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Cover Design

Hello and a beautiful Tuesday morning to you all. Today’s topic is none other than cover design which I personally feel is a topic I probably haven’t covered enough, if ever.

I will begin by saying this….I always feel you should have your cover professional designed unless you are a graphic artist or know someone who is. Why? Your cover is the first thing potential buyers will see. Chances are that it will go right back up on the shelf if it doesn’t look professionally done. I’m not just talking about the actual artwork itself, I’m talking about the decision as to what should go on the cover and so forth. The professionals are trained with this knowledge, so I say to let them do their job!

On the flip side however I know that cover design can be expensive and well, not all of us have enough to drop on a professional cover right off the bat. So…keeping that in mind I have found an article that will hopefully help.

This article is titled, “Judging a Book by Its Cover.” Unfortunately I am unable to find the author of this article however if you’d like to view it, please click http://www.completelynovel.com/self-publishing/writers-toolbox-cover-design. You will also be able to view a video. Enjoy:

 

“The cover of your book is very important so it’s definitely worth spending some time on. It is probably one of the key areas that self-published writers fall down on. If what you have produced doesn’t look great on the outside then people are going to be much less likely to take a peek inside.

The cover of your book is the first thing people will see – so you want to make sure that it looks professional. Bear in mind the people that it will appeal to: what kind of image would draw in the right readers? Whilst we would always encourage you to be creative and original, you should be mindful of your customers and remember that if someone is looking, for example, for a crime/thriller, there is a certain type of cover that will attract their attention. Emma Barnes, the co-founder of the award-winning Snow Books offers some excellent advice on this theme on the Snowblog. She stresses the importance of a cover positioning a book in its genre:

“Take a copy of your book cover into the store, go to the relevant shelf and see if it fits. Does it stand out? If it does, it’s probably wrong. The blurb and the cover and the writing is unique, but the only way the reader will discover it is if the packaging explains, at a subconscious level, what the words are about. You wouldn’t expect to open a cornflakes pack and find pasta, would you? Same deal.”

Scott Pack, the head of the innovative publisher The Friday Project and a former book buyer at Waterstones also has some great tips on cover design in this short video.

Diy cover design

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create some great results if you have the time and the tools to do so. Perhaps the most important and striking part of a cover is its main image. Take your time to select a good photo and your job will be half done. For even more professional results, programs such as Adobe Illustrator are great for creating graphics. Adobe Photoshop or its free alternative Gimp are excellent for manipulating photos to make them look great.
Although Gimp has a useful online users’ guide, it and the Adobe programs are quite complicated and will require quite a lot of time to learn to use them properly. If you are after a quicker solution it might be worth using a program you are more used to such as a word processor or a simple graphics application. With a bit of time and effort you can produce good results yourself.

Titles – big and bold!

The best book covers, particularly those that are going to be seen as thumbnails on a computer screen as well as across the floor of a bookshop in hard copy, should have a large, easy-to-read title and author name on them. This makes it much easier for the reader to identify the book.
Emma Barnes (of
Snow Books) has some excellent advice on titles: she warns against covers where the title looks “plonked” over the background image. The font and the text spacing and position should be integrated with the image. She also has some helpful rules of thumb to make sure your cover typography observes the conventions of the genre.

Finding Images for your book cover

Perhaps you have a great photo that you think would be perfect for the cover? You can use programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, widely used by professional designers. If you are looking for a cheaper option, there are a few web-based photo editors that you might like to try:

Image Resources

If you don’t have exactly the right photo, remember that the internet has some great archive images that are a great resource. Some you will need to pay for, others are free. If you do use someone else’s image, just check that you have permission to do so! Make sure you get an image that is 300dpi as this is the standard resolution used by printers. To get a decent sized hi-res version of an image on these websites you might only need to pay £5 or less, so it’s definitely worth investigating.

How CompletelyNovel can help

If you publish your book yourself on CompletelyNovel, you can use the CN cover creator for free. If you don’t have your own complete design, you can either choose from a selection of stock images or you can upload your own picture and then add the text.”

 

Get to it! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Will Printed Books Fly Away with the Dodo Bird?

