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I Did It, You Can Too! 12 Tips for Independent Publishers

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Editor’s Note: These tips came from Session 8A of PMA University 2000-“I Did It, You Can Too: 12 More Tips from Independent Publishers.”

Tip #1: Select a hot topic-one that tons of people want to know about.Tip #2: Take time to educate yourself before you begin producing your book. It’s important to get an overview of the entire publishing process-from producing your book through marketing it. It’s a big mistake to be in such a hurry that you jump into “making your book” without first becoming thoroughly educated. Jumping in usually results in racing towards a publication date with no time for generating all the marketing nuts and bolts that can help you sell your book. These nuts and bolts need to be in place months before your pub date! Heck, you won’t even know about them, if you don’t educate yourself!Tip #3: Accept the truth right now: You will need to relentlessly market your book. So many author/publishers fall into the trap of thinking that because they have a wonderful topic, everyone will come calling, wanting to know about it. Well, that would be wonderful, but the truth is that you will need to work tenaciously to get radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine people to agree to talk or write about it. And I do mean tenaciously and relentlessly. I don’t care how great your subject is, unless you’re Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, or John Grisham, you will need to work hard. Very hard.Tip #4: If I’ve managed to convince you that you need to thoroughly educate yourself and if you agree to relentlessly market your book, then congratulations!-you’re ready for Tip #4. And that is, to create a timeline. Yes, please, plan every step of the way and map it out on a line.Tip #5: Create a Web site that will be “the place to go” for valuable information on your topic. Get it ranked with the search engines.Tip #6: Use your Web site to sell your book.Tip #7: Use your Web site to sell other products related to your topic.Tip #8: Use the Internet to attract people to your site by starting an associates program, linking with other sites, participating in on-line chats on other sites, and posting on other sites’ bulletin boards regarding your topic.Tip #9: Use other sites on the Internet to sell your book. List your book with http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com, as well as other on-line booksellers.Tip #10: Look for every niche for earning dollars-premium sales, foreign rights, special markets, book clubs, etc.Tip #11: Create teams for doing all your publishing work. These include: (1) a team for day-to-day work-you, your assistant; (2) a team for operations-you, your assistant, the bookkeeper (it’s essential for the bookkeeper to be an expert with your accounting software), an accountant; (3) a team for production-you, an editor, the cover designer, a layout designer for the interior (this person will either use Quark or Page Maker), a proofreader, a printing company; (4) a team for marketing-you, your assistant, a distributor, a Web master or company to create a Web site for you, a publicity and promotions professional (many publicity folks offer a detailed a la carte “menu” of services and you can pick and choose the ones you want or can afford), an Internet marketing professional, a part-time office helper for a few weeks to duplicate and stuff all the press kit materials and press releases for mailing.Tip #12: Take care of yourself. This includes participating in endurance exercise (aerobic) as well as resistance exercise (weight-lifting). Exercise is not an option-it’s mandatory!

Susan Salt is President of Parkview Publishing. Parkview is the publisher of “Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body/Brain-Gut Connection” (in its sixth printing) and “Fibromyalgia & the MindBodySpirit Connection” (in its second printing).

 

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