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Electronic publishing inexpensive and swift

by Jerry Butler | May 4, 2020 at 2:00 a.m.

Historically, getting a book published has meant you or your agent had to find a publisher willing to risk the cost of printing, promotion and distribution.

Publishers hope that book sales will profit them and also provide the writers a generous royalty. This has always been an unlikely model for most writers. Even for an established writer, traditional publication can be uncertain and time-consuming.

Meanwhile, the modern publishing marketplace has options that are less expensive, more accessible and faster. Manuscripts can move from the computer keyboard to the reader in 24 hours.

One option is self-publication. Typically, this involves hiring a business that specializes in printing a limited number of paperback copies or printing them on demand, for a fee.

Fees vary widely, depending on the number of copies ordered and book length. Price per book might be as low as $2.58. If the writer wants help with editing, proofing, cover design, copyrights, marketing and other such services, it is more costly. Appealing self-publication packages appropriate for my vision of my book Mothers, Memories, and Birds ranged from $1,500 to $6,000.

Publication of electronic books that readers access on phones, Kindles, tablets and iPads is no longer a coming trend. It is a grown, full-blown industry. It saves trees, time and money. The up-front cost to the author can be zero dollars, and the cost to book buyers is less than printed copies of the same book.

Websites of companies involved in helping writers prepare their manuscripts for electronic publishing provide guidelines and step by step directions. They can be found on any internet search engine. Cost for delivering the book to readers can be set by the author. Royalties are frequently 70%, but can be more or less.

Electronic books can be edited, expanded or revised easily, even after the original publication. Mothers, Memories, and Birds is currently published only in electronic form, marketed online and promoted via social media.

Using some combination of the two methods of publication (print and electronic), might work well for many writers wanting to provide literary or historical tribute to a mother or another relative. It would produce a tangible object for the bookshelf for those who are not inclined toward electronic media, and it would preserve the work in perpetuity in a virtual world. Having both forms available increases the visibility of the work. It grants a sort of immortality and permanence to the remembrances of family members, which the oral traditions we have relied upon for centuries cannot.

The variations of publication options are many, and diligent searching online can provide greater understanding. Some traditional publishers will also assist self-publication and might even promote your book. Look up “book publishers in Arkansas,” and read their websites.

Two self-publishing websites I found helpful were and Kindle Direct Publishing (

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