Category Archives for "Writing and Publishing Process"

The Importance of Amazon Best-Seller Status

Over the weekend, I got busy with a colleague’s book and we worked out a strategy for her to rise up from number 1-gazillienth to Number 1 Best Seller status on Amazon.   Wow – that’s no small feat – I hear you say.  Well for those of you who are familiar with the Amazon beast, it does take a bit of taming, and some serious thought went into this project.   Not least due to the fact that the book has been out for a couple of years already, so we’d missed the magic 90 day window.

Now, the fact that I have days on end where I live and breathe Amazon, Books, and All things relative to listing and ranking on Amazon, should not muddy the waters here.  Even for someone like me, getting to the actual Number 1 position – and getting the Coveted Best Seller Badge added to the listing was more than I had hoped for – a solid top 10 would have been a great achievement.   But we pulled our best out of the hat and got there.   Yay.  

Now – while this may sound like a big old Braggidocious Me session – the reason I’m writing about the Amazon Best Seller thing is this:

  • It does count,
  • There is a strategy behind achieving this kind of outcome,
  • and it matters – a lot.  

The Value of Credibility

You see, Amazon is still one of  the holy grails of lists to get your book on.   It’s a massive credibility booster as an author, because most readers do not know these strategies and the marketing efforts behind getting results.  They assume  that this means the book is stupendously successful and therefore the author must ‘really know her/his stuff’ to have sold so many books and have so many reviews.  And to some degree they are right.  The really crappy books don’t tend to get there at all, or stay at the top for long.  And there are a lot of crappy books out there.  This again all comes back to what you want to have happen when you write a book – why are you doing this?

If credibility is not one of your top three reasons, then back up and bugger off.  You’re wasting your own time and that of your readers.  Because  credibility will be what makes sure your book is of quality, gets a fair amount of attention and marketing, and earns you rewards in the form of work/career opportunity, higher fees, and maybe even awards and money.

So how do you get your book to the top of the credibility charts?

For starters, ensure that your Amazon listings and profile, bio, and reviews are easy to see, well done, and actually do promote both you and your book(s).  That includes paying attention to your descriptions, having a good looking profile page, and some reviews.

There’s more – lots more.  But getting these parts right are very important.  Did you know that Amazon is second only to Google for searching information about just about anything?  Particularly anyONE.   So if you’re trying to be taken seriously about what you do – please ensure you pay attention to the importance of how great you appear to be on Amazon.

And THIS is a GREAT looking profile builder for Ann Dettori Wilson today! 

Pssst – you can click on the image to get to the Amazon listing – and I highly recommend the book if you’re thinking about writing one yourself. 

 

 

If you are an author, want to be one, or have a book on Amazon that is not working hard for you – get in touch with Dixie today.   

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Common Mistakes Authors Make: Not thinking about who their readers are

Authors not thinking about who their readers are is a major issue.  This is not only Author-ship 101, it’s Marketing 101.

Up until only a dozen or so years ago, in terms of author marketing it was OK to focus on going wide… who’s the general target market.  For example – women aged 25-45, who lived in suburbia and worked full time. Now, it’s a much better idea to niche it down to understand who exactly your reader(s) are likely to be.  For example – 40-55 year old women who take holidays overseas at least once a year, most likely drive a blue Ford Taurus, work an average of 35 hour per week, have two, but no more than three children aged 15 or over, and  a dog.   Maybe also a cat or a budgie.

Why is it so important to know your market to this level?

Because you want to know how much time they are likely to have for reading, how many books a year, are they likely to read fiction or non-fiction, what other authors are they into, and do they prefer Kindle or printed books? Where do they hang out on line? Are they more into Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Linked In, or Facebook?   Single, dating, independent, gay,straight, belong to women’s groups, drink chardonnay or merlot?

The more you know about your intended readers, the more easily you can pinpoint a marketing strategy aimed at exactly those people – not all the maybe readers.  Because the ‘maybe market’ are less likely to finish reading your book  – and finishers are more likely to review and post feedback. And the maybe market are easy to get the attention of through your target marketing, but their conversion rates are lower, meaning that it costs you a lot more to advertise your book to them.

This therefore, all comes back to the first rule of writing a book – decide why you are writing it, for whom, and what you want to have happen when they read it.

Why are you writing a book – and why now?

What made you get up one day and say – I’m going to write a book about leadership, or customer service, or dog grooming for poodles.

