viking Comics Inc. blog The Hammer Flies is a collaborative arts project and I would like to release it as a scrolling feature.
The Hammer Flies
There will also be an audio book with scrolling images of Alda Raven’s Gods Bless Ya! Music and story presentation with images from Sigrun.co.uk
Look for Viking Sisters on YouTube.
Listen to Alda here…
See Sigrun’s fashions here…
As advertised by me…
Sigrun and I are also working on a photo book of goddesses from the Norse beliefs.
I am also co-writing an album with Alda.
Following the developments of this blog I will be creating a project plan for each publication.
This whole blog is developed from the advice of friends who are collaborative colleagues. I will learn from them all as I write.
You too can get in touch. Message me on Facebook (I am the only Adrian Spendlow in the world according to FB).
Promotion and Sales bits
My blog is set up to make money. I get a percentage of the revenue from ads. More on this below.
I am now set up to receive donations so people can show their appreciation for my creative efforts and send me a small amount of money. I just ask for $3 then people can click it whenever they feel. I am very glad and grateful that this brings in support.
I’ve just discovered that I can also add this sort of feature as a widget IE it will appear at the side or below the blog etc. To add a widget, go to My Sites/Design/ Customize/menu/Widgets
As for other bits:
You can add a block ‘Recommend a friend’ to your posts –
You can set up a premium content email so people can sub to get regular extras. That sounds like a lot of work. I need to keep getting stuff on to my blog to keep up the interest, without holding stuff back. Guess it might be worth it if you have a huge following and are A list or something.
You can now get credit card and PayPal payments. You can sell stuff and post it, sell downloads, you can offer services (?) – I suppose I could get paid for a gig that way, I suppose. WordPress don’t charge for this – PayPal does as normal.
I have just asked the help chat and under my premium plan I can send downloads personally through email once they have paid, and I can post books etc. There isn’t a download service available to me at present though.
To connect with a site which sells the book or download for me it seems I need a WP business plan. So sales will have to be high enough to fit with a sizeable monthly payment for the business plan.
They also have WooCommerce an online store service, so you can set up shop and sell, post and receive payments for goods globally. (Downloads happen automatically as they check out.)
I will wait till I am selling loads more I think.
The selling and posting and emailing options might be for me as soon as I have the products ready. Might be.
As with many services if you are already selling loads it is worth taking up their selling service, but you are doing OK without it by then,
I need to look at using WordPress as a website as well as a blog, so they link together. More on that in the future.
Yes I said I would talk on revenue from ads. The donations block works well for me. The revenue comes from the number of clicks through on adverts on the blog, so the more followers / readers the more you earn.
I am happy with this but am hoping for a nice break which gets me attention.
I recall Bjørn telling me a few years back that his blog had been featured on a Viking sales website and he got a quarter of a million hits in one day. That’s the sort of thing you want to happen. I guess he has even more followers now.
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen – https://bull-hansen.com/
Bjørn also does well as a YouTuber, so I thought I would have a look at that.
YouTube – I am just not popular.
To be eligible to apply I will need another nine thousand plus subscribers and another thirty thousand for a full package.
I don’t think I will be selling product for quite a while, and getting kick-backs from views is way way off.
Unless you recommend me to all your friends.
I tell you what I like about YouTube. It is easy. Anyone can make a film on their phone and post it up there. Anyone. That’s why you find it hard to get the numbers up. No, the benefit. The thing I really like is that they are easy to upload on there and easy to link to. So, if I put a link on, say, WordPress, not only is it easy, but when the reader of my blog looks there it is well displayed. When they click to watch and listen it doesn’t take them away from my blog. They watch it on my blog.
WordPress could learn from this. I can’t see a way to link to one of my other blogs without being taken away from this one.
YouTube could do to have the creative donation button option like what WordPress has now.
I am going to talk about the use of Facebook below so it only seems right that I mention other social networking sites. After all I am looking for places to develop my market. I don’t quite get though, how a social networking site can market itself as giving you masses of privacy. I want to share my information. I want to network. I want to be out there. More than that, I want to know about you. What have you got to hide? I don’t trust you if you don’t share. You might not even be real.
I will give it a try though.
Social networking (as well as being super fun and a great way to keep in touch) is real good for getting your blog out there. I get far more response from posting my blog on my Facebook than any other outlet.
People help me create content. It is ever so rewarding to create collaborative content.
Blogs such as my one on Viking shields are a masterpiece of teamwork.
