By Laura Tarasoff
PubCamp Keynote, and bestselling co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Shawn Welch describes himself as having accidentally become a self-publishing expert when he went to work for a traditional publishing company as a senior media editor. He worked for a publisher just as e-publishing became a field and he evolved with the business. From 1993 to 2013 a lot changed in technology and self-publishing.
New technology gives authors more options for producing a quality product on their own. Well, almost on their own.
1. Access to technology is at our finger tips now
A wide range of creative tools and resources are available for free or very little money. One example is Adobe Indesign, a tool which can be accessed for as little as $20 per month. It doesn’t have to require a lot of money, but it does cost money to produce a quality product. It is important to know your limitations and find somebody to do what you can’t produce yourself. Resources, like Writer.ly, can help you find the editor, cover designer or social media expert you need. With these tools you can build your own team. A.P.E. was sent to over 600 online followers to proofread. They found and corrected copy errors, yet the copy editor that was hired still found 1500 errors. Everyone needs a professional editor.
2. Distribution and mass production
There are several equally good e-publishers available. There are also very good print options. Authors are no longer bound to buying large quantities of their book, or waiting months for it to be produced. Shawn mentioned submitting the manuscript for A.P.E. to Amazon on December 24th and having a copy of the book delivered to him on December 26th. Authors need to know what e-distributors are available and then leverage them. Having your cover thumbnail on several sites increases visibility.
3. Readers want to know you. Make a positive, lasting impression
People get the same excitement from being e-connected as they do from book signings. Take the time to answer e-mails, Facebook posts, Twitter questions, etc. When people feel connected to the author, they talk to their friends about the book. Shawn pointed out that an author should start promoting their book the day they start writing it. Build a platform so you are known as an author and as the author of your book. That first impression is still the most important one. For the e-reader, the book cover is like eHarmony, it’s a “Hot-or-not” mentality. Whether or not the reader is going to look at your book is based on the thumbnail cover. Make it the best it can be. Building credibility by talking about issues in your genre will help people believe that you know what you’re talking about. Talking, in person or online, about your topic or the research you are doing gives credence to your knowledge. Send your book to online followers for free, in exchange for feedback. You have gained a reader, not lost a sale. If people are reading your book, they are selling it for you by talking to their friends. How long will you have to keep up with social media?
You should market your book for as long as you want people to buy it. Being just an author is no longer a luxury if you want your book to sell.
Laura Tarasoff is a poet and author learning the process in hopes of having her first book out soon. In the meantime, she writes for local newsletters and is creating an app of the trails of beautiful Whidbey Island, WA. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter @LSTarasoff