Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, self publishing

5 Slightly Unexpected Tips For Self-Published Authors to Find Success

There are many voices out there today giving their opinions on self-publishing.  Unfortunately, many of those who are the loudest are promoting one path to publishing as the only way.  As you know, I don’t agree with that perspective because there are more options and choices than ever before for authors to get their books into the hands of readers.

Jeremy Greenfield

Jeremy Greenfield

That’s why I found the post by Jeremy Greenfield very refreshing. Jeremy is the editorial director of Digital Book World and speaks at many of the key conferences around the country.  He  is a considered a thought leader in the industry and I appreciate his perspectives. I was particularly struck by the blog post he did based on a talk he gave at a conference.  You can read the full post here, but I thought there were some specific points he made that bear repeating. With his permission, I have provided some excerpts for your edification.

Beware of people who tell you that it’s absolutely wrong to use one self-publishing service or another; or someone who tells you  you can’t do it without an established publisher; or that you shouldn’t do it with one.

One thing I hear a lot these days is that “self-publishing” is a misnomer. The reason? There’s no way that one person can do everything necessary to properly and effectively publish a book. (Obviously there are a lot of qualifiers there, but you get the idea.)

Misnomer aside, there are many people out there trying to publish books without the aid of an established publishing company. Some of them gathered at the Tools of Change Author Revolution conference in New York today to share information, network and learn more about the craft of publishing.

Since so much of what you hear and read about self-publishing is common sense or things you’ve heard before, I decided to pick out five things from the programming that are slightly unexpected or things you may not have heard before.

1. Give content away. 

“Free is your best friend,” said founder of Wildfire Marketing (and DBW Expert Blogger) Rob Eagar. “Giving away part of your content or sometimes the whole book for free” is one of the best ways to generate book sales.

2. Don’t go it alone. 

There are self-publishing advocates that will tell you that you can do it all yourself. That you should do it all yourself, especially if someone who might help you wants to charge you for the service.

According to agent Jason Allen Ashlock (head of Movable Type Management and also a DBW Expert Blogger), it’s not a good idea.

“None of us goes it alone,” he said. “Publishing is a team sport. Allies, alliances and partners are more vital than ever.”

.3. Maintain a relationship with your audience. 

The old publishing cycle was: write, edit, produce, pre-sales and marketing, book release, big sales and marketing push, sales fade, repeat. The new publishing cycle is drawn out and never ends. Marketing starts the day the author gets her first Twitter follower. The sales and marketing cycle never ends.

In the old way of doing things, authors would go on book tour and get in front of readers for a set period of time and then likely wouldn’t be heard from much again until the next book. Today, authors — the marketing-savvy ones — are always communicating with their audience, building and cultivating it.

Why?

People like being a part of the writer’s life, of the writing and publishing process, according to Amanda Barbara, development director of PubSlush, a crowd-funding platform for books. Essentially, an author who maintains contact with her audience keeps them primed for new releases, new free content, new development, back-list sales pushes and more.

4. Know your rights. 

Copyright is complicated. You can’t copyright an idea but you can copyright the expression of that idea. You can copyright a book, but not a book title. When you create a work, it automatically gets a copyright attached to it and here’s what that allows you to do:

– Reproduce the work
– Prepare derivative works
– Distribute the work
– Perform the work
– Display the work

Copyrights last the life of the author plus 70 years.

5. Be open-minded. 

This wasn’t a tip that I heard at the show but it’s one I think is important. The publishing landscape is shifting and today it might be better for you to self-publish. Tomorrow it might be advantageous for you to take a publishing deal with an established publisher. And next week it might be better for you to do something in between.

What you should do may also depend on what kind of book you are publishing, what else you do for a living, what your goals are when publishing and so many more variables. So, keep an open mind when it comes to publishing decisions.

Beware of people who tell you that it’s absolutely wrong to use one self-publishing service or another; or someone who tells you you can’t do it without an established publisher; or that you shouldn’t do it with one.

The publishing landscape is shifting and today it might be better for you to self-publish. Tomorrow it might be advantageous for you to take a publishing deal with an established publisher. And next week it might be better for you to do something in between.

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5 thoughts on “5 Slightly Unexpected Tips For Self-Published Authors to Find Success

  1. “The new publishing cycle is drawn out and never ends. Marketing starts the day the author gets her first Twitter follower. The sales and marketing cycle never ends.” This is one of the two best things about indy publishing, I think; the other is the ability to get your work out to your readers, whether or not the gatekeepers approve it. When I was an acquisitions editor, I had to reject far too many books because either the author’s platform or the potential market were too small. Today, a media-savvy writer can find a lucrative market. It’s work, but it’s work that benefits YOU, the author.

    • keithogorek says:

      I could not agree more. Not that long ago, I had a conversation with an acquistions editor. He made the statement that three years before, he had the budget to acquire 20 books. The next year it was ten. The current year it was only five. With exasperation, he said even if you are in my top ten, I can’t acquire the manuscript. Indie publishing is good for authors, readers and publishers.

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