Tag Archive: self publishing decisions


Buff Polish Chick with Book

Writing a book is a commitment. I can’t chicken out a year later!

It is a major commitment to write and self publish a book. More than just the time of writing it, there is the commitment of living with it, working with it, talking about it, marketing it,  – up to my elbows in the subject matter of it – for years.

So it’s important to choose the right book from all the books I have within me to write.

Because unless I stay committed to it, or unless I become a blockbuster author-personality whose fan-base will read everything I pen, it won’t continue to sell unless I continue to engage with it.

Is it a subject matter that I will want to stay committed to? Is my own engagement with the story enough to keep my own interest for years to come?

For my first and second books, it was an easy choice. My first was the story of my own family’s homesteading and chicken raising adventures in rural New Mexico. It was a magical time, and continuing to live that book keeps that time close instead of letting it slip away into the past.

My second book was the story of my grandfather’s aviation pioneering life – and I could talk about that all day any day. The story of a man’s life, aviation’s history, world history – endlessly fascinating.

As a self publisher, I retain my ability to write anything I want – answerable only to my own pocketbook to determine the marketability of my manifestos. No contracts drive my choices. I am free to succeed or fail – earn or not. I want to write a book that will sell, but I also need to write a book that I can continue to support. Or better yet, turn into a series that I can continue to expand.

Writing is an art, publishing is a business. My upcoming How To Self Publish Step by Step series gives me a way to move artistically through the business of self publishing – and it is a project that I can support for as long as I am publishing. 

I need the book I am writing. I am using it to write the book I am writing. I’ll be immersed in my series for as long as I am writing any series – or any book.

That’s how I know when I’ve chosen the right book to self publish.

 

Self Publishing a Book is like planting a garden

Spring is a Good Time to Learn New Software

It is time to take the plunge, make the commitment, and Learn. Advanced. Scrivener. I’ve trialed and tested and dabbled in Scrivener.. and now I’ve purchased.

Because I absolutely have to be faster and more efficient in my writing.

Today, new software is so much more. Software is a skill, skills enhance ability – on the job or in my own projects. It is a new community, introduction to a new industry, and often a new way of thinking about the project that brought me to the software in the first place. It brings change in more ways than just my goal to Write. Publish. Repeat.

Scrivener

The Scrivener Website

Scrivener Tutorials

The Scrivener Blog

The Scrivener Forum

The Scrivener Knowledgebase

Scrivener Twitter

Scrivener Facebook

Books on Scrivener

Search YouTube for Scrivener How To Videos

Search Google for How To Use Scrivener

Scrivener Google+ Group

Scrivener LinedIn Group

 

 

The Free Rooster is alive and well

Commitment.

I recently listened to a back episode, Episode 36, of the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast by Simon Whistler where he was interviewing Beverly Kendall about her writing, publishing, and the survey she had done on what self publishers are earning.

Beverly said that she had purposefully targeted places where “committed self publishers and writers” gathered in order to get the best responses for her survey – responses which completely trashed the popular idea that self publishers were earning nothing.

It was this distinction of “committed” that was the real key. That caught my attention.

What was the difference between a self-publishing dabbler and a committed self publisher?  Well, for one thing, the income.

I had been serious about my self publishing and certainly had the time commitment dialed in, but I started to think… and read… and listen… and follow… and like… and pin… and subscribe… about what I could do to really commit to my writing and self publishing. About what that would mean.

I took a simple first step. I went (online) to the places where “committed self publishers and writers” gathered (twitter, hashtag #selfpublish, find and follow the industry gurus)- and I listened.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of voices were saying the same thing – which made it astonishingly easy to hear amidst the crazy babble that is twitter.

Engage: with readers, with industry gurus, with other self publishers, with my local community. Maybe writing is an activity that an introvert can successfully do all alone in a garrett – but publishing requires connecting with this huge peopled world. And self publishing means personally connecting.

Publish Great Content Constantly: blogging, tweeting, pinning… my content has to be out there and it has to be valuable, interesting and preferably accurate. If I can’t do “constantly” I can do AFAP (as frequently as possible.)

Pick a Genre and Stick With It: because readers do not generally leave their favorite genre to follow you, the author, to your next book. I muffed that one already. My aviation history biography is mysteriously not as interesting as I thought it would be to the fans of my family memoir chicken-raising homestead adventure. Aviation history fans love it – but chicken moms are meh. The income lies in an excellent and riveting series within a single genre.

Do All That While Still Writing All The Time: ah, jeez. (screeching tires on pavement sound.)

The unspoken, “and don’t quit your day job” was not as prevalent in these streams because many of the authors had actually quit their day jobs. These were the full-timers, the mid-listers and more who were making enough or more at self publishing for it to be their day job. So I was going to have to improvise in order to do all this while nurturing my day job.

My biggest challenge was going to be managing the time it takes me to write and self publish my books. The two I already have on Amazon, which sell even though I still need to market them, each took over a year to produce, and that’s too slow for where I want to be as an author – and what I want to earn.

I needed to find out How To Get More Efficient In My Writing And Self Publishing, and that answer was out there in the twitter stream as well.

Which brings us to SCRIVENER, and my next post.

Horned Lizard and The Westchester Press

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing says “eBook” but secretly loves print books more.

