What is publishing, anyway?

Publishing is the process of registering your book through the International Standard Book Number program. The publisher of the book is the person who takes the book to market. Therefore, a self-publisher is an author who is solely responsible for taking their book to market.

Webb Publishing is able to provide publishing services via its account with the Library of Canada. Alternatively, we are able to assist authors with developing their own LOC account through which they can access their own ISBN numbers. That, my friends, is step 1 of publishing. Step 2 is ‘taking it to market’. This is discussed in the marketing section. It is important to note that a manuscript that is published in both print and digital format will require two separate ISBN numbers

Print publishing vs. digital publishing

Self-publishers can choose to print their book on paper, or create a digital book (also known as an ebook).

Printed Books

Books can be printed on paper one at a time, or hundreds, or thousands at a time, and sold by the publisher, or they can be printed ‘on-demand’. Print on-demand refers to the printing of a book after it has been sold. For example, if you choose to use the print on-demand service of an online retailer, they will store your book file (the computer file that a printer uses to print your book from), and use that file to print a book once it has been sold. Typically the big online retailers use a printer close to the book buyer to print and ship the book to the buyer. If a person in Iowa buys a book from Amazon, and if the author of that book has chosen to use Amazon’s print on-demand service, then chances are that a printer in Iowa will use the file provided by Amazon to print and then ship the book to the buyer.

EBooks / Digital Books

An Ebook, also called a digital book, can simply be a copy of the computer file that your book was printed from (usually a PDF type of computer file), or it can be converted into an ePub file. One little detail to point out…. a digital book is not the same as digital printing! Digital printing refers to the process of using a computer file (a digital file) to print out on paper via a printing machine (ie: a laser printer), whereas a digital book refers to a computer file that gets ‘read’ online; it does not get printed.

A PDF is a type of computer file that takes a fixed image of each page. When a person views a page of a PDF, the whole page will appear on whatever screen you’re looking at (a computer screen, ipad, smartphone, etc). To look at the full width of the page, a person will often have to scroll (move) the page across their screen; the full page will not show up on the screen. It is much more difficult to view a PDF page than an epub page.

An ePub file is a special type of computer file that adjusts size to the type of screen that it is on. When a person views an epub file on a smartphone, they will see fewer words than they would if they were looking at a large desktop computer screen. The epub files adapts to its environment. The epub file is also harder to copy and share.

“My hope is that you read these pages and know you aren’t alone when you submit your short work. You are part of a wonderful community of writers and editors who want to see you succeed. We want you to write what’s in your heart and then submit your work for the rest of us to read.”

Windy Lynn Harris
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