Saturday, December 6, 2008

Is Self Publishing For You?

OK, so you've got this manuscript hidden away on a shelf somewhere. Should you self-publish?

I have self-published three books and have a fourth on the way. Technology has radically changed the face of the publishing industry. Self-publishing has never been easier and it is more affordable than ever to publish your own work. And there are good / honest self-publishing houses out there such as ours, Dog Ear Publishing. All this is the good news.

The bad news is that self-published works still bear a heavy stigma. Many people consider the POD (Print On Demand) industry to be the same as Vanity Press. They are not the same, but honestly speaking, there is still a lot of "crap" out there that is self-published. Many newspapers and magazines will not even review a self-published book. We sent press releases to over 100 newspapers for our 1st wine book. Only three smaller and regional papers expressed an interest.

So, is self-publishing for you? If you are willing and able to edit your own book, or pay to have someone do it for you, then self-publishing may be for you. The biggest question you need to answer is whether you are willing to do your own marketing and order fulfillment. Marketing is hard – especially for fiction books. Order fulfillment means maintaining constant access to your books, shipping materials and your computer.

What many authors fail to realize is that publishing is a business – a tough, competitive business in an industry that increasingly faces competition from the internet and other less expensive mediums. Did you know that Borders Books may not survive the current economic crisis?

I was in a Borders book store recently and the store manager was perched on a ladder, scanning the top shelf and reading off book ISBNs to another clerk. The clerk would punch the ISBN into the register and tell him how many of the books had been sold. I watched as he raked the books off the shelf into a waiting trash can down below. Your "art" is, I'm sorry to say, someone else's product and if that product doesn't sell, well… you get the idea.

Here are some painful stats. There are 12,000 bookstores in the US. 3 out of 10 books will sell well. 4 books will break even. 3 will not make any money. Only 10% of major publishing house books will earn enough to recoup the author's advance. In today's economy some publishing houses are not even taking on new books. It is tough out there.

If, however, your goal is to have your book read, this is a much harder question. Many self-published authors find, after having gone through the process, is that what they really want is not so much to be published as to be READ. So, if you are not willing to invest a considerable amount of time marketing and publicizing your book, then think twice about self publishing.

Questions to ask yourself:
How much money / time you are willing to invest in the effort? (For a 200 to 250 page book, plan on spending $700 to $1200 with your publisher just to get the book into print.)

What are your strengths, weaknesses and limitations? (If you hate rejection, then marketing your own book is probably not going to work out to well for you. Best to figure this out ahead of time.)

Are you capable of editing your own book? (Can you spel and punktuate? That is the cwestion.)

What are your true objectives? (If you want to give copies of your favorite recipes to your grandkids, or record your family history, have a niche book that you intend to self-market, or merely want to see your name in print, by all means look into self-publishing. If, however, your plan is to be the next Tom Clancy or Dean Koontz, you better have a well developed marketing plan.)

More to follow on the ins and outs of self-publishing.

Happy Writing!


Article Source:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Self-Publishing - A Growing Industry

Did you know that over 40% of all book sales in the United States last year took place online, through e-retailers like and More and more people are becoming comfortable with (and even accustomed to) shopping online. What’s more, consumers are more likely to purchase lesser-known and self-published books, according to Inc. Magazine.

What does this mean for the self-publishing author? With the convenience of on demand-printing and full-service self-publishing options: Good things. Selling books online is more cost-effective than selling through a typical bookstore, and that means more money in your pocket. Again, make sure your publisher lets you set your own retail price, royalty, and discount to take maximum advantage of shifting consumer trends.

Just something to keep in mind as you write and investigate the publishing options best in-line with your goals.

Have fun and keep writing!

Karl Schroeder

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why (and How to) Self-Publish--Helping Hands

When you take the plunge and self-publish your book, you're going to be doing a lot of things yourself (it's built right into the word). Editing, proofreading, design, marketing--a mistake that a lot of writers make when they begin to self-publish is trying to do everything alone. I'm not saying you have to spend thousands of dollars hiring professionals to do all of these things for you, but in the long run your book will be much more appealing to readers--and you'll be a lot happier with it--if you take the time to seek out experienced help.

An editor will help you by looking at your book as a whole and offering suggestions to make it better. A lot of writers choos to pinch pennies here by asking their mom, neighbor, pastor, babysitter, etc. to "take a look" at their manuscript, but that isn't helping your book get better. Most of the critiques coming from these people are gushing compliments or vague criticisms (either because they can't pinpoint what's bothering them about your book or they don't want to hurt your feelings). In the long run, it's much better for you and your book to get an experienced, professional editor. If you plan on hiring a pro, you can expect something in the neighborhood of $25-30 an hour, or $2-3 per page.* If you have a more personal relationship with your editor, you may be able to work out a discount rate or work on barter.

Where to find Editors:
  • Networking at writer's conferences or organizations
  • has a list of editorial services
  • P.O.D. publishers (i.e. lulu, iuniverse, authorhouse) often have preferred vendors
  • University English/Journalism departments

Spellcheck does not count as proofreading your manuscript. You need human eyes to catch all the grammar goofs that spellcheck misses, and the more eyes, the better. Many writers can get overconfident in their grammar and spelling skills. Hey, I was a state spelling bee finalist in the 8th grade, and I still have other people double check me for typos. I'll look up words I'm not sure about. No one is perfect all of the time. If you decide to hire a professional to proofread your work, expect to pay $1-2.50 per page.* Some editors will also proofread, but don't assume both services are standard.

Where to find Proofreaders:
  • Friends and family (the more eyes the better, but it's a good idea to ask people who can spell their way out of a paper bag)
  • Schoolteachers
  • The Editor resources

Technically, anyone with a computer and some software can create a book cover. Many authors will often skimp on this section by doing their book cover or interior design themselves or hiring the neighbor's kid who's kinda artistic and good with computers. Skimping here is one of the fastest ways to brand yourself an amateur and your book uninteresting. A good interior design makes your book easy to read and engaging. A good book cover design grabs attention, creates interest, and gives you (the author) credibility. A good designer will know or have access to barcode standards, ISBN placement requirements, and how to set up artwork for different printing methods. They also won't neglect the spine or the back of the cover, which are just as critical as the front. You can expect to pay anywhere from a couple of hundred to over a thousand dollars for a good interior and cover design, depending on the length of your book, but if you know the designer personally, you may be able to negotiate a discount or trade.

Where to find a Designer:
  • P.O.D services usually have templates available (but do you want your book to look just like everyone else's? Overused templates can be just as bad for your book as an amateur design.)
  • P.O.D. preferred vendors
  • Network with other authors
  • Graphic Design Agencies (from one-man studios to the big kahunas)
  • Graphic Design Students (caution! check out their portfolio and how long they've been in school. Generally, the closer they are to graduating, the more they've learned.)

Unlike working with the big corporations (or even the small, independent presses), when you self-publish, all your book's marketing falls on your shoulders. You'll be the one making phone calls, sending out press releases, and mailing off review copies. This is the reason why many self-published books hit their limit at 50 copies, and many authors have boxes of books gathering dust in the garage.

Information, Advice, and Suggestions for Marketing
  • Morris Rosenthal's blog (
  • Aaron Shepard's blog (
  • Networking with other authors at writing conferences and in writing organizations
  • Attending book festivals
  • Reading helpful books specifically about marketing self-published books

Krystal Russell is the author of Horace the Tortoise and Lucas and His Long Loopy Laces coming soon from tall tails publishing house.

*Rates from Start Your Own Self-Publishing Business by Entrepreneur Press and Jennifer Dorsey.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Benefits of Self-Publishing

If you are tired of getting rejection letters from publishers, dealing with financial stressors and are ready to give up on your book, please don’t. I went through this same ordeal too and found another choice.

