Posts Tagged ‘publishing’
Become an author
Special to The Canadian
Would you like to write a book, and get it published independently? Have you written a manuscript? Get your books self-published with Agora Publishing Consortium.
internet site reference: http://www.agorapublishing.com
internet site reference: http://www.booksagora.com
Writing, they say, is easy. Getting the manuscript published is the hard part. While you may consider your manuscript a gem of a material, getting big name publishing houses interested in your book is not easy at all. Your option? Publish your own book!
by Jenny Fulbright [Excerpted]
Do you have great ideas on how to do things? Maybe you know how to get rid of stage fright and begin earning from public speaking, or you have plenty of tips on how to keep a marriage solid through the years. You may be a novelist, or short story writer, who has written fiction works but is not getting a reaction out of the major publishing houses. You know that you have enough material, resources and knowledge to fill up a book, even a series of books.
However, you need to ask yourself the question: How are you going to publish your book?
Writing, they say, is easy. Getting the manuscript published is the hard part. While you may consider your manuscript a gem of a material, getting big name publishing houses interested in your book is not easy at all. In fact, it is extremely difficult for a new writer to get their book published
The high costs of publishing and the risks involved have forced the publishers to focus on sure-fire blockbusters or books that can easily sell 100,000 copies in hard cover. Hence, they focus mainly on established authors with track records of selling huge volumes of books.
Where does that leave start-up writers? If you persist in attracting book publishers to give your manuscript the light of day, be prepared to see multiple numbers rejection letters. Some persist and do well like Richard Bach who survived more than fifteen rejections before getting “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” published. Many others simply give up.
The Option of Self Publishing
The best alternative for new writers to get a book out there for others to see is through self-publishing. If you are convinced of the quality of your material, and you have already received a collection of rejection letters that could fill a dozen shoeboxes, you can try publishing the book yourself. With self-publishing, you can now publish any works from 50 to 1,000 pages on your own!
There are many self-published books that have become successful, an example of which are “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations,” a standard reference book, and the writer’s bible, “The Elements of Style”. These books sold well, and publishers bought the rights to publish them in greater quantity.
Self-publishing offers several advantages. Having a book published, even if self-published, can establish your reputation as a writer serious about your work and as an expert in your field. Having a book published raises up your ante: it could bring more paid lectures, consultancy clients, seminar programs, and tenure application
success. If things work well, it can even lead to publishers sitting up and taking notice of your future manuscripts more closely.
It may allow you to earn money wholesale and even more when you sell it direct (mail order, book fairs, etc.). There is also the chance that you may receive more profit per book than if a traditional publisher gave you a flat percentage of the cover price, depending on the cost to produce the book and the number of copies printed.
In addition, self-publishing allows you to retain creative control over your manuscript, cover design, etc. You have the final say about how the end product will be and look like. This shortens the time it takes to go from manuscript form to the finished book. It is possible to have your book in your hands (and in bookstores) in about six or eight weeks, whereas with a traditional publisher it could be a year or more before it is on the shelves.
The drawback, of course, is that you will do everything yourself. Or pay others to do some tasks for you. One thing is clear: self-publishing is hard work. As a self-publisher, you will be all of the following: writer, editor, designer/artist, typesetter/compositor, printer, marketer and drumbeater, distribution expert, and shipper/warehouser. At times, you will even act as your own legal adviser, financial underwriter, financier/accountant, and business manager.
internet site reference: LINK
Become an AUTHOR: Would you like to write a book, and get it published independently? Have you written a manuscript? Get your books self-published with Agora Publishing Consortium.
Trends in Georgia
Temple resident Zan Marie Steadham published her first book, “An Easter Walk,” this fall. The book is a devotional she first created as a pamphlet for her church, the First Baptist Church in Carrollton, in 2007.
“I got a lot of good feedback as in, ‘You need to publish this,’” Steadham said. “That gave me the encouragement to go ahead.”
With the help of her husband and some friends, she edited the work into a book and started to search for a publisher. While trying to find a traditional publisher, she was told time and again that the house didn’t do seasonal items.
So Steadham, decided to try it on her own. She went to API Print Productions, formatted the book according to the company’s template and ordered 100 copies.
