Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before You Self-Publish - Part 2

Part 2: Steps 3 through 6

If you read my previous post, you realize there are certain steps that need to be taken before you think about signing up with a self-publishing company. And, you know it will cost you money that you may not recoup. This is not to say, you will not, but you need to work diligently and know in which direction your headed to ensure a return on your investment.

So, now we’ll look at steps 3 through 6 of Before You Publish:

3. Learn the craft of writing
Along with a critique group, it’s important to join one or two writing groups. This will be a tool to begin your networking and it will also be a learning experience. Just in the messages alone, you’ll pick up valuable tidbits of information. And, you can always ask questions.

Read and read and read. Read in the genre you are writing and read books on writing. This is where asking questions in your writing group will come in handy. Ask members for recommendations on books you should read to hone your craft.

If possible, take some writing classes or ecourses. There are some authors who occasionally offer free instruction.

Attend writing conferences. If you can’t afford one, there are a couple of great online ones. Check out the free Muse Online Writers Conference. It’s held each October and is a week long.

4. Research self-publishing companies

Whether you’re looking at print-on-demand, subsidy, or co-publishing companies, research a number of them before signing a contract. Along with finding out what services they offer and the cost, check into their reputation.

5. Learn about marketing

If you have a polished product to offer, and you should if you’ve taken your time, joined a critique and writing group, and worked toward learning the craft of writing, you will need to focus on the marketing element of writing.

You can join a couple of marketing groups, study blogs specializing in marketing, read marketing books, and so on. This is the ONGOING element of writing to sell. Unless you have the money to hire a publicist or marketer, you will need to roll up your sleeves and sell your book.

6. Don’t be in a rush

Take your time and the steps necessary to ensure your book has every opportunity for success. Don’t just jump in…it can be a very expensive splash!

Until next time,

Karen Cioffi
Online Platform Instructor


Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Thank you Michael, for the correction. I should have been more specific. When saying "self-publishing company," I am referring to print on demand, subsidies, and so on.

And, although it's not technically correct, many people refer to self-publishing as anyone who does not go the traditional route, and one way or another pays for his/her own books to be printed and available for sale.

These two posts are for those who have no idea what's involved in the over-all self-publishing arena and spend money without realizing the risks involved...and work.

They were written specifically to help these writers.

Thanks again, I appreciate your input!


Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Also, Michael, from a blogging etiquette standpoint, I'm not sure if your comment was to inform or for self-promotion.

While it's acceptable to leave a url back to your site, it's taking advantage and in poor taste to leave pure promo. Many bloggers would delete your comment for this.


terri.forehand said...

This information is good for inexperienced in the world of publishing. Thank you for the clarifications and the honesty. I appreciate your posts and your blog, listing it often on my site for new writers. Good work.

Mayra Calvani said...

Oh gosh, when you say, 'print on demand' it gets even more messy. POD is not a type of publishing but a 'printing method', so you can have traditional presses that use POD, but that doesn't mean they're vanity presses.

Likewise, you can have vanity presses that use traditional printing methods.

A lot of people confuse the term POD.

Michael said...

To Karen and Robyn:

>>Also, Michael, from a blogging etiquette standpoint, I'm not sure if your comment was to inform or for self-promotion.<<

The intent of the comment should be obvious: to help writers avoid wasting time and money with inept vanity publishers that will produce lousy books that few will review or read.

I do not need your blog to promote web traffic or book sales.

My sig exists to show that I should have some credibility in the field that I am commenting on. It serves the same purpose as "PhD" or "ASID" after a name.

I have used the same sig in hundreds of contributions to blogs and online groups and no contribution has been blocked because of the sig.

To avoid additional difficulties, I will skip the sig on this comment.

Michael N. Marcus

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Mayra and Michael,

Thanks for your input.

For this post, the term self-publishing is meant for anyone who is investing money - in any company - to publish their own books. I have seen a number of writers jump into the "self-publishing" arena and spend lots of money without thinking it through or researching or learning the craft first.

I realize I'm using self-publishing in the broadest of terms. And, as far as PODs, the post is not talking of traditional publishers who use POD to print their authors' books.

For this post it doesn't matter what the companies' printing methods are, it's about inexperienced authors who invest money to get their books published.

This post is purely to let new writers who are thinking of investing their own money to publish or print their own books, to step back and take steps to ensure their finished product is a quality one.

Michael, if I offended you I apologize. There are marketers and affiliate marketers who use blogging comments as a means of self-promotion.

It seems to be becoming more of a fine line lately.

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi, Lucy,

Thank you so much, it's nice to know you enjoy the blog.