Watch this space - we'll be adding more & more helpful articles, tips, tools and resources for the self-publisher in the coming months. The case for self-publishing is strong - you remain in
full control, you receive 100% of profits
Guest Author Article - Peter Bowerman
How to Turn One Book Into a
Self-publishing: easier, more viable, and more lucrative
than ever before.
"The only reason to self-publish is because
you can't land a publisher."
Call me crazy, but I disagree. For me, self-publishing
was the first choice. Why? I wanted to keep control
of the project and timetable, keep the rights, and, most
importantly, keep most of the profits. How did it turn
A Full-Time Income
For over four years, my first book supported me full-time.
Not "picking-out-chateaux-in-the-South-of-France" kind
of money, but it paid all my bills (including two printings
each year), allowed me to take some nice vacations, save
a chunk of money and incur no new debt. When your per book
profit (after expenses) is many times what you'd make with
a publisher, you can be nicely profitable with much lower
A few caveats. My genre - non-fiction "how-to" - is, arguably,
the easiest to self-publish (with straight non-fiction
second). Why? Not only is there an insatiable appetite
for information in the buying public, but also with non-fiction "how-to," it's
relatively easy to identify and pursue specific target
audiences. Fiction is harder to self-publish but for first-time
novelists, it's also far harder to attract a conventional
Second & Third Caveats
All this advice applies if your goal is to have your book
be a commercial success and if you have the time to market
your masterpiece. If neither is the case, you'd be better
off with a publisher or in a POD scenario, where your upfront
investment is low or nonexistent (as will be, in all likelihood,
your backend profits...). As for the time thing, though,
if you're fantasizing that you'll find a publisher
who will allow you to simply drop off your manuscript while
they handle that whole "icky marketing thingy," think again.
Author Jessica Hatchigan ( How to be Your Own Publicist )
observed, "Authors who receive modest advances for their
books - and that's most authors - can expect scandalously
little in marketing support from most publishers." Most
publishers these days want to work with authors who come
to them with, not only their book, but also a plan for
promoting and marketing that book. So, if I still have
to do most of the work for anemic royalty rates, self-publishing
is worth a look.
Conventional vs. Unconventional
Most publishing companies take the "shotgun" approach
to promotion and publicity. Mass emailed press releases
to mainstream media outlets. Mass-mailed and unsolicited
review copies (with little or no follow up). EVERY single
one of the roughly 500+ review copies I've sent out over
the years went to someone with whom I'd communicated in
advance. Yes, it takes more time, but yields far more "bang
for the book."
As a self-publisher, you can focus on your title and find
the most effective ways to promote it, as opposed to the
above-described pub company model. By contrast, as a self-publisher,
I go where the traffic is lighter, the reception is warmer
and the people speak my language.
The Goal: To Be Seen "Everywhere!"
A year or so back, after asking a buyer where she found
the book, she replied: "Everywhere!" Music to an author's
ears. Another woman wrote: "I first heard about your book
on writersdigest.com, then on writerswrite.com, and finally
on writersweekly.com. After the third time, I figured I
needed to see what the fuss was all about." Sounds like
people need to receive multiple impressions before they
take action. Very useful information. How did I do it?
Through the Internet, of course - the Great Equalizer for
the little guy.
Let's take my book as an example: The Well-Fed Writer:
Financial Self-Sufficiency As a Freelance Writer in Six
Months or Less - a step-by-step "how-to" for establishing
a lucrative full- or part-time freelance corporate writing
business. With all the downsizing of the past decade,
Corporate America is outsourcing plenty of writing projects
at hourly rates of $50-125+.
Okay, so who're my audiences? All "wannabe" writers looking
to make a handsome living with their pen, seasoned freelancers
looking to diversify into higher-paying work, and at-home
moms and home-based business seekers looking for a flexible,
well-paying career from home.
Go to Your Market
To land reviews (and interviews, blurbs, mentions, green
lights to write articles, etc.), go where your various
target audiences hang out. Scour the Internet for web sites,
associations, newsletters, and newsgroups that cater to
those groups. Visit the sites and make your pitch by email.
Make up one standard pitch letter, vary it slightly for
your different audiences, and "cut 'n paste." And repeat,
hundreds of times.
Certainly pursue mainstream media (MM) coverage in addition
to Internet contacts, but know that the media is exponentially
more fickle than if you can zero in on your target audience
via the above-described process - where you'll get a FAR
The Reality: the chance that an unknown author will attract
the attention of a reasonably major-market newspaper is
slim. Not impossible, but not worth the return when a far
better one is waiting. If you're going to pursue MM, forget
the book editors, and figure out which "channel" editor
- Food, Jobs, Career, Business, Features, Computers, Lifestyle
- a would be a fit for your topic. Contact them and pitch ,
not the book, but an angle represented by the book .
They simply don't care that you've written a book; they
want to know why the book is relevant now.
Your Web Site
A web site is mandatory. Period. It's the linchpin of
any Internet marketing push. Mine ( www.wellfedwriter.com )
has sample chapter, table of contents, reviews, cover art,
Q&A, sample radio/TV footage and much more. Check out
the "Attn: Media" link on my site, which makes their job
much easier (and hence, more likely to happen). Always
add your URL to your e-mail signature going out on every email
Landing a publisher has never been harder, but thanks
to the Internet, that's no longer your only option. Self-publishing
is easier, more accessible, and more lucrative than ever
before. Isn't it time for a raise?
Want to get published, and make a living
from it? Check out a free report "How to Turn One
Book into a Full-Time Living" at www.wellfedsp.com,
home of author Peter Bowerman's The
Well-Fed Self-Publisher (and powerful companion marketing
guide, The Well-Fed SP Biz-in-a-Box). Bowerman
is the self-published author of The Well-Fed Writer titles,
multiple-award winning selections of Book-of-the-Month
Club and others, and acclaimed "standards" in the
field of lucrative commercial freelancing. Over 50,000
copies of his first two books in print have earned him
a full-time living for over five years.
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