I’ve wondered about this over the past couple of years. Will our great grandchildren look back at printed books and laugh, wondering how archaic it must have been to hold a book in hand and turn *gulp* paper pages?

Let’s face it. E-books are easy. They are available for instant download, can cost only pennies compared to new release print books and they save trees.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an old fashioned guy. I love to hold a book in my hand. I love the way they smell (yeah, I’m twisted like that), the way they feel and the way they look lining my bookshelves.

I found an article online written by Josh Catone (http://mashable.com/2013/01/16/e-books-vs-print/) which contains his thoughts on why the printed book will never die:

“Measured en masse, the stack of “books I want to read” that sits precariously on the edge of a built-in bookshelf in my dining room just about eclipses 5,000 pages. The shelf is full to bursting with titles I hope to consume at some indeterminate point in the future.

It would be a lot easier to manage if I just downloaded all those books to an iPad or Kindle. None are hard to find editions that would be unavailable in a digital format, and a few are recent hardcover releases, heavy and unwieldy.

But there’s something about print that I can’t give up. There’s something about holding a book in your hand and the visceral act of physically turning a page that, for me at least, can’t be matched with pixels on a screen.

Yet the writing appears to be on the wall: E-books are slowly subsuming the printed format as the preferred vehicle on which people read books. E-books topped print sales for the first time in 2011, a trend that continued into 2012. Just this month, Bexar County, Texas announced plans for the nation’s first electronic-only library. A recent study from Scholastic found that the percentage of children who have read an e-book has nearly doubled since 2010 to almost half of all kids aged 9 to 17, while the number who say they’ll continue to read books in print instead of electronically declined from 66% to 58%.

The hits keep coming.

For those who prefer their books printed in ink on paper, that sounds depressing. But perhaps there is reason to hope that e-books and print books could have a bright future together, because for all the great things e-books accomplish — convenience, selection, portability, multimedia — there are still some fundamental qualities they will simply never possess.

Books have physical beauty.


 

That’s not to say that electronic books can’t be beautiful — as a medium, e-books are still new and designers have yet to fully realize their potential. But for paper books, we’re already there. As Craig Mod points out in his essay “Hacking the Cover,” the book cover evolved as a marketing tool. It had to grab your attention from its place on the shelf. For that reason, the best designed covers were often beautiful art pieces. Not so in the digital world.

“The cover image may help quickly ground us, but our eyes are drawn by habit to number and quality of reviews. We’re looking for metrics other than images — real metrics — not artificial marketing signifiers,” he wrote. And though that might eventually free book designers to get more creative with their designs, you can’t display a digital book, even if you wanted to. Any electronic book that boasts beautiful design, does so only ethereally.

Author Joe Queenan, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, argued that e-books are great for people who care only about the contents, have vision problems or other physical limitations or who are ashamed of what they’re reading.

But for people who truly love books, print is the only medium that will satisfy.

“People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred,” he wrote.

“Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.”

“Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel.”

Web entrepreneur, designer and novelist Jack Cheng, who recently funded the printing of his book through Kickstarter, told me that printed books just offer a more robust experience to the reader. “I feel like with e-books, you often just get a meal on the same white plate as all the other meals,” he mused. “But a nice hardcover is like having a place setting, having dinnerware selected to suit the food. The story is still the main thing you’re there for, but the choices around it — the paper stock, the way the book is typeset, the selection of fonts — they add their own subtle flavors to the experience of that story.”

Books have provenance.


 

Your favorite books define you, and digital versions don’t seem to impart connections that are quite as deep.

Queenan again:

Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.

This piece of the experience doesn’t translate to the electronic format. Someday in the distant future, maybe David Eggers’ Kindle will be sold by Bauman Rare Books on Madison Avenue, but it’s unlikely that digital books will ever be personal artifacts the way that their physical counterparts can be.

“I think print and paper has a lasting value that people appreciate. Pixels are too temporary,” said Praveen Madan, an entrepreneur on the Kepler’s 2020 team, via email. Madan and his cohorts are attempting to reinvent the business model for independent bookstores, including ways to sell and offer services around e-books. “Books have been around for a very long time and people have a deeper relationship with some books than most digital content,” he said.

Printed books are collectible.


