Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should

Rated 4.81/5 based on 21 reviews
This guide is packed with essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and many more.

If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, "Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should" will explain it all. More

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About David Gaughran

David is Irish but lives in Prague these days. He is the author of the historical adventures A Storm Hits Valparaiso and Mercenary, as well as two popular books for writers: Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Sunday Times and, most pleasingly, the Journal for Maritime Research. Also, he likes Wings and isn't afraid to say so. Visit DavidGaughran.com to sign up to his mailing list.

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Review by: Crystal Waldrum on June 20, 2012 :
This book is a must read for any writer - new or old - who is looking to jump into the self publishing field. This is also a must read for anyone that has already self published and perhaps needs to redo what they have already done. Even when Mr. Gaughran didn't layout the specifics he had a resource section that directed the reader to the right place. A great read and inspiring for fledgling authors looking at the wide world of publishing.
(reviewed 10 months after purchase)

Review by: Leigh Andrade on Dec. 14, 2011 :
This book should be required reading for anyone considering self-publishing. It's easy to read and a great reference to come back to when you need it. The testimonials from successful indie authors are fantastic - they give the rest of us hope!
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)

Review by: Ted Mahsun on Nov. 29, 2011 :
Is self-publishing the way to go? Looks like it's a "yes", according to David Gaughran. Gaughran lays out his points in why self-publishing is the way to go, and even tells you how to go about doing it.

Plus, at the end, he includes success stories from self-published authors which will give you the final push and inspire you to go ahead and self-publish. Required reading for any writer.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

Review by: Larissa Hinton on Nov. 13, 2011 :
I loved this book from cover to cover. It had everything a person considering self-publishing needed to know. From myth busting to a step to step guide, this book has it all! And most importantly: It contains real life self published authors stories where they have made it from obscurity into selling thousands of books into their fans hands. A great read that shouldn't be missed!
(reviewed 79 days after purchase)

Review by: Naima Haviland on Oct. 30, 2011 :
Let's Get Digital is a handy, helpful reference. The info is of-the-moment, so you're getting news you can use NOW. The first section is a wide lens view of the current state of the book industry and while I had read this info elsewhere, it was spread across several blogs. The appeal of Let's Get Digital is that it gathers all this far flung info into one place. The next section deals with marketing your e-book through social networking channels; of particular use to me were the points on SN etiquette. I think of myself as quite polite in person, but the author alerted me to several internet faux pas I had either recently made or was about to make. The last portion consists of 30+ authors first-person accounts of their experiences with self-publishing and sales, which I found grounding and inspiring. This is a good book to read if you're starting to write your first book or if you've been trying to get your book published. It's also a good gift for someone who is at that point
(reviewed 73 days after purchase)

Review by: J Flora on Oct. 29, 2011 :
If your toes are only half way in the water, and your manuscript lies in wait, set it aside for a moment and dive into Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should, by David Gaughran. If your friends and family shake their heads at why you spend your time writing your dream and make kind comparisons to the $2 book stores, throw caution to the wind and follow Gaughran's excellent information on the world of self publishing. This is an easy read, and will pay dividends to the aspiring writer. The straightforward and extensive knowledge can be readily applied and may be the just enough for those ready to sink or swim in pursuit of publication.
(reviewed 64 days after purchase)

Review by: J Flora on Oct. 29, 2011 : (no rating)
If your toes are only half way in the water, and your manuscript lies in wait, set it aside for a moment and dive into Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should, by David Gaughran. If your friends and family shake their heads at why you spend your time writing your dream and make kind comparisons to the $2 book stores, throw caution to the wind and follow Gaughran's excellent information on the world of self publishing. This is an easy read, and will pay dividends to the aspiring writer. The straightforward and extensive knowledge can be readily applied and may be the just enough for those ready to sink or swim in pursuit of publication.
(reviewed 64 days after purchase)

Review by: Wodke Hawkinson on Oct. 03, 2011 :
A very helpful, thorough road map through the journey of self-publishing. The author has covered the subject with exhaustive research and detailed information. A very well written book, a must-have for every self published author.
(reviewed 37 days after purchase)

Review by: MrsFlicker on Oct. 01, 2011 :
I have been sitting on two novels that I poured a great deal of time, energy, effort and love into. After reading David Gaughram's book, I not only have the courage it takes to risk publishing, but step by step directions on how to get the job done. I am grateful that he has written his manual in a no-nonsense manner and am appreciative that I know have a map to follow. What a great tool he has given to all writers who want so desperately to be published.
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)

Review by: greggcaroline on Sep. 23, 2011 :
Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran is an inspirational read and makes me wish I wrote novels.

