You would think that being able to avoid ever dealing with the self-publishing life would be a good thing, but I have to say, self-publishing was the best thing I ever did. So far, I have mostly been sharing how I started out as a publisher and part of that was becoming a self-published author. I have talked about the uncomfortable feeling most authors feel when having to “admit” they self-published. There is a fair amount of mocking and disrespect in this path, however, as writers are passionate and care about what they’ve written.However, figuring out the “method” to query and finding a real, “publisher” has a lot of value as well. I began to study the art of the query letter, which really is just another form of using your writing skills. It’s a super persuasive essay, while at the same time a polite introduction to yourself. I was also brushing through the local community college night classes when I saw one that was entitled, “Making A Living As A Free Lance Writer.” I thought, I’ve got to see this and signed up, half to confirm my thought that the teacher must be out of their gourd and half thinking, if I learn anything at all I’ll be pleased. The course was actually quite good, I had already been working on my queries for a couple books, but within three months of taking this course, reading query letters out loud and polishing my techniques I sent off two book proposals with the hope of getting a publisher.I am pleased to say that I had three publishers ask or more and two of them subsequently accepted my books. The value of having taken the class and studying query letter techniques means I think I know what I did right. But also, I knew what it meant to push and promote myself already from having published my own work. I understood that knowing which bookstores were comfortable with my books ought to help. I understood that doing events, and contacting the media would be important. The one thing I didn’t want to happen was that I did the job for the other publishers, it would be a hard balancing act, on the one hand, after a bit more than ten years as a publisher I knew perhaps more about publishing than my publishers did. I wanted to help, but also wanted to experience what a publisher could do for me. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% happy with results of either publisher, although each did help me learn. The one thing I learned and the one thing I hope authors provide when I’m their publisher is that no publisher should have as much passion and energy as the author.
In Part 1, we looked at the benefits of writing, publishing and marketing your book and in Part 2 talked about the many ways of writing your bookIn Part 3 we will look at traditional publishing houses, print on demand and self publishingTraditional Publishing Houses
When an author signs an agreement to have their book published by a traditional book publishing company, that company buys the rights to an author’s manuscript. The author also agrees not to produce another book that may compete with the work that has been sold to the publisher. The publishing company also have the right to change the manuscript, sometimes in consultation with the author and sometimes not.The author receives an advance on royalties. These monies help to support the author while they are writing their manuscript. Unless you are a well-known author these advances can be very low.Once the author has finished their manuscript the process from here to publishing can take as long as 2 years. There could be numerous changes, alterations, proofreadings, copy editing etc before the book is ready for printing. A set number of changes should be agreed to between both parties and who is going to pay for them.There are many traditional publishing houses today and finding the right one that fits your needs can be difficult. They range from low-cost to high-cost, some with little or no marketing packages to very good marketing packages. But and with a big but they can cost the author thousands of dollars. First of all you have to have your manuscript accepted and as all aspiring authors know that is not easy.Online Publishing Companies
With the latest online technology there are many online publishing companies who can format, print and publish books using a printing method called print-on-demand (POD). This technology allows books to be printed where they are ordered. The publishing companies and the author do not have to have large print-runs and pay costly storage for the book.A huge plus to the print-on-demand technique is that the rights to the book belong to the author. The cost to the author can range from low-medium cost in using an online POD publisher the book will look professional and polished. You will not be able to tell the difference between mainstream or print-on-demand technology.Print-on-demand technology allows the author to easily market their book to a wider audience and using places like Amazon.com you can have your physical book listed as well as you can get your book converted so that readers can purchase your book and read it electronically. The best online packages that you can purchase through an online POD service offer pre-publishing, publishing and promotional services. They have a quick publishing timeframe and can give authors value for money. As long as the book’s content is for the general public your book will be accepted.Self-Publishing
Self publishing using print-on-demand technology is an easy and inexpensive way to get your manuscript into a professional looking book. The author owns the rights to the book and can be converted so that it can be read electronically. The process can take as little as 3-6 weeks.In a simple way you start off by choosing your size of book, format your word manuscript to fit that size and convert the word doc into a PDF. Create some art for your cover design and covert that into PDF. Upload both PDF documents to the print-on-demand publisher of your choice. These files are reviewed. You then make the necessary corrections and re-upload, files are then re-reviewed. Order your proof, wait for proof to arrive, check and double-check the proof. Review, upload, order proof, review again and accept. As with the online print-on-demand publishers if your content is for a general audience, your book will be accepted.Put your book on Amazon and other online retailers so that you can start the marketing process. Amazon do their own marketing for items on their website.Part 4 would have shown you the differences between traditional publishing houses, online print-on-demand publishers and self-publishing.