By self-publishing your book, you’ll experience many joys such as:

- Sharing your work with others;
- Communicating directly with readers;
- Making changes whenever applicable;
- Paying to print only necessary books;
- Conducting your own public relations efforts; and best of all
- Controlling the marketing process.

In fact, I’ve talked to many professional consultants and speakers who make thousands of dollars more selling their own works that dealing with a publisher. Why?

They have complete control over how book packages are created and sold. Plus, they can create their own personal lists of customers to contact about future products, send newsletters, obtain feedback, and more. Plus, they can make changes at the last minute and cater their works to a specific audience, partner, sponsor, or affiliate as needed.

With this in mind, don’t get discouraged the next time you get a publisher’s rejection letter. Instead, think about all of the possibilities of being a self-published author!

For help with self-publishing, feel free to write to me directly and check out our new newsletter at

Other Self-Publishing Resources:

Article Source:

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to write a non-fiction book in 60 days: WCDR talk

Talk Presumption
You want to write or are writing a non-fiction book – perhaps one that you will self-publish; you can edit and proofread your book or will hire someone to do so.

Who is Writing Non-Fiction Books?
With the growth in Print on Demand (POD), public speakers, seminar leaders, consultants, technical trainers, financial planners, real estate agents, lawyers, nutritionists and fitness experts, people who have lived interesting, and not so interesting, lives, are all writing non-fiction.

Super Powers Not Required
- Writing a book can feel intimidating and overwhelming when you are facing the blank page: Where do you start? Where do you go next? How do you structure it? What do you put in; what do you leave out?
- Non-fiction book writing does not have to be intimidating; anyone who can write can write a solid first draft of a non-fiction book – in 60 days.
- I have written 11 books and short reports — each in less than 60 working days. It can be done. It is being done. You can do it – as long as you follow the process.
- Working days: If you devote about 4 hours a day to writing your book, you can write it in 60 days. If you devote about 4 hours one day a week, it will take you 60 weeks, but still 60 working days.

What Does it Take to Write a Book?
- It takes an idea. If you do not have an idea, it will be difficult to write your book.
- It takes purpose. Your purpose should be clearly defined so you can focus your writing and achieve what you set out to do.
- It takes knowledge of your reader. Determine what your readers know, and what they need to know.
- It takes organization. Organize your thoughts before you start to write.
- It takes time. It should take no more than about four hours per day over 60 days to focus your book idea, outline your book and write a solid first draft.

Day One
Scan books thematically related to the book you want to write: how to, autobiography, health and nutrition, business development… Look at how they are structured in terms of chapters and topics. Where they start, how they progress, where they end… what they cover. Spend some time on this over the first 30 days. Also, jot down a working title that encapsulates the subject you are writing about.

Days 2 – Pre-writing Exercise I
- Two pre-writing exercises detailed in the book — Freefall and Undirected Freefall — were described. Participants engaged in a a Directed Freefall exercise.
- You can probably write about 200 to 250 words in 10 minutes using Freefall. There are about 25,000 to 50,000 words in a non-fiction book. Do the math:
- 25,000 words / 200 words per 10 minutes = 125 10-minute chunks or 21 hours.
+ It takes less than a day to write a 25,000-word book.
+ It takes less than two days to write a 50,000-word book.

Days 3 – Pre-writing Exercise II
Participants were given a brainstorming writing exercise known as Clustering to help them get organized. Clustering (also known as brainstorming, mind mapping and word association) helps you put down on paper everything you know about and associate with a topic and sparks themes and ideas related to your topic that you might not have otherwise thought up.

Day 4 to 6 – Understand The Writing Process
The writing process you use to create your book includes five steps:
- Preparation: Establish your purpose. Assess your audience. Determine the extent of the detail required to achieve your purpose.
- Research: Determine if the research will be internal, external or a combination of both.
- Organization: Select an appropriate method of development so your writing unfolds in a logical manner. Prepare an outline.
- Writing: Write from your outline, expanding your points into sentences and paragraphs.
- Revision: Revise to ensure your document is clear, concise, focused and supports your purpose. Check your spelling and grammar. Have someone edit and proofread your work.

Day 7 & 8 - Research & Get Organized I
- Extensive external research is not part of the 60-day book writing process. If you are an expert in your field, most of the research you have to do is internal.
- Select an appropriate method of development so your writing unfolds in a logical manner. Logic depends on your subject, your purpose and your reader — what the reader already knows and what the reader needs to know, and the order in which the reader needs to know it to achieve the desired purpose of the book.
- Jot down 15 to 20 points that answer the following: Where do you start and why? Where do you go next? And then…? And then…? And then…? And then…?
- Order the points to facilitate learning. In other words, arrange the topic points and any related sub-points in the order in which you think you should present them.

Day 9: Get Organized II
- Get 20 or more sheets of 8½ by 11 paper or flip-chart paper.
- Pick a key word or phrase that represents the subject or topic of your book.
- Cluster it. Extensively.
- You may want to Cluster several different words and phrases that represent your topic; don’t be concerned about overlap in your clustering.

Day 10: Get Organized III
- Based on your Clustering, create a Table of Contents or major topics (big picture) outline of your book; organize the Table of Contents base on the appropriate method of development or logical flow you have selected.

Days 11 to 31: Producing Outlines
- Based on your Clustering, create chapter by chapter linear outlines of your book:

Chapter 1: Major topic of chapter
1. Major point 1
a. Sub-point 1
i. Secondary point A
ii. Secondary point B
And so on until you have a detailed outline. For instance, if you were writing a chapter on “the benefits of outlining”, your outline might look like this:

Benefits of Outlining
1. Provides logical structure
a. Gives you a detailed road map
2. Ensures all major and minor points are covered
a. Produces greater clarity and focus
b. Helps you detect errors in logic
3. Removes stress of trying to hold on to all you know while writing
a. Allows you to write quickly in manageable chunks
b. Ensures you do not lose your train of thought when you take breaks
4. Facilitates the approval process, if one is required

Days 31 to 60: Write
- Write from outline point to outline point, chapter by chapter, until you complete you book; if you devote 2 to 4 hours a day to writing, you will write a chapter a day.
- Do not edit your book until you have completed it. But if you absolutely have to edit, do not edit a chapter until you have completed it. Then move on and write the next chapter.

Once You’ve Written the Book…
- Once you have a final manuscript in hand, you can look for an agent or publisher or you can self-publish your book using Print on Demand. But ensure you edit it and proofread it first, or hire some one to do so.
Note: There is a chapter on print on demand in How To Write A Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days. You can also read more about POD in my blog. For POD topics go to: www./

Paul Lima is a freelance writer and writing trainer. He is also the author of:
How To Write A Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days and other books on the business of freelance writing and business writing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Tricky Art of Self-Publishing

By Foster J. Dickson

It is commonly said that self-publishing is an option for writers whose works are not up to the caliber of the work published by commercial publishing houses. That rumor is perpetuated by the well-spring of writers who self-publish second-rate novels and little collections of semi-poetical ditties for their own friends and families. However, it is far from the whole truth. Self-publishing is a tricky game and, for some writers, a worthwhile venture to undertake.

There are some inherent difficulties with self-publishing that should be noted up front and most of them have to do with the book business as a whole. The issues with the process require an author’s time and money, and without them the process will more than likely be a failure. The first difficulty is that nearly all of the major retailers refuse to carry self-published titles, which is their own safeguard against being flooded with titles to manage and distribute to stores and online customers, not an effront to the self-published. The second is that reviewers will typically not review self-published books and major media will usually not print reviews of self-published books. The third difficulty is that all of the workload of publicity, shipping, invoicing, accounting, and promotions are all on the author, where commercial publishers have multiple employees each undertaking one of these tasks and thus doing them more effectively. The final difficulty is simply having the money to pay for the print run, which is a lesson to be learned about the printing business.

