Adventures in desktop publishing

Do you have an idea for a book? Unless you can find a traditional publisher to fund it (no small feat), your only alternative is to self-publish. Essentially, there are no standards for what can be self-published. Of course, you finance the project yourself.

There are several companies that offer packages in the order of $4,000. Leaders in the business include:

• Lulu, a very popular self-publishing platform.

• CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon.

• Kindle Direct Publishing.

For your investment, providers provide the book ID (ISBN), carefully edit the text, set the style, and deliver a print-on-demand (POD) copy. An alternative is to print offset, a process that runs in quantity. With this you enter the business of inventory management.

Few authors get by with the standard package. All the publisher’s marketing resources cost more and it seems to me that they were a total waste. With compensation there are also warehouse fees.

Among the marketing packages offered were services such as professional reviews, Google marketing, and Publisher’s Weekly (PW) ads. Paid reviews tend to be positive whether the book is good or not. PW is an important resource for library purchases.

Still, ultimately, you are the head of marketing. Establish a marketing budget and develop a marketing plan. Get closer to potential buyers, to the target market. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

The average self-published book sells 250 copies over its lifetime. Also, the eBook competes with the hard copy. I printed 2,000 copies of my book by mistake.

After realizing the mistake, I tried to back out, and the provider was completely uncooperative. I took them to small claims court and they refunded me almost half of my purchase.

Social networks can be very useful. I have more than 500 friends on Facebook and more than 1,100 connections on LinkedIn. You should post comments and articles and occasionally become a “consumer” on these sites, making comments, asking and answering questions.

I write a lot of articles and have a library of past articles. These I submit to the EzineArticles site. Be sure to use keywords that are relevant to your book.

So what advice would you give him? Do not print offset. Live with the POD even if the profitability is lower. Research more than me; There are less expensive alternatives, especially if you’re comfortable managing your own marketing. Choose a neglected topic; mine is about starting a business and the selection is huge.

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