In Your Corner: Taking the Time

relaxing puppy taking it easy

Writing takes time.

… how often have we heard this line?

So why do we balk at the thought of publishing taking time?

Yes, even self-publishing. Or perhaps we ought to say: self-publishing takes time when you’re doing it right. There is such a thing as a rushed publication, and we’ve seen the results. (Not good. Not satisfactory. Not doing justice to the authors’ great ideas and skills as authors.) Sometimes, publishing can or should take a little … longer. Months, even.

Why?

Quality Control

The more rushed the publication process, the less likely you are to have a range of people looking at your work, and having “eyes on” the work is incalculably valuable to producing a polished, perfect book. I’m not just talking about editing, either, but the other fiddly bits: graphic design, interior formatting, clean margins and orphan control, or even satisfying the legal requirements and meeting publishing standards! There are simply so many balls to keep in the air during the publishing process, and not everyone has the time, energy, skills, or industry expertise to complete it quickly. Far better to take a little time, and bring in outside help to make sure you get it right!

Multiple Checks and Balances

Just as having “eyes on” your work helps with quality control of the finished product, it also keeps certain ideas and inclinations in check. In fact, the longer you take, the less likely you are to do something rash with your cover art or ‘experimental’ with your formatting–it’s just one of those things! The longer you ponder your publishing decisions, the more sound they will be, being rooted in a broader understanding of both standard practices and what’s at stake. Other eyes will catch what you’ve missed, and create a sounding board for some of your more ‘edgy’ or ‘distinctive’ choices. They’ll give you a notion of what works, and what doesn’t, and help you navigate the publishing process with as few hassles as possible. So, not only does taking your time during publishing serve as its own reward–time as its own check and balance–but it also gives you the opportunity to broaden the team of people involved in your project, and really choose the minds and services which will help bring your vision to fruition.

 

***

When push comes to shove, we have to believe our books are worth the time we take with them. We have to believe in them! I think perhaps the physicist and science educator Carl Sagan put it best when he said:

carl sagan quote

If books can break the shackles of time, we shouldn’t begrudge them taking a little time in the publishing process. To get it right.

All I’m saying is: don’t rush it. Self-publishing, even slow-cooker style, is still much faster than traditional publication, which takes an average of two years from start to finish. The ‘slowing down’ which I’m talking about is more on the order of months than years! The ultimate goal is to create a finished product which is perfect in every way, or at least in all of the ways which readers and booksellers appreciate.

Your book is worth taking the time! It deserves the best possible treatment. And if the process goes more quickly than you expected, well, isn’t that a happy surprise?

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process 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, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Decluttering…Publishing!

This week we’re going to discover the ways in which we can declutter our publishing lives. This begins by putting our wallets to good and simple use. What does this mean? It means paying only for what you need, not what you want, unless of course what you want comes affordably with what you need.

First you’ll have to sit down and decide what it is you need. Is it a children’s book? Do you need full-color illustrations? Do you need help with distribution? If so, there are packages offered by self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press (my employer) that can get you full color cover, interior, unlimited wholesale printed and distribution via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others. A package like this could cover your needs while also providing a few things you want like an author representative and publishing consultant.

Those of us not writing children’s books don’t need to front the expense of full-color publishing. Basic publishing packages are a great way to provide authors who just want black and white interiors everything they need to make their publishing dreams come true, without stretching their wallets too thin while still providing a full-color cover, distribution, author representative, etc.

What if you’re just a hobby writer and don’t necessarily feel the need to have hard copies of your book? An ebook is a great way to fulfill your dreams of becoming published at a fraction of the cost. Not only that, a lot of readers are more apt to try a book from an author they’ve never read if it’s in the more affordable, ebook version.

Sure, some of us would love to have a literary agent, a world-class editor, the most prestigious illustrator, etc. However, if you’re on a budget and really just want to pursue your passion for writing/publishing, you should always consider what the bottom line is. You want to turn your manuscript into a book. There are relatively inexpensive ways to achieve that dream and still have a product you can be proud of. Companies like Outskirts Press are full of professionals who can help you create a beautiful book–or ebook!–that you can be proud of and that won’t leave you bankrupt.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time or the know-how to market your book once it’s completed and published, and you find yourself wanting help with that side of the publishing process, there are packages offered by Outskirts to help you with that. But if this is more of a want than a need that you can’t necessarily afford, consider networking with other self-publishing authors for advice. If time if your main concern, simply allot a few minutes a day to making a simple social media post. If you have slightly more time, write a short blog and try to keep it up to date. An online presence is a great way to keep yourself in the marketing loop, and it’s free.

No matter what budget you’re working with, you can afford to publish your book. Sometimes we just have to acknowledge what it is we need to accomplish that goal, and maybe even push aside some of our bigger wants.

paper airplane decluttering


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive 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, kellyschuknecht.com

Comparison of Outskirts Press and Trafford’s Self-publishing Packages

Deciding which self-publishing company to go with can be a real challenge. To assist you with this process, I’m writing a series of posts where I do the leg work for you! I’ll prepare a side-by-side comparison of two similar publishing packages from two self-publishing companies. I’ll strive to keep it as simple as possible to help cut through the vast amount of information out there by giving you an easy to read chart and a brief summary of my impressions on the comparison.