There is one major reason that major retailers will not carry self-published titles. Booksellers have the right to return unsold books to the vendor or publisher. A private individual who is not savvy in the ways of the book business will be a hassle for the accounts payable, accounts receivable and shipping departments of large companies because every company is different and a professional relationship is necessary to effectively communicate and sell the book, as well as handling returns. For instance, most people are not aware that book wholesalers are entitled to a 55% discount off the retail cover price, which is in most cases non-negotiable. It is hard enough for the big boys to deal with all of the publishers in the U.S. and Canada, so they opt to not deal with private individuals because these relationships would necessitate whole departments of extra employees for relatively minimal profits Self-published books are generally publicized by writers who are moonlighting as their own publicity agent (with little or no experience and minimal success) and who do not have a core audience outside of their own hometown. Beyond that, a private individual will not be reachable during the day for questions or problems, making most of these processes impossible. It is unfortunate but the big booksellers and wholesalers know these authors need them more than they need self-published authors, so they choose not to do business with them. There are ways around this, however; you can start your own “publishing company” and make your book the lead title, but this also requires money and time.

For these same reasons, book reviews will seldom or never appear for self-published books. There are whole departments in book publishing houses with people who send complimentary copies of books to reviewers, some of whom might receive 20 or more books a day with requests for reviews or for blurbs which are the quotes about the book’s content that are available on the back cover. The reviewers and major media receive so many unsolicited books from publishing houses seeking reviews and blurbs that they also opt to not deal with private individuals as a rule.

Once you realize it will be nearly impossible to have a worldwide bestseller with a self-published book you can begin to understand the roles to be played if you are to be successful. The author must become his or her own publicity agent and shipping clerk, not to mention accountant; items like sales tax have to be tallied and paid. These roles, especially publicity, are hard work because the self-published writer must stick to smaller retailers and shops, choosing more non-conventional methods of publicizing, because of the limitations of not being able to work with the big booksellers. In this role, the author must be multi-tasking all the time and willing to work extra hard, treating the publication as the beginning of the road, not the end. This is not to mention author signings, which are the best way to publicize a book. An author’s real work begins after the book comes back from the printer. This is true even for commercially published authors.

The final major obstacle to overcome is paying for the print run of the books. The best idea is to expect to spend between $10,000 and $20,000 on printing the books, in order to keep per-unit cost down. Large printing presses can produce as many as a few hundred unusable books before producing usable books, because of things like color-matching and other design aspects. Thus, a print run of less than a thousand books can cost a printer more than the job is worth if they don’t charge large amounts of money for the job, in order to re-coup their losses. Having thousands of dollars to pay for a print run can be a strain on nearly anyone.

Unlike many people, I always want the bad news first. That was all of the bad news coming first. There is a lot of good news, too. If self-publishing was impossible no one would ever do it. If it was not worth the effort then only a few people would do it and almost no one would do it more than once. The truth is that many people are self-publishing many books every year and succeeding has a lot to do with understanding what is trying to be done and how. Some of the most famous writers self-published first, including D.H. Lawrence, Anais Nin, James Joyce, and more recently James Redfield, with his Celestine Prophecy. Self-publication is an unorthodox method and one that must be undertaken completely differently from conventional publishing and bookselling.

The key to any game is understanding the rules and playing within them in order to win. Just as a 5″5′ basketball player will not try to drive in and slam-dunk the ball, a self-published author should not try to play the big boys’ ball game at all. If the major retailers will not carry a book, then the other option is finding someone who will. If newspapers will not review a book, then publicizing by other means becomes necessary. The self-publishing author merely has to be creative and hard working to do well, and doing well is relative.

Reasonable goals become necessary in self-publishing. I heard through the grapevine recently that the book that won the American Poetry Prize last year has sold about 4,000 copies so far, so if a person self-publishes a poetry book, then a print run of 1,000 is probably far too ambitious. Likewise, just as getting per-unit cost down is advisable, it is not a good idea to have too many printed and get stuck holding the bag. The best advice is to begin planning before the printing begins and get an idea of how many might be sold and buy that many plus a few extras. Being too ambitious on the first go-round is not wise, because a first-time author, unable to use major retailers, and being a one-man show, it is probably best to have a 1,000 books maximum printed, even if there seems to be interest. You may also want to think about taking advanced orders.

Self-publishing can also be an avenue to getting commercially published, as it was for James Redfield. Sending a well-designed book to a publisher’s acquisitions editor rather than a box full of loose sheets may show that the author has enough faith in their own work to put their money where their mouth is. Publishers know what printers cost and seeing a bound books says that the author spent a few thousand dollars getting his or her work in tip-top shape, so it may well be worth taking a look at it. Another way that this may be an avenue into commercial publication is that if the author has a print run of 1,000 books and sells them all, reserving a few copies for himself, then submits it to a publisher stating that the print run of 1,000 is already sold out; it may peak their interest, seeing sales possibilities put right in front of them. Basically, if the author could sell 1,000 with his or her limited resources then the publisher might see it as an opportunity to sell 10,000 or more. The key in this strategy is hard work and a lot of patience.

Publishing is a strange business. It is the only business that I know which has an open return policy, where any quantity of books can be returned by the bookseller to the vendor to ask for and get a full refund. It is a business where wholesalers get a 55% discount and retailers get a 40% discount (these are typical but not an end-all-be-all rule), rather than the standard business practice of mark-up. It is also a business where it is not necessarily better to have more product to sell, but just the good quality. It is a business of reputation.

The things, beside these basic business elements of publishing, that many people do not understand are the details. Publishers set up a niche for themselves and so there is no need to submit a book about World War II to a publisher of travel books, even if they are the only publisher in your area or the friend of a cousin’s uncle’s brother’s friend. The publisher that I work for publishes regional (Southern) fiction, African-American and Civil Rights books. We get, however, submission of all genres, which we reject or divert to another “imprint,” which has a broader range of topics. Some people see this as being put on the second-rate list, but it is not. A publisher must uphold its niche or lose its credibility within the business and that is sad but true. For a self-publishing author, this is an integral fact to know before submitting work or trying to find a publisher. It is best not to waste time — no matter how good the book is — submitting it to a publisher who will not publish it because of its subject.

This brings me to the explosion of self-publishing imprints in the United States and Canada these days, brought on the by the advent of the Internet. There are a lot of honest ones, a lot of scams, a lot of honest ones that look like scams, and vice versa. This was all made possible by a revolution in publishing called print-on-demand, which allows the books to be stored in a digital file (like an e-book) and when 3 are ordered, 3 are printed, unlike printing 1,000 and waiting for orders. Many self-publishers will ask an author to pay for 1,000 books then do print-on-demand which, though not illegal, is unethical. The best thing to do with these is a lot of homework, reading fine print and not signing anything until it is sure that what seems real is actually real. There are of course many companies to be found online, like Lightning Source, which is a subsidiary of Ingram Book Company, the largest book wholesaler in the U.S., iPublish, which is a subsidiary of Time-Warner, and Xlibris, a subsidiary of Random House.

I tell people often — and I believe it — that writing is about art and publication is about money. That is another fact that is sad but true. Publishers care about sales and that is the reason for the difficulty of getting published. Commercial publishers invest huge amounts of money in forthcoming books every year and some flop, so they have to be extremely careful about what they choose and this is what gave rise to self-publishing. The publishers can be wrong, though, and Celestine Prophecy, which I heard was rejected by 27 publishers, is a good example. The problem is that most authors are not savvy business-people and do not want to be, but self-publication necessitates it. It is a choice to be made.

