Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Write, Publish and Sell a Book


Where Do I Start?

A question a lot of would-be-authors ask everyday, the very thought of sitting down, and thinking of a subject and writing something, terrifies most people.

The Good News You Can Start Writing Your Book Today

There's no catch to writing a book, anyone with the presence of mind can write a book.  There's nothing financially binding about writing a book.  These days even publishing your book is taken care of, leaving you with very little to worry about.

Do I Need to be Good at English Language to Write a Book?

It doesn't matter how bad your grammar or spelling may be, you're in good company. You'd be joined by the likes of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on.

How to Get Started

The digital age gives writers the opportunity to get their books published without any contracts or money involved, using free platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing.  Who provide a ready-made platform with software which will process, and bring books to life. There's no need to look for a publishing house, you can send your manuscript straight to print without worrying about where to get the financial help to do so.

There's no magic wand to ensure your book is going to be a bestseller, that's all in your own hands.
If you're the kind of writer that's only in it for the fame and wealth, I would pack up now.  It takes time and patience to get your name out there, before you start selling books..

Once you've written your book you have to spend time promoting your book, and building an audience.  Otherwise all of  your hard work is for nothing.

What You Need to Know Before You Publish Your Book

Before you publish your book you need to know about the services on offer, and a little bit about the history of self-publishing.

The services below will publish and distribute your book files, but require you to do all of the required preparation:

  • Draft2Digital - Cost $0. Distribution to everyone else.
  • Amazon KDP - Cost $0. eBook distribution in Amazon.
  • IngramSpark - Cost $49. Distribution everywhere but Amazon.
  • BookBaby - Cost eBook conversion and distribution $199.


A Brief History of Publishing

In the old days of publishing, you needed a substantial amount to invest with a publishing house before you could be published.

By the late 90's this all changed with the arrival of POD (print-on-demand) allowing books to be printed one at a time. Many companies offered low-cost self-publishing to all. Offering low costs, because the only expense incurred was that of book creation. These companies included; iUniverse; Xlibris and Author House. 

Publishing Developments Since 2007

With the rise of e-books, traditional publishing has been transformed. US book sales comprise of 30-35% of e-book sales. Online retailers such as Amazon sell 60% of US book sales (both print and digital). You can sell your book to the world without any need of a third party.

POD (print-on-demand) publishers are no longer relevant to your self-publishing success.

In today's online retail distribution you get the same retail distribution as you would with a traditional publishing house, through the above mentioned services. Most of which is free. Every copy sold, the retailer takes a cut, the same applies to a distributor, they take their cut to.

Important Questions to Ask Before You Start Publishing

  1. How will you reach your readers online?
  2. Is your book illustrated?
  3. Is colour required? 
  4. Do your readers  prefer digital or print?
Understanding E-Publishing Services

The most important thing to understand about e-publishing retailers is that they're not publishers. They take no responsibility for your work quality, or any rights to your work.

Here are three aspects of major services:

  • No technical expertise required - You're given free automated tools to convert and upload your files, along with free tutorials and guides to make sure your files are formatted properly.
  • Non-exclusive and at-will - You have the option to edit or remove your files at any time. Allowing you to change the cover, price and description. You can use other services to sell through on your own website.
  • No upfront fee - It's rare to pay an upfront fee. With a distributor such a BookBaby you earn 100% net and pay $199 for conversion and retail distribution.
Again by using these services you don't forfeit any rights to your work.

Two Essential Groups of E-Publishing Services

Most e-publishing services fall into one of these categories:
  1. Single Channel Distribution - These services which are also distributors will distribute your work through one channel or device. Offering no assistance in preparing your files, accepting a wide range of file types. Some examples: KDP and Nook Press.
  2. Multiple Channel Distribution - These services act as a middleman and push your work out to multiple distributors and retailers. You deal with only one service, most well-known of these are Draft2Digital, BookBaby and Smashwords.
Marketing Yourself as an Author
Why You Need an Author Platform

Not everyone likes the idea of personal branding, that's understandable. Especially if you don't like talking about yourself or achievements. Branding doesn't have to be daunting or scary, after all you're showcasing your own stories and expertise. Strengthening your author brand is a key element to your success in today's marketplace. Once you've built it, it's yours to keep and no one can take that away from you.

Why You Need to Invest in Your Brand

You can see the contrast between time spent building a brand, and an author that hasn't bothered to invest in the necessary resources to develop their own personal online presence. Think of it like this, your brand is like your business card, and along with your book(s), your brand will build credibility, and open doors to future projects. If you're in it for the long haul, you need to commit to a branding strategy as soon as your first book is published.

Why You Need to Stand Out From the Crowd

Time and energy is required to market your brand, in order for you to stand out from the crowd. Remember you have total control over your brand and how you want people to perceive you online.  You are your biggest competition, you don't need to worry about your rivals, channel your energy into building your brand instead. Ask yourself, does your brand reflect who you are?

Take Charge of Your Own Branding With Social Media

You can use social media as your very own billboard.  Proactively maintaining, building and protecting your brand name in the public eye.  Focus your effort into becoming an expert in your chosen industry. Set yourself goals, solve other peoples problems.

Build Your Market Value as a Writer Online

Both your book and brand can be the portal to other entrepreneurial pursuits such as revenue streams, services, and courses. Broaden your horizons and take advantage of your brand.  Tell your audience who you are through your brand to enable them to make an informed buying decision. In the long run all of the effort, time and money spent will  start paying off. You'll see your books starting to sell. 

Selling Your Books

Pricing Your Book

Pricing your books can be quite a challenge when you first start publishing.  The difficulty lies in whether you should go cheap and cheerful or head for a more substantial royalty.  Here are some important points to ponder when you price your e-book:

  • Most new e-book authors and independent novelists start their price point at $2.99. If you're too cheap it can end of  devaluing the work you've put in.
  • Creating an platform to sell your books from gives you an advantage, and also helps build a readership for your books.
  • If you decide to sell your e-books at $2.99 you earn 70% commission on all sales from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.  Anything lower than that and the commission falls to a measly 35%. Which is why so many authors switch their prices around between 99 cents and $2.99, maximising on profit.
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