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09 Mar
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How to Self-Publish your Books in Kenya

How to Self-Publish your Books in Kenya has been made simpler considering that the book industry is thriving, and self-publishing is on the rise! If you want to learn more about how to self-publish a book or ebook Services, you’ve come to the right place.

Benefits of Self-Publishing

No Gatekeepers

There are no gatekeepers—no literary agents or publishers standing in your way. This allows for diversity to flourish and for underrepresented voices to finally have a space to share their work.

Higher Margins

Not only are the barriers to entry lower, but the margins are higher. When you work with a traditional publisher, they have to take their cut. By self-publishing your own book, you can earn more for each book that you sell.

More Control

When you self-publish, you own your work and have complete control over the publishing process. For a lot of authors who have poured their hearts and souls into writing a book, it’s very important for them to have power to make decisions throughout the publishing process.

Equal Quality

As technology has improved, self-published authors now have access to high-quality printing and book distribution networks similar to traditionally published authors. Your self-published book will look like the other books on the shelves.

Steps to Self-Publishing a Book in Kenya

  1. Writing
  2. Book Editing
  3. Book Design
  4. Book Metadata
  5. Publishing
  6. Distribution
  7. Marketing
  8. Join eSomeni Self-publishing Community

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book in Kenya?

The cost to self-publish a book in Kenya varies depending on your budget, the type of book you’d like to print, and ultimately, your publishing goals.

Below are the six most common areas in which you may spend money to successfully publish a book:-

1. Book Editing

The cost to edit a book varies widely based on a few factors.

  • Quality of Manuscript: some manuscripts require more work than others to produce a professional, ready-to-publish piece.
  • Genre: cost varies by genre. Historical fiction and nonfiction, for example, require more time dedicated to fact checking.
  • Experience: the cost to hire an editor with more experience will be higher than a newer, less-experienced editor.

Some editors charge per word, some charge per page, and some charge per hour. The Editorial Freelancer Association provides rough guidelines to give you an idea of common editorial rates.

  • Developmental Editing (estimated pace 1-5 ms pgs/hr): $45-55/hr
  • Substantive or Line Edit (estimated pace 1-6 ms pgs/hr): $40-60/hr
  • Basic Copyediting (estimated pace 5-10 ms pgs/hr): $30-40/hr
  • Proofreading (estimated pace 5-10 ms pgs/hr): $30-40/hr

When you’re ready to hire an editor, do some research and request a few different quotes. Meet with them, if possible, or have a conversation to get to know whether or not they’ll be the best editor for your book’s content. Have they edited in that genre before? Do you feel like they understand your writing style? Ask them for references or examples of their work to make the most informed decision.

2. Interior Design

The typesetting process mainly focuses on readability, such as proper spacing and fonts. The cost to typeset a book will vary depending on length, genre, and whether or not you’d like to package it with a final proofread.

According to data from Reedsy, a marketplace for book publishing professionals:

  • 17% of people pay less than $500 for book formatting
  • 47% of people pay $500-$1,000 for book formatting
  • 19% of people pay $1,000-$1,500 for book formatting
  • 16% of people pay $1,500+ for book formatting

The price of typesetting will increase based on the number of images, graphs, and tables in your book.

3. Book Cover Design

The typesetting process mainly focuses on readability, such as proper spacing and fonts. The cost to typeset a book will vary depending on length, genre, and whether or not you’d like to package it with a final proofread.

The price of cover design is directly related to a designer’s experience. If you’re going to publish both print and ebook versions (which we recommend), make sure to look for a cover designer who can design both the print and ebook cover. Ask to see examples of a designer’s work before signing a contract and expect to spend at least $500 for a professional cover design.

4. Publishing

One publishing expense you’ll incur is purchasing an ISBN, if you choose not to use a free ISBN. This is necessary if you’d like to enable your book for distribution, and each format of each book you publish must have its own unique ISBN.

We recommend that ISBNs are valid and properly acquired.⁠ Each country has a single approved and designated agency that issues ISBNs for publishers and self-publishers located in that country. Bowker is the official ISBN agency for the US; Nielsen is the official ISBN agency for the UK and Ireland; Thorpe-Bowker is the official ISBN agency for Australia. IngramSpark does business in many other countries, so we encourage each customer to ensure they are acquiring their ISBN from their country’s approved ISBN Agency.