The best illustrations of this may be some stories. The first that comes to mind is the young man who came into my office one day with a steno pad of hand-written poetry wanting it to be published, requesting a very naive way. I talked to him for a while encouraging him to first go type his work and proofread it, then re-submit it, considering self-publication. He did not understand what I meant by self-publication. I asked simply, “Do you want to pay for this book to be produced or are you expecting us to pay for it?” He looked at me as though I was absolutely bonkers and replied, “I want Y’ALL to pay for it!” He could not understand that, just because he liked his own poetry, other people might not buy it. His approach was very naive and irrational and yet he was precisely the type of person who should have considered self-publishing.

Regarding the many online self-publishing companies, beware. It would not be fair to warn against using them at all, but beware of doing business with anyone that does not offer face-to-face interaction and requires large sums of money. I was privy to a conversation about someone we knew who was going to self-publish her full-length novel. One of the large online companies gave her a quote of 13,000 dollars to get editorial services, layout and design, 75 author copies and additional copies at 50% off within the print run of 1,000 books. If she bought all 1,000 books on a full length novel - if the list price was 25 dollars, for example - she would spend roughly 23,000 dollars obtaining them. That would mean that she might make a profit of 2,000 dollars if she sold every book at full price, which would be almost impossible to do, considering giving retailers’ discounts. Read the fine print and understand fully what is being purchased and what rights are being given. For instance, check into whether or not a proof copy is given to review between editing and printing, because if not they will have the right to re-write your book and it will be too late before the author sees the changes. If thousands of dollars are being spent on self-publication, the author should have more rights concerning his or her own work than the company being paid.

Perhaps, I should lay out a few more facts to close things out. Because self-publishing is an unorthodox venture many of the companies’ methods are rather unorthodox. For instance, iPublish requires a submitting author to review three other authors’ work before being allowed to submit any of their own and all submission are subject to the same process. To avoid being sorry later, it is best to obtain price quotes from as many self-publishing companies and printers as possible before settling on one and take plenty of time, even consulting a lawyer with the contract, because spending an additional few hundred on top of a few thousand may save a lot of money and heartbreak in the long run. In many cases it can be better, also, to pay a freelance editor to work on a manuscript before submitting it to be published, because the rates for editorial services in some companies can be very high priced but not very personal, where a freelance editor can work one-to-one.

If self-publishing is an option, be careful and be wise. There are many loopholes, pitfalls and facets of the business that may require creative thinking and extra hard work. However, if the money is available then the venture may be worthwhile. Just like the publishers have no way of being certain of what will be the next blockbuster, neither do the authors. The book manuscript that is collecting dust on the shelf under a pile of rejection letters may be the one that sets a new standard, the way the works of James Joyce or even D.H. Lawrence did.

Foster J. Dickson is the Production Manager for NewSouth Books in Montgomery, AL, primarily working with self-publishing authors, where he is an editor and printer. He has had freelance articles, book reviews, poetry and literary criticism published and is the founding member of a writers’ group in Montgomery.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why You Don't Write Your Book

by: Suzanne Falter-Barns

In the ten years that I've taught people how to get on with their books and creative projects, I've noticed a phenomenon that I'll call "Author's Block." Would-be writers can, indeed, sit down and work when pressed to it. The problem is that they're not so sure they want the pressure of being an author. But they do want it. But they don't. And so on.

Ah, the agony of getting on with your book.

Well, I'm here to diffuse that situation with a list of the key reasons we have trouble sticking to our writing or other creative projects. Perhaps this will help the next time you find yourself polishing doorknobs instead of sitting down to work.

Check all that apply to you:

You Lie To Yourself About Why You Can't Write The Book

You think your stalling is about lack of time, or too much pressure at work, or not enough solitude in the evening. But guess what? Chances are a deeper, darker reason may be at play, like 'I'm not supposed to be bigger than Mom' or 'What if this thing really takes off?'

You Fear The Impact Your Book Could Have

Sometimes when I coach writers in my Self-Help Author's Crash Course I'll ask them what's impeding their progress. And after some probing, it will come out that they're afraid of the big exposure a book can have if it takes off. I'm here to assure you that should that happen, (and chances are your book will not unleash wild mobs of millions) you will be able to handle it. How do I know? On that deep level where psyche meets karma, you won't create a single reader more than you're ready to receive.

You Think Your Book Doesn't Matter, So Why Bother?

One writer I know put this succinctly: "I've tried getting up at 5AM to write, or staying up late, or even leaving my home, but none of it works. I have this tired feeling that none of my effort is going to amount to a hill of beans." In fact, writing and publication can be an entirely self-determined activity these days. If the publishing pundits don't go for your book, there's always the option of self-publishing paperback editions or e-books and selling them on online booksellers or your website. In other words, your book DOES matter, and you really have no excuse. (Acid test: if the book keeps on patiently urging you to sit down and write it for months and even years, chances are you'd better do it.)

You Think You Don't Know How To Write A Book

Guess what? Neither does any other first time writer. And that may be a wonderful thing. As a beginner, you don't approach your book project with a carload of professional expectations and demands from your process. You can just be open, like… well, a nice blank book. All you really need is your intuition to guide you, and the will to write your book as honestly as you can.

You Have No Support

You need someone in your corner, cheering you on, to get through the long and somewhat tiring process of birthing a book. Because writers need a way to show up and be accountable for their progress. They need someone to keep saying, 'Yes, you really can do this," or even "How's it going?" Minds can be tricky and difficult when fully challenged by something like a book. And steady external support is the best way around that.

You're Afraid You'll Run Out Of Material

There isn't a writer out there who hasn't had this fear. And I'm here to say that if you just stay loose and open, and willing to receive the ideas, they will show up. All you have to do is commit - really sit down, and begin to bring that book into being - and the work will magically appear. Sometimes it won't flow that easily, and sometimes it will scare you with its speed and power. But it will, indeed, show up.

You Think 'Who Am I to Write a Book?'

And yet, you are the perfect person to write your book, because you're the one chosen to receive this material. (You don't have to be spiritually inclined to believe this.) I personally believe that books are given to us when we're ready to receive them… and when we do, our lives are changed by that process.

You Fear Uncomfortable Moments

Ah, but that's the most exciting thing about writing your book. You will be given challenges and lessons that just seem untenable along the way. And if you're committed enough, you'll rise above them and so become stronger in the process. This is especially true for self-help books: we naturally write what we need to learn.

Got a few categories checked off from the list above? Good! Awareness is the first step to diffusing your fears. Meanwhile, PLEASE do get on with your book … despite your misgivings. Not only do you deserve this work - so do we.

About The Author

Suzanne Falter-Barns co-leads The Writer's Spa, a week-long, nurturing retreat for anyone with a book on their mind. Taos, NM, August, 2005. Learn more at

© 2005 Suzanne Falter-Barns LLC.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Big Wide World: Getting your book out there

by Leda Sammarco

Unless you are writing a private diary, you ultimately want your writing to go out into the world to educate, entertain or enlighten. This is an exciting time to be writing books as there are many different ways to reach your target audience. It could take the form of an ebook on your website; you may want to try for a book deal with a publishing house or you may consider some of the self-publishing options now available. The choice is yours!

Whichever option you choose, one of the most important things is having a publishing platform. This is the sum total of your media coverage, any speaking opportunities, your own database of clients, any strategic alliances you may have formed and your website and blogging activity.

You will need a platform to convince a publisher to consider your book in the first place. A US publisher I spoke to recently, said “platform, platform, platform”, otherwise “the book dies on the shelf”.

If you are offered a book deal, you will still be expected to be proactive in terms of doing media interviews, speaking at events and marketing your book to your own clients.

If you decide to self-publish your book, then the more proactive you are, the more successful it will be. Plus retailers are more likely to order your book if you have a profile of some kind.

