Self-Publishing Authors Take to the Cloud With FastPencil

Most of the technological advancements in publishing have occurred during the last decade. The shift from print to digital, from brick and mortar stores to online marketplaces and from computer-based storage to the Cloud bode well for self-publishing authors who are interested in getting their work from pen to fans quicker and with greater ease…. [Read More]

FastPencil cloud publishing by

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencilMost of the technological advancements in publishing have occurred during the last decade. The shift from print to digital, from brick and mortar stores to online marketplaces and from computer-based storage to the Cloud bode well for self-publishing authors who are interested in getting their work from pen to fans quicker and with greater ease.

Cloud-based systems are SaaS (software as a service) and are hosted by third-party service providers. They often don't require an IT department to customize or to keep them updated, and for indie writers they are less expensive to acquire.

Previously, only available to traditional publishing houses, today we talk to Steve Wilson, founder and president of FastPencil, whose cloud-based platform addresses the independent writing community’s needs.

The Process

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencil

Steve Wilson

Instead of creating projects in several different formats, writers can actually commence their work from scratch in FastPencil making it available in multiple formats. "FastPencil creates eBooks in various formats (Mobi, PDF eBook, EPUB) in order to satisfy all of the popular and relevant sales channels," notes Wilson.

"Once published, an author's title will be available within 2 business days on the FastPencil Marketplace, and typically within 1-2 weeks on third-party channels, such as Amazon(Kindle), Apple, B&N, Kobo and other channels."

Like Widbook, authors can add up to 5 collaborators to work on the project if they so choose, where they can accept/reject revisions, track changes and revert to previous drafts.

When ready to publish, the author simply clicks the 'setup publication' button, which allows them to access a wizard to add their metadata. This collection process includes Title Page Info, a Description, Formats (Print and/or eBook), Cover Setup, Pricing, Proofing, and more. This metadata—important for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes—is then paired with the book upon distribution.

Publishing Options

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencil

Differing from Widbook and some of the other self-publishing platforms, authors using FastPencil can create their books in both Print and eBook formats. "We offer books in both print and electronic format, which is unique – many self-publishing companies are strictly eBook these days—(with us) it all happens under one roof," says Wilson.

FastPencil offers 3 publishing options:

1. Private Edition = Publish FREE. You only pay for at least one copy of your book or, if eBook only, the cost is $9.99.

2. FastPencil Marketplace = Publish FREE. You only pay for at least one copy of your book or, if eBook only, the cost is $9.99.

3. Wide Distribution = $299 for 2 formats or $249 for one format, and the publication is distributed to the FastPencil Marketplace, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBookstore and Ingram Digital (hundreds of domestic and international channels).

With FastPencil's POD (Print-On-Demand) business model, self-publishing authors do not have to pay for or store their book's inventory.

Partnering with Libraries

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencil

Libraries have traditionally been a destination to borrow hardbound books. With a new program developed by Fastpencil and Recorded Books, FastPencil’s robust technology can now provide libraries with an end-to-end publishing network that helps authors write, manage and convert their work. Having access, libraries can then store and post these books for immediate use by library patrons.

"Our Partnership with Recorded Books opens up our technology to the 5,500 libraries that are already a part of the RB network. “The patrons of those libraries will be able to login to the RB Digital portal and access the library version of FastPencil’s self-publishing platform, which is one of the licensed versions of FastPencil," notes Wilson.

Do You Have a Best Seller in You?

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencilThe company just announced their partnership with World’s Best Story to uncover the next big blockbuster story via a social contest. Aspiring Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencilauthors will be reviewed and voted by a community of readers, and, ultimately, hand-selected by a panel of best-selling authors. The grand prize winner will have his or her title published by FastPencil PREMIERE platform. Interested authors can register here.

Head in the Clouds

Self-Publishing Authors take to the Cloud with FastPencilFastPencil went from a startup in 2008 to winning the Book Expo of America's IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) Innovation award. From a writer's first thoughts to door-to-door delivery, Fast Pencil eliminates the need to seek out any other software. As Wilson puts it: "The ability to go to one place to write, collaborate, design/format, publish, distribute and sell for both print and eBooks. . . makes FastPencil the most complete, end-to-end platform for authors."

Up till now, Cloud computing for self-publishers has received minimal attention. Going forward, with platforms like those developed by FastPencil, this space should be of great concern as more and more services are developed specifically for the Cloud. Writers no longer need to be tied to their hardware. As easy as it was to pick up pen and paper while on-the-go in the past, by having access to the Cloud today, you can virtually continue to write no matter where your travels take you.

Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-published books. My blogs appear bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.

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7 thoughts on “Self-Publishing Authors Take to the Cloud With FastPencil”

  1. seest100 says:

    Hi Ron 🙂 Thank you for a great article. I did not even know, that the service existed, but why not, most of my data is in the cloud anyway. I like that you just have to make it in one single format and this will for sure also be a more efficient way, when it come to syndication.

  2. This looks like a service that has been needed for a very long time, Ron. I shall continue to pass the word around!

  3. Prima Yoga says:

    Perhaps its the next gen service that will explode in the near time, and is just in need of more positive word-of-mouth like this post.

  4. blogantly says:

    With the rise in the use of devices across the web, cloud hosting is fast becoming a norm where online publishing can potentially gain real value with the hosting of literature in electronic format. truly prophesies that advent towards a leading cloud based publishing house. Kudos to you on a job well done!

  5. momscareer says:

    I am glad I returned to read the article, I have actually written two books and I am working on my third and never knew this existed. This can definitely be a new method for my distribution. Thank you

  6. I agree with “MomsCareer” – great method for self-publishing distribution.

  7. You make some very positive statements about FastPencil, which are a bit misleading when you look at their platform closely. First, platforms like Kindle currently requires a standard Word document to create one of its ebooks. It’s easier to type in Word than typing in FastPencil’s cloud program. Smashwords also needs a Word file to distribute a book for free to hundreds of different distributors. If a pdf ebook is created out of an unformatted Word document or a basic Cloud program, it’s not likely to be pretty, as the page will have a fixed size and won’t have the standard page number etc. elements traditional pdf ebooks have. If all an author needs is one of these basic ebooks, there is no need to work with a publisher other than Kindle etc. that will actually put the book into readers’ hands. Even the timeline proposed is strange – 1-2 weeks to make it available on Kindle? Kindle releases books on the same day when a title is submitted, so this means they won’t submit it for 2 weeks after an author uploads their work to their platform. Their prices are also misleading. The first one is $9.99, but it’s called “FREE” – a writer is paying to view his own ebook for $9.99. Distribution through a company’s own website has no cost to the publisher, so it’s strange that they’re charging even for this. Then to get the book distributed to some basic platforms like Amazon, it’s $249. If somebody releases a book with Amazon’s CreateSpace, the book is distributed to a similar number of platforms for free. For $249, a writer could purchase membership to distribute directly through Amazon and various other platforms. And this cost doesn’t even include ISBN, LCCN etc. creation. This is a very misleading platform that has hoodwinked 10,000+ authors, and some huge companies into working with them.

    I’m familiar with all of these formats because I run my own publishing company, Anaphora Literary Press, FastPencil’s prices are X8 higher than my all-inclusive one-time prices – authors purchase 50 copies at 25% off the cover price for resale – usually $562.50 or $750 for everything from editing, to design, to LCCN creation, to hardcover, softcover and ebook creation and distribution (Ingram (international), Kindle, Smashwords, EBSCO, ProQuest), to YouTube book trailers, and marketing. FastPencil charges $3K+ for equivalent services, without any copies. I hope this comment will help writers find the best services for their needs.

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