· www.myecovermaker.com provides some great free services for 3-D as well as flat (2-D) book covers.
· PDF formats – in which you‘ll most likely publish - are mostly free (just make sure re the security of your document – Windows 8 can even transform PDF’s into word documents with the result ‘stealing’ of your work is becoming much easier)
· 3D E-books are beautiful (a decent 3D program costs money) but – people still complain they cannot read it properly. Don’t even consider online 3-D E-book publications if you are serious about your work. Unless you publish for the fun and joy of it. ‘Cause you have no direct control over your work or who reads it (for free). Should you however go the 3-D route, purchase your own software (ask me I have really tried all of them. I eventually rerouted back to PDF/Acrobat).
In South Africa, you do not need an agent for an ISBN number, you simply complete the application forms and send the NLSA a copy of your book (see http://www.nlsa.ac.za for stipulations and regulations etc). That’s the easy way. And then you market your work on your own web site. Of course you will also need affiliation programs. And various other marketing strategies.
The kukemakranka normally hits the fan here, when it comes to marketing and selling. Because, since you self-published, few agents are now willing to sell your book. You have to embark on your own mission for sales.
(And few official publishing companies are willing afterwards, to take over your already self-published book. Take note).
To self-sell in South Africa and especially in Afrikaans, you need a website which can be ranked in Google and utilise e.g. Google Ads as well. With no guarantee of sales. You will probably end up spending lots of money getting your selling-site out there for people to view – also consider weaker connections (cell phone or internet signals….)
Statistics indicate that most South African Afrikaans people still “struggle to bite” where it comes to utilising the Internet for such purposes. Other statistics again, indicates that lack of knowledge [of the customers] how to fully use Internet, might also play a role in this regard.
Free sites or Blogs rank rather low with searches. People will struggle to find you (and some might consider you cheap…) However, you can still use a free site if you purchase your own domain. You will have your own name and not be subjugated to a subdomain (especially relevant to Google searches).
I would say – watch out for the free options.
OR – you need to become a member of a professional established Site which can actually promote your work as well. Real marketing. Even if they charge you for editing, lay-outs, cover design, etc. (most publishing houses will, any case). But – compare sites for best prices! And play close attention to the marketing aspects.
Do your research. Especially if you consider making money from your Bloggings or E-books.
(By the way, http://www.woes.co.za/ might offer some options or advice for Afrikaans writers. I am not too familiar with their work, but at least, they would be able to promote further ideas.)
After all this rambling… Personally? I would go for the paying option – after thorough research. “Free” always sounds great but the “interest” afterwards, is always so steep…!