The latest collab is on Viking food…
Blogging a bit more
Problogger seems to have ways to capitalise on a blog.
One thing they talk of is Indirect Income. If we are looking at income rather than creative outlet, this is where I benefit from blogging the most. It gets me out there and people notice and pass me about. I would not be performing in America if it were not for my blog.
I mention sharing to Facebook. When I hit publish on my blog it automatically shares to other places IE Linkedin.
I don’t auto-share to Facebook though. It always looks wrong. I manually share it by copying the link into a post and writing what I want t to say.
I can then go on to share to other people or to groups.
Blogspot / blogger
Now several people tell me you do better with Blogspot. Traffic builds faster so you get more revenue. That’s what people tell me.
Most say you need a website too.
I might start posting my WordPress blog to Blogspot too?
Anyway that’s enough about blogging
Sound cloud is for music. I wonder if I should cut my audio drama into tracks and put them on there? Once you are on Premier and have applied to be monetized you can earn income from listens. I guess you have to work hard to get them listener numbers up. So it’s for the future. (They do feature spoken word)
You sign up for a TuneCore account and you can get your music on there and get revenue. It lists spoken word stuff too.
There’s another way to do it. See Spee Six Nine’s feedback in the Distrokid section below.
Same as Spotify. Go through TuneCore. You can get spoken word on there too
This is a set up that allows you to earn money from ads on your website. It can also be used for blogs and apparently for YouTube. I guess that last one depends on numbers of subscribers too.
The above are ways to promote what you have. Now let’s see about getting that stuff you have available to the reader / listener.
(They are all about giving it away and hoping for revenue I guess too, Building an audience for that company’s outlet)
We are all tools on the promotional environment of this world we live in. Check your stats, check your stats.
Publishers and outlets
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing – I think this the big hit for me, but I will work through the other stuff first.
Alda Raven and I are working on an audio-book of Gods Bless Ya! with slide-show images of models from Sigrun.co.uk – As soon as it is complete Alda plans to sell it to Netflix.
I will save results on that to a further blog.
Gramey of GSmithMedia
had a few suggestions to make. One of which was that to arrange a download to sell you could set it up on one of your webpages, but do not link the page to any of your other pages. Then it cannot be accessed without the address. Then you send the link.
Ah, here’s a thought. This might be a good way to present a manuscript or a pdf version of a book you want to move from print on demand to a print-based publisher.
Freebie extras too.
Sharon of Dryad Publishing pointed me in the direction of Ingram Spark. I have had a look and you can publish through them for print on demand and kindle for a current fee of $49.
They also do a distribution service, but I haven’t looked into that yet. Apparently they will get it in bookstores.
Please be aware I hear they will avoid books already published for print on demand with others such as Amazon. So look into them first before going ahead with Amazon.
There is tons of information on their site. Indeed you can download the whole self-publishing guide for free.
They distribute via Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.
I haven’t looked any of them up yet. I will get on to it lower down.
Books need an ISBN – a number on the back of the book.
I understand that if you publish through Amazon or Ingram Spark you get one free, but it is only of use through them.
Otherwise you will have to buy an ISBN.
If you want your book to be available in bricks-and-mortar bookstores, you’ll need a barcode in addition to your ISBN. Some ISBN services sell barcodes, as well as ISBNs, but you can use Ingram Spark’s book cover template generator to get a free barcode.
ISBNs are sold by country: In the U.S., ISBNs can be purchased from Bowker directly through your Ingram Spark account for $85 each. You can also buy a block of ten ISBNs from Bowker for $295. In the UK, you can buy them from Nielsen Book, while Canadian publishers get ISBNs for free. A full list of ISBN distributors can be found on the International ISBN Agency’s Website.
Something to consider with regards to ISBN and print is merchandising. Are you going to be doing readings or performances? Then you will want copies to sell. Do you plummet in now and get the bought ISBN and maybe the bar code too or do you get published with a print on demand set up and then move on later?
A sea of self-publishing
I contacted Sharon Emery of Dryad Publishing for further info and her response to my project was, “That is fantastic, such a generous blog project!”
You have to get with the right agency for you. There are lots of organisations offering help. They vary from super encouraging and offering to pay for absolutely everything – Ah sorry that is only in Canada!
The other extreme is vanity publishers who just want your money apparently.
You want one who will work alongside you, ‘doing for’ when needed, supporting your actions when you are capable.
There are a vast number of self-publishing organisations out there, you will have seen. So I understand.
Sharon has in the past been to the Self-Publishing Conference in Leicester – They come under the umbrella of Troubadour who are maybe the best.
