author’s corner: words from an expert

chain_linksNetworking—connecting or linking to operate interactively—a term becoming more familiar to each of us as we continue to learn and experience its reaping benefits.  Recently I’ve been informed that 80% of people placed in a new career have landed the opportunity due to networking, a tool I will utilize myself as a soon-to-be college graduate.

But, not only will networking bring about career benefits, it will certainly always bring insight from the expert to the beginner.  This being said, beginning independent authors can gain the most expertise from those who have been through the self-publishing process already—those who can inform them of those opportunities to take advantage of, and which to always turn down.

In my own pursuit of self-publishing knowledge, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of a veteran author, one who has been through the traditional publishing process as well as published 11 of his books independently.

author_interviewQ:  Is it difficult for a writer to publish their own book?  What were the steps of the process you went through in publishing your work?  How long did it take to go from manuscript to printed book?

A:  No and yes.  No, it isn’t difficult to get something in print.  Yes, it is more challenging if one wants a higher quality.  And it’s quite challenging to get people to recognize that it exists.

Q:  If an author’s book targets a primary market, how should they go about promoting it to others? Are there any inexpensive ways that an author should take advantage of when marketing their book?

A: Publishing–easy, publishing well–harder, promoting successfully–hardest of all.  A few things I’ve done in the last few days (and even this morning):

  • made and ebook version available on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Others can see Amazon for what this does.
  • created an author account on Good Reads
  • signed up to give away 15 free copies of the book on Good Reads
  • created a “sell sheet”
  • sent a copy of the book to about 15 campus pastors on Christian college campuses (I plan to do more)
  • sent copies to bloggers I know of
  • sent copies to other Christian authors–some whom I know and others not

Q:  What are the benefits of self-publishing as opposed to using a traditional publishing company?

A:  pleasing yourself rather than someone else (which can also be a danger).  The turn around speed–14 months with my last book with a publisher from time of final manuscript submission to publication–and 4 months with my most recent self-published book.  Also you get a good cover that satisfies you versus satisfying the publisher, including the making, design, different aesthetic choices.  Also you are controlling the fate of the book and you are maintaining complete copyright rights.

Q:  Some are told that in order to get the best out of their book, they should consider converting their manuscript to an ebook.  Did you decide to do this with any of your books?  Do you feel that this is something author’s should take advantage of? Why?

A:  this is something I am testing myself.  I spent $400 turning a 388 page book into an ebook.  It’s listed with the print version on Amazon.  I will have to see if it pays off or not.  The word is that an increasing number of people buy ebooks, but I have heard recently that this is leveling off.  So we will see what develops.

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