We’re guessing that you love books as much as we do if you’re sitting there at your house (or, ahem, office), reading this blog. But have you ever considered volunteering with a local or national reading and literacy nonprofit group? There are dozens of amazing organizations supporting literacy and reading throughout the nation. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites—large and small—below.
First Book (http://www.firstbook.org/)
First Book delivers books to children in low-income families across the US and Canada. The Washington, DC-based organization has been supporting literacy for more than twenty years and has donated more than ninety million books to date. In fact, the organization coordinates more than 35,000 book donations per day. First Book has plenty of ways to get involved, including volunteering, advisory boards, donations, virtual book drives, and more.
World Book Night (http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/)
World Book Night is an international annual celebration of reading, held every year in the US, UK, and Ireland on April 23. Tens of thousands of volunteers work in their communities to hand out free paperbacks. The organization, run by representatives of some of the largest publishing companies in the world, designates a few dozen adult and middlegrade books each year (to see 2012’s picks, click here). You can join the group’s mailing list now to sign up to be a giver in 2013.
Reading is Fundamental (http://www.rif.org/)
Reading is Fundamental is the nation’s largest literacy nonprofit group. The organization maintains a list of 400,000 volunteers across America to help deliver books and literary resources to families and communities that need them the most. The group’s highest priority is children from birth through the age of eight. According to RIF, nearly two-thirds of low-income families own zero books. Help change that statistic by volunteering for or donating to Reading is Fundamental.
Family Reading Partnership (http://www.familyreading.org/)
The Family Reading Partnership is a great example of a community-focused literacy nonprofit. Based in Ithaca, NY, the Family Reading Partnership promotes early literacy and group family reading. They have a number of ongoing projects, including Books Before Birth, in which expecting parents receive children’s books at prenatal visits to their doctors, the Bright Red Bookshelf, a collection of gently used books for free throughout the community, a fun and free annual Kid’s Book Fest, and a Story Walk 1k for parents and kids. You can support this great organization through a donation.
Located here in Austin, TX, the Inside Books Project is an all-volunteer organization that sends free books and educational resources to men and women incarcerated in the Texas Prison System. The IBP is the only organization of its kind in our state and they receive more than eight-hundred requests for books from Texas prisoners each month. Volunteer nights are currently held every Thursday and Sunday at Space 12. You can check out their volunteer page for more information.
Hopefully these great organizations inspired you as much as they inspire us to dedicate some extra time to helping our local, national, and international communities. Let us know of any organizations you love to volunteer with in the comments below!
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Many authors begin the hard work of generating sales for their book long before the actual release date. There are many different options for collecting these preorders, as well as many ways to make the most of them, helping you meet your goals and priorities for the project.
One method of collecting preorders is to set up a preorder button on the book's website. During the preorder process, customers will be prompted to fill in their basic information and make a payment through the website for the book (or books) they order. Matching Amazon pricing or offering signed copies can be an added hook to get people interested.
It is also common to create a dedicated landing page for preorders, which you can utilize in your marketing initiatives, that drives consumers to a central location to make their purchase. This is a popular option when you are incentivizing customers by giving them access to extra content at no charge with an order. The landing page can host this content, and once the order is placed, the customer can be given a code to access the free content.
But collecting preorders can also be as simple as keeping a spreadsheet with all the information that you manually collect from customers as they place orders directly through you leading up to the pub date.
A different route is to simply send people directly to a retailer, such as Amazon, to place their order during a specified period of time, usually immediately following the release of the book. In this case, it's important for your publisher to know how many orders you expect to be placed at least three weeks in advance so they can ensure that adequate stock is in place in the supply chain to meet the rush of demand. (Also see our recent newsletter tip, In The Loop.)
Regardless of how you collect the orders, the idea is to have a complete record of all customers and their orders at the end of the preorder campaign.
Once all of the preorders are collected, you have to decide what your priority is for these sales. Have you generated all of these preorders so you can generate maximum revenue from your book right away? Or is your goal to have all of these sales count towards your retail track record? (Shameless plug: With Greenleaf, you have the flexibility to meet either goal, and we can help execute the orders or connect you with experts in the field that specialize in placing those presales in a strategic and planned way for maximum impact.)
If the primary goal is to maximize revenue with preorders, you’ll want to sell the books directly. Revenue generated through direct sales is not shared with a distributor or retailer, allowing for larger margins. Remember to bill the appropriate shipping charges directly to your customers if you want them to cover the cost.
