December 3, 2013

Self Publishing - 2

Dear M,

When I say self-publishing is affordable these days, I mean it in a relative sense. It depends on who we are talking about. It depends on which of the self-publishing options and houses we're talking about. If we are determined that we could get back our investment or if the purpose behind it is to see our name in print, then it could be a worthwhile shot. Finding the appropriate self-publisher is the first, most difficult task. We could go for an expensive print-on-demand shop or a printer who will print out your book in thousands at a comparatively lower price per book.

But, be it self-published or traditionally published, the most important thing that helps sell the book is its quality. The plot, the presentation, the editing. If it is not perfect enough, it might not catch fire. A traditional publisher has the mechanism to make sure the book runs through several perfecting cycles. In self-publishing, the number of cycles depends on us.

With more control comes more responsibility. There is so much we can do. There is so much to be done. Will your energy, your motivation, your determination or your faith in the book ever fail? Until the book begins to roll on its own, until the word-of-mouth publicity wheels begin motion, you cannot tire or stop.

The price of a book is a crucial factor in deciding who will randomly pick up the book from a bookshop. Readers are always on the lookout for unheard-of authors and untold stories. An anonymous author's book with an interesting title and intriguing cover image, and a curiosity-invoking blurb - if the price is reasonable, any reader would happily buy that book. But if it isn't, however interesting it all seems, people are going to hesitate. So the question here is, do we want people to pick up the books, even if it brings us a loss, or do we want to make a profit out of our books (or at least make enough money to cover the expenses). Big question-mark. Many a wo/man has made the wrong choice.

There is no end to the ways you can get the word out. Go to bookshops, get the contact details of their distributors/vendors. Call them up incessantly until they place an order. Put the book for sale in online websites. Keep talking about your book in social media until friends begin to unfollow/unfriend/untalk. I have heard of a person who went from door to door in his neighbourhood and told people about his new book. The people had no option but to buy the book, though many had no intention of reading it. And one of those buyers who read the book told me it is an interesting book. I have read somewhere that Paulo Coelho sold his first books on the busy street, walking to and fro and talking to strangers. If we assume that our brilliant book is so brilliant that it will sell itself, you know who we're kidding.

Today there are places like Amazon KDP, which is an easy (and free) platform to put up books for sale online. Many readers have upgraded themselves to ebook readers. And many more are joining the pack. It is time to put up our books in ebook format.

The book promotion might take up so much of your time that you may not be able to work on your next book. Yes, that could lead to frustration and wanting to give up on this promotion. Self-publishing could work, or could fail - and the decision requires a lot of courage.

There's a whole lot of lessons and exercises out there. It's good to know what we're getting into, before we start.

Love.

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4 comments :

  1. There are so many things to know and learn. I have learned something new from you today. Thanks for the useful information.
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    1. This is overwhelming! Thank you very much.

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