In spite of the popularity of self publishing, some still believe that unless a traditional publishing company is interested in publishing a book, it has no value. This has never been true but there was a time when only big publishing companies had pockets deep enough to absorb the cost of printing and marketing required to publish a book.
Print on demand and the Internet has changed all that. Now anyone with an interesting idea or topic, the necessary knowledge and skills, plus a small budget can self publish and sell a book.
Over the years many great writers started their careers by self publishing their work. You could wind up in their ranks. Today self publishing has become popular because there are fewer publishers than ever willing to publish books by unknown writers. They prefer books from famous persons or celebrities whose popularity often guarantees book sales.
Even when they do publish a book by an unknown writer, they expect the author to take on the lion’s share of the marketing. Here’s the kicker, in spite of you taking the difficult and time consuming steps of marketing your book, the publisher still keeps the lion’s share of the income from the sales. Your royalties will probably be less than 10 percent, perhaps much less. If you can’t afford the time or the cost of marketing, your book may never get off the ground. Whether a publisher puts out your book or you self publish it, the marketing, which can be difficult and costly, falls squarely on your shoulders.
Another issue with print books by traditional publishers is that they have a direct line to retail book stores. This can be a good thing if your book gets off to a quick start. However, if it doesn’t take off, all the books sent to bookstores are returnable for refund. This can be problematic if you’ve received an advance.
Since you are doing the writing and the marketing anyway, why give a publisher such a large share of the income. Don’t you think that you should be getting the lion’s share of the profit? I can tell you first hand that by self publishing you can make 40 percent and more on each sale and using POD methods your investment is limited mostly to marketing.
The goal of this blog is to support your efforts to self publish your book. I will be posting often and I encourage you to comment regularly and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Thanks.
It is important to have a web site for your book but it’s not enough. If all you have is a site telling folks about your book and about you prospects may leave before you’ve convinced them to buy your book. My expertise has been with nonfiction and to interest reader in your nonfiction you need valuable content that is free. The purpose of the content is to establish your expertise in your topic. In addition to the sale site for every book I also have blogs and I post as often as possible and sometimes with extensive information.
In all honesty, I don’t post nearly as often as I would like but I definitely work at it. This blog, Publishing Simplified, is intended to provide valuable content to anyone interested in self publishing. I sometimes mention one of my books but the goal is to establish that I am an experienced publisher and can be of help.
Another form of free content is creating free ebooks for your various topics. For example, I have a free ebook about publishing ebooks and it available at http://selfpublishingworkbook.com/freespebook.html . The important thing with content is that it must be of real value not just another “buy my book” ad.
Fiction seems more difficult. I have to work on that also even though I don’t write fiction because I’m promoting books that my company Positive Imaging, LLC has published. One of those includes my wife’s novel Like I Used to dance. You can check the blog for her book at http://likeiusedtodance.com . I’m always working to improve that one.
In the next post I’ll share more things that I’m doing to promote my books. I would also appreciate hearing from anyone wishing to share what they are doing to promote their books. Thanks.
As an author who wishes to sell books, I have to take steps everyday to promote my books. As a publisher for other authors I have to help them promote their books. In these efforts I’ve noticed that the words promotion and marketing are often used. In the past I’ve mostly used “marketing” for my efforts to sell my books but I’m sure that I’m promoting my books also.
Just out of curiosity I decided to check the dictionary for the definitions of promotion and marketing and I listed both below:
Promotion – something devised to publicize or advertise a product, cause, institution, etc., as a brochure, free sample, poster, television or radio commercial, or personal appearance.
Marketing – the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.
In carefully reading both my feeling is that promotion is better suited to selling books but marketing would work just as well. So, whether you promote your books or market them, the important thing is to sell as many books as possible. If your promotion or marketing efforts are working well then your books are selling. If they aren’t working, well you know.
It’s possible there are authors who don’t care whether their books sell but I’m not one of those and almost all of the authors I know would like to sell many copies of their book. Because of that I’ve decided to share some of things I’m doing to help sell my books and I hope that some of you will share what you are doing. Check back often for more posts on this topic. Thanks.
Once you have that great idea for a book, it’s time to develop a plan. This is an important step and varies depending on your reasons for writing a book. If your objective when writing a book is to make a profit, then the first step in the plan should be to decide who will want to read your book. It’s called knowing your market. The only way to make certain your book will be purchased is to know who is going to purchase it before you write the first sentence.
Once you know who will buy the book you will know the information they want and need and then you are ready to beginning planning the actual writing of the book. The first step in this process is compiling all the information you have on the topic. I prefer to compile all my data in a word processor because once I am ready to organize it the task will be much easier. Don’t worry about organizing all the information initially because it will cause you to overlook important things. Just compile every piece of information that could potentially contribute to your book.
Once you have the information compiled begin organizing using an outline. I begin by creating the outline at the beginning of all my compiled information. I list the headings and cut and paste the information that fits in that heading. I don’t attempt to put it in order at this point but just organize the data under the appropriate headings. Usually during this process I come up with headings that I had not considered because of all the loose information I have gathered.