If the goal is to drive retail sales as high as they can go, run preorder sales through a retail channel that reports to BookScan (the book industry’s go-to tool for measuring retail sell-through). This will make these sales a part of the book’s auditable track record. For bulk preorders, we work with a company called 800 CEO Read and they make this process very simple. Corporate customers (or your own company) can buy the books from 800 CEO Read, which reports sales to BookScan.
If you plan on generating thousands of preorders and want to use them to make a run at a bestseller list, we recommend working with an expert who specializes in handling this type of campaign. A campaign like this requires careful coordination and planning and the ability to process thousands of individual orders in a short time span.
What are your goals leading up to pub date? What’s worked to help you generate preorders? Share and discuss!
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Are you using Amazon Author Central? If not, why? It’s an excellent author-friendly tool that can be used to promote your book and your platform that only takes minutes to setup. If you have more than one book, it’s a central location where an Amazon shopper can find your entire bibliography in one place. How’s that for an easy way to cross-promote your work?
Amazon Author Central allows authors to create a custom profile that customers then use to learn about the author and make purchases. The content you can place on your Author Central page includes:
- A bio—Tell readers a little bit about yourself so they'll connect with you as a person.
- Photos—Include your author photo and any other images your readers may like to see, perhaps your workspace or things that inspired your writing.
- Video—Want to get that trailer up on Amazon? Uploading it here only takes a few minutes!
- Events—Want to drive traffic to your speaking engagements and readings? Advert them here.
- Blog feed—Linking your blog to your Author Central page is just another way to grow your list of blog followers and give readers more of what they want: a connection to you as an author!
- Twitter feed—Extend your social media outreach even further by displaying your tweets on your author page.
Recently, Author Central began providing weekly sales data from Nielsen BookScan (a service that tracks sales of print books in stores across the country) for free to authors who sell their books on Amazon. You can view your sales data in a variety of ways. Amazon gives you a basic total from BookScan and shows how many units more or less you sold compared with the previous week. They also visually display your most recent four to eight weeks of sales data on a map of the United States. Alongside that display you will find a list of geographic areas from New York to Los Angeles and the number of books you sold in each.
Access to BookScan data can help you determine whether your publicity efforts are paying off, and tells you what markets you have the most demand in so you can amp up your promotion accordingly.
Finally, for those who like to keep tabs on their Amazon sales rank, the sales data tab displays a line graph of your book’s sales rank history on Amazon and tells you what your current rank is. As with all sales rankings on Amazon, the data is updated hourly.
You can also use Author Central to modify the description of your book listing on Amazon or write a message directly to your readers.
We encourage all of our authors to create an Amazon Author Central page. Even William Shakespeare has an Author Central page. It has to be cool.
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Originally posted on March 31, 2009.
One of the most common questions we hear from authors is "Why does Ingram return my books only to order more the next day?" And it’s true: Ingram, the biggest player in the book wholesaling game, will frequently send books back to a publisher’s doorstep only to turn around an place an order a few days later. Why on earth didn’t they just keep them?
All books that bookstores ship back to Ingram are sent to their Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, warehouse for processing and then are directly returned to publisher or distributor of the title. Unfortunately, Ingram does not restock returned inventory. (You can imagine that tracking, inspecting, and restocking undamged returns would be a time-consuming endeavor for an operation of that size.) At the same time, Ingram has to bring in new stock to cover ongoing demand.
Another scenario that creates returns followed by more orders is a shift in regional demand. Ingram has four warehouses serving the country by region (in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Indiana, and Tennessee). If your cookbook is overstocked in Seattle bookstores, but you just did a great local radio tour in the Chicago area, Ingram’s going send the Seattle books back to you while simultaneously asking you for more to cover the new demand in Chicago—no matter how inefficient that seems.
The best way to minimize returns is to balance supply with demand by trying to maintain supply at a level that will sell in less than three months. So, as we’ve told you before, avoid overstocking and subsequent returns by always communicating your marketing and publicity activities to your publisher or distributor.
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In this series we will address one of the biggest questions facing authors today: how will I publish my book? As little as ten or fifteen years ago, this answer would have been simple: get an agent, who will then pitch the book to major publishers on your behalf. Now, with the wide variety of options available, it can be hard to decide what route to take. This is why, one post at a time, we’ll dissect each of the options in an effort to help authors better answer that question.
