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Getting ready for self-publishing

So many people have books in them. So few of these people get published. Thanks to today’s technology and markets, though, publishing is getting easier.

In fact, many writers avoid the slush piles that obscure publishers’ desks and go straight to outfits such as Lulu and Lightning Source to see their books arrive in both print and digital forms.

If self-publishing both intrigues and intimidates you, you’re not alone. After all, you take on the role of an “actual” publisher if you self-publish. The publisher’s “value” (should an established publisher take on your book) lies in taking your manuscript and turning it into something shoppers can buy off a shelf. Many steps lie between those two points on the map.

Consider the following elements of any book you’ll find on the market:

Audience

Knowing who you wrote the book for will help you make a number of decisions you’ll face during the publication process.

Cover

I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by it, but great (or at least painstakingly-created) covers adorn most published books for good reasons.

Formatting

What font you choose, what margins you leave on the page, how you handle images, and numerous other questions affect the overall attractiveness of a book.

Distribution

EBook? Print? Both? Where will it sell—Amazon.com? Major bookstores? Your website? Can you use more than one distributor?

Pricing

You need to do the math if you expect your books to make money, or at least not lose you any money. Printing costs, shipping, the self-publishing service’s take, taxes, and of course your profit all need to be covered in your pricing.

Are ebooks less expensive to buy than hard-copy books? How do you handle shipping? What about pricing at publicity events (you will do a few of those, won’t you?) versus regular bookstore pricing? Will you offer promotional prices?

Promotion

Writing a book is but half the work needed to get it into readers’ hands. Cost-effectively telling prospective buyers about the book can be a tough slog, and it begins with choosing the right avenues. A book launch? Speaking engagements? Radio interviews? Teaching gigs? Ads? A blog? A Facebook page? A mention on LinkedIn? Repeated tweets? Other social media? Other, period?

PWAC Toronto Chapter is going to explore those questions (and more) on Thursday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. Come join us as two self-published authors and a publishing guru present in a panel discussion and answer your questions. Click here to register.

Luigi Benetton is a Toronto-based technology copywriter and journalist. Look for his upcoming self-published book, LinkedIn: A Road Map. Visit his website, luigibenetton.com.

 

- Luigi Benetton

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