The self-publishing versus publishing deal debate is really about how much control you want over the process and the kind of experience you would like to have.

You may want a publishing deal for the gravitas and prestige that it confers, plus the fact that the company will have a sales team to get your book into retailers as well as media contacts and a marketing budget to promote it. However, some of the above is contingent on the commercial potential of your book and the overall experience will vary depending on the publishing company.

If you want to go this route, you’ll need to research the publishers and their lists to see where your book would fit and think about whether you want to target small independents or large conglomerate (many of whom only accept submissions through agents). You’ll need to submit a publishing proposal and sample chapters to persuade them to take it.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, puts you in the driving seat. It has come into its own and no longer suffers from the label of vanity publishing. There are various companies that offer self-publishing packages and you are likely to make more money this way, have total control over the process and own all the rights to your book.

However, you will be paying for the production and printing costs and you will have to publicise, market and sell the book into retailers. It is also essential that your book looks as good as anything you would see in Waterstone’s or Borders.

Sometimes self-publishing can even lead to a subsequent publishing deal such as with Masaru Emoto’s book ‘The Hidden Messages in Water’.

The other self-publishing option is an ebook that you can make available directly from your website. This may be one way to test the water with an idea that you have, as you can modify it according to the feedback you get. You will also need to think carefully about your website strategy and affiliate marketing.

Once your book is out in the world, it is out of your hands. This is perhaps the scariest and most exciting part. Like anything in life, you may receive mixed reactions to it. Provided you have written it from a place of authenticity and integrity though, you will find your right audience.


Writers and Artists Yearbook 2009 (A & C Black)
Writer’s Market UK 2009 (David & Charles)
Self-Publishing for Dummies by Jason R. Rich (John Wiley & Sons)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Publisher vs Self-Publishing: The Benefits of Both

by DrProactive Randy Gilbert: The #1 business advisor to authors and speakers.

The majority of people never write a book due to the problems they can see related to both ways of getting a book published and they stop trying. If you make an effort with the big New York publisher route, the beginning step of finding a publisher is not simple and it is very difficult to get the publisher to take your book and pay in advance.

If you try the self-publishing route you right away are faced with a very steep learning curve as you are forced to accomplish dozens of technically difficult tasks. And the price tag for this route is $30,000 to $40,000 when all is said and done.

Fortunately for the smart person who wants to write a book and use it to make money, there is a new alternative. There are three book publishing strategies that anyone can use to eliminate the problems and receive only the benefits.

Strategy 1 - Never give your copyrights away if you don’t have to.

There are two prime benefits to seek and they are to stay in control and make money. You can enjoy both of these self-publishing benefits if you discover a New Your Publisher that does not purchase the copyright to your book and inspires you to use as much of the content of your book as you wish to produce other products that you will be able to profit from.

Strategy 2 - Get the widest distribution possible for your book.

The wide distribution of your book is the biggest benefit of a New York Publisher. Being proactive and choosing a publisher with a wide distribution gives you the advantage of sustaining more sales. This will increase your income exponentially because each book sold in a bookstore will bring the reader back to your website, where you will sell your other products.

Strategy 3 - Turn your book into a business by creating a book marketing plan.

Another great benefit of choosing a New York Publisher is a good marketing plan, but you?re going to take it to a new level. From the beginning of your book idea, turn it into a bestselling business. You will being making money long before your book is actually published. This could bring in more profit than you?d ever get from the advance of a publisher. And you?ll reap the benefits of high sales because off of your products will sell the book when it is printed and ready to be shipped.

ACTION POINT: When you write a book, proactively look for the right publisher using the 3 strategies above and you’ll have the best of both worlds. You’ll make money all the way through the entire process from book idea to New York Times Bestseller. You’ll be able to create a book that becomes an automatic bestseller and might even earn you a passive 6 or 7-figure income.

About the Author:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reasons Why Self Publishing May Be “Write” for You

The thought of one day seeing your name on the spine of a book may seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream. For millions of writers, that’s all their writing ever amounts to….a dream waiting to happen. But for those who understand and accept the difficulties associated with going down traditional book publishing routes, the dream of seeing their name is print can be turned into a reality.

The truth about writing as a career is that it’s an industry glutted with aspiring writers, with few ever making it beyond the query stage. Even if you’re a great writer, you still may not get noticed in the sea of other writers because agents are inundated with novel queries. While it’s not impossible to think your writing will one day catch the attention of agents or book publishers, there’s another option that can take the question of whether or not you’ll have your book published and answer it in the affirmative; the questions goes from “will I get published?” to “when will my book be available to purchase?”.

Self publishing is one option in the game of book publishing. While some writers feel that choosing self publishing is only for those who do not know how to publish a book through traditional routes, more and more writers are realizing that self publishing is simply a way to taking more control in a process fraught with time delays and rejection.

Following are some reasons why self publishing might just be the right direction to take with your writing career.

· Learn how to publish a book

Traditionally, writers have to sit back and let decision about their books be made by book publishers and agents. With self publishing, a writer learns, firsthand, the ins and outs of publishing a book. Everything from editing, print and marketing is done by the writer.

· Make money as a writer

Most writers dream of the day when they’ll actually receive a check for their writing. With self publishing, a writer can make that dream a reality. With some strategic marketing and self promotion, a writer can take a book that’s self published and make it a hit. Not only will a writer make a bigger cut off of a sell of a self published book but he will also position the book to be seen by traditional publishing houses and possibly picked up by a large house.

· Publish your book on your timetable

When a book is published by large book publishers, a writer might not see a final copy for up to eighteen months. With self publishing, a writer can set her own timetable. There’s no need to wait months to see the fruits of your labor; self publish and see an almost immediate product.

Self publishing isn’t for every writer but it’s the answer for many. It gives writers a chance to turn their dream into reality and finally see their name of the cover of a book!

Article Source:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Community Pricing for on-demand publishing

Tim O’Reilly points out some very cool publishing models being used by Logos Bible Software. The have a pre-publishing service in which clients commit to order at a discount in exchange for placing a pre-order for a specific product and Logos can guarantee that there costs are covered. Each potential pre-publish book has a meter which displays the current level of pre-orders.

Far more interesting than that though is their Community Pricing model in which they don’t preset the price for a book but lay out the pricing curve for developing an electronic version of the book and invite consumers to bid a price that they are prepared to pay for it.

Community Pricing

Once sufficient offers are received to produce the edition are received, the price is fixed at the optimum point and everyone pays the same price. Subsequent copies are charged at a markup. More information on the community pricing model is available on their site.

I think this concept could be developed in a very interesting manner for non-profit publishing, particularly in the education sector in developing countries. Applying this model to print, as opposed to just electronic, publishing could theoretically make it even more effective in driving down costs. Because print costs vary dramatically according to quantity, you could create a sliding scale of costs arrayed against market demand. Consumers would have to bid on both quantity and price and would be able to see what quantities were needed to bring about a further drop in price. It would make it easy to aggregate demand and very transparent in terms what sorts of quantities and costs are involved. This could make for a pretty cool non-profit Lulu-style enterprise model that would help solve a critical challenge, namely getting electronic OER resources in print form into the hands of students.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Self-Published Books Need A Professional Appearance To Court Success

Not long ago, I read a self-published book produced by a printing company, where the author was required to furnish not only the manuscript, but the layout and cover. The cover was the best part of this book. The story had potential (although erratic and overwritten) and was compelling enough that, out of curiosity, I finished it. I have read esthetically-rough fiction from traditional publishers, but those at least had a professional layout and had been scrutinized by a copy editor. This one–not.