It is a thorough view of the ins and outs of both traditional and e-publishing written in an easy to read format.

Gaughran leaves nothing out and the resource lists along with the personal success stories round out the book perfectly.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)

Review by: J. Robert Ewbank on Sep. 19, 2011 : (no rating)
This book by David Gaughran almost convinces me to self-publish. Unfortunately I do not write novels. I write theology and I'm afraid that no one that I know published theology in this manner. I would have to learn more about how theologians handle these things in order to self-publish, but he almost had me. If I were not writing theology I would definitely consider learning how to self-publish. The book has a lot of information for one seeking ideas.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Henk-Jan van der Klis on Sep. 18, 2011 : (no rating)
David Gaughran is a 33-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden, who spends most of his time traveling the world, collecting stories, and writing about them. In Let’s Get Digital – How to self-publish and why you should Gaughran shares recent and comprehensive insights on self-publishing to (aspiring) authors. In Part One Digital Revolution the challenges facing both publishers, authors and literary agents cause a burning platform. Print is doomed, traditional brick-and-mortar book shops will follow the path of travel agents. The “800lb gorilla” Amazon dominates markets of both print and electronic books. Especially in the US e-book dominance has grown rapidly. Is there still a future for writers? Yes, by self-publishing, cutting the middle men, and practice long tail paradigm, made famous by Chris Anderson.

In Part 2 Digital Self-Publishing the author leads you through the 10 steps of publishing, from writing a story, getting it edited, finding a proper cover, uploading and pricing at e-book sellers and getting reviews. Marketing tips (engage with your audience, use social media, blogs and social networks, but also discounts, giveaways and blog tours), calm down & carry on recommendations for those authors that discover sudden sales drops: the how to is explained in a very practical way.

In Part 3 Gaughran gives room to 33 indie authors that share their success stories in their own words. All of them just recently joined the bandwagon of self-publishing e-books…..and make money out of it. Among others J Carson Black, Bob Mayer​, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and Steven Hawk. Appendices on short(er) stories & novellas, the international (non-US) market, practicalities and resources are extras given. Of course you have to learn writing, but everything to get your writing published yourself including a profitable business model can be found in this book.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Hannah Hummel on Sep. 17, 2011 :
Gaughran talks about the recent wave of self-publishing success stories, Amazon's power, the importance of cover design and professional editing, formatting, writing, short stories, pricing, international differences, blogging, marketing, social media, reviews, giveaways, various e-publishing options, what to do when your sales stop, and contains several resources you should get familiar with.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: dolphinchick on Sep. 14, 2011 :
I’ve read a couple of David’s short stories and loved them! I knew he was a great writer but I wasn’t sure if that would spill over into a ‘how to’ book… of course it did!! Awesome job! The way he talks you through every aspect of self-publishing (plus all the why and why not’s) is great! It makes you excited to try and interested in learning how! It’s very conversational… not preachy! He gives you both sides of the story, which I like a lot. In part one, he’s very detailed in his explanation of how the numbers break down, or could break down and helps you understand this eBook world we’re now in. Part two, he tells you step by step how and why you need to do certain things while writing, editing, designing a cover, formatting or blogging and then how and where to look for help in these areas. In part three there are a number of success stories!! Plus several appendixes with resources and other great practical info like copyrights, short stories, going International and more. As others have said, some of this information can be found in pieces around the web, but to have it all in one place and so easy to access and read is perfect!
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk on Sep. 12, 2011 :
Received this book through LT Members giveaway

Having authored a number of 'real' books which were all almost 'self-published', I was really interested to learn from this book how to improve / get new ideas. The author, who claims himself to be some sort of an expert (but is actually only a few months into the self-publishing business!) is obviously a 'fiction' author. That is both good and bad for this book...

The good news is that there is experience in writing books and also in publishing a few of them. As a result there is a lot of information and little is left out. The bad news is that this book indicates little experience of the author with non-fiction books. Instead of giving short, concise information on the subject, the book is a long series of repeats and thick prose. Not bad for a novel, quite a killer for this type of book. For example the numerous referrals to the increase in sales of e-books between november 2010 and february 2011 which is used as an argument for self-publishing gets quite boring after the first two referrals. Also the constant hammering on why you really, really, really should self-publish and why you should avoid all those publishing houses gets boring after the first few chapters. Finally, the almost complete absence of bullets, tables and the like do not help in the readability and make it hard to use the book as a reference.

