Friday, October 1, 2010

Self-Publishing To Do List

Publishing your own book is not as confusing or difficult as I thought it would be. So far, at least. One big asset, and I highly recommend you get one of these, is a professional consultant who is on your side--someone who knows the business, will give good advice and encouragement, and will answer your e-mails quickly.

My guy, Jeff Gerke, has all of these qualifications and more. I'm bugging him lots right now with questions and he's lightening quick with his replies. He is going to be worth all the consulting fees he charges me when it's over.

So here's my list of things to do, in chronological order:

1. Final Revisions. I want to make sure the writing is in top form. This will be the most expensive, the most time-consuming, and the most difficult item on the list. It will also be the most important one, by far. My guy, Jeff, will give me a "Comprehensive Critique" for around $3000, and a "Full Edit" afterward, if I want it, for another $3000. (It's extra expensive because it's such a long book.) Then I'll have to make the revisions. This might be a very long process!

2. Typesetting. Has to be done before the printing company can print the book. Some people do this job themselves, but I don't trust myself. I'm paying Jeff to do this too.

3. Book Cover Design. I have a strong idea of what I want the book cover to look like, so I am taking the iniative with this task. I will hire Jeff to do the final product, but I'll be sending him pictures to incorporate into the design. I had thought I would need to hire an artist to create the image I wanted. This would have been quite expensive. But when I read the great book, Doesn't She Look Natural?, by Angie Hunt, I noticed the cover image was a photograph. Using a photograph will be much cheaper, and I'm having lots of fun getting one. I've found three models who look enough like my three main characters to be related to them. How amazing is that? I'm hiring my creative son-in-law to do a photo shoot with the models posing exactly as I've pictured them on the front of my book. I have no idea if this will work or not, and if Jeff recommends some other design instead I'll listen to him. He knows what sells. But for now, I'm having fun playing around with the idea.

4. Printing. Finding the right printing company is important and takes a bit of research. There are many good services out there, but I think I've found the right one for this project--a young, energetic group of people, with state-of-the-art equipment--and I'm so happy with what they do I'm considering investing in the company. They will print one book at a time, for one penny a page, and mail it directly to the people who order it from my website. Some printing companies require you to buy hundreds of copies of the book up front, which have to be shipped to you and stored in your garage until you can get rid of them, if you can get rid of them! If you're in the market for a printing service, check out Snowfall Press.

5. Marketing. Because I want my books to be affordable to the average reader, I want to sell them myself. Selling through a retailer, or even on, would make my 500-page book way too expensive. Those middlemen are greedy souls. That's why authors publishing the traditional way only make a dollar or less on each sale. If I sell my trade paperback for $12, my profit on each book will be from five to seven dollars, and my readers will feel like they're getting a fair deal. Of course, the downside is I have to do my own marketing. The focus will be the internet. I'll look for sites related to the topic of my book and advertise on those sites. Because my book has an apocolyptic element, I am going to advertise on the December 21, 2012 website, which receives millions of hits a month from people around the world who are interested in "the end of the world as we know it."

6. Website. Because I'm selling the book myself, I'll need a proper website with all the bells and whistles (PayPal and Visa). This is another task I'm going to trust to a professional. The website will be my only interface with potential customers, so it's important that it looks good and works well. I'm looking for the right person for this job. I have lots of ideas for promoting the book on the web, so I'll pay someone to set up the site, then learn how to service it myself, so I can keep it current without spending an arm and a leg.

So that's it. Six things to do. Simple. And I'm pertty sure not#$hing kan go rong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ginny,

I have a friend/co-worker who has done some fantastic website design so if you need someone, let me know. I'm thinking you'd need a "micrsite" as opposed to a full fledged website which shouldn't be too expensive to design.