The Cost of Self Publishing

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In trying to contemplate the “most asked” question by authors considering self publishing, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one question.  There are several questions that self publishing authors frequently ask. Since I only want to focus on one question in this blog post, I decided to address the common question, “How much will it cost me to self publish my book?” (Don’t worry, I’ll address the other common questions in future posts.)

Authors considering self publishing often want to know how much it will cost to publish their book. My first response: That’s a loaded question.  The answer varies greatly based on the goals and budget of each individual author.

While there is no one size fits all price for self publishing, there is some information that all authors considering self publishing should know before figuring out how much their self publishing project is going to cost:

1) It’s an investment.

You can’t think about the money you will spend on self publishing your book simply as an expense. Instead, think of it as an investment. By putting money into your project, you are creating a book that has a value and will earn a profit. Unless your goal isn’t to make money off the book (yes, some authors have goals other than earning a profit), you need to think like a business person and remember the cliché, “To make money, you must spend money.”

2) Think about what you are getting.

Rather than focusing just on the numbers, you need to think about what the money you are spending will get you. For instance, paying for a customized cover is getting you a unique cover design that will help draw readers to your book and will literally be the face of your project. After all, research shows that readers decide within eight seconds whether or not to purchase a book. Similarly, paying a copy editor will get you a clean, professional manuscript. If there is one service that I suggest all self publishing authors invest in, it is editing!

3) Plan to make a profit.

Many self publishing authors focus on how much is this going to cost them now, instead of thinking how this can make them money in the future. If your goal is to make a profit from your book, you need to create a solid marketing plan. Think of your book as a business. Would you start a business and then not advertise it?  Of course not!  So why would you publish a book and then not market and promote it?   So when you create your self publishing budget, you need to factor in the cost of marketing and promoting your book.

That said… 

In my years of experience in this industry, I would say the average cost range to self publish a marketable book is $2,500-$3,500.  This allows roughly $1,500 for a good publishing package with a custom cover design, plus $500-$1,000 for professional copyediting, plus $500-$1,500 for marketing services.  You will likely spend more on marketing and promoting the book down the road, but this provides a good snapshot of the upfront expenses.

Like I said, there is no one size fits all price. Some authors will spend more than others. The key is to look at your goals, needs, and plans when creating your budget, and don’t forget to consider the value of the investment you are making. Remember, you can’t make money, if you don’t spend money.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

5 Pinterest Marketing Tips for Self-Publishing Authors

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When used appropriately, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be effective tools for book marketing.  The hottest social media trend right now is Pinterest! Like the other social media sites, it can help self publishing authors  facilitate communication with current and potential readers, generate sales, and increase awareness of their books.

This photo sharing site enables users to “pin” images and videos to virtual pinboards, or “Boards,” and share them with others.  Users can organize their pins based on their interests; a few popular examples are food, books, travel, and style. When other users see a pin they like, they can repin it onto one of their own Boards.  Think virtual word-of-mouth marketing!

The visual and social nature of Pinterest make it a perfect fit for book marketing.  Here are a few ways you can use the site to promote your self published book.

1.  Become active on Pinterest and begin networking with people who are pinning in your areas of interest.  People are more likely to want to support people that are active in the community versus people that are just pinning to promote a product or service. You can search on Pinterest for topics related to your interests and your book and start following Boards you find “Pinteresting.”
2.  Create your own Boards.  Keep in mind, Pinterest was created for people to share images and interests.  Your Boards need to be visually appealing, contain lots of images, and they should give potential readers some insights into your interests and why you wrote the book. If you have a poetry book, for example, you may choose to Pin graphics with quotes from your favorite poets, thus allowing you to begin connecting with other Pinners who also like poetry.
3.  Upload images related to your book.  These may include cover images, illustrations, locations that were featured in your book, and/or people that provided inspiration for your characters.
4.  Pin quotes from your book or short selections to entice people to learn more about your book, spread the word and purchase their own copy.
5.  Include links to your website, your publisher’s website or book retail sites so people know where they can purchase your book once you’ve got them “pinterested.”

Pinterest is gaining in popularity, so now is the time to get active, have fun and start promoting your self published book if you haven’t already.

 

 

How to Get Your Self Published Book Reviewed on Amazon

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Book reviews are a great way to boost your sales and credibility because readers often turn to online reviews by their peers. Online book reviews are like virtual word of mouth marketing; they can significantly impact your self publishing success. People value other people’s recommendations, and Amazon is one of the most popular sources for online book reviews. Here is how to get your self published book reviewed on Amazon.

1) Identity online book reviewers.

Search online for book reviewers. Look for potential reviewers on Amazon’s Top Reviewers list, and try Googling the Amazon reviewer’s name, which will often point you toward their Facebook page or other contact information. Be sure to look for reviewers who review books similar to yours. You don’t want to spend time soliciting reviewers who won’t be interested in your book.

2) Contact reviewers.

Reach out to people who write book reviews and ask them to review your book. Be sure to send them a FREE copy. (It can be a digital version.) Do not send the book before the reviewer as responded and agreed to review your book.

3) Use your contacts.

Besides people who regularly review books for Amazon, you could ask other people to post a review. Consider asking family members, friends, colleagues, social media followers, etc.  When using this approach, be sure to encourage people to be honest in their reviews. Readers don’t want to read generic reviews by family members and friends who feel obligated to say they like your book.

4) Value honesty.

Not every review is going to be positive. Welcome criticism and use it to improve. Readers will be suspicious if every review is positive. No book is loved by everyone, and readers appreciate genuine reviews.

According to Amazon, if you spend two or three days contacting about 300 potential Amazon reviewers, you can expect to receive about 40 to 50 responses, and wind up with perhaps 35 reviews, a quite satisfactory result. So start contacting reviewers today, and watch your book sales improve!