Some further suggestions to prospective readers (authors?). Skip the 33 succes stories as you will learn very little from them. They may be fun to read (I didn't think so, but who am I...) but add little to the solutions for your problems. Furthermore, the practicalities at the end of the book are really practical and should be read together with the main text (appendix signals may read, these are a must read!).
Also make your own calculations about revenues and whether it is worthwile to self-publish. The authors' calculations are at the least misleading and at the worst plainly incorrect. Self publishing does cost money and time (time = money) and the actual costs and time are not calculated against the potential revenues as should be in a proper cost-benefit analysis. For example the calculation on 'debugging' your document states that it may cost US$100 - US$200 to have this outsourced, so the idea of the author is that it is better to do this yourself which cost him a day! A simple cost-benefit analysis teaches us: 1 day = 8 hours; minimum hiring cost for labour (NL) = US$20 (approx) = US$ 160... So having your book professionally debugged costs around the same as having your house cleaned by a professional. So on your first book with nothing more to do and little money in the bank it is worthwile to do this yourself. If you are a bestselling author, better spend the day writing a new story...

My verdict: worthwile information if you are able to wrestle your way through it..
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)

Review by: njmom3 on Sep. 11, 2011 :
Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran is a wonderful guide to the world of self-publishing. The first quarter of the book presents an overview of the publishing industry and a look at why you may want to self-publish. The second quarter of the book is a step by step look at the process of self publishing. The second half of the book is testamonials from successful self-published authors. The book includes an appendix with links to other resources.

As a newcomer to the world of ebooks, I found this book to be very informational and an interesting read.

*** Reviewed for LibraryThing member giveaway ***
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

Review by: D Niven on Sep. 04, 2011 :
I’ve been gobbling up this book because, like a lot of other readers I too dream someday of having something published (besides my master’s thesis). I have short stories and poetry in a file cabinet as well as in my hard drive, and words inside of me that just have to come out. So… I write. I have two novels I’ve been ‘writing’ and a pile of non-fiction, I’ve written for other purposes and pursuits cluttering up my study. I’m disappointed when a test does not have an essay question. This book gave me the tools and enthusiasm to actually believe that I can make this dream of mine come true!
I learned from the book- with an overview of the publishing business and how e-books are starting to affect the market. I read educated predictions of what the future might bring for the publishing industry. The author walks you through the self-publishing process step by step with an engaging style. The wonderful thing about self-publishing and the e-book explosion is the fact that no one is determining for you what they think you might like to read. The reader has full freedom to determine for themselves what they will or will not be interested in. That is so liberating! No marketing person in a fancy suit, no bean-counter only interested in profit potential closes the gate for the reader with the advent of self-publishing. The reader has the power to choose for themselves and more of the profits go to the author, the one who laughed, cried, bled, and spent their creative juices actually producing the reading material.
There’s a wealth of good advice in these covers and the author actually practices what he preaches in his book. There is a valuable resource section and several highly motivating stories of self-publishing success stories included in this book as well. I really enjoyed this e-book and would say it is a must for everyone seeking info about self-publishing and dreaming of having their material out there to share with others. So, what are you waiting for???? Get back to your writing!!!
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: Todd Brabander on Aug. 28, 2011 :
This is easily the most comprehensive book on ebook publishing.
I would highly recommend it to-
-Readers who are curious about how the publishing industry works.
-Readers who want to discover how to find new stories and authors.
-Writers thinking about self publishing.
The book functions both as a tool for understanding the current state of the publishing industry and a how-to for aspiring self publishers.
David's writing offers a very fair opinion and good insight into the publishing world in an extremely accessible voice. I blew through this in two days.
I wish I would have read this before I published my first book. It is an invaluable wealth of information that I am sure I will return to again and again.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: Quintessence Publications Ltd on Aug. 21, 2011 :
David Gaughran is one of the most thoughtful, intelligently analytical, thoroughly positive, helpful writers I have had the pleasure to encounter. This book is for anyone of any level of experience in writing and publishing - who finds the actual nuts and bolts of getting self-published online to be full of unexpected doubts and difficulties. All the pros and cons of every kind of issue regarding e-publishing your own work are covered in this able and optimistic work.
Read this, go forth and publish!
Thanks David, I hope you will have time to update this book every six months or so as the publishing environment changes.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)

Review by: Susan Kaye Quinn on Aug. 18, 2011 :
Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should by David Gaughran is a book you should read, regardless of whether you intend to self-publish or not.

