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Self Publishing a Book in 2021 and printing a creative idea


It is 2021 and the good news is that it has never been easier to self publish a book.

You are a creative genius and have been working on a photography magazine printing, an illustrated comic / graphic novel or an impressive coffee table publication. You have done the hard part and come up with a concept and the artwork for your magazine, children's book or creative publication and now is the time to consider self-publishing a book.


Our aim of this blog is to dive deep into the process and talk through ideas on how to self publish a book. There are a number of routes and one we like best is to launch your project on Kickstarter, indiegogo or another crowdfunding website (There is an informative list of other options here: https://www.floship.com/kickstarter-alternatives-you-should-know-about/ ).  All are a brilliant way to test the water, gauge the response to your idea and you can get your project fully funded before you go to print.  I’ll repeat that again, once the project is finished, if it has been successful then the crowdfunding website release the funds from your backers and you will have the money in place to pay Ex Why Zed for the printing without any financial risk.  It is just a great way to go about it.  There are so many advantages and it saves paying a publisher 40-50% of your earnings when in reality you don’t actually need them to gain the exposure anymore - the worldwide market is your oyster! Maybe you are a children's book illustrator working with an author, between yourselves you can keep ownership of the project, maintain a much better grasp over the finances and control much money is available to pay yourselves rather than having your terms dictated by a third party.

On Kickstarter, you create a video showcasing yourselves and the fun challenges you have had designing your project. (After the lockdown in 2020 we were well up to speed with filming ourselves and creating videos on Zoom so this is much less daunting than it might have been even a few months back.)  You also provide an accompanying written oversight into the book and your processes to really sell it to the potential audience.

We have customers who aimed to make £2500 on Kickstarter and ended up securing over £25k! That is a serious amount of money and definitely justification for in depth consideration.  Here are links for a couple of examples to get a feel for the kind of content which works and creates a winning campaign:







Children’s book, hardback art books and football art books seemingly do particularly well on this platform. Following the conclusion of your campaign you will know exactly how many books to print for your backers and can print a few more copies in addition, which can be sold the books through your own website, on Etsy, or on Amazon to reach a wide audience. When selling a book on Amazon and Etsy will take a percentage though so check this first. The advantage you have on listing your self published books on those platforms is the sheer size of their website traffic.  I mean, taking 50% profit from the sales of 500 books through Amazon is better than taking 100% of the sales of 10 books through your own website right?  Admittedly, their percentage might be high so this is something to research and mull over.


For a comparison, the time honoured route to print would be aspiring authors who have written a book and then get in touch with an illustrator to illustrate said book in order to pitch it to publishers - is one of the most common requests book illustrators get! The illustration process, as you may well have already found out can take months. On culmination, the approach to a publisher and waiting for a decision can take a year! Yes a year - they are super busy people. After the excitement of finishing the book, a wait that long really does pop the creative balloon.

So, the standard protocol in traditional publishing (with an established publisher, not self-published) is the writer would submit the manuscript without illustrations, and then the publisher would pair them with an illustrator of their choosing. They will have a bank of trusted partners on their books who they will assess and allocate based on the subject matter and intended illustrative style. The writer is more than welcome to make suggestions too for the book deal once it is acquired, but usually the writer has no say in the matter.

It’s a common misconception that authors need an illustrator in order to ‘sell’ their book to a publisher, as they think it will improve their pitch. But this is not the case, and the publisher will want to make this pairing decision themselves.


To give you a wealth of ideas and inspiration on what can be achieved with digital printing and litho printing at Ex Why Zed do spend a few minutes looking through our Portfolio section.  It is packed with examples of recent work very similar to yours.

Here are a few links of recent digital printing and litho printed children’s books:





Here are some recent hardback books or coffee table art books:






And recent examples of printed magazines, paper back zines and photography books showcasing both litho print and digital printing:






Once your book is complete and released, the real top calibre publications will be featured on itsnicethat, Creative Review and Creative Boom.  These are all exceptional outlets showcasing and promoting the best talent and to be included within the reviews and blog posts is the pinnacle of ambition.  Back in the day, when we studied graphic design at University they were out bible and provided a daily source of inspiration.

You might be looking into the cost of printing a book or maybe it is all designed and now you are ready to print. Get in touch with us and we'll come back to you asap with a range of print quotes and an extensive set of guides to help you along the way in your print journey. You might not be a printing expert yet, but we will change that with our advice, setup guides and inspirational portfolio.

Brilliantly, we don’t even charge for delivery so don’t worry about finding a local printers near you, the finished books will arrive the day after they leave us. We deliver throughout the UK but regularly send self published books to the USA as well. The world is no barrier anymore so if you are self-publishing in the UK in Manchester or you are in the Biddles community of southeastern Powder River County, Montana, United States we can deliver a finished print project to your door.

In view of all this information, we believe it only strengthens the case of self publishing and keeping control of the design process and the timeline. Your artwork would look great on paper and the printing of a book journey is both full of learning and ultimately exciting at Ex Why Zed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. If you have any questions do get in touch on hello@exwhyzed.co.uk or call on 01206 76667 and we look forward to helping you transform your ideas into print!

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