Once I have all the headings I copy and paste them to form a well organized outline of everything that I want to write. During this process I add even more information to each heading and I wind up with a well organized outline for my book and I can begin writing. In my next post I will cover how I use this outline to write my book.
Are there less costly ways to self publish a print book than through Createspace? I know they exist and I have checked out some of them. I stick with Createspace because they consistently do a good job and give me excellent customer service if a problem does arise.
My goal in self publishing is to make a profit and keep things as simple as possible. Createspace keeps my upfront cost low but more importantly, once you learn how to prepare your interior and cover files, they take care of everything. You can market your book around the world and they handle all aspects of the fulfillment.
Certainly I could make more on each book if I purchased a quantity and fulfilled the orders myself but that would also take a lot of my time away from writing and publishing other books and that is where I prefer to spend my time. Once I have published a book I never have to do anything else other than marketing using my web site and other methods.
Createspace creates an eStore for my books in addition to placing it on Amazon. They also make it available worldwide. When an order comes in, the credit card sale is processed, the book is printed in the appropriate country, and the book is shipped to the customer promptly. At the end of the month my share of the sale is deposited in my bank account.
For me this makes business easy so I can continue writing which is what I love to do. Createspace has worked for me since 2007 and after 18 books I don’t have a single complaint about the way they do business.
Why do you want to write a book? There are probably as many answers as there are writers. For me there are three reasons and the main one is that I enjoy writing about the things I do. The second reason is because I enjoy teaching others how to do the things I have learned to do well. It feels good to pass along valuable knowledge to others. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I do it for the money. I enjoy selling my books and when people are willing to pay for the information I write about it seems to add value.
Would I continue to write even if my books didn’t sell? I have no doubt that I would. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as much fun but that wouldn’t stop me. Sitting at a computer and putting down your thoughts and ideas for others to read is too much fun to stop just because the money doesn’t come. Anyway, that’s just me.
What about you? Why do you write? Is it about profit or do you just write for the enjoyment. Or, are you like me and both are important to you. I believe that just wanting to write is reason enough. There is no need to justify writing a book or anything else if it is what you want to do.
After writing and publishing several books on the business of woodworking I decided to write a book for novice woodworkers. All my business books include some information about the simplified methods I use to increase profits. These same methods are excellent to help novice woodworkers to design and build simplified quality projects. Instead of just writing the book I’ve decided to begin sharing the information immediately in a blog called Woodworking Simplified: Building Cabinets, Bookcases, and Other Wood Projects Faster, Easier, and Safer. After just a few weeks the blog is quite extensive. Check it out now at http://bit.ly/10JeEA3 .
You can write and publish a book or ebook entirely on your own but many of the steps can be difficult and lacking experience you can come up with a poor quality book that could hinder sales in spite of your marketing efforts. If you want to do it all, my self publishing workbook (http://selfpublishingworkbook.com/) can be a great help and you can find help in this blog plus soon I will have some tutorials available on specific aspects of the publishing process for both print and ebooks. Unless you are already skilled in the various steps involved or can learn them, I suggest that you hire some help to ensure a quality book.
I write how-to books so for me the writing is about helping others to do a specific job, perform a task, or run a business. I write about what I know and have personally experienced. As I read posts, comments, articles, and even books, I notice that individuals have questions or sometimes I just notice that information seems complex and I can simplify it with my own information. This is how the idea begins and in the next posts I’ll cover how I take those ideas and apply them to my writing.
If you plan to do most of the work yourself because you have the skills or face a limited budget it takes some time and effort to learn the various aspects. I believe that the entire process is often overcomplicated or over priced unnecessarily. To do it yourself it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. I am including a series of posts on my publishing simplified blog and will be sharing some of that information on this blog also. This will include specific methods for simplifying every task. This post is an introduction to the many simple methods I use to write and publish my books and ebooks. These are methods that you can use to keep things simple.
I write and publish how-to books based on my personal experience but my methods will work just as well for any non-fiction books even if based on research and will even help with fiction books. In the next few posts I will cover every step I go through when writing and publishing my books. If you find them of value you can follow them and ask any questions you may have.
In the next post I will describe how I begin writing my books.
For me, backups have to be controlled manually and they can’t be overdone. I can’t conceive of trusting years of my valuable data to anyone. I’m fairly certain that most individuals would consider my backup methods overkill. I have an original and two copies of all my data on external USB drives and none of it is in the cloud. I encourage others to to do the same because I know it’s critically important to take data backup seriously but there is another method.
Backup to the cloud has become quite popular and some companies provide an excellent service that promises automatic backups. All you do is configure it and then forget it. The forget it part worries me. If you choose to use a cloud based backup method I strongly encourage you to check your backups at regular intervals to make certain they are working as configured. Automatic is great but a small glitch could cause the backup process to stop and without notification you might never know until you really needed the backup and it wasn’t there. Take care of yourself by checking your backups regularly.