Who is going to read that book – and why do they care what you have to say on the matter, vs the same subject covered by literally thousands of authors over the last decade.  In the case of Leadership, there are actually 10s of thousands of authors.

What do you want to have happen when someone reads your book? 

Will they grab your details and book you for coaching, training, to speak at their convention in the spring?  Do you want to elicit a lot of fan mail for your ego?  Or do you want your readers to form a political party and start campaigning about something?

Again – in each of these instances, the first thing to note is – who is your reader?

When you’ve worked that part out – you might be ready to write and promote your book. 

 

 

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Books are Like Babies

Why Books are Like Babies…

I’ve often drawn a comparison to writing books as being like having a baby – you have no idea what it’s going to look like; whether you’ll end up going through the whole nine months and then under or over time at the end, or if the birthing process is going to be 52 minutes or 52 hours (my first born took that long to get here – he’s still a lover of slow and sleepy).   The dramas you have as a parent after your baby arrives are also akin to a new book.  The launch phase, even the first time you give your book to someone special and then sit on your hands, hopes and dreams as you wait for some much yearned for feedback.  “Oh it was delightful having your son visit our home – he played so nicely with the other children.”   or “Yes your book was great – I sat up all night reading it!”  Much the same thing… as any author who is also a parent will tell you.

And books are like babies in other ways.   For a start, there is no one special formularised way to do any of the following:

Get pregnant, get through your pregnancy, what you’ll crave, how hard and fast your contractions will be, whether you’ll have a few false starts, if you’ll cross your legs at the end and say “I’m never having sex again” or “Bring it on – let’s create our own basketball team honey!”

From there, it’s a question of, what kind of kid will ours be? A creative, sports player, funny kid, serious, high achiever, or regular easy going jokester… will he or she grow up to be a little wild, studious, a romantic, a spoiled brat, or the next Mother Theresa?

You just don’t know any of this when you first contemplate having kids, and even all the way along the process until well into adulthood, you really have no idea how they’ll grow or what the outcomes will be by the time they leave home as young adults.  And every kid is different – even identical twins are unique in their own special ways.

So too are books.  There is no single formula for how to write, nurture, develop, give birth to, or nurture the outcomes for any single book. But you can take some leaves out of any good ‘parenting’ guide.

For example:

How long it will be, what sort of book it’s going to be, the genres it will fit into, what you want to have happen when someone reads your book.  You can decide if you want quotes or summaries at the end of each chapter, or images and diagrams, placed throughout.  If you want your chapter headings to look one way, and your fonts and headings to be another way, then that’s up to you.

I have Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titans beside my bed, and regularly pick up this book and read a chapter or two before starting my day. I’m alway struck by how different it is from start to finish. Some chapters are really short, and have completely different content styles  than others.  Its a feast of a book: visually, literally, and mentally. I may well still have the same well-read, falling-to-bits version by my bed in another 30 years, because every page is so incredibly unique. But at 700+words, and for the style of book it is -and the fact that Tim Ferris can probably get away with just about anything by now –  this book works.  Because having a standardised anything in this style of book simply would not ensure it was well read and highly prized over any period of time by book nuts like me.  And that’s who it’s targeted at. Info-junkie-book-nuts.

For all your wannabe authors out there who stress over what your book ‘should’ be like – relax.  It’s just like having a baby.  You have only so much control over how you nurture, develop, grow it, and give birth to it.  But by all means, engage in the help of a good medical team, devour the nutritional diet that is best for you, breathe slowly and steadily through your aches and pains, and look at other books to see how you would love yours to ultimately turn out. And work with a publishing coach just as you would a midwife to ensure your best outcomes, and to have someone on hand to ask all those seemingly dumb questions.

BTW they’ve not dumb questions at all – just outside of your own knowledge base for now.  By the time you’re ready with number three you’ll be dishing out chocolate chip cookies an hour before dinner time too!   🙂

Enjoy….

 

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Common Mistakes Authors Make – Part 2: Transcribing Your Words

One of the biggest and most frustrating issues I hear about from all this new-style form of publishing as an indie author is around the issue of recording and then transcribing your words into a book.   The growing use of great software that enables you to simply record your voice accurately, and have your text turn into a book, without editing in many instances, is the thing of nightmares for most serious writers and publishers.  Regardless of whether you’re an indie or a traditional author, you need to know this simple truth. Your spoken words are received differently by the reader than your written words are.