 

They possess the quality of scarcity, which means that your copy is unique on some level. For readers who truly love a particular book, an electronic facsimile is not an adequate replacement for owning a physical copy.

“There are books that I need bound and sitting on my shelf. I need a copy of Fahrenheit 451. That book is important to me,” author Rob Hart, the website administrator for digital imprint Mysterious Press and class director at LitReactor, told me. “Digital technology is funny — you own an e-book, but you don’t … You’re paying for the right to access data.”

Cheng has also felt the draw of books as collectible objects. “Personally I’ve gone out and purchased hardcovers of books I first read on my Kindle because I wanted them in a more tangible form,” he explained.

“Having a hardcover on my shelf is like having a print by one of my favorite artists on the wall.”

“Having a hardcover on my shelf is like having a print by one of my favorite artists on the wall.”

He predicts that print might have a future similar to vinyl.

“The physical artifacts are beginning to feel more precious, more like gifts. And I can see publishing going the same way,” he said. “Maybe what we’ll lose to digital publishing are the cheaply produced mass market printings on poor quality paper. And what we’ll gain is a new appreciation for well-designed, higher-quality hardbacks, like the ones folks at The Folio Society are putting out.”

In a surprising flip of the traditional publishing cycle, Random House’s Doubleday recently announced plans to print hardcover versions of E.L. James’ bestselling 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, even though electronic and mass market paperback editions have already sold 65 million copies. Why? Reader demand. You just can’t collect an e-book.

Books are nostalgic.


 

The PBS website MediaShift recently asked a group of book lovers in Chapel Hill and Durham, N.C. which they preferred: printed or electronic books? Those who preferred printed books cited things like the smell, the feel and the weight as reasons.

“Paper books don’t get replaced by e-books, because there’s just part of the experience you can’t reproduce,” said one man. (Of course, nostalgia is generational.)

But if e-books just replace mass market paperbacks, as Cheng predicts, will books become merely art pieces? Some pundits think so.

Writing last year in Slate, Michael Agresta argued that printed books will only survive as art. Books are no longer a good “vessel for text,” he wrote. “Bookshelves will survive in the homes of serious digital-age readers, but their contents will be much more judiciously curated. The next generation of paper books will likely rival the art hanging beside them on the walls for beauty, expense, and ‘aura’ — for better or for worse.”

In some ways, Agresta is correct. It would be smart to bet that print sales will continue to decline, while e-book sales will continue to rise. Most people will own fewer printed books, and those they do own may very well be beautiful collector’s editions, like the 50 Shades hardcovers, meant for display.

But it’s a mistake to assume that this is a case of the MP3 replacing the CD, or the CD replacing the cassette.

E-books are not simply a better format replacing an inferior one; they offer a wholly different experience.

E-books are not simply a better format replacing an inferior one; they offer a wholly different experience.

Brian Haberlin is one of the co-authors of Anomaly, an ambitious printed graphic novel, augmented by a smartphone app that makes animations leap off the page while you read. I asked why he chose to print the heavy, unwieldy and expensive hardcover edition. His answer was simple: “Because books are cool! I love print, always will. I love digital, always will. But they will continue to be different experiences. It’s a different texture, a different experience and that alone warrants their existence.”

Yes, Anomaly is one of those beautiful, collectible art pieces. But it also highlights why print is here to stay. The experience of reading Anomaly on your iPad is vastly different than the experience of reading the printed version. The story is the same, but the medium affects the way you read it. It’s not totally unlike the difference between watching the movie version of Les Miserables and watching it performed live on stage.

There may come a time when we look at electronic books and printed books as similarly divergent mediums.

In a recent Fast Company column titled “The Future of Reading,” author and comedian Baratunde Thurston made a compelling case for why books might just be better in electronic form. Superior annotation tools, easier discovery, interactive content and shared reading experiences are just some of the things made possible because digital publishing has allowed us to, as Thurston put it, network our words “and the ideas they represent.” For Thurston, this is an either-or scenario. Digital books or printed books. And while he lamented our diminished attention spans — the result of distractions embedded in the digital format — he concluded that it’s all worth it because of the great things e-books can do.