“(I) sold the first printing out in 35 days, and I’m now on the second printing,” Steadham said. “I’m thrilled, totally thrilled. I’m excited and working on the Christmas devotional book to be a companion volume.”
Self-publishing is becoming more common as Web sites offer easier and less expensive options to budding writers who want to publish their work.
Dorothy Pittman, owner of Horton’s Books and Gifts on Adamson Square in Carrollton, sees probably three authors a week asking for advice on publishing or help in selling their newly self-published books.
“Initially, it was given a real bad rap, but recently I think the industry is looking at it as, sometimes it’s a way for an unknown writer to get known,” Pittman said.
Pittman has several books on the shelves from authors who have self-published their work. Books by Dr. Steve Davis, Robert Martin, Myron House, Elaine Bailey, Dr. Mac Martin, the Carroll County Historical Society have all found a place on her shelves and have been successful in her store. But the books may never have been published by a large publishing house unwilling to put money into projects by unknown authors or books that are localized in their appeal. Books on local history for instance may be very interesting to people in the area, but it won’t have much appeal to readers in other areas, and that can limit the profitability of a book.
Steadham didn’t set out to make a lot of money. She just wanted to get her work out to the public and hoped to break even in the process. That’s the best attitude for the self-publishing author, Pittman said. The typical self-published author isn’t going to get rich. Even books that are published as they’re sold by publishers such as lulu.com or blurb.com, probably aren’t going to turn into bestsellers unless they’re picked up by a major publishing house with big marketing budgets.
“It’s good, again, for authors who always wanted to get published but they’re really not wanting to make a lot of money,” Pittman said. “They just want to get their work out there and so it’s a way for them to do that.”
Carrollton resident Jay Michael Jones has been writing books for 10 years. She was initially writing just for herself, just showing her work to family and friends. Then she joined the Carrollton Creative Writing Club. With their encouragement, and a series of 26 volumes of sci-fi romance, she started hunting for a publisher.
The books were too non-traditional for a traditional publisher, but Jones was confident people would want to read what she had written. She turned to self-publishing at lulu.com. She hopes the books might be picked up by a publishing house, but right now, she’s just happy to have her work published.
“There’s things I want to say,” Jones said. “I’ve just got my own little voice and I wanted to put in my 2 cents worth into the literary world.”
There are some big expenditures when a book is first published. The cover art for Jones’ book “Flight of the Armada” was one of the most expensive and difficult things about getting it published, she said. Selling the books once they’re published takes a lot of marketing, and that also can be expensive. Jones has taken out advertisements in print and online. She has promoted the books through MeccaFest and is planning a book signing next year. So far, she is breaking even.
Artist Margaret Dyer has also turned to self-publishing. She and her sisters wrote and published a humorous cookbook “You Want Me to Bring a Dish?” in 2007 and have been able to sell a couple thousand copies. This year, she decided to publish some of her art with entries from her blog in book form. The book, “Meanderings and Musings, A Year in a Blog 2009,” was finished this fall.
“I seem to have acquired a following and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll put this into a hardcover book,’” Dyer said. “It’s a beautiful book. I’m very proud of it.”
She had a couple of goals when she created the book. It was a sort of memoir for her children and it also gives her art some exposure to a new audience. As a professional artist, she is used to having her work on display and critiqued by the public, but that can be difficult for a new author. Pittman recommends anyone who has aspirations of publishing their work to write, write, write. She recommends joining a writing group because the group will read the work and offer critiques. That can make the author used to hearing the criticism and also give them constructive feedback to improve the project.
And really, the point of writing something is to have it read, Jones said.
“I think anybody who has any kind of artistic talent or artistic kind of venture, to put on display, they’ve got to run that risk,” she said. “This is just another way of stepping up to the plate.”
internet site reference: LINK
Viewpoint: Wholesalers and Distributors
by Marshall Chambers
This article presents perspective on the traditional book trade through the jaded eyes of a frugal author/self-publisher, one who took the time to examine the market and analyze some of the financial realities and risk-reward scenarios. The purpose is not to discourage but to cause insight, and begin introducing concepts to self-publishing-bound writers to consider in developing distribution alternatives.