“It is very exciting and motivating and worth attending.”
Sharon also says, ‘I would definitely recommend the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), which is a professional organisation and worth being associated with.’
Apparently – ‘They have a fantastic directory which you can download, so any service which isn’t in your skillset you can outsource, knowing it’s reputable’:
Membership is around $119 per annum n doofers all sorts of independent support and guidance. I will look at joining once I have finished this blog for you.
I kinda love that auto correct blooper, but of course it should have read *and offers
(Once you are a member you can access that Approved Services Directory – and maybe even get yourself in it if you offer a service.)
Then there is a recommendation of Fiverr – Sharon seemed to think I would have heard of them, so perhaps you already have.
‘For the cheaper version of any service you might need, proofreading, formatting, book design etc, there is Fiverr.com, which you will have heard of.’
I searched it for proofreading and editing and got over 30,000 ads for people who work cheap. $5 to $100 a time. I am unsure how you know to trust and respect a freelancer from an online ad, but as Sharon says, ‘If money is tight, it’s a great option’.
Dryad Publishing look very impressive, ‘Preparational Development’ seems to be their strongest skill. They are great at chatting it through in one on one emails, to help you decide.
They have some interesting projects, both published and forthcoming too.
Write Your Story
The Creative Writing Facilitation arm of Dryad Publishing.
Back to those ISBN
Bowker seem to be the place for ISBN and bar codes of you are in the USA.
$18.99 for one and cheaper for larger numbers.
The Nielsen ISBN Agency for UK & Ireland
They supply the British and Irish market. One ISBN is £89 and ten are £164. Bar codes are £15 each.
International ISBN Agency’s Website
If you are not in the USA or Britain or Ireland then check through this site for a relevant ISBN.
I had a quick look and you go through Pages. It prefers you to use an Apple device it seems but you can load up through icloud online. The first thing I saw was that you have to have a US tax ID. If you don’t have one it doesn’t seem to be any good for you. I went through the ‘how to’ process and it didn’t tell me anything about what will happen to it once it is published and more importantly it didn’t tell me what the financial deal was. I don’t want to publish and find out the cost afterwards.
If you want to look into it further then here is a ‘how to’ link from a separate site.
Ah, this says you have to have a Mac. I wonder if you have to have a Mac to get the books as well. As I read this it makes it clear that Apple Books is about eBooks. The Apple Books site didn’t tell me that. I believe this whole AB thing is a bit smelly.
I do read on here that Apple Books is very popular for publishing audio books. So it might be worth me going back to it at a later date once I am rolling with my Audio stuff. I will be very cautious if I do.
Your eBook would end up available in iTunes in the books section. It is good to know there is a books section in iTunes. I will need to look at that too.
It looks like a fairly easy way to get your book up as an eBook. They are not exclusive so you can publish elsewhere. They get it in lots of online stores. They focus on making it sound easy, so I didn’t seem to be able to sort out how much they take until I had leapt into the process.
Barnes & Noble
Like Kobo above the focus is on being a bookstore, you have to scroll right down to get to publishing your book. It also is not exclusive, which is good. They show you the costs. Expect about $3.00 royalties on an average price book (That is my wild guesstimate, look on their site for proper details). They do print on demand.
Might be worth a go.
According to Dryad Publishing there is a ton of useful information on the Reedsy site.
First thing is a pop up offering a free download guide to marketing.
But yes, it is a great set of blogs. Loads of useful.
OK I might need help here. I look at the site and it tells me I can make videos, podcasts, music all sorts and then I get a following. People subscribe to my monthly outlet. It looks easy enough to set up. Trouble is I can’t see any of them. I can see the idea. I can see an invitation to become involved. I can’t see any of the videos, podcasts anything. Where does it go out to? I don’t get it.
This looks easy to set up. It seems people listen to them. It gets syndicated to iTunes so you get people buying into it I think. You then get subscribers. So I guess it could earn money.
Podcasts are basically episodes of chat or spoken word. I think my audio show would be too long, unless I cut it into episodes. Even then it would not be quite the right place.
That’s it I’ve done it. I’ve signed up to Bandcamp. I have put a spoken word piece up there. It is only $2 too!
I posted up the first recording I found on my laptop just to see. It was this quirky unusual piece.
It was a practice to see if I could handle it.
I then went in stats and it said I had one fan. So I messaged them. I got an email, I had welcomed myself.
So I have more to learn.
You need to be a follower to be able to get other people’s music.