But the choice between e-books and printed books is not a zero sum game. Print books do not have to disappear for e-books to flourish, and e-books don’t have to be the only choice.

“Printed books are for people who love printed books. Digital books are for those who love digital books,” Haberlin told me.

Maybe it’s just that simple.”

 

Turn those pages! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie Author of the Week

TGIF, my loyal readers. Hope you have some awesome weekend plans in the works. If you’re like me, you are planning on getting out and enjoying some sunshine. At least I think the sun is going to shine in Oregon this weekend. Regardless, it’s the weekend so who cares?

Notice how I alternate between Indie Author of the week and Indie Book of the week? Indie “book” simply means that they have at least one book that rocks. Indie “author” means that I personally feel the author has some serious potential to make it big.

So without further adieu, my Indie Author of the Week is Mason McCann Smith. This guy rocks. Trust me when I tell you to purchase one or all of his books because you’ll be glad you did. I had the pleasure of discussing books and writing over a cup of coffee with Mason last week. He’s not only an amazing author, but a very interesting, cool guy. I started reading, “The Stained Glass Virgin” last night and let me say that I’m enjoying it.

I do want to add that he’s had a book published by Random House, so he’s familiar with the process of traditional publishing.

You can buy his books and find out more about him here: www.madscavenger.com. He also offers services for writers, so add him to your list.

Have a great weekend! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Amanda Hocking – An indie mega author

I would imagine that most of you have heard of Amanda Hocking. If not, stop what you are doing and Google her. Right now! You will find that she is an indie wonder and should be an inspiration for all of you who are working hard on your novels. Although this is an older interview (2011), I thought it would be a great read.

(Tonya Plank – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tonya-plank/meet-mega-bestselling-ind_b_804685.html):

Amanda Hocking is really something of a wunderkind. At only 26 years old, the Minnesota native has written a total of 17 novels. Since self-publishing eight of those books in April 2010, she’s sold over 185,000 copies, making her indie publishing’s latest star. Most of us are familiar with J.A. Konrath, who, after self-publishing several of his unpublished novels in ebook form and realizing how much more money he could make on his own than with a traditional publisher, became indie publishing’s most vocal champion. But many are quick to point out that Konrath had already been traditionally published when he decided to self-publish, so he already had an established fan base. Hocking, on the other hand, was an unknown, until April 2010.

Here is my interview with Ms. Hocking.

TP: You write a couple of bestselling series – young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Can you give us an overview of those series, what they’re about and their themes?

AH: I have three series out now – My Blood Approves is the first one I released, and it’s about vampires in Minneapolis. There are four books in that series, plus a novella. My other series, the Trylle Trilogy, has the first two books out now, with the third book coming out soon, and that’s my best selling series. Hollowland is the only book I have out now in a series about zombies. This one has a really tough heroine, but it’s still romance-y.

TP: You began self-publishing these series in April 2010, correct? How many copies have you sold at this point?

AH: As of Tuesday, January 04, 2011 at 9 PM, I’ve sold over 185,000 books since April 15, 2010.

TP: And are the sales a combination of ebooks and print books?

AH: Yes, they are, but the majority is ebooks through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’ve sold about 2,000 paperbacks since October, and prior to October, I sold maybe 20-50 paperbacks.

TP: Where all are your books available?

AH: All eight of my books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Several of them are available at the iBookstore and Sony ereader stores, but I have to upload them through Smashwords there, so it takes longer to get them uploaded there. All my paperbacks are available through Amazon only.

TP: How long did it take for sales to really take off?

AH: I published to Kindle in April, and I haven’t sold less than 1,000 books a month since May. So my sales took off somewhat quickly. They didn’t really start to explode until November. I published the second book in my Trylle Trilogy mid-November, and my sales really began to take off after that.

TP: When did you begin writing, and what inspired you to become a writer?

AH: I was always writing. When I was a little kid, before I learned how to write, I would tell stories. But as soon I as capable, I started writing. I filled notebooks and notebooks until I got my first computer when I was 11. It never really occurred to me that I would do anything else.

TP: Who are your favorite writers, or filmmakers or artists, or anyone else who inspires your writing?