This installment of the series is a comparison of two of the most robust self-publishing packages available: The “One Click for Coaches & Speakers” from Outskirts Press (which you can enjoy even if you’re NOT a coach or speaker, by the way) and the “Scroll,” from Trafford. The information shared here is current as of the date I completed the comparison (19 December 2012) and is dependent on what I could located on the websites without contacting representatives.

Outskirts Press One-Click Publishing For Coaches & Speakers
$4,497
Trafford Publishing Scroll Publishing Package
$5,749
Production Options Paperback Format
Custom Cover
Professional Interior Formatting
Copyright registration
Library of Congress Control Number
Interior Elements Up to 20 images Up to 60 images
Copyediting Up to 75,000 Words Up to 250,000 Words
Author Copies (Paperback) 10 Copies 40 Copies
Expedited Service
Cover Scribing
Your ISBN/ Imprint or ours
Hardback Format
Author Copies (Hardback)
Indexing Up to 500 entries
Additional Formats Secure EBook Edition
Amazon Kindle Edition
Espresso Book Machine Edition
Marketing Services Book Video Trailer & Distribution
Custom Press Release
Author Webpage
Barnes & Noble See Inside
60 Second Book Video Trailer 1 of 3 choices
Social Media Marketing Setup PMA
Post-Publication Marketing Assistance Marketing COACH (2 years) Learning Center (1 year)
PR Publicist Campaign
Personal Marketing Assistant (PMA)
Submission to 10 Reviewers
Electronic Clipping Service
Publication Press Release
Streaming Audio
Amazon Cover Enhancement
Amazon See Inside the Book
Bookseller’s Return Program
Marketing Promotional Materials 100 pieces

With Outskirts Press, for $1,252 less you receive expedited service, a private label (optional), the Amazon Kindle edition of your book, the Espresso Book Machine edition, a PR campaign, 10 Book Reviews, a clipping service and 5 hours of personal marketing assistance with a professional book marketing expert, among other benefits.

There are a few options that come with Trafford’s Scroll package that are not included with the Outskirts Press package such as a hardback format and more author copies.  Although, you could order most if not all of those services a la carte with Outskirts Press and likely still come in at an overall lower cost.

My vote? Outskirts Press! See all the benefits and features of the One-Click Package for Speakers & Coaches by clicking here.

I’d love to know, which option would you choose and why?

Guest Post – 5 Social Tools for Authors by John T. Meyer

You all know as readers of this blog the publishing industry has changed drastically. Whether you are an author or a publisher the game is different today: cost of production is down, marketing channels are everywhere, and you can even eliminate the middle man. Much of this change can be attributed to technology.

As a social technology consultant I spend everyday helping businesses, brands, and bloggers utilize today’s social technology. Today I thought I’d take a look at what specific tools and channels an author can take advantage of. I’m going to focus on authors, and I also want to point out that every single one of these tools is free.

  1. Name Chk – I’m sure the right way for authors to name a book is at the very end, but I just get excited about names. Use a tool like name chckr to scan across all social networks to see if your desired name is available. You still can name your book whatever you please, but you’re going to want to utilize social media to promote.
  2. Search.Twitter – This website is what takes Twitter to the next level. There are plenty of web apps that do similar things, but when it comes to listening on Twitter it doesn’t get any better. Run searches on keywords in your industry, topics related to your book, and influencers who can help promote. You can use Search.Twitter before writing as a research tool, or after publishing as a promotional tool.
  3. Facebook Ads – I know you’re thinking, I never click on a Facebook ad, but that isn’t the point. A successful author today has to target a specific audience of readers. The best-selling books are targeted at a niche that needs the content. Facebook Ads have an incredible ability to target to exactly who you’re looking for. With the ability to sort by age, gender, geography, education level, and interests you are bound to find your book’s audience. Facebook Ads can be affordable and build massive awareness.
  4. Square – When it is time to sell, you don’t need a POS system or the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble, just sell the book yourself – on the go! Square is that nifty sugar cube like credit card reader that plugs nicely into your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android’s headphone jack. Just swipe a card and receive the payment. No monthly fees, no cost for the device, just a 2.75% transaction fee (which is quite competitive I might add).
  5. Google+ – Part of my job is jumping on and trying the latest and greatest in social technology, but usually I go into a new network with a lot of skepticism. Especially when Google (a search company first) attempts to do something social (e.g. Google Wave, Google Buzz). However, this time around I’m a bit more intrigued. I believe Google did something right this time with Google+ and I want to spend more time digging into it. As a brand new network, I think the opportunity is out there to build a strong brand on G+, and we all know a best-selling author needs a strong brand.

