eBooks, self-publishing – its not all its cracked up to be.
Times have certainly changed in the publishing world and the rate of change will only get faster. Its an exciting time to be a writer with significant experience as a Publisher. In the past clients and friends, and sometimes strangers, would ask me how to get their book published. And there was a simple answer. Find an agent that will take you on and they will find a publisher, if you’re lucky. The publisher will do all the hard work and take the risk. Your book might sell a little or a lot and if it's the latter you get to do book signings, reading and maybe attend writers festivals.
Nowadays the answer would take hours to complete. The options for how you publish are endless, the costs vary greatly and your potential audience could be tiny or the whole world.
With the advent of eBooks, eReaders, on-demand publishing, easy access to creating websites/blogs and selling your book on line you can, literally publish in whatever way you want. But . . . there’s always a but, just because there are a lots of options doesn’t mean you should publish or that in reality you can.
I’ve been working with three companies/clients over the past 6 months on getting their books ready for publication, printed and published both as eBooks and actual books. It takes time and its detailed work. All books require editing and proofreading, laying out (designed), checking again, a cover (front and back), printing, storing, marketing (creating a website and promoting it on other sites) and selling. And all this has to be done by the author otherwise you pay handsomely for someone else to do it. And we haven’t even got to selling it and what you need to take purchases.
Of course, ebooks are abit simpler to get to market and sell, but you the author have to spend time, money, energy and effort to make your book stand out from the millions of book in the eBook marketplace.
For my three clients I’ve taken on the role of their publisher as they all recognised, albeit at different times, that they did not have the time, expertise or energy to create and then market their books on their own.
We also spent quite a bit of time discussing what they wanted to achieve with their book. Did they want to publish it for friends and family, for use as part of a business marketing strategy, to start on the pathway to becoming a best selling author? Being clear about what you want to achieve, your target audiences and how you are going to market and promote it is essential if you want to achieve your goals and cover your costs. . . and perhaps make some money.
The excitement of receiving your books can quickly dissipate if you haven’t got your marketing plan in place, and there’s no shortcut to getting out there are marketing your book yourself. Social media and the internet have provided highly cost-effective avenues to market your book, but they are NOT free (internet charges for starters) and you have to spend time, consistently, on these channels to get the best out of them. Your time costs you as it takes away from your other earning potential, so you need to be quite clear about how much time you really have. Some sites and self-publishing companies charge for promotions on their sites, more money, and you need to research and engage a range of reading and book sites such as GoodReads, Amazon, Booktopia e.t.c. and you need the right images and marketing material to be able to post on these sites.
There is a reason publishers exist and, in my view, will continue to exist, its because good publishing expertise matters. Team this up with marketing expertise and honesty and you have a partner that will give your book the best possible start in life. Of course, you can go it alone and thousands of people do, just make sure you know what you’re getting into, the costs involved and the time you’ll need to commit.
Happy writing and publishing. My next blog will outline the process and costs involved in self publishing.