It was easy to get started. I think I will improve as I go. I didn’t have artwork ready. I haven’t done a bio. I found sharing it to other sites and networks had a few teething problems which could have been made easier for me.
I will definitely be using it. Whether it is the place for my audio-show I am still unsure.
It is fine for spoken word stuff so that is a plus.
Might there be better ways of getting an audio drama out there though.
There are size limitations. This is not a problem for music generally. Audio books are longer though.
The limit is 291mb per track going up to 600mb which is plenty for a music track. I will have to rethink for the audio though. If I am putting The Boat Rises feature-length Viking drama up there I will need to have it cut into tracks.
It is a two-hour show so it is probably going to be about 900mb.
There is no limit to the size of an album, just the tracks within it.
I found out about Pro once I was started. It is $10 a month.
You get better stats. You can add video to your tracks. You can upload stuff in batches rather than one track at a time. There is other stuff including private streaming (I may be wrong but I think that means you can’t stream someone’s music to listen to it without buying it, otherwise it’s an option).
This sounds the way to go once you are making enough sales.
In their ‘About Us’ it says – Bandcamp’s mission is to create the best possible service for artists and labels to share and earn money from their music, and for fans to discover and enjoy it.
We believe that music is an indispensable part of culture, and for that culture to thrive, artists—no matter the size of their audience—must be compensated fairly and transparently for their work. Without this belief, our mission would be meaningless, and it’s why we’ve built our business around a model that puts the artist first.
When you buy something on Bandcamp, whether it’s digital music, vinyl, or a t-shirt, ticket or cassette, 80-85% of your money goes to the artist, and we pay out daily. The remainder goes to payment processor fees and Bandcamp’s revenue share, which is 10-15% on digital items, and 10% on physical goods.
Sounds workable – if you work at it. Or are very very popular.
Olivia Graham tells me she also uses Bandcamp and is about to add more tracks…
A good pointer for Audio publishing.
Spee Six Nine got in touch about Distrokid among other things.
Here is a track from Spee and a link to his channel on YouTube…
Spee has an interesting approach to getting music out there. He has got his sounds available anywhere possible, then revenue and followers come in from all-sorts of angles.
He does Bandcamp where people can buy his stuff directly.
You have to use the platforms.
“I use a company called Distrokid and they get all my music on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.”
Most platforms it works out around a pound from about a thousand streams.
Spee tells me it is £30 per year and they get you out there.
I had a look – https://distrokid.com/
DistroKid get music into Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Tidal, TikTok, YouTube, Apple Music, Pandora, Instagram, YouTube, iHeartRadio, Deezer, plus a ton of other stores & streaming services.. I haven’t yet looked up Tidal or TikTok etc, but maybe I don’t need to if I join up to Distrokid. I still need to know if they deal with spoken word.
They don’t take a cut from sales. The intro says pay just $19.99.
This guy below got his spoken word stuff on Distro apparently – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj_k1_SEzOA
As for me – I am thinking of ways to promote my audio-show, the Viking drama, so I checked on length limitations for distro; this is what I found – ‘The maximum size that DistroKid will accept is 250MB. If you have a track that’s larger than that, consider converting it to FLAC format before uploading to DistroKid. FLAC is a beautiful, lossless format (same audio quality as WAV) but the files are relatively small’.
(DistroKid says they have limitation to the maximum length in minutes that a track can be, but that seems to conflict with the above.)
Apparently FLAC format drastically reduces size without limiting quality. I will give it a try. Even so I am probably still looking at cutting the show into tracks.
“Like I said, most of my cash from online music comes from a load of random places and I depend on live shows and selling physical copies of my music as much as online.”
Jamie tells me they are great for free footage. He has made some great videos using their services. I will have a look for an example.
Well respected author, (and good friend), Carol MacAllister says, “The only DIY publishing that I suggest people use is Book Baby. They are wonderful to work with and take care of every facet you want to basically pay for. The cost is quite manageable.”
Two of her books are through BookBaby; the excellent poetry collection RIPASSO, and a book which stays in my mind long after reading – MAYAN CALENDAR REVEAL.
Another publication from Carol…
Am just looking now, it seems they focus on printed books rather than print on demand, and, as Carol says, they are good at marketing.
You get good advice and you can have a one-off copy printed and sent to you for $39 so you can see if you have done right.
Ah hang on, they say, “We are one of the only companies around that covers all your needs – eBooks, printed books, Print On Demand, global distribution, direct-to-reader sales, as well as design and creative services, plus marketing help.”
I popped in details of a mid-sized book with 25 printed copies and all the other goodies that are part of the package and it was around $800.
Another service Carol used came out well but didn’t do the all important follow up of marketing.
She has heard good of Amazon from other writers and she also says there is nothing wrong with building a book yourself.
DIY – Very handy to make books to hand out or to send as manuscripts, there might even be better full colour options. Speciality artwork books with a higher price may be worth making yourself too.
Back to audio drama, I need to look into selling to radio stations. I think I will go for the hybrid publishing angle IE getting it out there for sale and also offering it to radio stations.
I came across this site – https://radio-locator.com/
And this one for US Radio and other media – http://archive.mrc.org/MediaAddresses/mediaaddresses.asp
There must be agents out there for radio drama work.
Selling Audio CDs
Both of these sell CDs (an dshould sell downloads)…
Gramey of GSmithMedia recommends Opus –
It looks a really interesting project, might be worth checking out.
Ah, that one is a video chat platform.
Carol recommend them especially for my Steam Tales publication.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
This is the big one. All pointers point this way (for written word publications).
Dryad Publishing have had good experiences with them.
Sigrun.co.uk publish through Amazon too.
But I see she has also built a sales website with the help of Shopify. It looks very good quality. I haven’t looked into how Shopify works, I will find a link though.
Adrian on Amazon
I feel really guilty. I shouldn’t, it is downright silly, but I am writing this as I learn. Typing as I go. So, when I got stuck on publishing on Amazon I felt like I had held you all up.
I am going for it with Amazon KDP. I am putting books out there with it. It is hard work though. I guess by the second attempt it will be easier.
It does seem a bit silly of me because it is all laid out for you. Lots of information, plus the dubious claim that you can get a book up for sale in five minutes flat. I am at a week now and still working.
Stuff is here and there. Now looking back I can see how it can flow along nicely. I didn’t know where I was a few times. I downloaded the ‘how to’ for creating your book in Word. There is lots to it. All the time I was doing it I was unsure whether I should put the text in first then do the formatting or the other way round. So I was wondering if I was wasting my time all along. I was.
I then discovered the templates. So doing it step by step had been a waste of time. It was after I had been working with templates (with quite a few struggles) that I discovered that it was handy to click Bookshelf. That is where you put your books as you are building them and once they are ready too.
The template had a few quirky quirbles too.
Why do I think it is the way forward? Amazon is where you think of books being. It is where people look. I also do think I will get the hang of it.
I think I will sell well. When you look at it you can’t tell the difference between a book someone did themselves (if I work hard at professionalism) and one by a major publisher.
I am currently stuck on covers. I am about to buy a PDF maker and am unsure which one. Also do you pay monthly like for ever, or do you buy one as a one off?
I got past all those hurdles and got the book out. It is so pleasing the feedback and responses. People with a fond connection, either who I am in touch with all the time, or those it is wonderful to be back in touch with. Thank you all, for not just buying the book, but for letting me know all about it.
I have started a Supporters Club. If you have bought my single, my book on paper or kindle or if you have donated to my blog your name goes in. There it is at the bottom of every blog. Thank you all.
I then looked at Kindle. I had a few unsure moments, but I got through them, IE when it asked for a cover do I put in the front and back type cover I used for the book? Or do I cut it to just a front? If so how big? Once I post it up can I change it? I didn’t really get any answers but I went for it and managed OK. (It is front only.)
As I was setting it up on Kindle I discovered that if you do Kindle first it is easy to then convert it to a book. I would have liked to have known that first.
Anyone who has used Amazon to publish will look at my comments and think what is he on about it all flows easy. The information is all there but it isn’t easy to go along a steady path. Once you’ve done it you forget. So get to it and crack on I say.
Do a practice book like I did. It really surprised me how popular it has become.
Now I can crack on with Steam Tales – plus several other books I have in the pipeline.
Now to master adding footnotes.
Oh and finding a cover picture.
Once you are published try Authors Abroad to get you loads of performance work. Guess you will sell books while you are there.
I am looking forward to feedback and further help for us all. Thank you for being part of this.
Even a simple blog can take half a day to put together, this one took over a week…
For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.
For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.
On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK
On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK
(Also available on Kindle)
Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Holly, Georg, Carol, Connie, Sarah, Spee 69, Oyvind, Ginny, Maureen, Sylvia, Lillian, Margaret, Pam, Lucy, Michelle, Obie, Alda Raven and Heather.