Following on from my last blog: Self publish, Indie, traditional: Where does an author start. Part 1
The journey for us writers is long and tortuous. Finding your niche market might mean you need to ignore the traditional agent/publisher route and go it alone.Modern publishing is increasingly using a business model that only accepts a few guaranteed sellers. The top names only. Or if a film right can be sold before publication on a potential best seller. The self publisher is filling the gap they leave in the market, taking on the production and marketing of their own books. Some even make money.
Vanity Publishing is not vain. It’s keeping control. But the prejudice against so called Vanity Publishing, the Self Publisher and the rip offs and the huge changes in technology means authors are like the babes in the wood, trying to avoid the wolf (if I can mix my fairy tales) Call it Independent Publishing, or Indie Authors and people get the point. If you pay for some services like editing, or book cover design, this is not vain, it is sensibly buying in services before the hard work of marketing commences.
So what have I learnt? A lot of authors like the idea of self publishing but are confused between the process of getting a book published and the need to market it for selling. They are not the same thing. It is two separate issues.
A good book going down the Indie route still needs a professional approach,(You, with a different hat on, or someone else who is better then you.) To edit, design the book cover, choose the size and type of paper, use the technology to upload an e-book, upload a POD book, using ISBN numbers, consider the vat and tax implications in a global world (You can’t publish on Amazons kindle unless you think of tax) all needs a professional approach. The journey from first draft on Word, via Calibre, Epub or Mobi, via HTML up to what on earth is the book’s metadata: well it is a long old haul. Especially the first time.
And then there is the marketing, the book lists, the eshops, your own eshop, what downloadable formats will you offer. Who will write your press releases. Who will organise your launch etc. What are you going to do with the paperbacks sitting in your garage? Thousands of them…… So publishing and marketing are two different services. Don’t get confused. One is author centred services to get the book in to readable formats, both physical and on line. The other is to sell the blasted thing.
It is possible to train yourself and do it all for free. You need to be confident in your computer skills to teach yourself, and confident in formatting in word to put in tables of content etc. (it took me 3 days of research and an afternoon of struggle to upload a fully edited book on to KDP, all in Word and then converted to HTML. I used the KDP book cover and a friend edited the book). Then have you the skills to make a marketing plan, write press releases, ask for reviews, a social media strategy. Uploading a POD via Createspace on to Amazon is not the same as selling anything. Getting an ISBN number and listing your book is not marketing. Don’t forget, Publishing and Marketing are two different activities.
See part 3 here for how much to pay and how to choose the best publisher for you. From free to everything done for you.