Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FAQ: How Do I Publish my Books

I became my own Publishing Company:
I did research on what a publishing company does in terms of production, marketing, publicity and promotion. I pretty much realized I could do the same things a publishing, marketing, and publicity company could do. I set up my own publishing company to publish my own works and produce a published and printed book, become an author, and I retain all of my rights. I'm not restricted by any contracts and I don't have to wait for anyone to publish anything for me and I control the timeline and all production aspects. I don't have to worry about any publisher pulling the book "off the shelf". And I can turn the book into films, comic books, eBooks, and whatever else I want. There still is the outdated perception that only a major publishing company or agent can turn you into a "legitimate" author. Self-publishing is just as credible and legitimate, but of course it still depends on the work being done well. It's up to me to get my name and works out there in the best way possible. Even established authors have to do legwork to get, and keep, their name out there. Remember that even a big publishing house may not necessarily make you famous. After all, it's still your work and you're relying on someone else to promote it for you.

I did research on cost-effective ways to get my book published and printed and decided to utilize digital publishing with no up-front setup fees. I used online print-on-demand publishing companies such as createspace.com to print hard copies of my books. I keep my initial production costs very low. I can edit my book if needed, create sequels faster, and change formats as needed.  Anything I can't do such as, say, the book cover design, I hire someone else to do it, just like a regular business would. I interview and hire the right people such as freelance comic book artists, graphic designers, editing services, etc. Being a publisher is also about getting the right services to create a quality product. There are new technologies today that help self-publishing become possible and online selling more convenient.

Sales and Royalties:
I utilized createspace's e-store and amazon for global digital inventory and online ordering. I can determine my own cost and what formats I want the book in. My royalties get paid much faster and I can keep track of them online. I can also keep track of what title is making sales.

Marketing, Publicity, and Promotion:
I became my own agent, publicist, and marketing company. I set up my own book signings and booths at conventions. Although I do have to pay for travel costs, at least I control when and where I make an appearance for marketing purposes. I can even make autographed copies available, which I set up through PayPal. Since I do a lot of my selling online, I cut down on the need to place the book in traditional bookstores, and I can sell pretty much anytime online. I learned how to write my own press releases and networked professionally with bloggers and media contacts to promote the releases and announcements of my works. I utilized social networking sites to get the word out about my books and used web sites as marketing and promotional platforms. I also write my own marketing blurbs and slogans (I get inspiration from tabloid newspapers and media headlines to come up with catchy slogans and ads). I actually look at flyers and junk mail to see what "headline" catches my eye. It's a lot more work but I don't have to pay anyone else to do it and it is a lot of fun. I learned Photoshop and created my own ads. I set up a publishing and promotional schedule and campaign, month by month, year by year, so I know what to promote and when and keep track of how and what promotional ad, blurb/slogan, or book is getting attention, and adjust things as I go along.

Running yourself as a Business:
I learned to balance creativity and business. You have to run yourself like a business as well and think like one if you want to get a "product" (your book) produced, promoted, and sold. It takes trial and error and practice, but that's basically what a publishing company does anyway. My method is DIY (Do it Yourself). To sum it up in the simplest terms, self-publishing is a mix of both business and creativity. You will have to run yourself as a business.You have to think like a business, while balancing your creative side. You essentially become your own publisher. Your project or creation is your "product". You have to design and create your own project/product, write your own press releases, find and hire the right people or service to help you (which I do, btw. If I can't do it myself or I don't know how, I personally hire or consult with experts.), book your own events, do your own promotion, market your own project, create merchandise, and run your business professionally to market your "product". It takes thought, time, effort, patience, research, worry, and energy.

Please read my writing and self-publishing disclaimer here

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