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Wednesday, April 01 2015 @ 12:50 PM CDT

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 12: What I Learned Along the Way

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Greek coin with image of Janus, Courtesy Wikimedia CommonsWe’ve now gone through all the steps of self-publishing a book, so this week is summing up time: I’ll try and pull together the most important things I learned along the way, and especially those that I wished I’d known before I started. I hope to revise, expand and then self-publish this series at some point, just for the experience of doing a book entirely on my own, without a POD publisher. If so, you can expect to see more chapters pop up here from time to time as I work my way through that process.
 
So where to begin? Might as well go straight to the bottom line - or lines, in this case.

 

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 11: How to Promote your Book (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Social Media Marketing, courtesy of Paola Peralta/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedLast week we talked about the concepts and goals behind launching a book promotion campaign.  This week, we’ll get down in the weeds, and talk about the specific tactics you can use to spread the word.
 
The first thing to decide is whether you want to target brick and mortar, as well as on-line, channels of distribution. The reason is that while activities that target real stores will also help with your online sales, they tend to be much more time consuming, and usually require travel as well. Persuading individual book stores to carry your book also involves one-on-one selling (to the store owner or manager), while the pay off in sales per book store beyond your home town will likely be modest. The return on investment marketing directly to book stores is therefore low.

 

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 10: How to Promote your Book (Part I)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here. 

Might as well come right out and say it. This is where the going gets tough. 

Up until now, everything about self-publishing has been pretty much under your control – what your book will be about, what it will look like, and how you’ll get it to market. But now, like Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, it’s time to learn that you can’t rely on the kindness of strangers. And that only in an Iowa imagined by Hollywood, if you build it, they will come.

So let’s talk about how you’ll go about getting those hard-hearted strangers to buy your book (or even download it for free, if that’s your choice), now that it’s up there for all to see at Amazon.
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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 9: How to Price your Book – and Does it Matter?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Courtesy of Julien Jorge/Wikimedia Commons - GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or laterThis week we’ll talk about how to come up with the “right” price for your book in each of the formats in which you plan to make it available (eBook, soft, and/or hardcover).  By “right” price, I mean a price that will make more, rather than fewer, people actually buy your book. My challenge will be to convince you that the title you see above makes sense.

But first, let’s cover the basics – how the pricing process works, and the factors that may put a floor under your book price.

 

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 8: Designing the Interior of your Book

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Courtesy of Aza Toth at the Wikemedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedLast week we talked about how to design covers for books - eBooks, soft cover books and hard cover books. If you've written a book, or are thinking of writing one, odds are good that you’ve already spent some time thinking (or worrying) about what the covers of your book should look like. But how about the interior of your magnum opus? Odds are also good that this isn't something that has engaged you yet at all. If so, that’s a shame, because how well the interior of your book is designed will have a major impact on what people think of your work when they read it. If it looks professional, you'll look professional. But if it looks like your local library newsletter, then readers aren't likely to take your work seriously, because it will look so, well, "self published."

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 7: Designing the Cover of your Book

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

If your publishing progress has been keeping step with this series, you’ve now not only got the text of book all ready to go, but you’ve decided on how you’re going to bring it to market (POD, Google eBooks, or whatever) as well. So your next set of tasks revolves around this question: what would you like your masterpiece to look like? 

There are two main parts to this step: coming up with the cover design, and laying out the interior design. Those are both big topics, so this week we'll tackle cover design, and turn to interiors next time around.
 
So how do you go about coming up with covers that you can be proud of? Note that I say “covers,” because you’ll need up to three, depending on how many formats you want to bring to market. They are:     
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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 6: Profiling, Researching, Interviewing and Selecting a POD

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Pubic domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Livius_ed._Heusinger_vol._2_%281821%29,_marbled_paper_on_cover.jpgFor the last several weeks we've looked at how the various types of PODs differ in their business models and in the services they offer.  We've also looked at the importance of ensuring that your goals align as well as possible with the POD you eventually select.  This week we'll use that background to construct a decision tree and question list you can use to find the POD that's best for you.  I'll also suggest (from painful experience) how you can avoid some of the problems I've encountered.

As you'll recall, some of the ways in which PODs differ include price, personal service level, range of services offered, ability to place your book into all channels, and ability to make hard copies as well as eBook copies available.  If all of those capabilities are of importance you, then you'll want to look at one set of PODs.  But if not all of them matter to you, then you may decide to limit your review to a far smaller set of candidates.  Given how many businesses have jumped into this pool, anything you can do to narrow the field will be a time saver.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 5 Understanding POD Business Models (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Photo courtesy of "Visitor7" at Wikimedia Commons.  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedLast week we looked at how Amazon, Apple and Google make money by working with self-published authors, what they do for them in return, and what that means for you.  As promised, this week we'll take the same kind of look at the myriad POD outfits that provide a wider range of services.

As you'll recall, Amazon, Apple and Google each have quite different motivations, based on the significant differences in their overall business models.  One result of the fact that self-published authors generate a very small part of the revenues of each of these companies is that each offers very few services in return, and most or all of those services are automated.  Another is that none of the three companies has an incentive to make it easy for a self-published author to sell through any of its competitor.  Indeed, quite the opposite.

In contrast, for most POD publishers, helping you get your book to market in every logical distribution channel is their only business.  So that should be good, right?  Well, yes and no.  Here's why.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 4: Understanding POD Business Models

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Albion Press, woodcut by George Baxter, Courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsLast week I identified the different types of Print on Demand (POD) publishers that are active in the market today and provided tips on how to decide which type would best meet your needs.  Before we go on to talk about how to select a specific publisher, it's worth pausing to look more deeply into what each type of POD publisher actually does, and how it makes its money. 

Why?  Because knowing what a POD publisher wants to get out of your partnership makes it easier for you to pick one where your interests and theirs will most closely align.  That's what you want, because if the POD publisher wins, then you will as well.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chapter 3: Selecting a Print on Demand Publisher (Part I)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

This series highlights aspects of my experience self-publishing The Alexandria Project.   If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). And you can read a new chapter of its sequel every Monday here.

Like just about every other step in self-publishing a book, researching and selecting a print on demand (POD) publisher can be a time-consuming and even bewildering experience.  The problem arises not from a lack of choices, but just the opposite.  Today, there are scores of publishers to choose from, with significant differences among them in business model, cost, speed, quality and reputation.  The challenge is therefore to figure out which one is just right you.

The first step in that process is to understand the high-level differences between the alternatives available.  At the highest level of categorization, there are currently three models from which to choose: