This is from the blog of This College Dropout ~
In a discussion with a future book marketing, I stumbled across something. We were basically talking about crappy books and I asked myself:
Why do crappy self-published books exist? Why aren’t good books getting their due?
Part of the answer is that crappiness exists. That’s just the nature of things in a reality where beauty is relative and few things are absolute.
The other part of the answer may be in what I call the “4 Lacks” of Self-Published Authors
1. Lack of Education: Many self-publishers do not take time to learn the business of publishing or the business of marketing. You will need both if you are to make it. As a self-publisher, you take on the role that would be assumed by a team of people (a marketing team, editors, graphic designers, sales team, etc.). That is a lot of knowledge!
This does not mean that you have to get a MBA and work as an intern in a publishing company (although it might not hurt). It means that you have to pencil in time to learn either formally or informally how to improve your marketing or understanding the business. This can include:
- Writing course to help improve your writing
- Marketing course (especially social media marketing)
- Reading books from people like John Kremer, Lynn Serafinn, or Dana Lynn Smith.
In truth, every author (self-published or not) needs to do this.
2. Lack of Money: This is another area that self-published authors may have issues. As a self-published author, you can publish eBooks for free and print books for relative low cost. That doesn’t make self-publishing a free ride. The cost comes in when it is time to promote and market. The cost comes in finding editors or formatters for your book.You have to actively spend the following to get the word out about your book:
- Active effort
- More Time
3. Lack of Patience. Books take time to get an audience and to get traction, no matter who you are and what you do. Do not publish your book and expect sales to roll in the very next day. It could take days, months, or even years! Unless you are publishing for a hobby, you are seeking to build an income stream. That will take to grow. You are seeking to persuade people to buy and read your book. That will take time. Every aspect of your marketing will take time to work. If your book is worth the effort, go for it!
4. Lack of Perspective: Let’s face it, we can’t tell if we wrote a best-seller. It’s human nature. We can believe that we might have a best-seller. We can discuss why our books is a best-seller. No matter what, it’s up to the readers to buy and sell your book. Don’t rely only on your own perspective. Get an editor. Share with trusted friends. Share with others. You don’t need to share your book specifics, but the idea. Compare your book covers to traditionally published books. How does it compare? Ask a trusted friend what comes to mind when they see your book cover?
5. Lack of Support: Despite appearances, every author needs support. We still have the heroic ideal of an author banging out letters out on keyboard, delivering that manuscript, and waiting for the royalty checks to roll in. That’s not how real life works. You need support to be a writer. You need the following as minimum:
- Hired Talent-To help you with tasks that you don’t have time for or don’t have experience with
- Emotional Support-To deal with the ups and downs and provide motivation
- Financial Support-To keep the lights on while you work
- Idea Support-Someone you can bounce off ideas from and give criticism
- Anyone else that can move you along the writer’s journey
As promised, here is Charles’link
And, lest you get discouraged by what you just read, take heart ~
The power of persistence. Harry Bernstein wrote 40 books, but destroyed the manuscripts after they were all rejected by publishers. Bernstein was 93 when his wife of 67 years, died and started writing to help deal with his grief. He spent 3 years writing his memoir "The Invisible Wall."
He sent the manuscript to many New York publishers, all of whom turned it down. Then he sent it to an editor at Random House in the UK, where it sat in a pile of unsolicited manuscripts for a year before it was read by a stunned publishing director who immediately recognized it as inspired writing. It was published in 2007 when Mr. Bernstein was 98. He would write three more acclaimed books, all of which were published, up until his death at 101. Bernstein called his 90s, "the most productive years of my life."
Photo courtsey of Growing Bolder