For first-time author/self-publishers, developing a business relationship directly with a major distributor is virtually impossible. Without proven writing success or celebrity status, distributors can’t afford to be interested; they work for major publishers that commit their reputations and costly, well-designed promotional plans to impact the book trade. Any effort a distributor puts forth with its sales force and catalogs must be supported by significant publisher commitments to promotion. On top of that, self-publishers can rarely afford the basic economics of such a relationship anyway; for example, if you think a 15% of cover price a fair profit, and 65% an average commission for a distributor, then your books would have to be printed and delivered to the distributor for 20% of the cover price. And remember, you’ll be financing the consignment business; that means thousands of books printed if you want to be in the bookstores and provide a working inventory for your distributor and your promotions.
In a similar vein, the major wholesalers, Ingram Book Group and Baker & Taylor, don’t usually develop direct business relationships with small self-publishers; for example, recently Ingram had a policy of considering relationships with publishers that had ten or more titles to offer. But it’s worthwhile for self-publishers to be familiar with the basics of these relationships by reviewing information on their websites, http://www.ingram bookgroup.com/ and http://www.btol.com/.
As a side note, it is true that most Internet Publishers, or “Vanity Presses,” have developed business relationships with these major wholesalers and their digital printing subsidiaries. Teaming up with an Internet Publisher can allow the quasi-self-publishing author access to the wholesaler/major-bookstore market through print-on-demand technology; but this is a topic for another article.
In general wholesalers are nonexclusive order processors for the book trade, libraries and bookstores. Many small and regional wholesale companies will work directly with small publishers and self-publishers at a cost of around 50%-55% of cover. Even Amazon.com could be considered a wholesaler; through its Advantage Program it charges author/self-publishers 55% of the cover price for posting a book presentation and facilitating sales on its website, and the self-publisher pays for packaging and shipping books to Amazon. The only good news, aside from the huge plus associated with market exposure through Amazon, is the absence of a large inventory requirement and consignment risks; for the most part books are delivered as they are sold, the publisher filling orders from Amazon based on actual sales.
Risks and Rewards
It’s important for self-publishers to understand the risks and rewards of relationships with distributors and wholesalers. When I took a close look at the market in preparation for publishing Creative Self-Publishing in the World Marketplace, I was convinced the financial risks were too great and the potential profits too lean.
To effectively enter distributor/wholesaler relationships, you need the capital to support the traditional operations of the book trade. This means you pay up front for printing runs of your book to satisfy your promotional requirements, a distributor’s inventory requirement and bookstore stocking levels. That translates into thousands of books out there. Can you afford such a first print run—perhaps $10,000-$20,000?
What would happen if your book suddenly took off, and bookstores all over the world started to up stocking levels? You could be talking $50,000-$100,000 for a second print run. You should be prepared for that possibility; so where would you get the capital? Banks won’t make loans with bookstore orders as security because bookstores don’t pay for the books until they are sold.
Now, ask yourself if you can afford to finance the return of a capital investment over the time inherent in dealing with the layers of the consignment business. If you borrow funds, don’t forget to add in the credit costs. Are you prepared to absorb the cost of credit or loss of investment opportunity for 120 plus days (from the time of sales at the bookstores, not from the delivery of the books to distributors or wholesalers), given the accepted scenario of payments from credit-stretching bookstores to wholesalers, then to your distributor, and finally to you?
What about the cost of returns? In the August 2001 Publishers Marketing Association Newsletter, some self-publishers reported experiencing book returns of up to 30%. Each bookstore seemed to have had its own determination of sales levels that triggered returns. Also, be aware that general industry experience shows that 10%-30% of returns will be damaged. I’ve read that returns can be as low as 15%, but can you even afford that?
What about the industry trend: bookstores, wholesalers, and distributors abruptly winding up business or going bankrupt? Can you accept the risk of write-offs from those potential bad debts, or the time and opportunity costs of changing partners in midstream?
The bare economics of employing a distributor or wholesalers are usually forbidding for the little guy. Without considering the costs of book creation and formatting, consignment credit, inventory maintenance, insurance, packaging materials, shipping, returns, damaged books, bad debts, and capital and time to create and execute an effective promotional plan, consider just for perspective: Today digital printing of a quality, four-colour trade paperback can be as low as about $4 each, assuming a 300-page book, a run of 1,000 (about $6 each for a run of 200), average setup costs, and shipping 1,000 miles. At a cover price of $18.95, and discounting 65% to a major distributor or 55% to a wholesaler, is what’s left sufficient to cover the other real and potential costs and provide a reasonable profit?
On the other hand, distributors and wholesalers provide valuable services by presenting your book in a catalog, managing and storing inventory, taking and processing orders, handling and shipping orders, processing payments and returns from a variety of points-of-sale, and presenting monthly bookkeeping records (they usually don’t pay you for 90 days). Through name recognition, they bring credibility and efficiency to the ordering and handling process for booksellers and libraries.
But viable alternatives now exist to traditional distributors and wholesalers. Dan Poynter’s New Book Model tells us that today’s digital technology, business communication services, and the Internet make it possible for a savvy self-publisher operating on a shoestring to contract his or her printing runs, utilize a creditable, cost-effective fulfillment services provider, and promote to specific segments of a well-defined marketplace.
If you are interested in a relationship with a major distributor, consider sending a review-book, together with a completed application for consideration, to the Publishers Marketing Association’s (PMA), Trade Distribution Acceptance Program. If you are a PMA member, the cost was recently $50. Go to PMA’s website, http://www.pma-online.org/, for information about the program and an application.
About the writer:
Marshall Chamberlain is the author of Creative Self-Publishing in the World Marketplace (Grace Books 2004) and the unfolding ANCESTOR SERIES of Sci-Tech-Mystery-Thrillers. Media background information, downloads of pre-edit book chapters, and progress on the SERIES are available on his website: http://www.gracepublishing.org/. The Vendor of Record for Grace Books is BookMasters, Inc., http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/01123.htm, 800-247-6553. Contact Marshall at author@grace publishing.org.
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‘Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published.’— Julie Watson, author
The association says it needs a venue to showcase the booming self-publishing industry.
“I would say it’s tripled, quadrupled,” said author Julie Watson, who organized the event.
“It used to be that self-publishing was a very expensive venture. It’s not anymore.”
Rebecca Black tried for years to find a publisher but instead of giving up, like many people she decided to take a different route — doing it all on her own. Publishing 250 copies of a book costs Black about $1,500.
“It’s a great way of getting your work out there, sharing what you’ve written with the world, and experiencing that rush of getting your first book in print, without having to worry about waiting to be noticed by a big publisher,” she said.
Island writers are following a much larger trend when it comes to self-publishing. New technology has made self-publishing easier than ever, with software that allows you to lay out books, and companies that print a much better product. These changes have prompted writers around the world to go it alone, and some are having great success in bypassing a publisher.
“Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published. They just don’t broadcast the fact that they’re self-published,” said Watson.
Watson noted Jean Paré, author of the popular Company’s Coming cookbooks, started as a self-publisher, selling out of the back of her car.
Laurie Brinklow of Charlottetown’s Acorn Press said while it is getting easier to self-publish, it is getting harder to find a publisher willing to take on new authors, partly due to funding restrictions. Brinklow said the Canada Council for the Arts, which funds publishers like Acorn Press, is looking for very specific content.
“They’re a jury process, so they look at my books carefully every year and say, ‘Well, this contributes to Canadian culture, and this doesn’t.’ And if it isn’t then the money isn’t there,” she said.
That can leave authors like Black, who writes romance novels, on her own.
As in any business, marketing is key to success. Finding a space on bookstore shelves is not a challenge in Charlottetown — two large stores dedicate space to local offerings — but selling means doing more than just making the book available. Watson hopes the book fair will give help give local, self-published authors a higher profile.
by Annette Graf
The main challenge for today’s writer is getting their book noticed by a publisher. There are several good writers in the field looking for book deals. I was one of those writers trying to get my book published and like so many others after receiving rejection letters, I decided to learn about the world of self-publishing.
Self-publishing can be rewarding in order to become a self-published author you have to have motivation and the will to succeed. How do you decide if you should self-publish your book or not? Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Can you be a businessperson as well as a writer? Writing is a quiet occupation, while business demands proficient communication skills. 2) Are you motivated enough? You will need to see your book through from beginning to end, and this can be a lengthy process. 3) Are you willing to take a risk? You can’t be afraid to take the plunge, you have to believe in yourself!
