Remember the days of Harry Potter mania? Practically every Barnes & Noble, Borders (RIP), and indie bookstore in the country had a release party for the latest J.K Rowling tome. Children, teenagers, and even parents clad in cloaks, crooked plastic glasses, and eyeliner lightning bolts waited for hours to get their hands on a copy of the latest book. I was a fixture in these lines, complete in my Hermione costume. We look back at these midnight literary festivities ten years later as a pop culture touchstone. However, to people in the publishing industry, this is the perfect example of how pre-orders can make your book a success.
You wrote a great book, one that everybody and their mother should read. But nobody is reading it . . . including your mother! What gives?! Sometimes great books aren’t read because of timing; sometimes they aren’t read because the pricing is all wrong; and sometimes it’s just placed in the wrong category. For the majority of books, however, the reason comes down to not knowing who your book's audience is.
Indie Author Fringe is a collaboration borne out of the Alliance of Independent Authors, offering three days of 24-hour, non-stop advice and inspiration organized around self-publishing. Every session is available online and 100% free; perfect for aspiring authors and experienced, small to mid-level publishers; basically anyone looking for professional advice on how to publish a book.
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.
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.
A conversation about book subtitles should always start with genre, as best practices for subtitling vary from genre to genre. Recently, a memoirist I’m working with presented me with a long list of things her editor felt a subtitle needed to achieve, including that it have a rhythm, exhibit a progression, and stand on its own. If your subtitle can accomplish all of this and more, great, but most subtitles can’t and won’t. The quest for a perfect book subtitle is often elusive, and setting yourself up to hit various arbitrary benchmarks won’t always serve your book.
Be a nicer person. Paint a self-portrait. Shake the dust from that copy of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Vol. 3.” We probably can’t help with any of those, but for New Year's resolutions for writers and independent publishers who want to print a book (or several) this year, we have a few good suggestions.
"If you fail to plan you plan to fail." This analogy has been employed across various industries. I would go one step further and say, if you fail to plan you plan to pay too much. No planning causes unnecessary mistakes which in turn cost far more in publishing than publishing itself.
As an author advocate, part of me dislikes creating a top ten list with a negative slant, and yet, it’s so easy to get things wrong in book publishing that it’s easy to come up with a list like the one below, which is hardly comprehensive. If you recognize your book in any of these errors, don’t fret. Part of becoming an author, and especially a self-published author, has to do with learning the ropes, and doing it better each time around to avoid common mistakes authors make.