Sunday, April 24, 2011
Quick Steps to Self-Publishing
By Cinnamon McCann
Finish the Book.
This sounds like "duh", but when it comes to writing a book, discipline is the first thing you need. Make your schedule and stick to it. You will decide to worry and overanalyze every single thing before you have even finished your first manuscript draft. When you decide to take on the task of writing a book, every form of procrastination will creatively find a way into your thoughts and activities, all in efforts to rob you of your time to complete your project. So before you overwhelm yourself with anything, just finish the book.
Determine if Self-Publishing is for You.
Although self-publishing has taken back some of the power from the traditional publishing houses, taking on this job is not for commitment-phobes. Yes it's true that self-publishing is probably your best, even only, chance at seeing your book in print. But you will be making a significant investment of your time and treasure to reach that goal. It is important to understand that writing your book was only your first step. Before you make a decision, consider the pros and cons of self-publishing. Make sure you understand what you will be getting into.
Take a Trip to the Amazon and Retail Bookstores.
Take a look at the competition and research successful books on Amazon.com and your local bookstores. Examine books in your subject area niche. Are there a lot of books on your topic? Are there too few books on your topic? Determine how your book will be different. Examine the features of other books in your book's niche. Pay attention to the covers, colors, fonts and formats. What makes them stand out? How many pages do the books have? What are the dimensions and pricing?
You are a Business so be Prepared to Act like One.
Before you take any steps in the publishing process, you need to get organized. That means deciding whether you want to be a sole proprietorship, corporation or limited liability company. You have to set up bookkeeping, get state and local licenses. You'll need to understand your business tax liabilities, and will probably want to find a tax professional to organize your business.
Determine Where You Want to Be.
You may have dreamed of seeing your book in bookstores but after learning that you will have to discount your book (at least 50%) or possibly get your books sent back, you may decide to sell your book only through online channels. Whether you decide to take either avenue or both, it is important to remember that certain forms of publishing will be more advantageous than others depending on your primary sales goals. If you decide you want to be in bookstores, remember that POD publishing companies may not be the best option for you.
Determine Your Desired Level of Involvement.
Determine your business personality so you can choose the best options for your style. Do you like to be in control and involved up to your elbows on every project you do? Or do you want to delegate, delegate, delegate? Is your strength in overseeing professionals who can get the job done faster, and better? Or are you somewhere in the middle? There are enough options in self-publishing for you to satisfy your individual business personality, if you take time to assess yourself.
After all the work you have invested in it, you want to make sure no one can steal any part of your book. That means taking the time to copyright your material. To do this, you'll need to get an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and register the book with the Library of Congress. Yes, it's a lot of paperwork. But it is for your protection.
Ask for Help.
No matter your business personality, you will need some level of professional help to get your book published. This could include a designer, editor, illustrator, or indexer. You may want someone to help you with marketing. Hiring and supervising independent contractors can be difficult, particularly when you are working in a virtual environment. Be sure you clearly define your expectations, verbally and in writing. Make sure you prepare the paperwork necessary to protect your ownership of any creative property.
Know the Book From the Inside Out.
A book has an anatomy, much like a human body. You'll need to understand how, and why, every part of a book works. Decide whether any of the parts can be cut out of your book, without hurting it.
Print, Pack and Ship.
Once you have written, edited and designed your book, it's time to start, printing. You'll need to choose which type of printing fits your business personality. Don't think that once the book is off the press, your work is done. Not nearly!! You've got to get your book to your customers. Once again, you've got options. If you don't want to spend your afternoons packing and shipping books, you will need to find help fulfilling your orders.
Barnes & Noble, Here I Come.
Do you dream of seeing your book featured in your local bookstore? Well, the reality of distributing your book to retail bookstores may be more of a nightmare that you bargained for. Just having your book in Ingram's catalog is not a guarantee that the bookstores will order it. And even if they do, it is not a guaranteed way to fame and fortune. Before you take this step, make sure you understand the ins and outs of wholesale book distribution.
Take a Ride up the Amazon (dot com, that is)!
Selling your books on Amazon.com is a great way to widen your market. You can even use the company to fulfill orders. Of course, everything comes at a cost. Still, you don't want to overlook Amazon.com's potential. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a nightmare trying to navigate the Amazon.com web pages to understand the programs which might help you. Take your time, follow our guidelines, and decide how you can make Amazon.com work for you.
Don't Be Shy. Tell the World About Your Book.
Marketing can make the difference between success, and using your books as Christmas and birthday gifts into eternity. Know how to toot your own horn! It is a talent almost as important to your book as your writing skills. Create a marketing schedule and a plan that includes traditional and Web 2.0 strategies.
Be Patient. Be Flexible.
Success rarely happens overnight. Give yourself time to promote your book, and to create interest. Be willing to make changes when necessary. No matter how carefully you plan, you are likely to have to make changes at some time. That's just life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cinnamon McCann is the author of Self-Publishing in Stilettos: A Woman's Guide to Publishing With Confidence. Learn everything you need to know about self-publishing and sign up for her newsletters to receive the latest tips and techniques by visiting her at http://www.selfpublishinginstilettos.com.
Article Source: Quick Steps to Self-Publishing
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