Tracy Lyn Moland, the self-published author of Mom Management – Managing Mom Before Everybody else, states that when she started to write her book, she didn’t realize self-publishing was even an option. Tracy Lyn discovered that a well-defined business and marketing plan had to be put into place. There were also different considerations to be made such as learning what market to target your book to, who to hire to design your book cover, layout and editing and how to get the book into bookstores and online. Tracy’s favorite part of self-publishing has been the control she was able to maintain over her book.
As a self-publisher you need to be aware of your personal marketing abilities, in order to get your book sold, you have to get out there and sell it. The advantages of publishing your own book can be plentiful.
By choosing to self-publish, you only have yourself to convince. You have the enthusiasm for a book that you have written, and you know that there is a market available for it. You don’t have to give anyone else the final say of what you put in your book, how it is to be marketed or any thing else. You have complete and total control when you self-publish. Once you have successfully self-published your book you can always negotiate with a large publisher to produce your book since you have experience in the market.
Your book can be printed in just a few weeks instead of waiting for a large publisher, which usually takes over a year to print and get into bookstores. By that time you could be on your second printing. You can also get distribution for your book through Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com just as easily as any larger publisher can.
You have complete control over your project, right down to the design, without having to deal with a third party. As the sole owner of your material your have complete rights and can set your own price with all profits coming to you. If a large publishing house publishes your book you may only see 5%-15% of your book profits.
Large publishing houses take months to publish material while you can have the process completed in a significantly shorter amount of time. Also, there is not always an interest from large publishing houses in special interest projects you may have written about, such as local history, how to books, or books that appeal to the general public.
Some of the disadvantages in publishing your own book are that you may not see results right away. You are an unknown author and you have to market and sell yourself and your product. Even if you have written an excellent book you need to find ways to get noticed.
Also, there are costs involved. Initially, you will need money to have your books printed from an independent printer. This can cost anywhere from $1-10 per book depending on how many books you have printed, the number of pages, etc. You also need to learn how you would like your book set up. Is it going to be soft cover or hardcover, there are different bindings and other options that will be asked by a printer when you decide to publish a book. There are also costs involved in shipping your books to bookstores and marketing your book.
You will also learn that everyone has an opinion and not all will like what you write no matter if you have self-published your book or a large publisher has decided to add you as one of their writers.
Ellen Parlapiano one of the authors of Mompreneurs Online (published by a larger publishing company) states there are advantages and disadvantages of working with a publisher. “Our books have opened many doors for us…and we always say that although you don’t get a lot of money writing books, you do boost your income in other ways. We have done corporate consulting, professional speaking, and spokesperson work for companies–all based on the buzz we have built for our books and ourselves. Simply writing and publishing the book is not enough–you must establish yourself as an expert in your field!”
There is a lot to learn when deciding to self-publish a book. Find out all you can about publishing your own book before deciding to take the plunge. While self-publishing can be rewarding it also is very challenging and you may need more time to market and sell your books which in turn leaves less time for writing. In the long run self-publishing has been very rewarding and profitable for my books. From the beginning point of writing the book to designing the cover, it’s well-worth it in the end when you see the final result.
About the writer:
Annette Graf may be contacted at http://www.bookdrawer.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer of Gel Candles How To Make For Fun & Profit & How to Sell On Ebay and Other On-Line Auctions. How To Self-Publish Your Book and Get It Sold!
Writing and auction tips and more available on my web Site! I also create my own craft patterns, books and eBooks!
by Wendy Y. Tucker
Do you have a book in you? We all have life experiences worthy of recording in a book. How then will you bring your message to its appropriate audience? Really, there are only two choices—either find a publisher or publish your book yourself.
Here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t self-publish.
1. You only want to make 5-10% of the proceeds the book generates in the form of an author royalty.
2. You enjoy editors telling you to basically rewrite your entire manuscript in their preferred style, ultimately changing the intended meaning of everything you want to say.
3. You enjoy waiting 1-½ to 2 years for your book to be in print. You’re in no hurry.
4. You’ve spent months or even years writing and researching your book and now want to relinquish your rights to it (such as copyrights, serial rights, foreign rights).