I have no gripe with the concept of self-publishing, but if a writer wants a book to be taken seriously, some basics have to be considered. Liberal use of Strunk and White (Elements of Style) is a must, as well as referring to Chicago Manual of Style. Be certain punctuation is correctly rendered. Three periods (…) does not an ellipse make. Ellipses are not followed by any other punctuation [ What do you mean…, you have to go? ]. Uppercase letters should rarely be used for emphatic dialogue [ what WE did, did NOT cause what happened ]; description before dialogue should not end with a comma. [Green eyes betrayed her, I’m sure you do. ].

A copy editor would have caught ninety-eight percent of these errors, as well as the character names that changed mid-scene.

Regarding layout, the text alignment in a professional book is justified, with widow and orphan control, usually with 11pt type and type kerning so lines of text have uniformity. Quotation marks and apostrophes must be consistent throughout the text, not curly marks to start dialogue with straight apostrophes in contractions. A disregard (or ignorance) of these basics is what I see most in self-published books.

Self-publishing has a lot of benefits, especially to the environment. With traditional publishers, if they have a print run of 3,000 books, 2,000 of them can set in a warehouse for six months and then end up in a landfill. Most self-published material is print-on-demand, so less paper and printer ink is used. But if an author wants to do more than give away his self-published book to friends and family, the book must have a professional appearance, regardless of the story.

When someone has plans to publish more than one book, having a good product is especially critical. Marketing and hype might sell a decent number of a poorly-produced book, but once the dearth of editing and layout are realized, the reader might not want to chance another book from the same source. More than 5,000 books are produced each week by self publishing. That makes competition stiffer than ever for a reader’s attention. To produce a book correctly is more time consuming, but highly cost effective and can give the edge needed to make a book stand out. Using a professional copy editor and investing in a good text layout program, will result in a finished product on par with traditional publishers.

K Follis Cheatham is a freelance editor, and author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction; she has published numerous articles and poems, and edited for national magazines and publishing houses. Cheatham gives presentations at schools and libraries on writing and the American West; she also develops promotional materials (including web sites) for authors. Visit her web site at .

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Disney Artists To Self-Publish Rocket Johnson

In recent years, many artists at feature animation studios like Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky have become involved in self-publishing art books and graphic novels. The Disney artists have remained noticeably absent from the scene…until now. A whole slew of Disney Feature story artists and directors are getting ready to release a fun-looking 72-page graphic novel anthology entitled Who is Rocket Johnson?, in which they answer the question posed by the book’s title. The book, limited to 1,000 copies, will debut in July at the San Diego Comic-Con and will sell exclusively at booth 2302.

Contributing artists are:

Steve Anderson
John Musker
Dean Wellins
Mike Gabriel
Kevin Deters
Paul Briggs
Tom Ellery
Sam Levine
Nathan Greno
Don Hall
Mark Kennedy
Aurian Redson
Daniel Chong
Tron Mai
Lawrence Gong
Joe Mateo
Michael LaBash
Chris Ure
Bruce Morris
Mark Walton

The book also features a painted cover by Paul Felix and pin-ups by Glen Keane, ChenYi Chang, Byron Howard and Arthur Adams. There’s a book blog at and an official announcement at the blog of Paul Briggs.

Source: Blackwing Diaries

Monday, June 2, 2008

Should Authors who Self-Publish be Considered Vanity Press?

by Monica Valentinelli

I don’t ever think there has been a more appropriate time in this industry than to seriously revisit the question of what happens when authors “self-publish” their books and whether or not they should be considered “vanity press.” After attending 30+ conventions, I can completely understand the “why” behind name-calling some print-on-demand and self-published authors.

There’s always one or two authors who buy a booth, don’t bother to decorate or make it appear friendly, and sit behind a pile of books, waiting desperately for someone to stroll past and throw money at their feet. In many ways yes, these writers could be considered vanity press because, on the surface, it appears as if they don’t know what they’re doing, that they’ve published their book because they wanted to see it in print. Do you ever ask yourself, why they bought a booth?

Maybe they really don’t know what they’re doing, and they believe (like so many other writers) that fame and fortune will knock on their door–all they have to do is publish a book. Just because they have stars and dollar signs in their eyes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve gone to all the trouble to print books just so they could see their name in print.

Yes, there is a definite disconnect between writers who understand the business of writing and those who understand the business of selling, marketing and publishing books. Sandwiched in the middle, there are those writers, like myself, that fall somewhere in between the two schools of thought based on our experiences. When a writer focuses heavily on the creative process, they lose the ability to detach themselves from their work; hence, the innocence. Writers sometimes forget that best-selling books are not just a function of the creative process, they are also a function of luck, networking, and timing. Still, more authors than I can count worship the large presses, thinking that they will somehow magically recognize their name among the masses and grant them a publishing contract.

I think that within traditional publishing there is a fear, and that fear resonates and trickles down to hopeful authors who have never had anything published before. The fear for the amateur is that the book, their self-published book, will somehow suck so bad that no one will want to publish them and they’ll get a bad reputation. I’d like to venture a guess and say that perhaps the publishers are afraid of the opposite scenario, since it’s very rare to see a publisher that’s on top of Web 2.0 let alone take chances on an unpublished, unproven author. Also, I’d like to put it out there that the major publishers are probably tightening their belts because the cost of printing keeps going up every year, and they’re more likely to go with an author whose books they know readers will buy, even if it’s written poorly. Most inexperienced writers also don’t realize that editing is an expensive, costly venture for many publishers. Add that cost into an untested author whose books are not a guarantee to sell, and that quickly factors into a huge risk for the big houses.

That fear of garnering a bad reputation is very real; just within the past year I can name five, fellow authors who have been determined to “agent up.” Not one of them has been successful so far, and not one of them will consider self-publishing as an option. Why? One of them has told me that since best-selling author X said self-publishing is vanity press, they’ll never do it.

Unfortunately, best-selling authors don’t have to go through the same hoops as new ones, especially writers that have been around for a number of years. While veteran authors do give great advice, you have to remember that their experiences entering the publishing biz might be outdated–10, 20 maybe even 30 years old or more.

In truth, the self-publishing model has worked for some authors (not all) who simply got around the stigma by developing their own emprint and use the tools that are available to them. Authors like Gregory Solis and David Wellington, who you’ll hear me mention from time to time.

Remember, too that advances are virtually non-existent for new authors, so if you can get one, you’re darn lucky. You’re even more fortunate if you haven’t negotiated any of your rights away; some publishers leverage copyright with taking a risk on an unknown. Don’t even get me started on how much first-time authors make; in some cases, it’s pretty pathetic.

So the attraction to self-publish is understandable; you, as the writer who has created this story, have control over how many copies you publish, what you charge, and how you market, sell and distribute that story. To give you some scale, according to this stat referenced in Beneath the Cover’s Publishing Statistics for May 2007, 78% of titles come from small press or self-publishers out of as many as 86,000 self-publishers, compared with six major ones in New York.

As an author who tries her darnedest to be savvy about the market, I don’t believe that the popularity of small press and self-publishing can be ignored, even if the number of books sold doesn’t equate to the numbers from larger presses. I certainly don’t want to write any of my books for my Violet War series just so I can see it in print; I can’t imagine why any other writer these days would do the same.

So before you consider a writer to be vanity press, maybe it’s better to ask the question, “How much does this author really know about the industry?” If they don’t know as much as they should, I’d encourage you to either communicate with them or take a second look at the words beneath the cover. You might just find that their story is fresh and innovative, something worthwhile reading.

It’s one thing to throw around labels, it’s entirely another to comprehend why they are there in the first place. Since the phrase “vanity press” was coined back in 1959 (according to Wikipedia, I think I can say, with the utmost confidence, that publishing and selling books have changed dramatically since that time. After all, haven’t you heard? There’s this new-fangled invention that’s been utilized pretty heavily since then called “the internet.” Toss in iPhones, eBooks, PDFs and other ways to distribute content, and I think we need to reinvent what that phrase means.

