Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A To Do List For Self-Publishing Writers

Since there is a huge influx of people wanting to take this route when it comes to publishing, I thought I would give you a few things to consider. I have always said that I want writers to succeed and frankly, there have been far too many authors taking the self-publishing route that have horribly failed. So, with that in mind, here are some things to certainly pay attention to.

FIND TWO GREAT EDITORS I am sorry to say this, but you need to find someone outside of your immediate circle to help with this one. Along the same lines, your spell-checker and grammar checker is simply not going to cut it. First of all, you need someone who knows the business of publishing and who can provide for you the content editing of your project to make it something marketable. Secondly, you need to hire someone who is a genius when it comes to copy editing. Again, that grammar checker is simply not going to work for you. And yes, when I say these people need to be from the "outside" I mean it. Because you have worked so closely with that project, you are likely going to miss a lot of things. These, by the way, are known as reading miscues.

CONDUCT HUGE AMOUNTS OF MARKET RESEARCH You need to really examine where the best market is at for your book as well as what will sell to those people. This has to go beyond the simple topic of your story. I'm talking finding the right voice for that group of people, finding the right sales approach, cover and so forth. Each audience out there is extremely different and what works for one may not work for someone else.

KNOW THE BUSINESS INSIDE AND OUT This means you need to simply have connections to things such as Publisher's Weekly, Bookscan and so forth. You need to become an expert in literary contracts and negotiations. Make sure that you understand the in's and out's of rights and sub-rights. Know what you can negotiate and what things you cannot negotiate. Don't get yourself hooked into a contract that you may be screwed over by when the company goes belly up.

HIRE A PUBLIC RELATIONS/MARKETING EXPERT Unless this is your profession, you need to make sure to hire someone who will create that website for you, get those promo's out to your audience, set up interviews with newspapers, get that manuscript out to the press for reviews and so forth. This is going to take up a lot of your own writing time and you cannot afford to lose that. Oh, and this person also needs to have media connections to deal with those film and movie right.s

MAKE INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS WITH PUBLISHERS TO SELL YOUR BOOK There is a huge market overseas and you need to build those connections. Since you now own all the rights to your books you have to get that book to those publishers. This will likely mean your attending the London, Barcelona and Frankfurt Bookfairs to build those connections.

FIND SOMEONE TO PRODUCE A HIGH QUALITY BOOK COVER You do judge a book by it's cover and therefore you have to find someone who knows how to create that truly marketable book cover. This is what readers look at first and if it looks like garbage, they will assume your book is also. Take the time to really make sure this is in great shape.

This is a big one. One published author I know of at TOR already has a great marketing team behind her from the publisher and yet still puts out over $5000 for each book just in marketing alone. This doesn't count the money she spends to attend conferences and personally connect with readers.

HAVE A GREAT LAWYER ON STANDBY Not that there will be any problems, but should there be legal issues, or you missed specific paperwork with the IRS, you need to have a great literary lawyer there to back you.

This is just the surface, but these are certainly things you better have in place. You cannot take shortcuts on this. To be successful, you cannot simply live off of selling 500 copies of your book.

Best of luck with you on this!


1 comment:

  1. Great post, Scott! I would love to see more posts on this topic, and how you've noticed any changes in the agent landscape. Personally, I still want an agent - but one thing I'm finding is that if my manuscript doesn't fit into a very specific "it can sell here" mold, then agents often pass even though they compliment my writing and welcome future projects from me.

    Many times, readers will like those things that aren't so pigeonholed in topic, though of course market research is essential unless someone wants to just sell to their friends. That part, I get. I just find it horribly frustrating when my material may not neatly fit into A,B,or C slots - but industry folks tell me my writing is good.

    Would love to hear you talk about this more. I really enjoyed your presentation in Chicago :)