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Posts Tagged ‘self publishing’

It’s Up to You to Get Noticed (Before You Self Publish #5)

If you want to self publish, you will have to work to get noticed. Here we are at last, on the final point of this blog series “Before You Self Publish.” So far we’ve talking about the importance of thinking like a CEO, the danger of releasing a book too soon, the value of print, and the importance of the cover. Now let’s think about how to get that book in readers’ hands. Yep, if we’re going to talk about self publishing, we need to talk about the M word: Marketing. It’s not a bad word. Really. Marketing is the collection of things that you do in order to build positive name recognition for you and your work. It’s not a bad word, but it is one with a bad reputation. Many writers who self publish act as if the hard work will be done once the book is written and […]

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Readers Judge Books By Their Covers (Before You Self Publish, Part 4)

We’re continuing the Before You Self Publish series. Don’t miss Part 1, Think Like a CEO; Part 2, Don’t Publish Too Soon; and Part 3, Publish in Print. Long before I worked in book publishing, a friend introduced me to a twist on the classic cliché: If you can’t judge a book by its cover, then someone’s not doing their job. First impressions matter, especially in books, where readers have so many options. A person browsing in a bookstore (either physical or online) looks at the book cover and decides in less than 8 seconds if it’s appealing to them. If so, and ONLY if so, they’ll pick up the book, turn it over and read the back cover copy (or, if they’re online, read the product description). If THAT’S not interesting to them, the reader moves on without ever opening the book to see the writing itself. Says one popular […]

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Unless You Write Romance, Publish in Print (Before You Self Publish 3)

We’re continuing our series of 5 Things Self Publishers Need to Know with a super-simplified look at production and distribution (and a reminder that you have choices). Once you learn to think like a CEO and recommit to writing a GREAT book, it’s time to get practical about how to get your work out there. Which leads me to this: The benefits of having both print and electronic versions of a book almost always outweigh the additional costs. When I teach classes about the publishing process, I’ve noticed that many attendees start out assuming that if they self publish their work, they can only make it available as an ebook. They think this even if they, personally, are not ebook readers, have never bought an ebook, and don’t have a strategy for how to sell ebooks. Why? Partly, it’s because the new Self-Publishing Era (SPE?) really took off because of ebooks. Electronic files cost […]

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The Problem of Releasing Too Soon (Before You Self Publish, Part 2)

We’ve all heard the amazing opportunities of self publishing: direct access to readers, total control over the work, and the potential of a long-term income stream. And those are all true. But the challenges are real, too, which is why we’re spending 5 weeks looking at Things Writers Must Know Before You Self Publish. The first thing was “Think Like a CEO.” Here’s the second, and it’s equally important: Almost every self-published book is released too soon. This one breaks my heart, but it happens all the time. If you’ve spent any time reading other writers’ self published books, you’ve probably noticed it, too: a lot of books are good: there’s a decent story or helpful information. There’s plenty of passion for the content. But the books aren’t great. Maybe it’s a flaw as blatant as poor grammar and spelling mistakes. Or maybe you can put your finger on what’s wrong. […]

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Before You Self Publish, Part 1: Think Like a CEO

We’ve all heard the success stories. The writers who rejected the rejection letters, took their futures into their own hands, and self published their books. The ones who shot to the top of the bestseller charts. Fame, fortune, and Hollywood movies followed. Well hey. You’ve written a book. Is this self publishing thing for you? Not long ago, I gave a talk about the 5 Things Writers Must Know Before They Self Publish. Over the next few weeks, we’ll take apart all five suggestions. Let’s start with the biggest one, and the hardest for some writers to get their heads around:   Publishing is a business, and a self-publishing author is the CEO of that business. Writing is a craft. Writing a book takes the focus and dedication of an artist. It’s personal, just you and the page in front of you, for months and years at a time. But […]

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The Top 20 Articles of 2016 for Aspiring Authors