Hey, maybe that’s what we should write to Amazon about?

Folks, I’m always looking for more relevant stats about the publishing industry to share, so feel free to send them along if you have them, with a link to the source.

Article Source:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Write, Publish and Market a Book with No Out-of-Pocket Money

By Kathleen Gage

Do you dream of having a book published, but don’t know where to turn? Already have a book, but unsure of how to promote it? Looking for cost effective high-return strategies to market your book? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the following information is for you.

Many writers and aspiring authors are under the mistaken belief if their book is published by a publishing house they can sit back and watch sales miraculously happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fact is, competition to have your manuscript noticed and published by a large house is extremely fierce. Additionally, no matter who publishes your book, you absolutely must take an active roll in marketing, promoting and selling your book.

Moreover, profit margins are not extremely good when you go through a publisher. Sure, if you sell tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of books, you make substantial amounts of money. In reality only a small percentage of writers achieve this level of success.

A great model for achieving success is to self-publish and actively promote your book. Self-publishing is one of the best ways to get your manuscript to market quickly is to. Another great benefit of self-publishing is you have complete control of the creative process. You make the decisions on content, editing, cover design, title and you reap the profits.

A primary downside with self publishing are costs involved. Depending on whether or not you hire an editor, designer, layout person and cost of printing, the initial outlay for self-publishing a book can be several thousands of dollars for the first run. Besides there are no guarantees your book will sell. However, you can lessen your risk of costs and increase your level of sales with a simple formula.

Imagine if you could self publish with no out of pocket money. Additionally, imagine gaining lots of free publicity and visibility in your market at the same time. I know this to be true, because I have done it.

The following formula is one that can be used by virtually anyone to raise funds to publish a book. In addition, you can gain great visibility, do the initial run with no out of pocket money and position yourself for volume sales.

Although the formula is rather simple in concept, it is not necessarily easy to do as it takes planning, time, effort, consistency and great follow up to make it work as well as possible.

You can write, publish and market a book with no out of pocket expenses by hosting a seminar with a topic that is linked to the book. In order to keep costs down in the rollout host the seminar in your local market. You can further offset costs by securing sponsors for the seminar. Event sponsors provide funding necessary to the costs of an event. They can either contribute in actual dollars or with in-kind offerings. Sponsors underwrite various aspects of an event.

I did this at the beginning of December with my most recent book, “101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door” and had an incredible response. Although there was a lot of work involved in the rollout the results were, and continue to be, incredible.

Besides writing content for the book each author had a very specific role. Mine was the marketing and promotions of the book. The first level was to develop a clear marketing strategy for my 3 co-authors and myself.

Prior to beginning the writing of the book, we developed a very detailed project plan. The plan included hosting an event to introduce the book to our local market.

Knowing the costs to an event such as we were planning, I knew it would be beneficial to secure sponsors. I developed a very solid proposal for sponsorship of the seminar. Because of very detailed information and showing the sponsors how they would gain from being involved, I was able to secure two excellent sponsors. One is a primary business newspaper in Utah and the other is an organization who targets start up businesses.

The paper was more than willing to do some advertising for the event in exchange for some great visibility and additional subscribers. The organization offset the costs of the room and audio-visual equipment in exchange for mentions in the advertising and all pre-event promotions. Both sponsors were given the opportunity to do a 5 minute presentation at the seminar and distribute promotional information to everyone in attendance. It was a win/win all the way around.

Had I not had a clear-cut proposal for the potential sponsors chances are I would not have secured their support. Also, I know it is easier to gain support from businesses who know me rather than trying to get sponsorship from an organization who has no idea who I am. The same will be true for most anyone.

With day of event expenses covered, we could now focus on generating revenue for publishing the book. This was done by pre-selling the book. Anyone who purchased the book sight unseen by November 28, 2004 was given a seat into the seminar on December 2nd.

With initial revenues from pre-seminar sales designed to offset book production costs we were able to write, market and publish the book with no out of pocket money. By utilizing the databases of all four authors, press releases, pre-event radio interviews and presentations at Chambers and local organizations, word of mouth promotions, and other low-cost/no-cost forms of promotions, we sold over 350 copies sight unseen. (Cost of the book is $19.95)

We had well over 200 people attend the seminar as some of the pre-event purchases were from folks who were out of the area.

A key to our success was having a functional website were the book was (and is) available. We utilized online credit card purchasing options for buyers. In that 80% of our sales were done with Internet and credit cards, we would have been remiss to not use this as a method to sell.

As we were pre-selling it was important to let people know that the cost of a seat into the seminar was the book. Also, if they didn’t make it to the seminar we would mail them the book for $4 more or they could pick it up. The $4 covered mailing costs. If we didn’t do this we would have cut way into our profit margin.

We made a strong point of letting people know they were buying the book, not the seat into the seminar. However, the only way into the seminar was to buy the book.

To gain even more value from the event and increase day of event revenues each author sold other products Back of the Room (BOR). One author sold a sales training program. The signups that day realized several thousand in additional revenue for her.

The two other authors sold specialty items and set up appointments for those who were interested in such things in their sales campaigns.

I sold my Street Smarts Marketing and Promotions program as an E-book. This helped me to generate several thousand in additional revenue. Knowing audience members were already interested in my material, I put together a special day of event package with three of my e-products bundled together. Everyone received one of my order forms upon registering.

At the end of my session I did a short sales presentation. All folks had to do was fill out the order form. With each sale, all I had to do was process their credit cards and email them the PDF document. No mailing costs or printing costs. Nearly a 100% profit margin.

Many self published authors shy away from doing presentations claiming to be an author and not a speaker. Fact is, if you get in front of a target audience who is interested in your topic and you present your ideas well the amount of books you can sell is incredible.

The book complimented by a well delivered presentation allow you to get in front of meeting planners who may be in a position to utilize your services and your book at a later date. You may also have representatives from companies who want to buy large quantities of your book.

Since the release of the book I have had some companies buy “101 Ways to Get You’re your Foot in the Door” in large quantities. Because Maxwell Publishing is my company and the book was published through Maxwell, I have the flexibility to do special runs. With a minimum purchase a client can add their logo to the front cover of the book and a personalized letter from whomever they choose included in the book. This is a great marketing tool for them with long-term benefits to their employees or customers.

Granted, myself and one of the other authors are professional speakers so presenting at an event such as I outlined is a part of our marketing model. However, two of the authors are not professional speakers per say. Yet, in their everyday business they do present frequently. However, with this event, it was a different type of presentation for them. They will be the first to admit that additional exposure and sales were worth doing this type of presentation.

Regardless of your topic the model we implemented can be used by virtually anyone. For example, if you have a book on nutrition, find a health food store who wants more foot traffic and visibility. They may be a perfect fit as a sponsor. Not only can they help you to offset costs they can help to promote the event. At the seminar you can promote their products with coupons, mentions and information provided. It’s a win/win.

If you have a book on real estate sales there’s bound to be a mortgage company who may be interested in sponsoring you. Perhaps they would be willing to buy a book for every real estate agent who does business with them. Or, they could give a book to each of their mortgage brokers.

If you have a book on childhood development, what about a baby clothing store? Perhaps the store would cross promote and give a book to each customer who buys a minimum amount of product in their store. This adds value from them to their customers and creates a win/win for you and the store.

In today’s world of writing, marketing and publishing a book, the possibilities are only limited by imagination.


Do you want to gain massive visibility within your market? Kathleen Gage can help you do just that. As a published author, keynote speaker and top rated award winning business advisor, Kathleen Gage teaches strategies that give high impact and high return. Sign up for Gage’s FR*EE Report “Learn How a Salt Lake City based consultant made over $100,000 from one idea” at
Copyright: © 2005 by Kathleen Gage

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sherri Rosen Speaks About Writing, Self-Publishing, Publicity, etc.