Trying to decide whether to self publish your book as a print book or an eBook?

Ebook.

And then …. take a long think about all of your potential readers. How many of them may be interested in buying a print book?  For instance, for my newsest book “When No One Else Would Fly“, the aviation history biography of Colonel C. J. Tippett, I chose to put out the print book first because the majority of my target market are older readers who may not be on board with ereaders – and will prefer a print book.

And because the retailers I have in mind for my niche marketing plan will need books to put on the shelves – of air museums, air show lobbies, and fly-in stands.

My next step is to put the book into eBook form, as I have already done with my first book “Just a Couple of Chickens“, available on Kindle and as an ePub.

You have to choose early on in your book production work because the formatting for each book is different enough that you have to split off into two versions. Although CreateSpace will helpfully offer you files from your print book to go plug into KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), those files will not likely make a useable eBook.

You will have to format the manuscript back at the MS Word stage – all as one document, starting from scratch with clean headers and links embedded. There are excellent tips on how to do this on the KDP site and at Smashwords – which is the ePub site. You have to format your ebook in one way for Kindle, and another way for ePub.

So, while the short answer to “Should I self publish my book as an eBook or Print Book” is eBook, there is another question in there – “Is there a market for your print book as well?”  And if the answer to that is no, then you can focus all your resources on your eBook.

But I am old enough to have some old-school in me, and I just love a print book. I think I will always have my books in print.

 

HowToTurnYourBlogIntoABookThis is a question I have blogged about alot – because it comes up in discussion alot.

It’s a big decision, and weighs heavily on authors wanting to get their work out.

I’ve thought about this as I’ve self published my own books – and continued to submit them to traditional publishers.

I’ve finally come up with a short answer to this long question.

If you can wait to see your work published, then definitely continue to submit to traditional publishers.

Set a schedule, set a number of publishers to submit to, create a good book proposal, and stay with it until your time, and list, is up. I

f you don’t get a response, consider the issue again and once again, see if you can wait.

Because ultimately, a traditional publisher can provide us with a team of people who can get our books to places we can’t get on our own. Because we are writers, and publishing is a full time business on its own and keeps us from our writing.

But if you can’t wait to publish your work – for instance, if you know you could be making money right now because it is a niche book with a niche market that you can reach on your own, then go ahead and do it.

Do it well, and carefully, and thoughtfully and strive for the editorial and presentation standards set by traditional publishers.

And continue to submit to traditional publishers, with the understanding that they probably won’t be interested until you can show significant sales.

Because, again, ultimately, we want to keep writing – and publishing work takes us away from that, even as it gets our books into our reader’s hands, which is, after all, the point.

 

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

As I get ready to release my “How To” series on How To Self Publish A Book, I want to emphasis the need for self published authors to produce fully developed book proposals of their writing projects before they embark on the self publishing process.

Usually, book proposals are needed for the process of traditional submission – and each agent or publisher usually has a set of submission guidelines on their website. Book proposals require us, as authors, to do a deep dive into the subject matter of our book, target audience, competitive titles, and to form at least a basic marketing plan.

All of this information is critically important to us as self publishers – and makes it clear that, as self publishers, we are actually not that different from traditional publishers. If you don’t consider budget, staff, industry connections, and public relations reach.

One of my “How To” books is all about creating the book proposal, and the rest of the series, both the actions of self publishing and marketing, all refer to the materials you would have created during the book proposal process, so it is pretty integral to the process.

Self publishing a book is not a shortcut to getting published. Doing it properly, doing it well, means taking the same road to publication as a traditionally published author, only walking it ourselves – instead of riding in an auto, and the road is not paved, and often doesn’t tour through major centers of population.

Of course, you can self publish a book without any of this annoying follow through. There are no actual barriers to just accepting an ISBN from the Print On Demand service and putting up a roughly formatted manuscript. But that is not the kind of self publishing I am talking about – so I’ll act as if that’s not even an option in our author’s world.

 

My series on Successful Self Published Authors wouldn’t be complete without mentioning E. L. James

and

Fifty Shades of Grey.

E. L. James has become a successful author who started with self publishing.

E. L. James has become a successful author who started with self publishing.

The book itself has many people more qualified than I to talk about it – I actually haven’t read it yet. I’m currently very interested in how it came to the attention of the world – and shot to the top.

If the subject matter wasn’t controversial enough, the way the book came to be is even more so.

E. L. James was a participant in a Twilight fan site, but moved her material to her own site after her story started to wildly deviate from any Twilight relevance. The story first gained attention through postings and social media, and James kept writing. She, or somebody, (another grey area) put it out as a Print On Demand book and kaboom!

A traditional publisher – Vintage Books who is or was owned by Knopf which is or was owned by Random House – then picked it up and voila it appears in grocery checkout lines. Yet another thing to not explain to my daughters right now…. the practical hazards of a rope bikini… not now, please.

Once again, the moral of this successful self publishing story is … content.

This book had such compelling and interesting content, that it simply sold and sold some more. The rest followed like a weal follows a whip crack.

In the many many things we learn from this book – we learn that content really is dominant.

If the content is riveting enough, it will make its way blindfolded to the hands of readers everywhere.

I should stop now… It’s too tempting to tie myself in knots over this.
Seriously, I’m stopping now.

Congratulations to E. L. James!

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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