Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Self Publish

As mentioned in previous posts ... now is a great time to write that book you're always talking about writing!! Unless you have a large social platform I wouldn't expect this to become a source of income (but you never know what can go viral these days), but it will no doubt add to your resume and your self-esteem. So this has a huge return for the investment, which can be about $0. 

Nice. The world is your oyster.

Article from James Althur:

You know how to do something better than anyone else in the world. How do you let the world know that you are better? A business card won’t cut it. People will throw it away. And everyone’s got a website with an “About” button.

A) Give away part (or all) of your ideas in a book. You’re a brand new social media agency? How should social media work? Write it down. You’re a new CRM software package? How should CRM be better? Tell me. How should online dating services work? Tell some stories. Heck, make them as sexy as possible.

Don’t have time to write it. Then tell it to a ghostwriter you outsource to for almost no money. You don’t need 60,000 words. Do it in 20,000 words. Throw some pictures in. Just do it. Then when you meet someone and they ask for your business card, how cool will it be when you can say, “Here, take my book instead.”

B) You have more to say. More and more companies have blogs. Many of the posts on the blog are “evergreen”. i.e. they last forever and are not time specific. If you just take the posts (mentioned in the point above) and publish them people will say, “he’s just publishing a collection of posts”. A couple of comments on that.

1. So what? It’s ok if you are curating what you feel your best posts are. And for a small price people can get that curation and read it in a different format.There’s value there.

2. Don’t just take a collection of your posts.  A blog post is typically 500-2000 words. Usually closer to 500. Do a bit more research for each post. Do intros and outros for each post. Make the chapters 3000-4000 words. Make a bigger arc to the book by using original material to explain WHY this book, with these chapters, presented in this manner is a different read than the blog. Have a chapter specifically explaining how the book is different from the blog.

I had original material in each chapter and several chapters that were completely original. Instead of it being a collection of posts, the overall book was about how we have been brainwashed in society, and how uncovering the brainwashing and using the techniques I describe can bring happiness. This was covered in a much more detailed fashion than the blog ever could even though the material was inspired by several of my posts.

 C) Amazon is an extra platform for you to market your blog. Or vice versa. You won’t make a million dollars on your book (well, maybe you will – never say never) but just being able to say, “I’m a published author” extends your credibility as a writer/speaker/enterpreneur when you go out there now to sell your book, syndicate your blog elsewhere or to get speaking engagements, etc. And when you do a speaking engagement, you can now hand something out – your book! So Amazon and publishing become a powerful marketing platform for your overall writing/speaking/consulting career.

D) Nobody cares. Some people want the credibility of saying “Penguin published me”. I can tell you from experience – nobody ever asked me who was my publisher when Penguin was my publisher. And, by the way, Penguin was the worst publisher I ever had.

E) How will I get in bookstores? I don’t know. How will you? Traditional publishers can’t get you there either. Often bookstores will look at what’s hot on Amazon and then order the books wholesale from the publishers. In many cases, tradtional publishers will take their most-known writers (so if you are in that category, congrats!) and pay to have them featured at a bookstore. As for my experience, my traditional publishers would get a few copies of my books in the bookstores of major cities (i.e. NYC and that’s it) but nothing more.

There’s lots of ways to do it but I’ll tell you my experience.

A) First write the book.
For my last two self-published books, as mentioned above, I took some blog posts, rewrote parts of them, added original material, added new chapters, and provided an overall arc as to what the BOOK was about as opposed to it just being a random collection of posts. But, that said, you probably already have the basic material already.
I used createspace because they are owned by Amazon and have excellent customer service. They let you pick the size of your book and then have Microsoft Word templates that you download to format your book within. For my first book I did this by myself, for my second book, for a small fee, I hired to format the book, create the book design, and create the final PDF that I uploaded. He also checked grammar, made proactive suggestions on font (sans serif instead of serif) and was extremely helpful.
C) Upload the PDF.
Createspace approves it, picks an ISBN number, sends you a proof, and then you approve the proof.
D) Within days its available on Amazon.
It’s print-on-demand as a paperback. And by the way, your total costs at this point: $0. Or whatever you used to design your cover.
E) Kindle.
All of the above (from Createspace) was free. If I didn’t hire Alex to make the cover I could’ve used over 1mm of Createspace’s possible covers (I did that for my first book) and the entire publishing in paperback would be free. But with Kindle, Createspace charges $70 and they take care of everything until it’s uploaded to the Kindle store. Now you are available in paperback and kindle.
F) Marketing.
1. Readers of my blog who asked for it got the first 20 copies or so for free from me. Many of them then posted good reviews on Amazon to get the ball rolling.
2. I’ve been handing out the books at speaking engagements. Altogether, I’ll do around 10 speaking engagements handing my latest book out.
3. I write a blog post about how the bo0k is different from the blog and why I chose to go this route.
4. Writing guests posts for blogs like Techcrunch helps and I’m very grateful.
5. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ are also very helpful.

G) Promotions. You’re in charge of your own promotions (as opposed to a book publisher.). For instance, in a recent blog post I discussed the differences between my latest book and my blog and I also offered a promotion on how to get my next self-published book (“Bad Behavior”, expected in Q1 2012) for free.

Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to stand out, promote their service, and get validation for their offerings. Writing a book makes you an expert in the field. At the very least, when you hand someone a book you wrote, it’s more impressive than handing a business card. It shows that you have enough expertise to write the book. It also shows you value the relationship with the potential customer enough that you are willing to give him something of value. Something you created.
And you can’t say the excuse “I don’t have time, I’m running a business.” Entrepreneurs make time. And they have the ideas so, again, at the very least you can use to hire a ghostwriter.
Over the next year I have five different books planned. All on different topics. I’m super-excited about them because I’m allowed to push the barrier in every area I’m interested in and there’s nobody to stop me. There’s nobody I need validation from. I get to pick myself.
You can do this also. And now, you should do it.

 25 Things you need to know
Amazon's Author Central

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