There are many who still line up in the traditional-publishing vs. self-publishing tug-of-war, vowing a to-the-end throw down over which is best. But increasingly, as the E-Revolution wears on, authors aren't choosing traditional-pub vs. self-pub - they're doing BOTH. Traditionally published authors are self-publishing their backlists (one of my favorites is Arthur Slade, who helpfully posts charts and stuff). Self-published authors are being offered traditional publishing deals (here's the latest). Authors are self-pubbing some books while waiting in the traditional publishing trenches (see my recent interview with Kris Yankee).

Everyone has a stake in understanding this new self-publishing movement.

The second half of Gaughran's book is a comprehensive how-to for self-publishing, and I recommend that part for those who are heading down that path. But the first half of the book, while making a strong case for why you should self-publish, is actually a concise analysis of the E-Revolution. As such, I think everyone would benefit from reading it. This in particular struck me as the game-changing part of the self-publishing movement:
"But what (traditional publishing advocates) don't realize is that the rise in self-publishing is good for them too. If you are a trade-published writer with no interest in self-publishing, the increased viability of self-publishing is good for you...With up to 70% royalty rates available through self-publishing, from now on, every time an author negotiates with a publishing house, the publisher will know that the author has another option."
When in negotiations, having other options always strengthens your hand. Many authors may not seriously consider self-publishing, but the industry as a whole knows the option is there.

Whatever path you choose, it pays to know how the game is being played.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Kelly Olmstead on Aug. 10, 2011 :
An excellent introduction to digital publishing. While much of this information can be found in blog posts around the Net, I can't think of another book that brings so much of it to one place so concisely. The success stories are also fun and heartening, and the international perspective David brings to the work is particularly valuable. If you're looking for the down and dirty basics of indie publishing, this is the place to start.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Paolo Amoroso on July 31, 2011 :
The book includes three parts and a series of appendices. The first part provides an overview of the publishing industry and discusses why to self publish. The second covers how to prepare, format, distribute, price and promote ebooks. The last part includes testimonials of self-published authors. The appendices discuss selling short stories, international markets, business issues and a resource list.

There are several things I like about the book. It has a good balance between general discussion and specific advice. The book covers material rarely found elsewhere, such as international markets and perspectives, which the author, who is not American, has considerable experience with, and some practical business issues.

The third part offers a wide selection of successful indie author testimonials. These writers, however, are not the usual superstars or edge cases (e.g. Amanda Hocking, John Locke, J.A. Konrath), which is particularly interesting because some of them may be less known, and hence more representative of the backgrounds and opportunities of average aspiring writers.

I also like the attention to detail, and the book is well formatted. The author practices what he preaches, and it shows.

I think that the publishing industry overview of part one, while well done, may be redundant. As this book hits the market, self publishing is already mainstream and growing fast. The motivational aspect of the industry analysis may become obsolete in a matter of months as remaining objections and doubts get dropped, and more authors embrace self publishing.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

Review by: Martin Lake on July 22, 2011 :
A Safe Pair of Hands.

If I were to recommend one person to guide you on the adventure of self-publishing, David Gaughran is the one. His latest book 'Let's Get Digital' is a collection of articles from his must-read blog together with advice from successful indie writers.

It shows David's thoughtful, creative and inspirational approach in an easy to read and enjoyable way.

As with his blogs, he gives lots of links to other resources, including blogs, books and software. I read it on a short train journey. I've never put so many bookmarks in one book before.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: CyberWitch Press on July 22, 2011 :
Written with the trademark wit and intelligence his blog readers have come to expect, David Gaughran has crafted a winner with "Let's Get Digital". It is a one-stop shop for everything a writer reads to know before pursuing the self-publishing path, from how to format, promote, and better one's work. I particularly enjoyed the 33 testimonials in part 3, showing it IS possible to make it as an indie. Gaughran is an eloquent writer who obviously put a lot of time and effort into making this book perfect. Any writer needs to pick it up--it will convince you to put yourself out there and quit letting that manuscript collect dust under your desk.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

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