AH: I think I draw most inspiration from writers like Richelle Mead and filmmakers like John Hughes. They both really understand the experience of being a teenager and how insistent and intense everything feels, but they’re also smart, savvy, and fun.

TP: Have you been published before or done any previous writing, or is this your first experience being published?

AH: This is my first experience being published. I did publish books through Lulu prior to going to Kindle in April, but I sold zero copies. I did it so I could get copies of my books for my mother to read, but I didn’t think self-publishing was a viable option. The first I ever sold a copy of anything I’d written was in April 2010.

TP: Do you have any “training” as a writer? Did you take any workshops or college classes?

AH: I’ve taken every writing class I’ve had available. I took classes in high school, and I took English and writing classes in community college, but I dropped out of college. I also attended a local writing workshop two years ago.

TP: What made you decide to self-publish? Did you try to go the traditional route at all or did you know from the get-go you wanted to be an indie?

AH: I tried to be traditionally published for about eight years. For years, I’ve listened to a lot of indie music and watched a lot of indie films. In high school, I was obsessed with IFC. But when it came to writing, I never thought it would possible to go that way.

Everything I’d heard about self-publishing is that it was impossible to make a living, reach readers, or produce a quality product. But last year, I heard about how some other authors like Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion are doing well with ebooks. So I thought that I had nothing to lose. I’d written about 12 books when I decided to self-publish, and I thought it would be better than them sitting on my computer. Worst case scenario, nobody would read them, and that’s what was happening anyway.

TP: You’re so young and you have such an extensive body of work already! What is your daily writing routine?

AH: I don’t really have one, haha. I haven’t exactly figured out how to get into a writing routine yet. I’ve always kind of wrote when I wanted to. Once I get the idea in my head and get it outlined out, I usually just sit and write until it’s done.

So much has happened so quickly, it’s really hard for me to have established a routine yet. Most of my day is spent on the computer, though.

TP: Do you have a day job, or did you have a day job before you became a bestselling author? Or did you start writing right out of school?

AH: I worked full-time in group homes for people with disabilities for the past five and a half years, so the majority of my writing was done then. In high school and right out of high school, I worked as a dishwasher, and then I went to work at the group home. I always wrote in my spare time, but I had to pay the bills, so I had to keep my day job. Until August 2010. That’s the first time I made enough money off my writing that I didn’t need to work anymore, so I’ve been writing full-time since then.

TP: What has been your strategy for marketing and publicizing your books?

AH: I didn’t really have a strategy. I think one of the advantages I have is that stuff considered marketing is stuff that I do a lot anyway. I’ve been active on social networks and blogs for years.
I also send ARCs [advance review copies] out to book bloggers. Book bloggers are a really amazing community, and they’ve been tremendously supportive. They’ve definitely been a major force that got my books on the map.

When I first published, I did do a bit of promoting on the Amazon forums, but they’re not really open to that, so I haven’t really interacted there much at all in months. I hang out Goodreads, Kindleboards, Facebook, Twitter, and I blog. And that’s about it.

TP: How do you handle the editing? Do you hire your own editor or do you use beta readers?

AH: I’ll be honest – when I first started publishing in April, I thought my editing was fine. The first book I published – My Blood Approves – had been read by me about fifty times and also read and edited by about twenty other people. So I thought that all the grammar errors would be taken care of. But I was wrong.

Since then, I’ve tried to utilize beta readers and hire people. But so far, people are still finding errors. It’s not from lack of effort on my part, though.

I am now looking for a professional editor – as in the kind I would get if my book were to go through a publishing house. What I find most frustrating about editing and being indie is that everything else I can do myself. Writing, covers, marketing, etc. But I cannot edit properly myself. It’s just not possible.

TP: You’re now published by a traditional publisher in at least one European country, right? Have any of your books been released there yet?

AH: I haven’t been published yet. I’ve had some offers and some deals made, but the books haven’t officially been printed or put on the shelves yet. I am really interested to see how it all goes when it’s done.

TP: You’re now represented by a literary agent, correct?

AH: Yes, I am represented by Steve Axelrod. He became my agent in August, after I’d been approached by foreign publishers.