Step 1. Capturing a Visitor’s Email AddressOne of the easiest ways to begin building a customer list is to offer a free newsletter subscription. Chances are good that you have subscribed to an electronically delivered newsletter. If not, now would be a good time to seek out newsletters on your favorite topic and begin reviewing how other people present their information. Newsletters are also referred to as ezines. Generally, they are sent to subscribers on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis. A few newsletter publishers send out their newsletter daily. Daily newsletters generally offer a quick message such as a motivational quote or a business tip.Generally, a newsletter consists of one to two articles; a “soft” advertisement; and links to information on your website or other beneficial resources. The content should be current and not readily found elsewhere. When you publish a newsletter on a regular basis, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. You also keep your company name (or your own) in front of potential customers. When they need your services or products they will think of you because you have provided them with beneficial information and helped them solve a problem.According to marketing experts, newsletters should be sent on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 9 to 11 a.m., or 2 to 3 p.m. Studies show that when newsletters are sent out on Monday and Friday, people are less receptive to reading and more likely to hit the delete key. Monday’s are “blah” days for most people. By Friday, everyone is ready for the weekend and could care less about your newsletter. If you do send out your newsletter on Friday, be certain to send it before 11 a.m. Once lunchtime hits, you’ve lost a good portion of your audience.For best results, it’s advised to publish a weekly newsletter. At the very least, publish bi-monthly. Publishers who send out monthly newsletters generally do not fare as well as those who publish weekly or bi-monthly. It’s best to send out a short newsletter weekly, than a long newsletter monthly. Keep in mind that most of the people who subscribe to newsletters receive dozens of newsletters each week. If you want them to read yours on a regular basis, you need to make certain that your newsletter stands out above the rest.When composing your newsletter keep it concise and include beneficial information. Stay on topic and be consistent. If you tell your subscribers that your newsletter will be in their inbox each and every Wednesday; make certain that it arrives on time. Do not use your newsletter as a sales letter. While it is okay to include a short “soft” advertisement for your product or service; the purpose of the newsletter is to provide beneficial information to the readers and keep your name in front of them on a consistent basis.For demonstration purposes, let’s say you own a health and wellness website that offers dietary supplements and exercise equipment. Your newsletter would focus on the various types of dietary supplements, health topics, information about exercise equipment, videos, weight loss programs, etc. When visitors arrive at your website, you should include a subscription opt-in box on every page of your site. You would want to include a description of the newsletter, how often it is published, and outline the benefits it offers.For instance, your newsletter offer might read like this… “Subscribe to Healthy Living newsletter; a weekly publication that provides beneficial information about herbs, essential oils, dietary supplements, weight loss programs and more.” It’s a good idea to create a web page that details the information in your newsletter. When possible you should post each issue of your newsletter directly at your website. On the information page you can include links to each issue so potential subscribers can review what you offer.You also want to provide them with an incentive to subscribe to your newsletter. You can give them a free report, ebook, or offer a one-time discount when they order a product from you. This incentive needs to be something that will benefit them. We’ll talk more about incentives in a moment. First, let’s discuss the various ways you can publish a newsletter.Step 2. How to Publish a NewsletterThe first thing you need to do is decide what type of newsletter service you will use. For the most part you can send out a text-only newsletter directly from your email account without incurring additional charges. There are some limitations and you’ll need to check with your ISP to determine any limits on your account. This is the option most people choose when publishing their first newsletter.While it’s fine to offer a text-only newsletter when you’re starting out, at some point in time you will want to upgrade to a professional service such as Constant Contact or Listbox. These types of newsletter publishing services charge a monthly fee. Some are based on how many emails are sent out, while others charge a flat rate and allow you to send out as many emails as you would like. Most of these companies offer a variety of newsletter templates; many of which can be altered to suit your needs. They allow you to include your company logo and select color schemes that match your company and help you further brand your product.Newsletter companies also offer templates that allow you to send out electronic postcards, sales flyers, special announcements and customer appreciation notes. Most newsletter companies have built-in compliance measures to ensure that you adhere to CANSPAM regulations. These tools allow you to easily include your contact information and provide a link for subscribers to unsubscribe from your publication or forward it to their friends.Using a newsletter company to produce your company ezine is convenient and easy. They take care of adding and deleting subscribers and provide you with multiple options that are not available through standard email accounts.Step 3. Making Money with Your NewsletterYou can write and produce your own newsletter from home with a low overhead and potential for high returns. If you produce a newsletter that includes highly sought-after