In our last post, we talked about how traditional publishers work. Today we will discuss the burgeoning business of self-publishing. Self-publishing (not to be confused with vanity publishing, which we’ll discuss next time) is basically the process of contracting with a variety of professionals to create a book. That might include editors, graphic designers, book compositors, printers, and distributors. So, for example, if you have a complete manuscript, you’ll have to find and pay an editor to work on the content; then a compositor to do the interior layout; then a cover designer to create the cover, back cover, spine, and flaps; and so on. You can also hire book shepherds or packagers, who have a stable of contractors and who will coordinate the work on your book.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, there are some good reasons to do it yourself, and we’ll share some of the downsides as well.
Ownership. Since you created the book, you own the publication rights to all versions of the book (ebooks, foreign editions, film adaptations, etc.)—unless you sell them to a traditional publisher. Retaining your rights is especially useful if your brand or business is tied to the book and if you’ll want to incorporate parts of the content from the book into your website, seminars, materials, and the like. When you self-publish, you pay the upfront cost, but you also keep a much larger percentage of the profits (to the tune of 35 to 45 percent of the retail price versus 2 to 10 percent with traditional publishers).
Creative control. Since you’re calling the shots, you get to decide exactly how you want your book to look. You have final say on everything—from how the editor approaches the content, to what colors the designer uses in the cover, to the printing specifications and technology.
Speed to market. Having control of the project also gives you the ability to get your content to the market faster than a traditional publisher would be able to. If you have something timely you want out in six to twelve months rather than two or three years, self-publishing is the way to go.
Quality. Even when working with purported “experts” you should always be wary of the experience an editor or designer brings to your project. There are plenty of contractors out there with little experience creating a commercially viable book, and it can be a hard pill to swallow if you get stuck paying for low-quality work. Additionally, a self-published book can lack the unity of having one team working on it, as well as the polish a seasoned publisher can provide. Even if you’re working with highly skilled professionals, unless they are receiving the kind of feedback from national retail buyers that major publishers are getting, they will never have the same insight and therefore won’t be able to provide the same level of quality. Many self-published books unfortunately possess a few major missteps that keep them off the shelves of major retailer.
Distribution. Since anyone can self-publish a book, there is no guarantee of quality and self-published books are often viewed poorly by the media and retailers. And because self-publishers generally do not receive feedback from retail, they lack the ability to adapt to the market the same way publishers can. Since retailers can be squeamish about self-published books, getting into retail channels, even with the help of a distributor, can be difficult.
Distinction. For the reasons we’ve discussed (quality control, lack of retail feedback) self-published books can sometimes carry a stigma. Since they generally lack solid retail distribution, their sales histories are usually weak, which makes them a riskier bet for retail buyers. For buyers, it’s a question of choosing something untested with no track record (a self-published book) over a product that has a record of excellence (a traditionally published book).
So what now? There is a wide variety of resources and articles out there for self-publishers (like this one from Nathan Bransford on self-published millionaires). Here are a few websites and books to check out:
- Dan Poynter’s website on publishing, complete with everything from writing and editing advice to information on how to typeset your book and find a printer. Poynter also has quite a few books out on self-publishing.
- John Kremer’s site focuses on book marketing and also offers all kinds of resources for self-publishers.
- Self-Publishing for Dummies by Jason Rich: This book is a simple introduction to the business of self-publishing, complete with the traditional For Dummies graphics.
- The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross: This book surveys the entire process from writing to printing to promoting.
If your goals as an author are aligned with the pros above and the cons are something you can stomach, it’s probably a good idea to dig a little deeper into self-publishing as an option for your book. Once you’ve done your research, the next step is identifying vendors. The resources above should point you in the right direction and help you find qualified professionals who can provide the services you need to create your book.
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How to Establish Yourself as an Expert to Grow Your Network and Client Base
Everyone is an expert in something, whether it’s basket weaving, social media marketing, or book editing. Consider this: being known as an expert in your field or area of interest affords you (and your business) all kinds of good stuff: credibility, a wider network, new clients or readers, and chance to cut through the noise. For all types of authors, an expert status can lend itself to getting the word out about a book and grabbing the attention of new readers. Here are three easy steps to get you started:
1. Figure out what you know.
In which fields do you have credentials, a strong knowledge base, or passion? What do people ask you about? What do you just love doing? Answer this question and—voilà—you have your specialty. Next: specify, specify, specify. Don’t be just a branding expert; be an expert on personal branding for LinkedIn. A health guru could work toward becoming a clean-eating coach, and a leadership consultant could specialize in educational or nonprofit leadership. By narrowing your area of focus, you stand out among your competitors and peers and attract the attention of the right people.