For questions on these tools or others hit me up on Twitter (@johntmeyer) or feel free to email me at john (at) 9clouds (dot) com. Also, learn more about social technology in our product Sandbox, an online community that makes social technology easy.


Self-publishing Guest Post: The Book Doctor on Self-publishing

Q: How would I go about publishing an original one-hundred-page poetry book? Generally how much would the profit be from such a book?

A: You have quite a few options and potential paths when it comes to publishing. Before you decide to self-publish or try to sell a book to a publisher, first you must know your goals and assess your abilities. My fifty-minute seminar on CD called “I Finished My Book; What Should I Do Next?” covers the decision-making process, so you’ll know which way to go, whether you want to self-publish or attempt to find a publisher, and if you self-publish, whether you want to use a traditional printer, print-on-demand (POD), or a company that helps in the publishing process. I crammed the seminar with information and included many pages of supplemental printed material, so you can understand why I can’t answer your question in detail in only a few paragraphs.

Here’s a little information to help, though.

If you already know you want to self-publish, your next step depends on whether you want to handle all the pre-printing details, such as editing, internal and cover design, ISBN numbers, and finding a printer, or whether you prefer to rely on a company that handles those details for you—for a price. Read a good book on self-publishing and learn all aspects of it before you make your decision. Also carefully scrutinize the company you choose as a printer or publisher—know there is a difference—and carefully ensure that the services the company provides are the services you need.

You also asked how much profit to expect. Let me first ask a question: When did you last buy a poetry book? If you are like most Americans, you have not bought a single poetry book in the last ten years. Although millions of people write poetry, not many write it well, and even fewer buy poetry books. Poetry books rarely make any profit at all.

Although few Americans make much if any money from poetry, it is the highest form of literary art. Once writers master poetry, they can apply those skills to their fiction and nonfiction and increase their chances of making money with their prose.

My news should not discourage you, however. If you put a great deal of time and effort into marketing, you might make some money after all. At least one poet I know used POD for his books and travels the country giving readings. He writes excellent poetry and performs it well, and he has sold close to a thousand copies of his book. He chose POD, which gives him less profit per book than if he had chosen a traditional printer, but he did not have to invest a huge amount of money up front or store thousands of books, so the tradeoff suits his needs.

As you can see, the answer to both questions—how to go about getting a poetry book published and how much you might profit—are the same: It depends on what you are willing and able to do, and none of the paths are simple. Educate yourself first and then decide what works best for you.

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Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at http://www.zebraeditor.com

Publish-L.com for Self Published Authors

Publish-L is an active online publishing email discussion taking place now at http://www.publish-l.com. It caters to published and self-publishing authors.

The purpose of Publish-L is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information about publishing and marketing books and related materials.

The good news is, as a self-published author and reader of this blog, you have some very valuable stuff to share with the people on that list. You might even say you are a marketing expert. The other folks on that list will be drawn to you because of the advice and tactics you can share. Social Media is great, free publicity.

Just be sure to sign every email you write and discussion you post with information about your book, including a link to your webpage. After all, helping others is fun, but so is selling some books.

See you there.



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Copyright and Copywrite in Self-Publishing

Many authors often confuse the terms copyright and copywrite. Both are important elements in quality self-publishing and your publisher should offer both.

Let’s start with copyright – often the source of a deeper misconception. Some may be under the impression that copyright registration is a must prior to submitting their work to a publisher. That is not the case. Protecting your work is a good idea and should be on your radar, but actual registration is not necessary prior to submission.

The Basics: Copyright law provides the creator of a work (manuscript in this case) exclusive rights to control who may copy or create derivatives of that work. When do those exclusive rights take effect? The instant that creative effort is placed in tangible form – the first sentence put on paper. This specific protection was originally drafted under what is commonly known as The Berne Convention (for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works), an international agreement governing copyright law. This agreement has been signed by nearly every major nation including the United States.

So what does official registration with the US Copyright office accomplish? Protection in the event litigation concerning the creative work, or book, arises, the likeliness of which is rare.

Publishers should offer official registration with the US Copyright Office nevertheless. Make sure yours does. It’s a good idea to let them take care of that process through their professional services. Here is how it works: once your book is published your publisher will likely have you submit the required forms to complete the registration process with the Copyright Office on your behalf. Your copyright is registered on the date the Copyright Office receives all the necessary information, regardless of how long it takes them to mail your Copyright Certificate to you. Keep in mind it is taking the Copyright Office roughly 12 MONTHS to mail the certificates and this is a timeframe outside the control of any publisher.

If you have already applied for a copyright don’t wait for that to become official to begin working with your publisher. Remember, your work is already protected, and readers are ready for your book now.

There is a work-around for concerned authors called the “poor man’s copyright”. Simply mail a hardcopy version of your work in a sealed envelope to yourself and keep for your records. The sealed document will contain proof of ownership in a stamped and dated form. This is not a substitute for registration, but provides a measure of temporary protection.

Side note: Titles cannot be copyrighted.



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