Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Self-Publishing Tip #5 – Start Setting Things in Stone and Early Marketing

The reason why traditionally published authors end up releasing books so methodically is because they’re given a deadline by their house for the final manuscript.

So keep in mindthat as a self-publisher your writing, editing and releasing process can be as fast or as slow as you want it to be.

Because of that it might seem like your book will never see the light of day.

Remember when I said in Tip 4 your next big step in this process is marketing? Well, the truth is marketing should overlap your editing process. Because you need to start talking about the book once you know you'll release it, even if it isn't finished yet.

The best way to ignite a marketing campaign? Set a date for release.

You might wonder how that's possible - to set a release date before the thing is even done. But not only will doing that hold you accountable to meet the deadline, it also starts getting your followers (marketing!) talking about you and your book.

Buzz isn’t just a buzz word

Building an audience who will talk about your work takes time. You’ve already been alive for however many years and in that time you’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, of people. That’s a network to start with in talking about your book.

However, friends and family only go so far. After they have supported your efforts to their greatest potential (yea friends & family!) your job is to continue selling your book.

So how do you do it?

Start building an audience. Twitter, LinkedIn, writing your own blog and even face-to-face opportunities are all a great way to start spreading the word about your upcoming release date.

You can guest post or go on blog tours specifically designed to showcase your book. Or go chat with other writers and readers in forums, take part in some groups either in-person or online, or both!

Talking to others about your impending book should do 2 things:

1. Get your readers excited for the release and
2. Get yourself so excited for the release that you finish all the stuff necessary to release the book on the date that you set.

And the cool thing about connecting with people is if you truly take the time to care about your audience they’ll reciprocate and suddenly open your world up to a whole new network of people.

Due diligence is critical in picking your publishing venue

When I started in the self-publishing industry I encountered all manner of scams, potential scams, real solutions that weren’t right for me as well as the place I finally came to trust with my finished manuscript.

While I was talking to others about my book and theirs I made sure to do tons of research about where my book would eventually live.

First I discovered Vanity Publishers. Vanity style means you’ll get a good deal of the things you’d get with a traditional publisher - document setting, printing, maybe even marketing efforts - but you pay for those services. The biggest drawback is they aren’t cheap and don't always have the best reputation.

Vanity wasn’t going to work for me. I was on less than a shoestring budget.

I turned to print on demand (POD) publishers.

A POD worked for me because I could format my document as I liked, upload it to the site, add a cover and print just one copy if I wanted. I didn’t have to order a minimum hundred or so copies like many Vanity Publishers required.

So I researched and narrowed down to three PODs – Blurb, CreateSpace or Lulu. Blurb, I soon found, was great for putting together a stunning visual book with photos or illustrations but their strength wasn’t paperback novels.

CreateSpace and Lulu both had advantages and disadvantages. But both are geared toward books so in the end it came down to a personal choice. I went with Lulu because:

  • They had multiple printing locations across the United States meaning the books would be shipped from as close as possible when orders were placed.
  • A member of my Writer’s Group here in AZ used them and her book page looked very professional and detailed.
  • I could set my price, schedule Global distribution and link up to Amazon if I ever decided to create an eBook.

Once I settled on Lulu it was time to set the date. I chose April 20, 2012 and here's why...

It was the date marked in my journal on the story where many of the characters in Ripple the Twine were originally spawned. That was back in 1999.

It only took 13 years to get my first book to market!

Creating Writesy Press, finding beta readers and marketing

In January of 2012 I made the firm decision to self-publish so it only seemed right to have a house of my own. Writesy Press was born!

Setting up the micropress, and subsequently setting up an LLC, made me feel like my business - the business of writing - was official. It felt great.

I made the final formatting edits and compiled the pages as Lulu needed them to be for the size paperback I chose. Then my first order was placed and I bought the pre-order copies for the amazing people who ordered early.

Finally, release day arrived!

Staying focused on the 3 months I had to pull it all together kept me working hard every day.

Be sure to pick a deadline that will work for your schedule outside of writing and start the process of releasing your book to the world!

Earlier posts in this series:
Tip 1 - Write the Book
Tip 2 - Forget Your Book Exists
Tip 3 - Prepare for the Hard Work of Editing
Tip 4 - Look at all Your Publishing Options


Image courtesy Rosemary Ratcliff on freedigitalphotos.net

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1 comment:

Lorna Riley said...

Glad to hear I'm getting some things right! Although, I know, Spring 2014 is a bit vague!