2. Do your homework and build your message.
Once you’ve identified your area of expertise, it’s time to do some research. Figure out what leaders in your field are saying about the topic at hand. To continue one of the examples above, how do other experts approach the topic of clean eating? Scour books, industry journals, and the Internet to see what’s already been said so you can position yourself in a unique way. Your message is your value proposition, and it should continue the conversation in your voice, with several clear points. For the health guru, that could look something like this:
“Providing busy families with a clean-eating plan that sticks” or
“Teaching parents how to eliminate processed foods from the kitchen.”
3. Deliver your message.
So now that you know what you’re talking about and have surveyed the landscape, how do you get the message across to your people? There are several ways:
- Write helpful articles and post them to article aggregators and industry publications, or start a blog or newsletter and post your content there. You can also check out other blogs or websites in your field to see if you can write guest posts for them.
- Look for local groups, organizations, conferences, and seminars where you might be able to teach or speak. You could host your own seminars, webinars, or Internet radio shows to educate people on your topic of expertise.
- We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—write a book! When you hand someone your book, or they see it on bookstore shelves, it’s instant credibility for you. Just make sure you do your research before you get started, as we’ve discussed many times. The book industry can be tricky, especially for newcomers.
These tips are meant to point you in the right direction, but becoming an expert is not something that happens overnight. It take quite a bit of time and hard work to amass the content you need to disseminate your message, so taking it slow and moving one step at a time is key. For more resources, check out Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog or one of these titles: Trust Agents by Chris Brogan, Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer, or The Brand You 50 by Tom Peters.
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Amazon sells a boatload of books, and a shipload of other stuff. In their quest to become the Walmart of the Internet, they offer a huge range of products and often discount them steeply to get your shopping cart started—and books in particular seem to frequently become loss leaders. This sometimes alarms authors just entering the world of retail book distribution, who suddenly realize that the customer who once bought on the author’s website can now buy the same book faster and cheaper on Amazon.
The discount Amazon places on titles does not affect what an author is paid through his or her publisher, of course, but it can impact how effectively that author can sell product on his or her website. It’s important to remember, however, that there are at least two types of buyers—those who will just buy the book, and those who are looking for a deeper experience. The buyer who just wants the book will probably not buy it from your author website if it is also available on Amazon. It is definitely difficult to compete with Amazon (or BN.com) for this customer—one-click purchasing, free shipping, and familiarity stack the cards in favor of the online retailers.
Frustrated by Amazon’s dominance, some authors eschew Amazon, trying to keep a product monopoly limited to their website. This is a mistake—you’ll never be able to attract the volume of users or offer the ease of purchase that Amazon does. As the saying goes, it’s better to have 10% of the gold than 100% of the shaft.
However, the buyer seeking a more immersive experience is another story. It’s for this type of buyer that you should sell product on your website—product that offers a deeper experience than just a cheap copy of the book. For example, bundle the book with an audio supplement. Offer a self-assessment or workbook to accompany the book. Consider offering coaching or, better yet, a community where your readers can collaborate and support one another. Use access to assets like podcasts, sample chapters, and exclusive supplementary content as an incentive for newsletter signups. And by all means, put a mention of these available website features at the back of your book. Ultimately, the goal is to capture and stay in front of your reader in a way that enhances their connection with you (read: no spam!) and builds allegiance. Successfully doing so will help you compete not just with Amazon but also with every other author vying for attention (a far more formidable opponent!).
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It’s an unfortunate reality that writers are often targeted by scammers and other creeps. They come at us from all directions, finding us at conferences, slithering through our emails, and sneaking into our social media feed. As a writer you need to protect yourself.
Education is your best weapon.
It’s so important that you constantly educate yourself on the industry, who the players are, and what scams are currently in play, and this blog attempts to be part of that education process. With that in mind here are a couple of scams and traps that are popular now, followed by a few more tips to help you protect yourself (and your wallet).
Scam 1: Twitter Spam
Even after a mass outcry by the writing and publishing community, Twitter spam targeting writers still runs rampant. Tweets saying “Writers needed” or “Get Paid to Write” appear with a hyperlink to a shady website. Twitter does a great job of taking them down once you report them. Should you get this kind of spam, report it immediately to twitter by following their reporting guidelines.