Get ISBN Number in Kenya, for U.S. customers, You can also buy a block of ten ISBNs from Bowker for $295. At eSomeni, we believe it’s in your best interest to be recognized as the owner of your work and a publisher in your own right, which is why we encourage publishers to purchase their own ISBNs. You can find the approved ISBN agency for your country on the International ISBN Agency’s Website.

If you want your book to be available in brick-and-mortar bookstores, you’ll need a barcode in addition to your ISBN. Some ISBN services sell barcodes, as well as ISBNs.

5. Printing & Shipping

The cost to print and ship a book with depends on the following:

  • Trim Size
  • Interior Color and Paper
  • Binding Type (paperback or hardback)
  • Laminate Type (gloss, matte, or textured)
  • Page Count
  • Quantity
  • Ship-To Address

6. Book Marketing

When you determine your overall publishing budget, make sure that you factor in a portion for marketing.

According to a NetGalley study, “as authors’ budgets increased, so did their corresponding spend on marketing and advertising.”

Investing in marketing initiatives with which you can track dollars directly to sales is a good tactic for those with a smaller budget and less freedom to experiment. Whether you’re putting in the work yourself or hiring a book marketing expert, it requires careful planning to successfully execute a marketing campaign.

Pricing Your Book

If you plan to enable your book for distribution, pricing your book is an important step. When you determine the cost to print a book you might want to :-

  1. Look at Competitive Book Prices
  2. Evaluate books that are similar to yours in genre, format, trim size, and page count—how much do they cost?
  3. Visit your local bookstore and scan the shelves to find out, then make your book price similar. If most of the books in your genre are 6×9 paperbacks printed in black-and-white, then you might not need to spend extra money printing with premium color or in an unusual trim size.

Consider Your Publishing Goals

Do you want to make as much money as possible, or do you want to reach as many readers as possible?

Evaluating the price of similar book titles will help you estimate how much the average reader is willing to spend on a book in your genre.

If you want to maximize your profit, keep in mind that as you increase your price, you’ll lose more price-sensitive readers. If you know you have a fan base that’s willing to pay a premium price for your product, perhaps you can raise the price above the average market value. It comes down to understanding your audience and the value your book brings to them.

If you want to reach more readers (and aren’t as concerned with making a profit), you can drop your price down below the average book price in your genre.

Author Salary

After discussing the costs associated with self-publishing a book, now you’re probably wondering, how much do authors make?

In January 2019, The Authors Guild shared the results from their 2018 Authors’ Income Survey, concluding that:

Median incomes of all published authors who were surveyed—including part-time, full-time, traditionally published, self-published, and hybrid-published authors—for all writing-related activities was $6,080.

The median income for traditionally published authors who participated in the survey—based solely on their book-related activities—was $12,400. While many writers dream of being traditionally published, it’s important to remember that a traditional publishing deal doesn’t always equate to financial success.

The good news? Self-published author incomes are the only incomes on the rise from those surveyed. As the publishing landscape continues to change, more and more traditionally published authors are choosing to self-publish instead—taking back control of their book, their royalties, and ultimately, their livelihoods.

Final Tips for Self-Publishing

1. Get Your Book Edited

Professional editing is absolutely necessary before publishing your book. Even the Stephen Kings and John Grishams of the world rely on editors to polish their work before publication. Recognize the value that an editor brings to your work and don’t skip this step!

2. Look Out for Overly Expensive Services

Unfortunately, like any business, there are people out there who care more about making money than about helping you publish a quality book. A high price tag doesn’t always mean quality services. Do your research—ask for sample work from an editor, results from a marketing expert’s campaigns, or references from previous clients.

3. Go Wide With Your Book Distribution

It’s important to partner with a global distributor, that can help you reach bookstores, retailers, and libraries all over the world. Don’t limit yourself with an exclusive deal. You want to be available in all channels where your potential readers are.

4. Be Realistic

Almost every author has a goal of becoming a New York Times bestseller. As self-publishing continues to rise, so does the number of books published every year. Competition is fierce in the publishing industry. How many books would you like to sell in the first six months? How many reviews would you like to have? Take the time to create realistic author goals based on comparable books in your genre.

5. Get Involved

Join a writing collective, become a patron at your local indie bookstore, and utilize the public library’s resources. Develop relationships with people who can help support you and your book along your publishing journey.

Credits: eSomeni

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