Monday, March 26, 2012

Key Final Thoughts on Self-Publishing

#1: Market everywhere and in every medium you know how to use. Self-Publishing is not for the shy. I call this shameless marketing. Authors tend to hold back, fearful to promote themselves. Well, others are going to leave you behind. However, give something useful in return, share your experiences, offer information of value, and give others credit for good work. Shameless marketing is okay. Selfish marketing is not. Don't you cringe when someone you don't know asks, "Follow this link and like my author page."

#2: The rising cost of printing hurts the pocketbook. After publisher and distributor costs, the author typically receives 30 percent of the net. The more pages in the book the higher the printing cost. I priced my paperback at $14.95 to hit a reasonable percentage after everybody took their cut. Any higher would have priced me out of the market.

#3: Don't believe the myth that being on the bookshelf at your major bookstores means you'll make more money. First, self-published authors rarely have their books in bookstores. The industry requires certain standards be upheld. The ability to return unsold books looms large. Your publisher won't print a book until it's sold. The bookstore won't stock books unless they can return them. A few POD companies offer a Book Buy Back program. You pay for the cost in your contract with the publisher--$600 to $800 dollars. What if distributors and bookstores ignore your book anyway? You are out the money. Your best avenue for both eBooks and paperbacks are Amazon, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony, and like venues, not bookstores.

#4: I'm sorry folks. My view from a reader's perspective still is that self-published books are inferior in quality. With the exceptional training and coaching available today, the quality has improved, but except for what I write (lol), the average self-published book is still of poor quality. I believe honest reviews by our peers is necessary. Example: A friend of my published a book. Three months later the book had twenty-plus five star reviews. Does this happen in the real world? James Patterson never got twenty-plus five-star reviews. My friend admitted having friends and family review the book. So there you go. I've rated twenty-one books on Goodreads. I gave one five stars. My novel, Room 1515, has been on Amazon for over a month with not one review. I think this is because I haven't recruited and people are busy. Self-published authors need to give honest reviews for each other and the industry. If we don't improve our quality, the perception will continue and rightly so.

#5: Let's end on an upbeat. A nice author advance from a traditional publisher used to be a major reason not to self-publish. Not today, this perk has grown smaller and smaller. When it is offered, the advance is likely to be a $1,000 against future sales.

Shameless Marketing Works!

Here is my book trailer.

Here are the links to my books on Amazon.

Comments on book reviews are appreciated.


Gloria Teague said...

As always, Bill, your blog was informative, humorous, and gives lots of food for thought. And you DO have a review, too, if it's had time to be approved by Amazon by now.

Terry Ravenscroft said...

My self-published book has received 52 x 5 Star (out of 74) entirely unsolicited Amazon Customner Reviews in the UK.

John Biggs said...

I've bought hundreds of books from Amazon and never reviewed even one. I've always assumed they would be mostly bogus unless the author or the reviewer was well known.