To learn more about Amazon book reviews, click here.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

5 Reasons for Self Publishing in November

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As the end of 2012 approaches, you may be wondering if now is the right time to begin the self-publishing process. Well, here are five reasons why November is a great time to for self-publishing authors to finally make their dreams come true.

1) An early Christmas gift for yourself – When we write and publish, we often think about the reader, but at the end of the day, publishing is also about the writer. It is a major achievement to write and publish a book. Give yourself the priceless gift of seeing your book in print this year.

2) An early 2013 release – If you start the self-publishing process now, your book will probably be complete in early 2013. The beginning of a new year is a great time to begin marketing a book.

3) The calm after the storm – For most people, November and December means rushing around to decorate, shop and entertain, but January and February are typically slow months. If you start the self-publishing process now, you can take advantage of the after-the-holidays calm and use the slow months to perfect your book.

4) Get an early start on your 2013 resolution listSelf publishing a book is a common task on the New Year’s resolution list. By self publishing in November, you can get a jump-start on your to-do list, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing a resolution in the beginning of the year.

5) End of year promotions – Many self-publishing companies are getting in the holiday spirit by offering great deals on publishing packages and marketing options. Ask your self-publishing company about their current promotions.

I’d love to know, why do you want to self publish in November?

 

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Spooky Self Publishing Statistics

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Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of this spooky holiday, I want to share some self-publishing and industry statistics that may shock you. Don’t be afraid; just keep reading.

  • According to an Aptara survey, the trade publishing market segment (which includes fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults) has considerably increased its e-book output. The e-book production rate went from 50% to 76% during the last two years.
  • Amazon still generates the highest number of sales for trade publishers, according to Aptara.
  • According to BookStats 2012, Religion and Children’s/Young Adults showed strong growth while Children’s/YA ranked as the fastest-growing category in publishing in 2011.
  • Brick-and-mortar retail remains the #1 sales distribution channel for publishers in 2011, as it did in 2010, according to BookStats 2012.
  • According to Bowker, traditional print book output grew six percent in 2011, from 328,259 titles in 2010 to a projected 347,178 in 2011, driven almost exclusively by a strong self-publishing market.
  • According to a self-publishing resource on top earners, two-thirds of top self-publishing earners are women.
  • The average top earner spends 69% more time writing than the average author not categorized as a top earner.
  • Self-publishing authors who paid professionals for services like story-editing, copyediting and proofreading earned an average of 13% more than those who didn’t.
  • Hiring a professional cover designer earned top earners an average of 18% more.
  • Top earners had almost four times as many reviews for their most recent book than authors outside of the group.

Being knowledgable of book industry and self-publishing trends and statistics can help you make important decisions as a self-publishing author. For instance, these statistics show the value of hiring professionals such as copyeditors, receiving book reviews, offering your book in multiple formats and taking advantage of Amazon’s author services. The best way to become a successful self-publishing author is to learn from the success of those who have already succeeded.

I’d love to know, do these statistics impact your plans as a self-publishing author?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Are Book Covers Still Important in the Digital Age?

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There was a time when readers would venture to a bookstore or library and browse the shelves for a book that grabbed their attention. Despite the old cliché “never judge a book by its cover,” most people are drawn to books with interesting cover art. While there are still people who purchase print books and who enjoy an afternoon stroll through a bookstore, more and more people are purchasing books online and using e-readers. This shift has authors, and artists, wondering if cover art is still important in the digital age.

While e-book formats require less emphasis on physical appearance (interior formatting is simpler and a full cover design is not necessary), they still need “cover” artwork. Since the reader will be viewing the cover on a screen, it is very important that the design is appealing and captures the essence of the book.

As a self-publishing author, it is important to consider the current trends when making decisions about your book. If you are only publishing an electronic version of your book at first, make sure the cover is appealing on a screen and grabs the attention of a potential reader.  The cover design of your e-book format is just as important as the full cover design of any hardcopy format.

I’d love to know, does the cover design make a difference in the e-books you choose to buy?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

How Far is Too Far? — Extreme Book Marketing Efforts by Joan Rivers

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Did you ever think about chaining yourself to a Costco shopping cart to promote your book?  No?  Well, if you had, I’m sorry to tell you Joan Rivers beat you to it.

According to Rivers, Costco refuses to stock her book, “I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me,” which has made the New York Times bestseller list. The store reportedly banned the book because it has “naughty” words on the back cover. Fighting back, Rivers chained herself to a shopping cart in the store and shouted through a bullhorn, protesting the ban and (simultaneously) promoting her book. Police were called to the scene, but no citations were issued.

Many believe the protest was a staged publicity stunt to help promote the book. Rivers had her own film crew present as she protested, and she willingly talked to the media after the event. Whether the intention was to protest or promote, the story is creating a lot of buzz about the author and her new book. Some might say the old cliché “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is true.

Rivers shows the extremes to which some authors are willing to go in order to market their books, but she also teaches self-publishing authors an important lesson: not every retailer will be willing to stock your book, even if you think they should. Retailers do have guidelines they follow when it comes to which books they stock in their stores.  If a celebrity such as Joan Rivers can’t get her book (which, I remind you, is a New York Times bestseller) onto the shelves at Costco, self-publishing authors will most likely experience similar hurdles.

If one of your book marketing goals is to get your book onto the shelves of a major retailer, think about the marketing efforts you are currently making and learn from your experiences (and rejections, if you have had any). I don’t encourage you to chain yourself to a shopping cart in a bookstore parking lot, but if a bookstore tells you no, consider what other avenues you might take in order to accomplish your goal.

I’d love to know, what do you think of the Joan Rivers protest?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

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