This has become a bit of a tradition: every December since, well, 2015, I’ve looked back at the year and compiled a “best of” summary of the Top 20 articles, news, and resources for writers who are working toward publication. Making the jump from writer to published author means entering a whole new world of business, and it’s important to do your homework and understand the landscape. The Trends This year, as I went back through my tweets and notes, two things became clear: It was a hard year to pay attention to publishing. National and international news took precedence. Maybe because of all the crazy stuff happening in the rest of the world, it was not a big year of publishing changes. (Anyone want to dispute that? Am I forgetting some major change of policy, player, or approach here?) Self publishing is still growing, filling all of the corners […]

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5 Ways to Make a Writers’ Conference Work for You

I know I need an agent, but I don’t know where to find one. I don’t know how to start building an author platform…I don’t even know what a platform is! I should join or start a critique group, but I don’t know any other writers! Sound familiar? Aspiring authors and curious writing bystanders say things like this to me a lot, and my answer is always the same: Get Thee to a Writers’ Conference! Although writing a book can be a solitary, introverted activity that you can do without bothering to put on pants, publishing a book is a community activity. Writers’ conferences are the places where we network, visit, and meet the next generation of authors. There are hundreds of multi-day events for writers all over the country and around the world. They’re organized for writers in a particular region, or for a specific genre of writing. Some conferences […]

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The 20 Must-Read Articles of 2015 for Aspiring Writers

Every month or so, I have the chance to stand in front or a group of people and talk about how to get published. How does a writer go from a manuscript to a published work that readers can buy? One of the points I regularly make—one of the facts I think is critically important and often overlooked—is that a writer has to take the responsibility to understand the publishing industry. You need at least a general idea of how the sausages are made. After all, you wouldn’t decide to open a restaurant or a widget factory without doing your homework about the regulations, the competition, and the best practices affecting your industry. So why would you think that you can just mail off a manuscript and not understand what happens next? So, in the spirit of educating, and giving in to the inevitable lure of a year-end “best of” list, here […]

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You Take the High Road, I’ll Take the Higher Road…

A few days ago, a question came to the email group for the Northwest Independent Editors Guild, a network of professional freelance editors who are both thoughtful and have very good grammar. A member asked the question that plagues many modern authors: should I self publish or seek a publisher? More specifically, this editor wanted to know why there was so much antagonism in the discussion. “I have never heard anyone complain at all about self-publishing photographers or artists of any other kind. But the notion of a self-publishing author seems to make some blood boil: What’s behind that? What does a traditional book-publishing experience offer the writer, and ultimately the reader, that a self-publishing experience takes away?” I thought her comparison of writers to “self publishing” photographers or artists was an interesting one, and it did cast a positive light over the discussion. The emails started to fly, based partly on this fabulous article about The Martian […]

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Buyer Beware: Can You Trust Your Self-Publishing Company?

Last week, Barnes & Noble launched a new Print on Demand service to complement their Nook ebook self-publishing platform. On the surface, that should be a smart move. More self-publishing authors are looking for ways to produce both print and ebook editions. Barnes & Noble knows a lot about books. Their Nook Press platform works (relatively) smoothly. But then, if you read the fine print, things are weird. First of all, Barnes & Noble—a retailer whose primary business is selling books—does not offer their Nook Press clients retail distribution. “The NOOK Press print platform program is for you to print books for your personal use, and does not include selling those books through Barnes & Noble stores or BN.com. You may sell the books you print on your own, however.” Huh? The only reason for a writer to bother with a printing option that doesn’t include retail is if they don’t intend […]

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  • It’s Up to You to Get Noticed (Before You Self Publish #5)
    If you want to self publish, you will have to work to get noticed. Here we are at last, on the final point of this blog series “Before You Self Publish.” So far we’ve talking about the importance of thinking like a CEO, the danger of releasing a book too soon, the value of print, and the importance of the...
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