Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 01/16/15

LEFT BRAIN-RIGHT BRAIN READERS

SO—you’ve written the best novel ever put to paper!  From your perspective everyone on planet earth will (at some time in their life) read your book.  There remains, however, the realistic question of who will actually buy and/or read it.

Some time ago a writing friend suggested that all serious authors should take a course in Marketing.  My first response was a chuckle.  That is not my field of interest and hours spent in that study would take valuable time away from actually writing.  Then my friend asked me two questions.  How are you—as the author—going to attract readers’ attention?  And, if you use a PR or Marketing group, how will you know they are doing the right things for your unique book?

Well, I didn’t take an actual course in marketing, but I have done a fair-bit of research, some of which I’ve shared with you before.  And, because the concepts and venues change so rapidly, I do my best to update my marketing research file every year.  However, for the sake of today’s blog offering, I’ll focus on the headline concept stated above: the left-brain/right-brain readersthe rationally motivated reader and the emotionally motivated reader.

Possibly the biggest AH-HA discovery for me was this:  Developing a marketing strategy toward the emotionally motivated reader/buyer will bring the greatest level of success no matter who is doing the book shopping.  An emotional appeal will connect with both left and right-brain thinkers.

Example:  Do you remember the novel Q and A?  It was author Vikas Swarup’s first novel published in 2005.  In 2006, the novel won South Africa’s prestigious Boeke Prize and was nominated for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize group.  By 2007, this novel won the Prix Grand Public at the Paris Book Fair.  It has also been sold for translation rights for 42 languages.  THAT equals SUCCESS.

Yet—you might recognize this novel a little quicker by its film title: Slumdog Millionaire.  Ahhh!…the perfect left-brain/right-brain title appealing to the rational “seeker of monetary wealth” and the compassionate heart who desires to help all “underdogs.”  The movie was labeled a “sleeper hit,” being nominated for ten Academy Awards (2009)—winning eight.

This BOOK (yes, the author’s 1st novel) was hugely successful in book-form.  And yet receiving a TITLE CHANGE (as it was developed for film) made a huge difference in attracting everyone from producers, directors and actors, to movie-goers and DVD buyers.  Plus, a large population of movie watchers Google background information about the films they enjoy and then BUY the “story” in its original novel format.

SO—you’ve written the best novel ever put to paper! Who will understand your book—your characters and plot—better than you?  Are you able to communicate those nuances to potential readers?  What venues of communication will you use?  In step the marketing specialists of your self-publishing TEAM.  Their ideas are almost limitless and can help you develop a plan of action that will carry your book FAR and WIDE.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Summer Writing Goals Check-In

Earlier in the summer, I encouraged you to take advantage of the summer to achieve your writing goals. I recommended you set goals related to starting and finishing your manuscript, publishing your book, and marketing your book. Well, there are only a few weeks of summer left. (Sad, I know.) Now is the time to check-in and hold yourself accountable.

1. What were your goals?

Take a look back and see what your goals were. Did you want to start a new project? Begin the self-publishing process? Focus on promoting your book?

2. Where are you now?

Have you accomplished your goals? How much work do you still have to do? Do you want to add new goals to your list? Also, consider why you are where you are. Were your goals realistic? Motivating? Clear? Measurable? Take these things into consideration when re-evaluating your goals.

3. What are you going to do with the rest of your summer?

Whether you’ve exceeded your goals or lost sight of your vision, August still offers plenty of time to accomplish your summer writing goals. Update your goals based on your progress, and start working on achieving them before summer ends. You can do it!

I’d love to know, how much progress have you made towards your summer writing goals?

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.

Summer Writing Goals

Summer is the perfect time to set and accomplish writing goals. Many people have time off work. The extra daylight makes you feel like you have more time in the day. The season is filled with inspiration. Whether you haven’t started your book or your book is already published, here are three ways you can make your writing dreams come true this summer.

1. The new project.

You’ve been dreaming of publishing a book, but you haven’t found the time or motivation. Well, now is the perfect time to start. Commit to the goal of finishing your manuscript by the end of August. Use small daily goals, such as writing for a certain amount of time, to help you achieve your dream.

2. The published book.

Perhaps you have a manuscript that is ready to be published. Now is the perfect time to start the publishing process. Your goals should include:

  • Research and choose a publisher.
  • Edit your manuscript.
  • Start thinking about cover design.

3. The successful book.

If you’ve already published your book, now is the time to focus on marketing. A great marketing plan is the key to a successful book. No one can buy your book if they don’t know it exists. Set marketing goals such as:

  • Research summer events where you can display (and sell) your book.
  • Set up and maintain social media pages.
  • Contact local news sources.

I’d love to know, what are your summer writing goals?

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.

Self Publishing is Easy, Standing Out Isn’t

While there are many perks to self-publishing — easy to do, higher royalties, no rejection letters, and more — there is also a major drawback: competition. Self-publishing has become very popular, and it seems like everyone — new authors, previously published authors, professionals, even children — is doing it. While it is great for writers to have the freedom and control that self-publishing offers, it also makes the publishing industry even more competitive.

I’ll be honest about something — the majority of self-publishing authors aren’t best selling authors who make millions of dollars. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, but it does mean you need to understand the market, have realistic expectations, and work hard to make your book stand out. The solution is “simple”: write a great book, publish a quality book and do a great deal of marketing and promotion.

1) The Writing

Consider submitting your manuscript for a comprehensive, professional and unbiased review before having it published; actually the more reviews you have done, the better. They help you fine tune your manuscript to make it the best book possible.

2) The Publishing

As part of the publishing process, be sure to invest in professional copyediting and a custom cover.  If your book is riddled with typos and grammatical errors, it won’t be taken seriously.  If your book has a plain Jane cover, it could be overlooked.

3) The Marketing

This is the part many self-publishing authors miss.  Along with self-publishing comes self-marketing.  It’s not enough to just have distribution. The most successful self-published authors understand the importance of great marketing. Some self-publishing companies offer services to assist you with your self-marketing. Whether you choose to do it on your own, pay someone to help, or do a combination of both, this element of the process is an absolute must.

Don’t be discouraged!  There are many self-publishing authors who have had success, and you can too if you approach the process correctly.

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.

The Cost of Self Publishing

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.