Several years ago, I sold my share of the west coast ad agency I founded. A non-compete agreement precluded me from doing what I knew and loved. I was not ready to retire and did not want to stop creating. So like others before me, I set out to write a novel. After all, we all have one in us. Right?
I completed my first full-length book and liked the experience so much I wrote another. About the time I got an agent interested in representing my work, the book publishing landscape shifted dramatically and my career as a published novelist came to an abrupt halt before it started. As we all know, technology has shaken and changed many traditional business models, and in the publishing field it happened with little warning.
While continuing to write, I was determined to get my first two books published. I followed, with interest, the rise of e-books. I learned that e-book publishing offered writers an opportunity to get their work out to a growing number of online readers. As a result, my first two novel are now available online.
I'm an adman through and through, have been for more than 50 years. My career took me from Madison Avenue to Hollywood with stops in-between. So I use Madison Avenue as a stage to delve into the inner workings of the advertising Agency business. When you write your book, be sure it's about something you know and can get passionate about; otherwise, chances are you won't have much success.
After rewriting and reediting the manuscript several times and having trusted friends and associates provide me with necessary critiques, the book was ready for the next step. I used one of the many publishing services, which can be found on Google, that format and distribute to online sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Nobel's Nook, iPad, Sony Reader and the other major platforms. The cost is minimal, as little as $99 for barebones service plus $19 for an ISBN number (the publishing equivalent to the Universal Product Code). If needed, cover art, proofing and other services are also available at reasonable prices.
The beauty of self-publishing online is more than the low-cost of entry. In less than a month from submission of the manuscript, your work can be on several sites. It may take another month to have a presence on the other majors. You earn a substantial percentage of the selling price, after discounts; however, it will take several months before the sales reports from the retailers are tallied and you start receiving checks. But remember, you have not committed much capital to this enterprise so be patient.
If no one knows about your book no one will buy it, so you need to get the word out. Ezine is the perfect vehicle for doing this. Write an interesting article about the subject(s) discussed in your book, and readers may want to buy the expanded version. Social networks, both business and professional, are perfect for e-books because people using them are already online oriented. News releases to trade and consumer media will round out your PR efforts.
Once you gather momentum, you may wish to approach agents and/or traditional publishers about the success the book is having online. This way you can reach those who prefer printed books, because online publishing does not reach everyone. In 2011 about 25% of readers bought a book online and nearly 10% of trade books were read online. Both these numbers are growing at an explosive rate; therefore, test marketing your book online is wise before considering traditional publishing possibilities.
If you are interested in seeing how the system works at retail, use my novels as an example. Go to Amazon e-books. Search for Murder on Madison Avenue orThe Adman. The cover art along with a story synopsis and some publishing information will appear. Click on the cover, and you can read the first six chapters of each of each novel, free. Pricing, including discounts, is shown along with ordering information. Those who do not have Kindle or other reading devices can get a free "app" from Amazon or other online retailers. It's that simple.
So go for it. Pull together a compilation of articles you've written. Dust off that old manuscript sitting on the closet shelf. Or start writing a book from scratch. And now, thanks to the Internet, you can be sure your work will be shared with others.
Don Potter is a Philadelphia native and 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement and frequently writes and speaks on marketing issues. Potter is the founder and editor-in-chief of NewSeniors.com, the first online magazine dedicated to those 65 plus.
NewSeniors.com articles provide thoughts, comments and opinions designed to spark thinking, foster discussion and stimulate debate. The editorial content features general news and information as well as videos of interest to the burgeoning 65+ audience. A touch of nostalgia is also included. Learn more by logging on to http://www.NewSeniors.com
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