Publishing a book? Get ready to immerse yourself in research, research and more research. Unless you are already in the industry, once you decide to become an indie-publisher, the learning curve gets steep, very steep.
Prior to the days of print-on-demand (POD), if a writer could not get read by a publishing house, he/she could not get published. And yeah, rejection sucks.
Sure, there were the Vanity publishers out there, vultures only too anxious to strip whatever cash we had from the bare bones of our bank accounts, leaving us with a garage or basement full of books that we had no idea what to do with.
That was not for me. While I knew the value of my work, my conceit did not blind me to the realities of the marketplace – or the greed of those willing to prey on those who were so blinded.
Then, one day, the sun came up on a new world. Scientific progress rewarded us with the internet, the advent of indie-publishing, and the ability to take charge of our own destinies.
Thank God for the internet. We are truly blessed to live with this incredible tool at hand. The answers to anything it seems (except a truthful accounting of how politicians spend our money), are only mouse-clicks away.
Becoming a published author is now a viable option. But who publishes indie-authors and what are their requirements? Those questions immersed me, like a post-grad student, in research, research and more research.
These are some of the major topics I found that needed addressing:
- Create a website
- Compare POD publishing companies such as CreateSpace, Virtual Bookworm, Lulu, etc.
- Join social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube
- Find a copy editor, a proofreader, and a book formatter
- Find a book cover expert
- Create a book trailer
- Crowd funding is available if needed
- Marketing, marketing, and more marketing
There are other ancillary subjects (such as MailChimp, etc), too numerous to list, which came up in my research and needed investigation. Any that prove to be important will be discussed in future blogs.
There were lots of dead-ends and false leads, usually because of my own ignorance. I did contact some individuals who were very generous with their time and advice, but whose input, I later learned, did not apply to my specific needs. Everyone I have been in contact with has been very understanding and most helpful (OK, there were a few curmudgeons.)
Being unfamiliar with the industry jargon was, and continues to be, a major problem. While reading I often came on terminology with which I was unfamiliar. What was the difference between downloading and uploading? (That’s how green I was.) What is back-linking and how important is it really? And then there is the library of abbreviations: API, SGML, VeRO, XML, etc, etc, etc.
Each new concept, each new term, each new abbreviation, required defining. Then I had to find out what each of these items did and did not do. Some ideas mattered and some didn’t but I couldn’t tell which was which without the research. I’m sure I’ve missed some concepts that are important but I work alone, like most of us, and I can only do so much.
Early on, and throughout my research, MARKETING established itself as the PRIMARY concern. With some 3000 books being published daily how was one to get noticed in this blizzard of words? Marketing is a subject in and of itself. More on that later, much more.
My research continues. I am moving forward with the information I have while continuing to keep an eye open for new ideas I think may prove useful.
Writing a book, and actually getting it published, is definitely not for the faint of heart.