Scam 2: Fake Publishers
Another thing you need to watch out for are “publishers” who send you an email, tweet, or mail advertisement saying they are looking for writers. These publishers convince writers to spend thousands of dollars to produce poor quality books that will never see a bookstore shelf. Not all “pay to play” publishers are scammers though. You can pay to be published by a credible indie house--just take note of the quality of the books, the number of awards they have won, and whether or not their titles are distributed to retail chains. Before you fork over the dough, look for the following things:
- What is the publisher’s reputation like within the industry? Look at what places like Writers Digest, Writer Beware, Galley Cat, and Publishers Weekly say about them.
- Do they belong to any reputable organizations? There are several organizations for publishers to join including SPAN, SPAWN, and IBPA.
- What does their author roster look like? You should be looking at a publisher who represents your genre, and thus you should recognize the names of the authors or the titles of their books.
- What does their distribution and marketing package look like? This is especially important if you’re goal is to see your book in Barnes & Noble. You need to make sure that the publisher has a reputable distributor with a history of getting books into retail chains. There are many vanity presses whose books would never make it into B&N because the quality of design and editorial is poor and because the design does not include key elements such as a standard trim size, ISBN, and title on the spine. You also want a publisher who will at the very least market your book to the trade through Shelf Talker, Library Journal, Ingram and other outlets.
Scam 3: Fake Editors/Book Doctors
Writing is a laborious process, and if you find yourself piling up rejection letters you may consider hiring an editor or book doctor to help you. Of course, that has opened up another realm for unqualified “professionals” to siphon money and energy from aspiring writers. When looking for a professional to help you with your book, you need to ask the following questions:
- Do they have a relevant degree? Editing is a specialized field. As such the editor should have a degree in journalism, English, literature or some variation of those.
- Do they have experience in the publishing industry? Freelance editors should pay their dues and get real world experience before soliciting writers. How can they know what publishers want and what sells if they haven’t ever worked in the industry?
- Do they have references? You should be able to talk to past clients to see how their working relationship is and what effect their guidance had on the writer’s project.
A real editor also will NEVER guarantee that you will get published or that our book will be a bestseller. There are so many factors affecting both that it is impossible to make such guarantees. Anyone who says they can is playing with you. Run away!
Of course, as fast as we identify scams a new one pops up. Here are a few more tips to help you protect yourself:
- Always get the opinion of a lawyer before you sign any contract. There are plenty of law offices that offer low, flat-fee contract evaluations. Yes you may have to spend a little money but its much better than getting your bank account and your favorite project tied up with a dirty deal.
- Get connected! Networking with other writers is a great way not only to find out about current scams, but to get referrals for quality products and services.
- Take a class (or twenty). Writer’s Leagues, Writer’s Digest, Media Bistro, and other outlets offer reputable classes on many aspects of writing and publishing. Arm yourself with first-hand knowledge from industry pros.
Above all, follow your gut. If something feels off it probably is. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is not true. If you’re not sure, get a second opinion, but never rush into anything. It’s your money and your creative future on the line.
Shennandoah Diaz is the President of Brass Knuckles Media, an uncensored PR & Marketing firm catering to creatives and the avant garde. Passionate about education, Diaz empowers creatives by sharing articles and teaching workshops on marketing, social media, and publishing. Learn more at www.brassknucklesmedia.com or at www.shennandoahdiaz.com.
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If you’re taking the reins on how your book is being printed, you’ve probably already come to face-to-face with the many available options. We’ve talked before on the Big Bad Book Blog about print-on-demand versus traditional printing, but we thought it might also be helpful to discuss binding style. Paperback, hardcover, mass market—everyone has seen these formats in bookstores, but how do you decide which is right for your book?
Let’s start by clarifying a few terms:
Paperback (also called soft cover or perfect-bound) books usually have a cover made from paperboard or a very thick stock, and the pages are attached to the binding with glue. When we talk about paperback books, we typically mean trade paperbacks, which are the typical 6 x 9 or 5.5 x 8.5–sized books you see in bookstores. Mass-market is a type of paperback you often see used for romance novels or thrillers. Mass-market books are usually smaller in trim size and fatter with a thinner, lower-quality stock and cover.
Hardcover (also called casebound or hardbound) books have covers that are sturdier, usually made from thick cardboard wrapped in cloth. Here the pages can be glued or sewn into the spine, making the spine more flexible so that the book can lay flat when opened. The book title and author's name are often stamped onto the cloth binding, and hardcover books typically come with printed dust jacket with artwork.
So if you’re making arrangements to have your book printed, how do you decide which format is best for your book? Here are the three main determiners.