How many of you enjoy sex? Spirituality? Relationships? How many of you know anything about these 3 subjects? If you feel you do, write about it. Write about what you know, about your personal experiences, your truth, find your voice! Have you had your book published? Have you done your own publicity on your book? Are you a good self- promoter? Ask yourself these questions. Your responses will tell you how to take action.

One of my very first books was “How To Satisfy A Woman Every Time And Have Her Beg For More!” It was a self-published book that came out in l98l. I came along in l99l, the author hired me, and the book was on the New York Times bestseller list within 6 months and stayed on for 63 weeks. Author made millions of dollars. Got a big book deal from Penguin. Another book “Stopped Getting Dumped”, self-published. We got so much publicity for that book that it ended up being sold to Plume Books, an imprint of Penguin, for an excellent deal. I share some of these stories with you because this is where hard work and magic come in. You just never know and it’s important to think outside of the box.

My style is working with the author and/or publisher as a team. We will work with an author if we believe in his/her book. With the hard work that we put into publicity, we have got to love the book and the author. We have integrity and we won’t lie. We can turn a yes into a no. When I was working on “How To Satisfy” I kept calling the producer of a national radio show in Washington, D.C. once a month. Many months later the producer said “If I hear How To Satisfy one more time I am going to scream.” There was silence and then I said to the producer, This is my job. This is what I do.” He told me to have the author in studio 3 days later. We also place authors in areas they have never been before. One of our clients was big on the college circuit and we weaved radio and television into her tour, which was something she had never done before and it was a success. We are relentless in our follow-up. We are assertive, not aggressive. There’s a big difference.

Hire a publicist at least 3 months before the book comes out. Do it to plan strategy, pull together a press kit. Many book reviewers need to receive the book at least 3 months before the pub date. If you don’t feel confident as a self-promoter than I highly recommend you hire a publicist. Don’t do it yourself! You have gone through the painful process of writing the book, so don’t mess it up by ignoring the publicity end of it. There are all types of publicity with someone out there to match your budget. If you don’t have a good feeling when you speak to a publicist on the phone, try someone else until you find someone that resonates with you. Find someone who is just as excited about your book as you are. Many publishers will not spend the money on publicity of your book, especially if you are a first-time author. For those of you who are working with a publisher and would like them to put some money into publicity of your book, offer them a detailed proposal of what you would like to do. Don’t hesitate to hire an experienced publicist to consult with on putting together a dynamite proposal. The proposal is a sales pitch on why they should spend money on your book. Many publicists like myself will work with authors on putting it together. If you don’t want to hire a publicist for a full campaign, then just use his/her services to assist in putting together the press kit, in making it as professional as possible and to attract the attention of whoever is receiving it. You must remember that many producers and book reviewers receive hundreds of press kits every day and you want to make yours standout.

Whether you are a self-published or a published author, we suggest that you learn as much as you can about the publishing industry. How to do that is to obtain referrals of creditable individuals in the industry. You can find out this information on the Internet, going into bookstores, and finding out what agents sell what genre of books. Who was the editor that worked on the book. Many times you will find the info in the acknowledgement section. If self-published, ask around to people who have gone through the experience. Obtain referrals, speak to these people and get educated. Checkout their websites, whether it is a publicist, agent, publisher, book proposal expert. Take a look and see what is going on. This may take time but it will save you money and save you from making many big mistakes. Even if you have to spend money for one-hour consultations with professionals in the field, do it, because in the long run you will save money and save yourself from making big mistakes.

You can boost sales with minimum dollars by scheduling some events in your hometown, where you can sell the book yourself. Try to relate your presentation of your book with a local event that is going on, or a holiday event that is happening. Last month we had Valentine’s Day and if anyone had a relationship or sex book, two months prior the author needed to approach bookstores. Look in your local newspaper to see any events that are going on that you can be involved in with your book. And remember, this is investment in your future. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to visit and contact us at

Sherri Rosen Publicity LLC has been in business in NYC for over 9 years. We have an eclectic clientele of authors working in relationship, how to, spirituality, sexuality, and also offer manscript development.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Advice on Self-Publishing

A few people emailed me for advice on self-publishing and I decided to write a small guide. There is a huge hype now days with self-publishing and companies are making lots of money from thousands of people who want to see their books in print.
My experience with self-publishing has been an OK one. Would I advise one to self-publish? Sure, as long as your expectations are not too high. Keep in mind you will not make money out of it. It is better to see the world of POD (publish on demand) as a hobby, but nothing else. The royalties in self-publishing are so low that you actually have to sell thousands of books to make money.

I put a lot of effort into my self-published book, writing and promoting it. Writing is hard, but promoting your book is even harder. When you choose a self-publish company, make sure you read carefully what they offer you. The company I chose is iUniverse. What I like about iUniverse is that if you choose a package that includes the evaluation, they will tell you what is wrong with your book. You then get a chance to work harder on your book and re-submitted to them. If you have the budget, I will advise you to buy editing services, such as line editing. This is what I did to correct the grammar and spelling errors. Self-publishing is expensive and you will not make much money out of it. It is only a hobby.

Many self-publishing companies offer several services, depending on how much money you want to invest in your book. Keep in mind that you will not make much money out of self-publishing. If you are a very talented writer and you think you have an amazing book, I advice you to keep looking for a traditional publishing house to publish your book. I tried to publish my book with a traditional publishing house, but trust me it is really a ‘mission impossible.’

Other traps to look for in self-publishing: there really is no need to keep pouring money into your book. There are many companies out there who will do anything for your book for a large sum of money. IUniverse for example, offers expensive editing with the help of skilled people. After a few thousand dollars that you invested in your book, you can get the label ‘Editor’s choice’ and if you sell five hundred copies, you get a chance to see your book re-published by a traditional house. It sounds very promising, but trust me from my experience, to sell five hundred copies is a really hard thing to do. Many people are still very skeptical buying a self-published book.

I worked very hard at promoting my book. Here are some ways to do it: send it to reviewers, distribute printed postcards with the information on your book, tell all your friends about it and advertise it as much as you can on the internet or anywhere else you can.

I put together a list of self-publishing houses that you should look at: iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Infinity Publishing, Llumina Press, Aventine Press, etc. Of course there are some other companies out there, some more expensive then others, but those are the ones I would recommend. I do not recommend the really cheap self-publishing companies, such as LULU, because they do not check the content of your book. They will print just about anything for money. If you think your book is fantastic and needs no additional work, then you can publish very inexpensively with them.

There are a bunch of places where you can send your book for review. BookConnector site has been a great help for me in finding internet sites that do book reviews. They have a huge list with places where to send your book for review. You should not pay for a book review! Book reviews should be free of cost. I had very positive experience with most of the review sites, except for one, from where I got a bad review. Try to read other reviews first from where you choose to send your book to, see if they give decent reviews. Some places might scrutinize your book too much and you really don’t want that for publicity. In the writing business, opinions can differ so much from one person to another, so you really need feedback from a lot of people before you decide if your book is good or not. If ten people gave you good reviews and one person gave you a bad review, you might tend to forget about the later one. Otherwise, I really had a good experience with reviews, so I definitely recommend you to send an email query first to ask for a review.

If you believe you have a fantastic book, you can also try to send it to local newspapers or radio stations for interviews. But really, try to query the place first to see if they want to accept your book.

Self-publishing is a great hobby and unless you have a passion to write and promote your own book, you will not be able to succeed much. A traditional way of publishing is definitely the key to success, but it really is almost impossible to get in.

Article by: Manuela Anne-Marie Pop