Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Hard Work Begins

Wow, what a surprise to see you here! Didn't anybody tell you the weather is rotten out there? I know, I know, if it's so bad, then what am I doing here? Well, probably the same thing you are, I'm running away from cabin fever and dirty dishes. Someone pull up a chair for our guest while I order us the latest in hot chocolate drinks, European Sipping Chocolate. The craving for that totally, outrageously sensual chocolate drink is what truly brought me here, today. After only one cup, I'm addicted.

OK, now where was I? Oh, yes. Let me introduce you to Sunny Carney. Sunny is self-publishing her family history. She's here to share some of the things she's learned. If you can tear yourself away from the European Sipping Chocolate, Sunny, tell us what you've learned so far in your adventure.

"To learn about print-on-demand (POD) publishing, and preparing to publish my memoir, I read a great deal about how to write a query or proposal; how to increase and track sales on Amazon; and more.

Most of the books had one thing in common, something I only learned about when every one of them told me about it. I was already on overload at the prospect of having to find an agent, nervous about the slim chance of a publisher finding me, and overwhelmed by the amount of work yet to be done.

Then I got to the chapters about marketing. Traditional and POD publishers do some marketing before and after books are published. They make sure their books are on the lists that librarians, brick-and-mortar and online booksellers, and others read to see what's new. However, none of them continue the marketing for long unless you're a high-profile celebrity or have written THE BOOK of the century!

Initial sales might be strong: family members, friends, and coworkers will probably buy copies. However, don't get too excited about those first sales. A few months or a couple of years down the road, sales may drop off enough that your book is suddenly out of print.

How could that happen? The most obvious answer is that your book simply isn't as great as you've been told (or believe) it is. The people who bought it initially are people who love you and want you to succeed, even if the book is less than a masterpiece. There may be good reasons why all you got from agents and traditional publishers was rejection notices.

Some POD publishers read manuscripts submitted to them. Some simply accept anything a writer submits, if the writers are willing to pay the price. However, if they reject your book too, consider taking writing classes and/or hiring the best editor you can find and afford.

If people stop buying, most publishers will eventually drop your book from their lists: they can't afford to continue to support it if nobody buys it. Bookstores return unsold copies and get their money back.

Here's the hard, cold truth: assuming you've written a really good book, the only way to ensure that sales remain at least steady is to either hire a really good book marketing consultant for a pile of money, or become your own marketing expert.

If you don't market it, promote it, talk about it to everyone you meet... if you don't send out press releases and requests for interviews and book signings... if you don't contact book clubs and ask to do a presentation, no one will do it for you!

Without becoming your own advertising department, your book will stop selling. No sales, no point in spending the time and money required to keep it in print. Once you've finished writing, the hard work begins! Just redirect the determination and creativity that pushed you to finish your book, and use it to keep it in print and selling!"


No comments: