How to Self-Publish Your Book and Make a Difference in the World
Writing is no easy job, let’s face it! But writing is something that you love doing and that’s why it comes easy to you; that’s why it comes natural to you. Writing is something scary. Being faced with an empty white page, being charged with the task of filling it with words and filling our hearts with emotions and our minds with ideas… Many would easily trade this burden with fighting bears professionally or even public speaking, which apparently is worse than death. So, go figure! But this is not true for you, this is not the case for writers. You love the process and you love the outcome, regardless of the success, regardless of the critics, or even lack thereof.
The process of writing is an amazing experience. However, when someone reads your work it feels like nothing short of ultimate fulfilment, even if it’s just one person, even you don’t get a dime and even if they don’t give you a word of feedback or encouragement. Your work has reached another human being, it has touched and changed something within him forever. He will never be the same again. The person who he was before reading your book is gone and now you will be forever a part of the new person.
But it’s a long path from having written an amazing book to getting it out in the open. You will have to find an editor who enjoys his job, a publisher who appreciates the depth and uniqueness of your work, the audience which is searching exactly for what you have to give… Editors have to be paid, publishers will most of the time be looking for stuff that they have managed to sell in the past and marketing is a black hole, eating cash like no other.
It is hard enough to pour out your soul on a piece of paper for everybody in the world to see, pick at it, comment on it and tear it apart. Most people don’t realise that your book is a piece of what you are, captured in between two covers. Editors don’t worry much about what you are trying to put forth, what you are instilling in your readers, they mostly care about it ‘sounding’ right. I mean, you can’t blame them, it’s not them who wrote your book. Publishers mostly care about money, and again, you can’t blame them either. They are usually large, clunky organisations that have to eat a lot of cash to survive and so they need to sell in huge volumes and they just have to be sure that what they publish will sell in such quantities.
Now, there’s another route you can take. You can self-publish. Self-publishing has become very popular in the past few years (see graph below). And you can easily understand why. You don’t have to deal with publishers who turn down more than 99% of their manuscripts coming their way. Authors can now bypass them completely and get their books directly to the public. If it only were that easy though…
In 2015, I had just finished writing my first two books and was eager to get them into the world. First, I tried going down the traditional route, contacting publishers directly. Time has passed and still no response. The shitty part is that most of them don’t even bother to reply. And even if it’s understandable, considering the sheer volume of manuscripts they receive on a daily basis, it still sucks. It may very well be that your book is not going to be an instant best-seller, few books are, but to go from that to ‘no-one cares about what I’ve written’ is a long way. I mean, it should be. But many authors go there almost by default when they see the overwhelming number of rejections they get.
I went there myself for a while. Heck, I even burned the first manuscript of my first book! Who am I to write!? How dare I pretend that I have something to say!? It’s easy to go there, but it’s not a productive space, it’s not a creative space and it’s not the best use of your time and energy. You are a writer and your purpose is to write and change the world reader by reader.
I read my book again, and I saw that it was good. This is not me saying that my work deserves some special attention or that I am somehow special, but only that the process of writing this book, changed me, it helped me through some tough times of my life and maybe it will help others do the same. That’s why I finally decided to publish it myself.
I edited the book myself, it was quite a tough job because, as many of you know, it’s very difficult to spot mistakes in something that you have been looking at for months, sometimes even years… I had to do it myself as I had no money, and editors cost quite a bit. I asked my girlfriend to help me with the book cover and then I spent months figuring out all those different self-publishing platforms with their different publishing processes, formatting requirements and royalty plans.
I’m quite a tech-literate person, being an engineering graduate and a programmer and but, in spite of that, I had quite a difficult time formatting my manuscript so that it looks nice on all these platforms. But after all of this work that had nothing to do with writing — which was the only thing I wanted to do — and I got my book published on Kindle and Smashwords, I was far from done. It turns out that you can do everything in your power to get your book out there, but, still, your work may very well get lost in a sea of other books nobody will even stumble upon. Here is where marketing should come in. That’s if you can afford to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on Amazon, fighting for ad real-estate with multi-million dollar publishers…
That’s how Odeen came to be. It came out of prolonged my frustrations as a self-published author, as a response to all these brick walls I was faced with when I was merely trying to put out a message in the world. I didn’t care about making a fortune and, as much as I wanted to be able to earn a living from this, my biggest wish was for people to read my book.
Odeen is an online platform where authors can easily publish their books. The publishing process is as easy as copy-pasting your work and clicking a button. Ready for the best part?
Users can read as much as they want for free and authors earn money every time someone reads their book.
How is this possible? We show readers a small ad on every page they read. With every page they read, they help the author earn money. Think of it as the YouTube for books. Simple, right?
YouTube is full of potential movie stars, screenwriters, directors, light engineers, cameramen, etc. that Hollywood rejected. Now they earn a living from doing what they enjoy most, some have earned sizeable fortunes. You know how this was possible? YouTube offered people a chance to reach an audience when Hollywood didn’t.
At Odeen, we believe that there’s an audience for everyone who has a message to put forth. All they need is a platform, all they need is to be given the chance. We give authors this chance. With Odeen, I am also giving myself this chance.
And if your privacy is what you’re worried about, worry no more. Unlike many well-known internet giants, we don’t use ads that track you. We don’t sell any of your data. We’re not in that business. We only use contextual ads. They adapt to the book that you are reading and not to your behaviour or your data. For readers that don’t want any ads, they can remove them by paying a monthly subscription.