Publishing Blunders aren’t fun … they can knock down your confidence, sabotage your bank account, and diminish your credibility. The savvy author can side-step many of them by not rushing to publish and getting educated to the publishing process. And, by using common sense.
Everywhere you turn, there is info via the Internet , on the bookshelf, via videos, and certainly from workshops. You would think that any beginning author would start with a quick search on the Internet to begin their quest. It would certainly reveal a plethora of information—how to do it; what not to do; publish your book for a few hundred bucks, become a best-seller; sell books by the boatloads—you name it, it’s out there.
Yet, a huge number of would-be authors start the process clueless … compounded blunders and mistakes … many that could have been prevented with a little prep work. Here’s the remainder of the Big 10:
6 Believing that book marketing starts after a book is published. There is nothing vague about marketing. It starts before the book goes to print—if you didn’t, it starts now. Today, it is seeded with lists—who knows ya’ baby! Social media is an active ingredient in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Groups (especially for business books), Pinterest (if your book’s market is for the female audience, Pinterest is a must), YouTube, and Blogs—yours and others that are your genre oriented. For fiction authors, eBooks are a great tool in kicking off a book—offering free chapters to seduce readers before rolling out the book and building a buzz
Ideally, you want a marketing plan in place long before you go to print. Most authors don’t. It’s part of the over-all plan. For authors who are post printing, it doesn’t mean all is lost. It just means you’ve got to move faster and smarter. Now.
Savvy authors include in their marketing plans which platforms they will be working with and on; what their budgets are; what and where their personal skills are best used; what pros do they need to assist them; what time are they going to dedicate to marketing; what lists/names they need to build within social media; what blogs they should follow to make both comments on as well as to reach out when time is right to launch/market their books; what complimentary promotions would be a fit; what industry, association or groups might be possible fits to connect with; and so much more. It’s part of the plan. The good news is that the Internet has allowed authors to roll-out a variety of different launch strategies to keep books alive.
7 Believing that if you pay a company to publish your book, you are “self” of “independent” published. Understand this: If you pay a publisher to publish your book, and that publisher uses its own ISBN on your book, you have not self-published—you are in what is called a “pay-to-publish” operation; a subsidy publisher; or a vanity press. You really have little control or little say. In most cases, editing in non-existent; cover and interior designs are so-so—usually done via a template of sorts … you get to choose vanilla or vanilla.
Savvy authors know that vanity presses usually produce an inferior looking book that few reviewers care about and that most bookstores ignore. The stigma that the “self” and “indie” markets carried is evaporating. To make sure that you don’t get caught in the fog—create a quality print book using book professionals. For eBooks, professionals are still used for editing, cover design, sometimes layout and marketing strategies.
8 Believing that you can do it all yourself. Can you do it all? Sure … and it would look like it. Errors are guaranteed—from the cover, to the copy on it, to the interior and the editing. In other words, it’s everywhere.
Savvy authors know that authoring and publishing is a team thing—it isn’t a solo act. Get help—ask around. Look at covers that you think rock—who designed it? Always read the Acknowledgements and copyright page—you will usually see these pros that were major assists in the creation of the book ID’d. Google them.
9 Believing that everyone should pay for a book. Give some away—in fact, it may be a key marketing strategy to give a lot away. For reviews from print; for testimonials (think Amazon); for consideration for a speaking gig; for libraries; for contests; for raffles; for getting your name and title out there; for who knows what … it’s all part of marketing.
Savvy authors routinely give away hundreds of copies.
10 Believing that time is short and you have to rush to publish.Outside of poor editing, failure to use professionals; and failure to market—rushing to publishing guarantees failure in a massive way. Breathe along the way—get the right cover, the cover that really says what the book is about and beckons to the reader; the right interior layout—the one invites the reader in and creates a visual path to eases and supports the reading journey; the right editing—the one that supports your voice and vision; if you are printing, the right printer—not all are the same; if you are going the electronic route—learn how to do it right if you are going to try it solo … or engage someone who professionally lays out e-Books. And most of all, write with your voice and write well. If it’s not your skill, get help.
Savvy authors know that books don’t happen overnight.
Every author will make a blunder … most likely, plenty of them. Some will cost little in money; others lots. Some can be corrected with a few tweaks; others will need a wrecking ball to unravel what happened. Know that you will have mistakes—they’re rarely book fatal, although it’s a possibility. They can be costly, bruise your ego and slow your publication … and in many cases, were preventable. Get savvy, get smart … and ask questions before you start the process. Here’s to your amazing success!
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd, a book publishing coach and the Founder of Author U (niversity) a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. She’s the author of 30 books including Show Me About Book Publishing, co-written with John Kremer and Rick Frishman and a speaker at publishing conferences. Her next audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform will be available in the Summer of 2012. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Your Guide to Book publishing on thewww.RockStarRadioNetwork.com. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her at Judith@Briles.com.