TP: What are your publishing goals at this point? Do you want to continue self-publishing here in the U.S. while your agent works on selling the foreign rights to your books?

AH: I don’t know what my goals are right now. Everything has already far surpassed my original goals, and it’s hard for me to figure out what can happen next. I do plan to continue self-publishing, but I’m not turning my back to traditional publishing.

As amazing as this ebook revolution has been, it’s still only 20-30% of the market, and I’m not going to ignore the possibilities to reach the other 70-80% of readers. However, it is hard to compete with what my books are already able to do with Kindle and PubIt.

TP: What are you working on now; do you have any soon-to-be-released books?

AH: The third and final book in the Trylle Trilogy will be out very soon (before January 15th). But that’s the only thing I know for sure right now. It’s really hard for me to set release dates, because I can publish whenever books are ready. So it just depends on how long they take to get ready. But I have many more projects I’m working on.

TP: What has been your most memorable experience in publishing so far? An early review or fan letter, getting contacted by the European publishing house?

AH: I’ve gotten several emails from wives and mothers whose husbands are gone because they’re soldiers and marines. Those ones I think really strike me the most. These people are sacrificing so much, and they’re using something I wrote to escape for a minute. And that really puts the pressure on me to put out something that’s worthy.

TP: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

AH: Write a lot, but read even more. Learn to be open to criticism. And research as much as you can before making a decision about where you want to see your writing career. The internet is filled with information that will help you become a better writer and make better decisions about publishing.

For more information on Ms. Hocking’s books, visit her website, or her author pages on Amazon and Smashwords. Her books are also available at Barnes & Noble.

You can do it too! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Are traditional publishers dying a slow death?

I found an article on Forbes that I thought my readers my find interesting.

(Guy Kawasaki – www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2013/01/01/guy-kawasaki-to-traditional-publishers-your-days-are-numbered/):

1. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is generally detrimental to an author’s work.

Kawasaki believes that DRM constraints limit the distribution of their books. I’m not sure about that, but certainly the lack of DRM will provide more opportunities for people to read your book.

Kawasaki explains: “I focus on the joy of reading, so my advice is for authors to better monetize their IP by ensuring broad, timely, and inexpensive distribution to as much of the world as possible. Authors should trust people and not implement all sorts of heinous DRM. Life is simple: write a good book, get it out there quickly, price it reasonably, and trust your customers. ”

2. Build your personal brand before you start selling the book.

You can’t rely on publishers to promote your book anymore; Kawasaki says, it’s therefore imperative to build your own platform before the book is released. What he means is to build a network or community of people that are interested in your content. That way, when the book is released, you have thousands of people likely to buy it. That’s solid advice.

“The day you start writing is the day you should start building your brand,” Kawasaki suggests.

3. The secret for increasing an author’s odds for success are…

According to Kawasaki:One method that no one uses, though it’s hardly a secret, is to solicit feedback on your outline and your draft. I solicit feedback from literally millions of people who follow me on social media by uploading the entire outline of a book when I begin writing. Then I offer the full manuscript to anyone who wants to edit it near the end of the process. This yields two great results. First, lots of insightful feedback. Second, the moment your book is available on Amazon, people who have really read it can post reviews.”

This is a big idea – by crowdsourcing the editing of the book, you become invested in its success. You’re also more likely to buy it and recommend it to others.

4. You are your best marketing asset, but don’t forget the PR company.

For most of the book, Kawasaki and co-author Shawn Welch suggest authors need to “own the marketing” whether or not they self-published or work with a publisher.

“The lesson is that you need to conduct an introduction campaign that reaches out to hundreds of publications as well as your social-media following. I’m not suggesting firing a shotgun into the cyberspace, but there are probably 200 relevant targets for any genre. ”

5. How to navigate the Amazon

Kawasaki and Welch both believe Amazon has amassed an enormous amount of power in the publishing world: “When it comes to publishing, this is Amazon’s world, and the rest of us (readers, authors, and publishers) live in it.”

Pretty cool, huh? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Brick and mortar stores

A recent experience has led me to post on the topic of brick and mortar stores. So I have a good dialogue going back and forth with a potential client. She’s self-published her book already and is looking for marketing services. We’re trading emails and she likes what I’m telling her so far and what I have to offer.