Cost to Consumer
The retail price a consumer will pay for a book is largely dictated by the format, and retail buyers have strict guidelines about how a book can be priced. A paperback book is often significantly cheaper than a hardcover book (for more on price, see this post). Because hardcover is more expensive to the consumer, you could encounter readers who just don’t want to pay $21.95 for a book they could otherwise get in paperback for at $16.95. This bears repeating—if you print in hardcover and subsequently price your book higher, you risk losing sales because of the high price point. This consumer choice in price is also important considering the rise in ebook sales, which cannibalized hardcover sales in the last quarter of 2010, according to Bowker. That said, there are many reasons a consumer might prefer a hardcover book, including durability, style, and longevity.
Genre is one of the biggest indicators for format. Books that can be found in hardcover are frequently in the genres of business, coffee table/art, first-edition fiction, or collector’s editions of classics. Traditionally, fiction comes out first in hardcover and later in paperback. This is changing due to the economic climate, and to stay competitive many fiction titles, especially from newer authors, are coming out in paperback to entice readers with a lower price point. Penguin recently released a beautiful set of hardcover editions for people looking for that classic aesthetic that only hardcover brings. Topics with rapidly changing information, like health, technology, science, and politics, are usually released in paperback (or ebook) formats, so that new editions can be released and consumed more quickly. Of course, these are broad generalizations meant to provide a little guidance, and doing research on comparable titles can help inform your decision on the proper binding for your book.
Printing hardcover is more expensive than printing paperback, so if you’re on a tight budget, you might get more books for your buck by printing paperback. The margins for hardcover books are usually better than for paperbacks because the cost to consumers is significantly higher than the cost difference in printing—it only costs a little more to print hardcover than paperback and you can charge a lot more in retail. If you do have a strong platform or fan base, or if you have direct sales opportunities, hardcover may be a good way to go. Your clients and fans may be more likely to buy your book even at the higher price point that hardcover commands since they are already interested in your content.
One other point to consider is the sale of paperback rights. If your goal is to be picked up by a traditional publisher, you may want to release first in hardcover (again, depending on the genre). If your hardcover sales catch a traditional publisher’s eye, they may inquire about the rights to your paperback version. It doesn’t really work the other way around, though, so if this is important to you, hardcover may be a good choice.
There is no magic formula for deciding what format to print your book in, and there are a lot of factors to consider. The first step is establishing what your price point will be for any format you are considering. Making sure you have an appropriate price point is imperative for accurately running the numbers on your margins. Once you have looked at printing cost versus retail cost, taking a close look at your genre and comparable titles is a good next step to making a decision on format.
Have Questions? Thoughts? Let us know!
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It’s that time of year. Time to sign up for gym memberships, to clean out cluttered spaces, and to make grandiose lists of things to-do in the New Year. All joking aside, if you want to make a real go at becoming a published author in 2011 there are a few commitments you need to make.
1. Commit to Read More
If you want to become a published author you need to know what’s selling in your genre. You should be reading the bestsellers plus the others to see what’s getting published and what’s standing out. In addition to reading in your genre you should be reading about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. The more you know the better your chances are of getting published (and not getting screwed).
2. Commit to Learning
No matter how good you are you could always be better. Take a class online or at your local writer’s group. Watch webinars, read, and attend workshops. Set aside at least 30 minutes every day to learn and improve your skill.
3. Commit to Making Friends
Writing is a lonely pursuit. Don’t work in a vacuum. Make friends with other writers and passionate readers. There is so much you can learn from them and the support they give you can help you weather the rejections and bouts of writer’s depression.
4. Commit to Marketing
Publishing is highly competitive. Everything you can do to raise your name above the crowd and get noticed will help you get a book deal and, once the book is published, make sales. Figure out your “brand,” get involved on social media, and start networking with your readers.
5. Commit to Writing
You need to commit to writing and submitting your work several times a week. Build a solid writing practice, line out a schedule you can stick to, and hold yourself accountable. You can’t publish a book without a finished manuscript. You have to put in the work.
6. Commit to Passion
You should write because you love it. Yes its work and yes sometimes its hard, but you have to fuel your passion and drive your creativity to its limits if you want to succeed. Any gains you make mean nothing if you aren’t passionate about what you do.
Shennandoah Diaz is the President of Brass Knuckles Media, an uncensored PR & Marketing firm catering to creatives and the avant garde. Passionate about education, Diaz empowers creatives by sharing articles and teaching workshops on marketing, social media, and publishing. Learn more at www.brassknucklesmedia.com or at www.shennandoahdiaz.com.