As a self-publisher, the success of your book falls solely on your shoulders. Self-publishing allows you to have complete control, but as Spiderman learned, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You must decide on everything from the book’s interior and exterior design, the forms of marketing to use, and how to distribute. How can one person possibly know everything there is to know about publishing? The answer is simple, they can’t. No one is an expert on all things. So, how can you do everything by yourself knowing you won’t have all the answers? You look for publishing resources to learn as much as you can about the ever-changing world of the publishing industry and you turn to your peers, fellow self-publishers, who face the same roadblocks.
There are countless ways to learn about the best practices and changing trends in the publishing industry. You could spend all your time googling for secrets on how to sell more books or how to set up public relations and marketing for an upcoming project and never find the answer to the specific questions you have. So, instead of simply googling, the best way to get your questions answered is by reaching out to experts directly. If you have a marketing question, ask someone who specializes in marketing and can give you the best response without wasting your time. Going to conferences is a wonderful way to meet experts in different fields who want to help by sharing what they know.
If you can’t get to conferences, however, you could consider live webinars. With webinars, you can attend a live presentation and ask questions at the end, just like you would in person.
Online discussion forums are also a great tool for reaching out and asking for advice. Experts and other self-publishers, both veterans and newcomers alike, are active users on many social networks. On a forum thread, you can get feedback from a variety of people, creating a dialogue within the publishing community. Or, you could stumble across a topic you never considered before and become curious.
How do you find the right conferences, webinars, and forums? Luckily, there are publishing associations whose mission is to help you cut through the noise and get the resources you need to publish professionally. In addition, a reputable publishing association can offer discounts on various products through partnerships with companies you might already be doing business with. Publishing associations want to help you produce the best content you can while eliminating some of the stress that goes along with it.
The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) is one of these publishing associations. IBPA’s mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the publishing resources and knowledge needed to professionally engage in all aspects of the publishing industry.
During your trial membership, you can read through the IBPA Independent magazine, mailed to you each month with tips on navigating our ever-changing industry. In addition, IBPA holds monthly webinars, with topics ranging from SEO best practices to advice on increasing sales revenue. And, just this past December, IBPA launched a new website equipped with a new private social network. The social network, called SocialLink, takes the basic discussion forum to a higher level with real-time updates on posts, suggestions for other publishers to connect and network with, and the ability to send messages to other IBPA members.
Whatever your publishing plans, a trial membership with IBPA is a win-win. Once you’ve experienced publishing as a community versus as just one person, we’re confident you’ll want to remain part of it. Together we help each other achieve and succeed.