Is Independent Publishing For You?

We know very well that not everything is for everybody, but we often want to do things that others advise against.  To me, if it’s realistic and reasonable and I want it, I’ll go for it.  Not gonna break the bank for it or make myself sick with overtrying and overwork, but I will tap into how it can work for me.  This is how I felt about independent publishing, and still feel.  My journey into this “indie” field has been long and not without pitfalls.  I think I may be able to save you a few missteps, tears and missed meals if you’ll do the following:

l) Ask yourself if you basically like working alone, can encourage and sustain yourself.  If not, you may be able to work with a friend.  That was not for me and fortuntely I knew it.  I like working alone and often being alone.  Contemplating my emotional navel is one of my best diversions.

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Self-Publishing: A Market Analysis

Corner Building

I’ve shared a little marketing info with you, and I will share much more, but I haven’t really gone into the usefulness of getting a market analysis of your precious brainchild, your book.  Please believe that this, your editorial analysis and your edit are every bit as important as writing your book.

A market analysis will save you time, effort, money and tears.  A good one does many things.  It gives you five or six comparable books and tells you how they’re selling, how many copies sold, how long on the shelf.  This helps you to know what your competition is and what you’re going to have to do to measure up or beat it.  A good analysis will astonish you with the books it compares yours to, but delve into it and you’ll find they’re usually right.

You’ll get a long — or maybe a short — listing of the people likely to be interested in and to buy your book.  This is something you really need because there are likely to be audiences you hadn’t thought about.  People who do these analyses have tools that aren’t available to you as a novice and the best ones are really good at what they do.

Extremely important also is that a market analysis gives you a listing of places that will — and will not — carry your book.  If this isn’t worth its weight in gold, I don’t know what is.  Let them do it for you with their expertise, and save yourself time, money and shoe leather.

A good market analysis will run you about $200, cheap at the price.  Two places I know of do them best: Wheatmark.com. and Writersinthesky.com.  I’m publishing my book with Wheatmark, so I can vouch for their excellence, and I’ve heard good things about Writers In The Sky.

I pray you take this message to heart and you’ll be far ahead on your road to marketting a successful book.

Self-publishing: Marketing

How To Realx

When do you market this gem that you’ve written?  As soon as it’s finished?  Wait for reviews?  Neither.  If you’re wise, you’ll begin your marketing even before you start your book.  Once you’ve designed, outlined and pretty much know what the book is about, start marketing.  Bear with me while I explain why.

It’ a big help to blog when you’re a writer.  Your readers so often have the best ideas imaginable, and they can help you avoid expensive mistakes.  By discussing your book, you’re getting a feel for what others like and will buy and enjoy.  Don’t let their ideas substitute for yours, but listen carefully, exchange ideas and don’t forget to  compliment.  Okay, you’re writing all the time you’re doing this.  You’ll find it’s much easier to write.

In time, your book is finished, revised, and you feel it’s the best you can do.  Now is the time for a market analysis.  Google it for good leads.  The one I used to extreme satisfaction is Wheatmark.com.  They’re inexpensive at about two hundred dollars and worth their weight in platinum.  You’ll find a listing of similar books, how well they sold, for how long, and for how much.   They’ll also make suggestions for exactly where to market.  Who will carry your precious book and who won’t.  This way, you won’t waste your precious money pitching toward readers who couldn’t be less interested.

It’s not a concept I wrote with before and it sounded foreign to me, but I tried and now wouldn’t be without it.  I will be writing more about marketing when you really get into it.  Believe me your work will be far easier and far less expensive.

Later:  More marketing tips.  The value of a superb edit

 

Self-publishing: Some Pitfalls

Earth and Sky

I will begin again today to discuss self-publishing and what it can and cannot do for your books.  I began to be interested in this very useful form of publishing more than 20 years ago.  At that time, it wasn’t very well regarded, results were so-so and it could be expensive.  Today, it’s all the rage, and the results are beautiful.  But look before you leap, and study, study, study the field.

Stay away from the companies that don’t answer promptly, give you short shrift when they do answer and who give evasive answers.  It wasn’t quite a horror story, but a woman I knew was in tears because her book was more than halfway through the printing process when several new costs came up that she hadn’t been carefully told about.  So, a year later, still no book.  Check to see if their total cost quoted allows for a Library of Congress Control Number if your book is fortunate enough to get one.  You’re going to have to have an ISBN.  You’ll want your book to be listed with W.W. Bowker.

It will be helpful to have a See Inside The Book feature with Amazon.  How much does company charge for extra copies?  It’s to your advantage to check all this out before you begin.  And whatever you do, check and double check your contract.  I would advise legal assistance.  It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Universities in your town or nearby have law schools whose students can and will help for a nominal fee.

Thus you begin on firm footing and you won’t be crying later.  Most companies do a good job putting out books.  It’s no longer difficult, so that leaves time for getting a good market and editorial analyses, then superb editing and proofing.  The list isn’t endless.  It just seems that way.  And, with your brainchild in hand, and few or no disappointments, you’ll be glad you published with care.

Self Publishing: Learning to Market What you Write!

Things of Beauty

Things of Beauty

You may think I’m skipping steps here, but first-rate marketing is one of the first things you need to begin to master when you have a book to publish, and long before. You really need to think deeply, study and know what audience you want to reach even before you begin to write.  But if you’ve already got your book done, it’s not too late.

Ther’re a lot of companies out there that will help you self-publish and will do a bang-up job with it.  Far fewer are able to do a creditable job of helping you to market your book.  But just as certain companies specialize in self-publishing, so others specialize in helping you market.

Get used to the idea that the load is going to be yours to carry, no matter who you get or how much you pay, and you can pay plenty.  I no longer take the time to put websites and info in my blogs.  I tell you to google.  They’re better at it than I am.  But a word of caution: learn to phrase your questions carefully.  It can mean the difference between getting the answer you want and something that makes you cry.   And Google can be wrong.  From time to time, check other sources.

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