(+) How To Self Publish Your Own Printed Book or eBook

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Many genealogists dream of publishing the results of their research efforts. Whether it is to be a collection of childhood memories of time spent with grandparents or a scholarly study of all the descendants of a family’s immigrant ancestor, publishing books is still the best way to distribute information amongst relatives as well as to preserve the information for future generations.

Publishing most genealogy books has always been done by the use of “vanity press” publishers. A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Unlike mainstream publishers, a “vanity press” publisher requires the author to pay in advance to have the book published. The price usually includes publishing some predetermined number of books. In many cases, the author takes immediate delivery of all the books, stores them, and then sells the individual books as best he or she can. The vanity press publisher may or may not also make the books available for ordering in the company’s catalog.

Vanity presses offer more independence for the author than does the mainstream publishing industry. However, vanity press fees can be higher than the fees normally charged for other printing services. Most authors pay anywhere from a few thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars or more to have the books printed. Next, storing the books can be a significant problem for many. Not only do a few hundred or a few thousand books take up a lot of space, but there is always the problem of safely storing the books as well. A fire, flood, hurricane, or even a simple burst water pipe can quickly destroy an inventory worth thousands of dollars.

Another issue that technology poses is how to publish? Today’s technology is swiftly moving to ebooks. Many people, myself included, will purchase only ebooks in order to reduce both expenses and storage space requirements. However, not everyone has yet made the change, and some may prefer books printed on paper. The same is true for some libraries. The aspiring author needs to decide whether to publish electronically or on paper or both. Obviously, publishing in multiple formats might add to the expenses.

Luckily, today’s technology offers reasonably priced solutions. More people now are publishing their research results than ever before.

Should you publish printed books or ebooks?

I think the answer is simple: do both. In the following paragraphs I will describe low-cost or no-cost methods of doing both. Most of the publishing services allow you to publish in multiple formats: on paper, as Kindle ebooks, as Apple iBooks, and more. However, since you undoubtedly will be writing the book by using an electronic word processor, I will start with electronic publishing.

Publishing an ebook

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