17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content

by | Nov 2, 2010

As self-publishers we usually think of books as the primary way we distribute our ideas, our stories, or our teaching—in other words, our content. Books certainly are the best delivery vehicle for long content, for collections from a variety of writers, or for explaining complex ideas and providing a text to study over a long period of time.

In this age of chunked content, re-purposed content, and the many different ways to re-use your old content, there are more ways than ever to publish interesting, educational or entertaining ideas.

You know that the internet, blogs, article sites, multimedia presentations and many other online formats make use of text in different ways. The flexibility of ebooks also clearly shows that the text we prize so highly is still data, and can be manipulated in lots of ways. Each of these formats represents another channel through which you can let people know about your ideas, your books, or your community.

It just makes sense to explore these content channels. When you also get a link back to your website or blog you’re not only spreading your ideas, but enhancing your traffic. If you are selling from your website, either directly or indirectly this will also affect your bottom line.

It’s unlikely that anyone could make use of all these different ways to publish content, but it’s amazing how many of them might fit with the subjects you’re writing about now.

17 Ways to Publish Your Content

  1. Printed book—the standard-bearer for long text for the last 500 years, looks like it still has life as a text delivery system.
  2. Ebook—the future of text, according to many. Common workflow today is to prepare the print book first then use the final text to generate ebooks in multiple formats for use on different readers.
  3. App(lication)—the rise of the app stores has created another opportunity for publishers. Whether you just package your book as an app, or incorporate some of the functionality of today’s smart phones, you gain access to tens of millions of smart phone owners, a vast new market.
  4. Audiobook—recording someone reading your content gives you access to people who like to listen, rather than read, for enjoyment or education.
  5. Serialization—A favorite for fiction writers for a couple of hundred years, issuing your story in episodes can present a long story in bite-size chunks, making it easier to approach for today’s attention-challenged readers. And a great way to use social media status updates.
  6. Blog—writers are constantly being exhorted to start blogs, build their audience and thereby spread their message. Blogs also thrust your content into the social media space, where readers can give you instant feedback.
  7. Articles—massive article sites like ezinearticles.com aggregate articles you can take from your book, or which you write with an eye on keywords and web traffic, allowing you to passively spread your message, and links to your website, throughout the web.
  8. Teleseminar—this audio format using either telephone lines or teleconferencing software creates a de facto classroom in which you or a panel of speakers discuss ideas and take questions from the audience.
  9. Webinar—similar to a teleseminar but with video and visuals, webinars are becoming increasingly popular as a means to connect with interested readers and deliver your content with the addition of slides or other visual aids.
  10. E-course—delivered primarily by email, an ecourse presents your ideas or instruction on a particular topic one lesson at a time. This is a robust and growing form of at-home training and education.
  11. Workshops—gathering a group of students at a physical location, workshops give you the chance for one-on-one interaction with students and may vary from just a few people to hundreds of attendees.
  12. Free reports—using one piece of your content as a freebie, perhaps in exchange for an email opt in, helps spread your message. Sites such as Scribd.com and Smashwords.com give you a global platform for distributing your ideas this way.
  13. Infographics—some ideas, processes or new ways of looking at existing data can be incorporated brilliantly into a graphical presentation. If your infographic becomes popular, it can easily go viral and spread to a huge audience.
  14. Interviews—the question-and-answer format of interviews can be very useful for giving potential readers a good idea of what you are writing about. And interviews inject a welcome personal element that allows those readers to appreciate you on a personal level.
  15. Animation—do-it-yourself animation tools can help you put your ideas into a form that more people may appreciate. Videos like Zoe Winters’ Zoe Who? videos, reach audiences that may never have seen your book.
  16. Web video—establishing your own Youtube.com channel and issuing videos that describe common applications of your ideas, or in which you read from your book and answer questions, for instance, gives you yet another way to connect to those people who would rather watch than read.
  17. Speaking engagements—as an author you are already an expert in your niche. New processes or new ways of thinking about things can easily become the basis for motivational or educational speaking opportunities, content you can adapt from your book.

So there you have it, 17 ways you can slice, dice, stir-fry and serve your content to whole worlds of readers who may not have heard of you before.

So many of these venues for content are new, unleashed by the power of the internet to connect people with similar interests. It’s undeniable that even more methods of content publication will be coming as web 2.0 matures.

What have I left off? Are there other ways you’ve published content that I don’t have on my list? I’d love to hear.

Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by Vancouver Film School, https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancouverfilmschool/

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


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  2. Rusty Fischer

    Great article, and lots here I didn’t think of! One thing I’ve been doing lately, and it probably fits into one of the categories above, is writing cute, fun, short and simple holiday poems on behalf of my upcoming YA supernatural book. They’re about zombies + holidays but they give me a chance to create fun “poem covers” and post work quickly and across a wide variety of formats that I hope will not only promote the larger work but also give kids a quick and accessible way to foster a love of poetry and reading in general. Just thought I’d mention it…

    • Joel Friedlander

      Rusty, thanks for that input. It sounds like an effective and charming way to promote your book. I’m curious what makes up your “wide variety of formats” because that seems like a key to reaching the largest possible readership. Care to say more?

      • Grace Allison

        1.I would add getting your book on Amazon.com. and Google Books.com. It doesn’t cost anything.
        2. Also a website for your book. My book, “A Dream is A Wish The Heart Makes, or if at first you don’t succeed change the rules”, can be found at http://www.angelleaping.com.
        3. Join a local book writing club in your area. Writers have a special tribe feeling. Find your tribe and they will help get the word out.
        4. Join Parapublishing.com Dan Poynter’s website for self-publishers. Lots of good tips each month.

  3. Zoe Winters

    Hey Joel,

    Thanks for the Zoe Who? Shout out! Did you know Geico made a commercial using the same Xtranormal characters that I used for Zoe and Agent Broccoli? LOL I had like five people tell me about it, including my mother!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Gotta love the groundbreaking Zoe Who? I hope your mom realizes just what a creative force she unleashed on the world.

      • Zoe Winters

        Awww. Of course she does! But she’s biased. :)

  4. Blue Perez

    Great list Joel. Useful for many of us. I would add my new favourite, which I plan to do this winter:
    18. Stand Up Performance. Whether it’s poetry, prose, essays or philosophy, if you have the right personality and the right venue, it’s going to work. What’s more, it will help promote you, your work, and you can sell direct after your performance.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hey Blue, that’s one I never thought of, thanks. This would take an unusual combination of the right topic and the skills of an entertainer, but it would be a powerful way to “publish” for sure.

  5. Michael N. Marcus

    >>What have I left off? Are there other ways you’ve published content that I don’t have on my list? I’d love to hear.<<

    You mentioned writing articles for ezines, but not for pzines or ppapers.

    Back in the ancient pre-blog eras, most non-fiction writers started writing for newspapers or magazines before graduating to books.

    Despite shrinking circulation and canceled publications, the printed periodical page is still a valid medium for writers to use.

    Oh, and here's another (although it's a subset of your #1):

    (from my upcoming "Independent Self-Publishing: the complete guide")

    Special Sales

    Each year a huge number of books reaches readers without going through booksellers—or any sellers. They are distributed, sometimes for free, by various entities that want information or opinions circulated.

    You may find that a book you’ve already written is perfect for use by an association, a manufacturer, a municipality or even a political party. You may find that a book you’ve already written needs just slight changes and perhaps a new title and cover to become perfect. You may find that the information in your book is fine but the book needs a new point of view or emphasis.

    Once you are known as a reliable writer, you may even be commissioned to write a book to meet specific needs. One possible extra pleasure of special sales or commissioned books is a much higher production budget than you‘d have for a “normal” self-published book.

    Your customer may want to go absolutely first-class, with a hardcover binding, large pages and color photographs.

    Here are some possible buyers of special sale books: corporations, associations, organizations, charities, foundations, government agencies, political parties and candidates, alumni groups, cities, states, universities, hospitals, catalog companies, premium and incentive companies, training companies, non-book retailers,

    If you want to pursue the special sales market, get a copy of Brian Jud’s "How to Make Real Money Selling Books." It includes a huge number of possible purchasers, plus step-by-step instructions for making a sale.

    Also: consider spinoffs. Just as "All in the Family" led to "Maude," "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Gloria" and "Archie Bunker's Place," material in one book can be incorporated into other books, perhaps aimed at different audiences.

    You can can also repackage a book in different sizes with different prices. My first book on telecommunications had about 400 pages and a $29.95 price. I did a smaller version that sold for half that price, and a still smaller eBook that sells for $5.

    And another possibility: updates. In many fields, technology and market conditions render a book at least partially obsolete a year or two after it is written. People who liked what you had to say about Medicare or European travel in 2008 may be ready for the "new and improved" edition now.

    Michael N. Marcus
    –Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series: https://www.silversandsbooks.com/booksaboutpublishing.html
    — "Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults)," https://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661750



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