information, you can charge a fee. Many newsletter publishers charge between $25 and $100 per year. If you acquire one thousand subscribers, you can earn a substantial income quite easily.Although there are no tried and true methods of making a newsletter successful, if you thoroughly investigate the market and make wise decisions, you can earn a consistent income year after year. The most important aspect of creating a successful newsletter is the market. You must conduct research to determine who will buy a subscription and how much they are willing to pay.After you have conducted your research, you’ll need to conduct testing on the newsletter. The best place to do this is to ask associates, colleagues, family or friends to review it. Ask them for honest feedback. What do they think of your ideas? How much would they be willing to pay for a newsletter delivered to their home or office on the subjects that are vital to them?Your target market is anyone who will benefit from the information presented in your newsletter. People are hungry for information and inside tips. The average newsletter publisher can obtain thirty to fifty thousand subscribers within 90 days if they follow-through on their marketing campaigns.Newsletter publishers who go the extra mile can obtain 100,000 subscribers or more. If you charge $10 per year for your newsletter and obtain 100,000 subscribers, you’ve just become a millionaire. Isn’t it worth going the extra mile for $1 million a year?You don’t have to be famous to produce a successful newsletter. If you have a special interest that has a broad following, you might find that a newsletter will readily be accepted by people who are eager to pay for the information you provide.There are hundreds of newsletters being published and distributed around the globe. However, there is plenty of room for more. Because of the specialized market, there is little competition among newsletter publishers and a rising trend toward paid subscriptions.There is an endless need for specific knowledge in every field. People love receiving information from trusted sources. If you are able to provide that information through your newsletter, you can easily build life-long relationships with your subscribers and put a lot of money in your pocket.Step 4. Giving a Name to Your NewsletterThe title of your newsletter is the most visual aspect of the publication. It reflects the content and it reflects YOU. Take time to write out several names for your newsletter. If you are already established in your field, you can use your own name. Or, you can name it the same as your business. If you intend to publish your newsletter on your website or blog, it’s a good idea to include a keyword in the title of your newsletter. This will help it to become indexed in the search engines, which will help potential subscribers locate you.Be certain to check U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the name you select is not already trademarked. If you intend to retain the name of your newsletter for any length of time, you would be wise to invest in obtaining a Trademark. The current cost is about $350. If someone comes along and decides to trademark the name you are using; you will be forced to change the name of your publication and remove any documents that contain the name from your website. As you can see, paying for the trademark could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.You will be using your newsletter as a tool to brand your business, so you want to create a template that you can use each time it is published. Most newsletter publishing companies offer a variety of templates you can customize. If you will not be using a newsletter publishing company, you may want to consult with a professional designer to help you with the prototype. You’ll only need to pay a one-time fee and can use the template until you decide to change it.You’ll want to include your company logo in the newsletter template, as well as the title, publication date and issue number. These should be considered in the original design. Since a newsletter has timely information, the date of the issue should be easy to find. Avoid using fancy fonts that are hard to read and don’t go overboard with graphics. Keep your newsletter simple, clean, and easy-to-read.Step 5. What to Include in Your NewsletterConsider a copy format that is divided by types of information. For example, let’s return to the Healthy Living newsletter we discussed earlier. You might want to have a section that includes an article about current health news. Another section might include a healthy recipe or shopping list of healthy foods to keep in the pantry.You might want to include a calendar of healthy living shows, conventions, or seminars. You could also include a resource section with links to helpful health and wellness websites. When sending people to outside sources; check to see if the company offers an affiliate program. If they do, consider becoming an affiliate and inserting your affiliate link into your newsletter. You also could include a section on industry news. Or, you might want to include reviews on various weight loss or health programs. You could also have a section on exercise equipment or exercise videos.It’s a good idea to include humor in your newsletter. This could be a joke, funny story, or cartoon. Always keep your humor clean and family-friendly unless you have clearly stated that your newsletter contains adult content and know for certain this is the type of information you subscribers are seeking. The world is filled with smut, violence and angry messages. People are hungry for the lighter side of things and seek out newsletters that are positive and uplifting. Stand out from the crowd and offer uplifting, inspirational and motivational content.Don’t lock yourself into a format you can’t always fulfill. Leave yourself options and create different sections to use in each issue. Last, but not least, always include your subscription and contact information. Your newsletter is the best way to sell your product or service. If it’s a good read, people will pass it along to their friends, family and co-workers.