5. You are sadistic and enjoy rejection from literary agents and publishers.
Joking aside, by self-publishing:
1. You may make more money.
2. You will retain control over your work.
3. You can deliver your book to the public faster.
4. You’ll retain all legal ownership rights to your book.
5. You maintain the ultimate decision determining whether or not your book is published.
1. Make More Money
Publishing industry profit margins are quite narrow. Industry statistics indicate that a profitable book will create a 10% profit for the publisher. Add that to your 10% author royalty and you’ve doubled your profit. Also, because you will have control over costs, as a self-publisher you may be able to reduce them to a level that creates an even higher profit margin.
2. Retain Control Over Your Work
Editing and proofreading are crucial to producing a quality book. It is highly recommended that an author have professional, outside help perform editing and proofreading services. It is all too easy for an author to overlook the errors within his or her own work. However, by maintaining control over the editing and proofreading process, you have the ultimate say over what stays in and what goes out, ensuring that what you wish to convey to your audience is what’s actually published.
3. Get Your Book to the Public Faster
The publishing industry typically works on an 18-month or longer cycle from the time of accepting a manuscript to the release of a new book. By self-publishing, you can bring your work to the public within 2 to 9 months after completing your manuscript, significantly reducing the time from pen to print.
4. Retain All Legal Ownership Rights
If your work is published by a traditional publishing company, there is a great chance that the publisher will require the ownership of most, if not all, of the legal rights to it. These rights include electronic, serial, foreign, and copyrights. By self-publishing you retain all rights to your work unless, of course, you choose to sell them.
Suppose your novel can be converted to a screenplay for the next multi-billion dollar movie? When the production companies are ready to buy, if you own the film rights to your work, you get the money. If you don’t, your publishing company does.
5. Maintain the Ultimate Decision Determining Whether or Not Your Book is Published
Perhaps you are a humanitarian of sorts, desiring to disseminate your message to save the world and not necessarily to make a profit? However, the 35 publishing companies you’ve approached are uninterested in your work because they DO want to make a profit. Then, self-publishing may be the only avenue available to bring your work to the world. Also, many traditional publishers won’t work with writers not represented by a literary agent; and many agents won’t work with authors who haven’t been published before. It’s a catch-22.
So, where do you start?
First, do your homework! Read as many books on the subject of self-publishing as you need to feel comfortable with the steps involved in starting such a major project.
Several great books on self-publishing and related subjects are:
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marian Ross
A Simple Guide to Self-Publishing by Mark Ortman
1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer
Publishing Basics: A Guide for the Small Press and Independent Self-Publisher by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.
Book Printing and Self-Publishing by Gorham Printing
Two great web sites are:
http://publishing.about.com, part of the About.com web portal
http://www.bookmarket.com, maintained by John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and considered to be one of the nation’s foremost authorities on book marketing.
Secondly, decide who will print your book early in the process. By determining who will print your books, you ensure that you will create files or a physical document that the printer can turn into a great looking book by meeting the printer’s technical specifications. Different printers use different software and hardware for printing. Suppose you type your manuscript in WordPerfect with 1″ margins all around with a document size of 8-½ x 11″. Then, while shopping around for a printer, you find that most want ¾” margins all around, will only accept PDF or Postscript files, and that it’s much cheaper to print on 5-½ x 8-½” paper. You are then stuck with the task of reformatting your entire document.
Finally, decide what you can and will do, and what you can’t or won’t do. If you are able and willing to do your own typesetting, then by all means save the money and do it yourself. However, if you dislike computers and dread the thought of learning yet another complex software application, contract the task out for someone else to do it.
Self-publishing is not for everyone. It requires a significant investment in both time and money. Yet it brings a sense of great accomplishment and is highly rewarding.
Best wishes on your self-publishing journey!
About the writer:
Wendy Y. Tucker may be contacted at http://www.777press.com email@example.com.
Wendy Y. Tucker is a Las Vegas native and is the self-published author of 777 Cheap Eats in Las Vegas (ISBN 0-9710486-0-6, Triple Seven Press, January 2002). The book is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, http://www.amazon.com , http://www.bookch.com or 1–800-431-1579.
Are you instead looking a better dating life?
Get your books self-published with Agora Publishing Consortium
by Marilyn and Tom Ross
Self-publishing used to be the Rodney Dangerfield of book publishing. It didn’t get “no respect.” Today that’s all changed. With originally self-published books like The Celestine Prophecy, Butter Busters, The Christmas Box, and What Color is Your Parachute? monopolizing bestseller lists—do-it-yourself publishing is very much in vogue.
To be successful, however, it’s mandatory that you adhere to certain guidelines. By following the tips below, you’ll avoid the pitfalls and enhance your chances of flourishing.
1. Educate yourself. Self-publishing is a business. Approach it as such. There are informative books on the subject, seminars offered, and associations where you can learn the ropes and network with the more experienced. This can be very lucrative if properly approached. Conversely, you can waste thousands of dollars by blundering along without knowledge or a plan.
2. Study the competition. Don’t add more to a subject that’s already glutted. Be sure the topic hasn’t been overdone. Just checking a local library or bookstore is not adequate research. Look in Books in Print Subject Guide and Forthcoming Books in Print Subject Guide. You’ll be amazed at how many books there are on the topic. Yours must be better than what’s already available. Make it shorter, longer, easier to use, more informative, funnier, richer in content, or better organized. For fiction, try to tie into a hot topic so you have a “hook” for publicity.
3. Write what other people want. Catering to your personal desires often makes for lackluster books nobody buys. The fact is, few care about your life history or your deep-felt opinions. Personal journals and impassioned tirades are best saved for family and friends, not foist upon the general public.
4. Think “marketing” from the very beginning. The time to generate marketing ideas is before you write the book, not after you have 3,000 copies in your garage. Identify and target your market. How can you reach them? Start folders of ideas: what catalogs might be interested, which associations reach your potential readers, what magazines and newsletters are relevant? Can you sell the book as a premium to companies that would give it away as a gift to entice new customers—or use it internally for training? Think about who else reaches your potential customer and how you can partner with them. Do you have contacts who have national name recognition and might write an advance endorsement?
5. Get professional editing. No, we repeat no, author should edit or proofread his or her own work. You’ll miss the forest for the trees, overlooking things that are obvious to you, but unclear to your reader. And it’s so easy to pass by the same typo time after time.
6. Create a snappy title. The right title can make a book, just like an uninspired one can be a death peal. Short is best. While clever is nice, don’t sacrifice clarity. For nonfiction, be sure to include a subtitle as it gives you extra mileage in helping readers know what the book is about.
7. Include all the vital components. Just as a cake falls flat if you don’t add the right ingredients, so do books. Yours needs an ISBN, LCCN, EAN Bookland Scanning Symbol, subject categories on the back cover, etc. (If you don’t know what these are, refer back to #1!)
8. Have a dynamite cover. The cover is your book’s salesperson in bookstores. Get it designed by a professional who understands cover design . . . not just somebody who does nice logos or pretty brochures. You have enormous competition—and a wonderful opportunity to stand out.
9. Make the interior inviting. Go to a bookstore and study the insides of books. Find one with clean, “user-friendly” pages. Use this as your model. It may not make sense to purchase and learn typesetting software if you’re only doing one book, however. In that case, consider hiring an outside vendor.
10. Use a book manufacturer for printing. Don’t expect your corner print shop to have the knowledge or technical capabilities to turn out a quality book. Book manufacturers specialize in this type of printing and can save you enormous grief and considerable money.
11. Publicize, promote, publicize, promote. Eat, sleep, and talk your book. Nobody cares about it as much as you do. Ongoing, enthusiastic marketing is the real key to success. Never quit. Keep your antenna out for new review opportunities, freelancers who write articles on your topic, etc. We have books that have been in print since 1979 because we’re tireless promoters.
About the writers:
Marilyn and Tom Ross are the coauthors of 13 books including the best-selling Complete Guide to Self-Publishing and the award-winning Jump Start Your Book Sales. Through phone consultations and ongoing coaching/mentoring, Marilyn empowers authors and self-publishers to realize their dreams. She can be reached at (719) 395-8659 or Marilyn@MarilynRoss.com. You can also check out http://www.SelfPublishingResources.com and sign up for their FREE monthly ezine on how to make more money selling books—plus get your FREE downloadable copy of “15 Smart Strategies for Self-Publishing Success.” Order books by calling 800-331-8355.