April 19, 2013

Ready, Set, Publish!


Why self-publish?

After all, it’s called a vanity press for a reason.

Well, perhaps that pejorative term was applicable when only the rich could publish their own books, which typically didn’t set the industry on fire.

But now, if you’re armed with a good idea or a unique point of view, the tools to help you publish a book are readily available.

Whether it’s an ebook or a traditional book printed on paper and bound, you have a better chance to be successful in the marketplace than ever. While Borders went under and publishing houses band together for survival, books are selling as well as ever.

What does that say about publishers? Author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki says that when readers
contemplate buying a book today, they often don’t even notice the publisher. They look instead at the ratings and reviews.

The New York Times notes that a writer turned down by traditional publishers, or someone purposely avoiding them, now has a range of options. Among them are self-publishing a manuscript as an e-book only, or self-publishing through companies such as the Jenkins Group, which can assist authors with everything from editing to marketing.

Marketing is a two-fold activity. There is marketing the book, and there is using the book for marketing.

The former involves a host of public relations and advertising activities, including in-store signings, getting reviews, praise from others for the jacket, making the book available online and at activities such as conventions and business meetings where a ready audience may be found.

The latter involves ways the book itself can enrich the prospects for the author’s continued success. If he’s a business person, then using it to illustrate and extoll his company’s virtues is advantageous.

If she’s a chef, having authored a cookbook confers expert status. If the authors are dermatologists writing about skin care, the tome reinforces their expertise.

One of the keys to success in self-publishing is that the author must embrace roles beyond just that of writer. Without the crutch of a publishing company behind her, she must take on the roles of marketing and business expert.

While it’s absolutely essential to have a good book, having the wherewithal to tireless promote yourself and the book is a key to its success when self-publishing.

According to architectural photographer Patricia Bean, there are many good reasons to use a book for marketing and publicity. For designers, using books to portray their business in a visual way helps them in building their brand-building and supporting their marketing message. For artists, published portfolio books enable them to more easily sell themselves to galleries, and including a bio and descriptions of the works and their inspiration can give more depth to their work. Instructional books can be great to establish you a leader in your field and give you great visibility in business.

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