Suddenly she asks me a question and disappears. That question was, “Will you be able to get my book into chain stores?” I was honest. I advised her that although not impossible, the answer was probably going to be, no. I told her that we could most definitely get it into smaller, indie stores and such, but she’s looking for the big named brands. I then informed her that I could get them listed online with some of those larger stores she was referring to, but that wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear. I would assume she’s still unsuccessfully searching for someone that can give her the answer she wants to hear.

Let me say that when I said the answer was probably going to be no, I meant that. Getting your self-published book into the chains isn’t impossible. It’s difficult, but it has been done before. First, you need to have your marketing plan in place and you need to have been marketing that book for a good while. This includes marketing the book before the manuscript is even finished.

I’ve said it before on how it blows my mind that many authors see their books sitting on the shelf in Barnes and Noble as a gauge of their success. I can’t figure out why this is. I would personally gauge my success on how well I was marketing my books and getting them onto my reader’s shelves, and how much those readers were enjoying the book enough to suggest it to their friends. How do those things happen? With good marketing plans of course.

So maybe you do want to get your book into a chain brick and mortar store. Here are some tips I found on Wiki how (http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Self-Published-Book-Into-Bookstores):

  • Start promoting your book before contacting bookstores to show that you’re serious, and then continue promoting it and directing potential customers to the stores that are willing to stock your book.
    • Create a website or blog for the book.
    • Create a press kit. Describe the book and provide contact information. Include only the most influential or glowing reviews. Leave out irrelevant information such as your personal resume. You have about 60 seconds to make an impression with it, so make sure your strongest selling points are on the first page.
    • Send press releases to local newspapers and bookstores. It will be much more effective if you send these to individual contact people, so make some phone calls or do some research to find out the specific person who reviews books in each company.
    • Advertise in local publications. Let your bookstore contact person know that you’re marketing the book locally. Offer to put an “available at …” line in future ads if they will accept the book for sale.
    • Contact local TV and radio stations for interviews. Again, having the name of a contact person will make your efforts more productive. If you have mutual friends, ask them to recommend you to media people they know.
    • Offer to hold author readings at libraries and writing conferences to increase your visibility.
    • Create flyers containing information about your book. Include the ISBN and a brief synopsis. Leave the flyers on public bulletin boards to create local interest.
    • Enlist your network. Ask your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers-to request the book at their local bookstores. Then resist the temptation to sell your book to those people yourself. Ask them to wait to buy it from the store so that there is a history of good sales.

       

  • Ask the store to order your book from their distributors. If your book is available through national distributors such as Ingram or Baker & Taylor, the bookstore can order directly from the distributor and may be willing to do so just from a phone call. Taking books one-at-a-time on consignment from the author, on the other hand, is much more time-consuming (and thus less profitable) for bookstores than going through an established distributor, which automates reordering, returns, and payments.
  • Identify the bookstore contact person. If you are distributing your book yourself, call the bookstore and ask who handles their “consignment” or “local author” books. Start with chain bookstores to get experience with the process; then approach independent bookstores, which are more likely to have a Local Authors section. If you are a local author, the bookstore will be more likely to accept your book as a community service than if you’re some distant author who will not be doing local promotion. Ask if you can make an appointment to come in and show them the book.
  • Be professional and respectful. At your meeting with the bookstore contact, distinguish yourself from pushy self-published authors by being easy to work with.
  • Although you may be a long-time customer of that bookstore, you are now the seller and they are the customer. It’s fine to say that you love the store (if you do), but don’t pressure them to take your book just because you’ve bought a lot of books from them in the past.
  • Be prepared to leave a copy of the book with the manager or buyer for evaluation. Let them know that you would be available for author signings and readings when the time comes (meaning “if the book sells”).
  • Ask the bookstore contact person if they would like a complimentary copy of the book, but don’t ask them to read it; they will read your book if they are interested in it.
  • It is naive to suggest that the store should put your book on their Staff Recommendations shelf, or that they display it at the front counter. Marketing decisions are made by the bookstore, and only amateurs ask to be placed on the store’s top-selling, most visible locations before there is a history of strong sales.
  • Do not presume to tell a bookstore that they will “sell a lot of copies.” That is out of your hands. Let your results speak for themselves.

     

  • Follow up. Check back periodically with the stores that have taken the book and ask if they need more copies. (Every 6-8 weeks is sufficient.)
  • Be as professional at the end as at the beginning. Don’t be grudging when the contract time is up and the store asks you to take back unsold copies. They took a chance, and if the book didn’t sell, it is largely because the author didn’t promote it or send people in to look at it. If you’re cheerful and respectful, the bookstore will be much more likely to accept your future work.
  • Respect staff time. If you’re in a busy bookstore, get in and out as quickly as you can. Once the store accepts the book, you no longer need to “sell” it by talking about yourself or the book. It’s actually counter-productive to monopolize staff time and doesn’t work to get the staff to hand-sell your book. Like every other reader, the bookstore contact person will take a quick look at the book and make their own buying/reading decisions.
  • Continue marketing. Once you’ve gotten your self-published book into bookstores, don’t stop working. Push the book as hard as you did before to encourage people to buy it. Your book will be restocked, especially by larger chain bookstores, only if sales are good.
  • Have a great Tuesday, my friends. (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

     
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    Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

     

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    Persistence

    We’ve all had those days. In fact, I’m having one today. You know…those, “I don’t want to get out of bed days.” Yeah, that would be me today but that’s beside the point. As I pull myself up and out of it, I’m going to pull you along with me. Here’s a good article I found that should gives us the boost we need (taken from Scott H. Young at: http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2008/07/10/building-your-persistence-levels. For the full article, go to his site):

    Building Persistence

    Enough talk about what persistence is, how do you build it?  Part of persistence is just improving your self-discipline.  Increasing the level of what you can resist mentally and emotionally before you collapse.  While self-discipline is important in the short-term, I don’t think it is as critical for goals that last years and decades.

    Instead, I think the way to improve persistence is to enhance the two forces that make it up.  Either by increasing your intrinsic enjoyment of the pursuit, or increasing your resolution that giving up is unbearable.

    Finding Intrinsic Enjoyment

    The first step to this is easy; don’t work on goals you can’t enjoy.  Don’t start a business if you don’t like the customers.  Don’t start a training regimen if you hate the gym.  Don’t enter a faculty if you don’t like the subject.

    The second step is to find ways to enjoy the work, regardless of the feedback.  In many ways, this can be as simple as becoming aware of what you’re doing.  It can be easy to become so obsessed with feedback (i.e. motivated) that you completely lose sight of what you’re doing in the current moment.

    If I had a bad month at the gym, where my strength levels declined, that might start to cloud out the fact that I actually like going to the gym.  The same is true of learning, running this business or my social life.

    The solution is to switch your focus back on the tasks and let the results fade out of your thinking.  Get back to focusing on what you’re actually doing, and enjoying it, instead of obsessing about the numbers.  Focusing on numbers can be important for results, but that’s only when you’re actively making a new plan.  When you’re actually working, it’s usually better to focus on the work and forget the outcomes.

    Avoiding the Alternative

    The alternate way to boost your persistence is to accept that the alternative, to you, is less desirable.  I’ve written previously, that my goal is to run an online-based business full-time.  Only recently have I started to approach that goal.  In the past, there were many months when I completely lacked positive feedback that I was going in the right direction.

    During that motivational crisis, the thing that helped me persist was that I knew struggling at this goal was better than the alternative of giving up.  I knew that I would always be driven towards the goal, so it was better to work towards and fail, than it was to sit back and wonder if I would have succeeded.

    This approach may not sound too inspirational, but it works.  When you’re facing a dry-spell of motivation, it can be hard to summon up the optimism to believe things will get better soon.  But you can always compare the alternatives of giving up entirely with continuing through adversity.

    I started this discussion yesterday, by referencing an article Cal Newport wrote about the danger of starting without commitment.  Since most worthwhile goals will have large gaps without feedback, it’s absolutely essential that your engines are running on more than just enthusiasm.  Persistence is the back-up fuel that can get you through the vacuums.

    Whew. I feel better now. Don’t you? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

     
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    Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

     

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