Ever since last week's post about my third book, Article Marketing Made Simple, and now with the release of Weight Loss Made Simple - the first non-marketing book to be added to my line, I've been getting a lot of questions about self-publishing. Specifically, I've received over 30 emails asking, "How do you publish a book?" And once it's published, what can you do to market and promote it?
I'm not a publishing expert, but I can tell you a few things about writing and promoting books. Not only have I headed up marketing for publishing companies in the past, but I've also published my own informational books, guides and products.
As someone who loves to help others in search of a similar goal I thought I'd dedicate a post to provide helpful strategies based on my experience for packing information and selling as a printed guide or ebook (which includes Google books, Kindle, etc.).
How Do You Publish a Book?
You can start virtually anywhere but I like to start at the beginning. The end result will be a published book that gets sold but each step must be well thought through in order to be successful. Whether you are publishing fiction or non-fiction, the process of publishing is virtually the same.
1. The best place to begin is with an idea. If you're reading this post, then you probably have a good idea of what you're writing about. In fact, its likely you already have a manuscript in some form. Maybe it's an idea you started and never finished or a well polished book that just needs a cover! Before going to the next step, think about your readers and those who would be most interested in your content.
2. Create a title that sells. If you know anything about marketing, you understand the importance of a well written headline. The best headlines are researched and tested. The best tip I ever received on headline creation was to test multiple headlines using Google Adwords. I know your space is limited but consider running a small campaign on Adwords for twenty bucks and varying titles and descriptions. You'll certainly find a winner.
3. Hook up with a good editor. A mentor once told me, "there are never good writers, only good editors." Although I don't agree entirely, I will confess that nothing beats a good editor. If you are publishing a printed book, then you'll need a resource to print your book. Many of these resources offer editorial services. A good edit will likely cost you around $500, but it's money well spent. You might be able to find cheaper resources through Odesk, eLance, or some type of editorial service.
4. Use a distributor or go direct. My first couple of titles are available in both print and digital formats. For the print version I hooked up with CreateSpace. This company is owned by Amazon (which is a huge advantage) and takes care of the printing and distribution. It's amazing. Someone orders my book off of Amazon and they do the rest. Based on the relationship with Amazon, CreateSpace offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to getting your book listed on Amazon.com. Personally, I think this gives you preference in search results but what do I know?
5. Get an ISBN. If your book is going to be available in printed format, you'll need an ISBN. To buy an ISBN, you simple need to go to ISBN.org. There you'll find everything you need to acquire an ISBN and bar code to add to your book. Some publishing services will do this for you. If you were able to request an ISBN through your distributor (from the previous step), then you're all set. More and more distributors have been offering this service over the last few years.
6. Design a cover. Again, another easy thing to do if you're willing to spend $50. Go to eLance.com and post a job that provides information about your title and the general look you're after. n fi You cand very talented designers at a low price. Also, think through the size of your printed book. Just because it was written on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper doesn't mean that should be your books size.
7. Upload and distribute. Once you've uploaded your title to your distributor or Amazon's direct publishing program (kdp.amazon.com), you'll have a small waiting period before it appears on Amazon.com. Once it's up and running, you can start driving traffic to your newly published book.
8. Drive sales. This might be pretty straight-forward but when you're launching a new book, begin with people you know and who know you. Ask your friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances to purchase or download your book. And the secret sauce... ask them to buy it over the weekend. You see, Amazon ranks books based on sales relative to other titles. As such, you want to sell your books when other books aren't selling. As someone who's be selling books for quite some time, I know that book sales are slow from Friday night to Sunday.
If you get people to purchase during these days, you'll improve your Amazon ranking.
In future posts, I'll share some additional ideas on how to promote and sell your titles. Whether you put together a promotion (ex: donate proceeds to charity) or offer a free excerpt, there are a number of creative ways to promote your title. Don't be afraid to share you accomplishments via social media and reach out to others who can help you promote your title.
Best of luck if you're entering the publishing world for fun or profit. It's a great way to share your expertise and help others achieve their goals.