Becoming an award-winning independently published author took a lot more work than I had ever imagined. I'm no marketing mastermind . . . or at least I wasn't when I started this whole self-publishing adventure. Some of it was pure luck in the beginning, but now I know the ropes. And I hope my advice helps you on your journey to doing the same!
At the Digital Book World (DBW) Indie Author Conference on January 19, we were so pleased to have Orna Ross, author (traditionally and self-published) and founding director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), join us from London to provide an overview of where things are today for self-publishers. Now that the independent sector of the publishing industry has matured for years−we sometimes call it Self-Publishing 2.0 now−Ross agrees with us that indies are in a far better place than in the past.
Using Ingram’s distribution network makes your title available for order to over 39,000 bookstores, online retailers, libraries, and schools. Through our relationship, we send title data feeds and availability status of available titles to them. Each channel partner makes the decision whether to make a title available and how to display the availability of a title. We are pleased that most retailers, like Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Indigo, Books-A-Million, and hundreds of others, reflect an “In Stock / Available” status for your print-on-demand titles, which is an accurate representation of the immediate availability of your title.
This is one part love letter to independent booksellers and the other part encouragement to independent authors on how to approach them.
Dear independent booksellers, I can’t remember our first kiss. Even so, my love for you is real. It’s almost as if you know me better than I know myself. Like the time you pointed me to Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Murakami is a favorite, but you, my paramour, saw me wander book-lined aisles, restless in want of something I couldn’t quite articulate. Then voila! You nudge me to “staff picks,” and there before me is my next big read.
On this day, internationally recognized as a day dedicated to expressing our love for one another, we on the IngramSpark team would like to write a little love note to our first love: books. And you can't have books without authors, so this one's for you too, authors! We love books so much that we decided to make careers out of helping authors create them and share them with the world. We believe in the power and value of books (above all) and the magic that authors create every time they publish one, but on a more personal level, this is why we love books and authors:
I’ve been speaking at writing conferences since 2002, and over the last 15 years, the one topic of conversation that has changed the most dramatically is self-publishing. Not only has the substance of the conversation changed, but everyone’s attitudes have completely transformed. The trouble is that while this change has been largely welcome (at least from my point of view!), it hasn’t always been for the best.
Top authors and entrepreneurs swear by the process of setting and working toward clearly-defined goals. You may think that things like visions and goals are only for the world of business, but the most successful self-published authors today do treat their book publishing like a business. Indie authors are very busy, juggling lots of things; so without a clearly signposted path, it’s easy to get lost. Whatever stage you are at, goals will help you to get more done and be more successful.
Book marketing tools should be part of your comprehensive marketing plan. A plan based on research, knowing your audience, and monitoring absolutely every marketing component you undertake.
Before your print content can be sold, it must first be uploaded into a portal so that it can be processed, printed, and then distributed. There are a few rules that must be followed to ensure the successful processing of your content. Avoid paying a revision fee to fix unnecessary mistakes by using the below guidelines to get it right the first time.
Man, I love the idea of my book on the shelves of Wal-Mart and Costco. I love the vision I have of seeing eight copies of my book standing, cover face out, on the top shelf of the reference section in Barnes & Noble. What I don’t love thinking about is this: my book does not belong in any of these stores. I wish it were not so. I wish B&N, Wal-Mart, and Costco would sell my book and that it was the perfect fit for the customers who shop at these places, but it's not. The type of readers who want a book about the publishing industry (which is what I write about) are more likely shopping online and at conventions.