You can by all means, record your book, blog, report or anything else for that matter. I’m not knocking the concept of recording your work if you feel you’re a better speaker than writer.   And for many people, this is a perfect option because it’s also less time consuming and easier to find the right ‘flow’ for your words.   Just as some people also like to hand write everything to get their personal ‘muses’ awoken and performing well.  The issue lies not with the option of recording, but in what happens next.

If you record your book, then you must have it edited thoroughly and that includes having the manuscript properly tidied up.   This is an expensive edit if you choose to not do a lot of this part yourself.  The challenge is, that when you go through and read your transcribed words out loud to see if they make sense to you, as you are the person closest to your content, the words will undoubtedly be very well ‘heard’ by your own ears.   However, to someone who is not you – although in some cases your partner might be so familiar with your speaking style that they too will not pick up on the nuances obvious to anyone else – will read your work without your voice in their head and will simply find that your work is (at best) poorly written.

Poorly written books are rubbish!

Worth not much more than scrap paper.   Ouch!   I know that sounds brutal, but sadly it’s true. 

If you are writing a book because you wish to impress your potential clients, fans, family that you are outstanding in your field of expertise, then producing a poorly written book – regardless of how good your actual wisdom might be – will fail to hit any targets you set for it.

Please, simply know this.  If you think you can race to the finish line by simply making some notes, and then recording a spoken version of your book, and then not having it professionally edited by someone who has high quality ghost writing and/or superior editing skills, you are potentially wasting your time, and risking your reputation.

Your Best Solution

So here’s what you can do if you wish to speed up the process of developing your manuscript. 

Make lots of notes – write out most of your content and if you are already an outstanding professional speaker, then you might be able to get away with recording the bulk of your content with just the notes.  From there, get a very competent outsider (someone who who is not you, and does not hear you talking on a daily basis) to read your material.   And give you brutal feedback.

Then hire a great writer or editor to polish your manuscript thoroughly.

From there, be prepared for some additional re-writes of your own, because your editor will stumble across some things you said that just won’t make sense, and then hire an alternative editor for a final go over.

Then you will have a manuscript worthy of publishing.  One that will be a professional representative of your expertise in your market.

 

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Common Mistakes Authors Make – Part 1: Overthinking Content

I get asked a lot of questions about writing and publishing books and there are some frequently asked questions I could list for an hour or so, but I often don’t get asked about the things that authors seem to blindly just plunge into making big mistakes about, so I thought I’d have more fun listing these.   Over the next few week’s I’ll go through them one by one. 

The first one, and by far the biggest one in my view is thinking either too much or not enough about your content.  Often an author will start writing and overthink how much content they have, and how they might fit it all into one book.  The chances of ending up with ‘word salad’ is all too high when you overthink your content.

For example, you may be an expert about leadership.   And maybe you run workshops or offer training about this.  If you’re pretty good at – all the way to being bloody amazing at this topic, then I bet you could fill several books with what you know.   In fact, you could probably fill a whole book with what might really be relegated to FAQs in your mind.   Never mind getting into the nitty gritty – why not write about the surface stuff.   Or, alternatively write about all the misconceptions about your topic.  Maybe for fun, write about the silly side of your topic.    Overall when you start to list all you know about the topic you know most about, or the industry you are most comfortable in, you could easily fill several books.  So go with that from the start.  When you sit and plot out your chapters, sections, and subtitles, stick to what is one general area and relegate all the rest that doesn’t really fit into THIS book into your plans for the next book you’ll write.

Then of course there are the under-thinkers.  The author’s who think that 10000 words and a lot of blank pages is still a decent sized book.   It’s not.  That’s what we around here call a ‘report’ or maybe a ‘book-ette’.   Think about this…  a 45 minute speech might add up to around 5,000 words.   If you know you could easily talk about your favourite subject for at least an hour and a half, that’s maybe 10,000 words.   But seriously, if you know a lot more than that – and you should if it’s your topic of expertise – then a two or three hour effort when speaking should at least equate to 25,000 words.   At 2,000 per chapter (approx 6-8 pages) that’s a lot closer to 100+ pages (allowing for spacing, diagrams, images, book size, and a number of other things.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve written a couple of books that were only around 50 pages – and they served their purpose well.   But a decent sized book should be a lot bigger than that.

When plotting your content, try to remember this: 

2000 words, divided into 3 is approximately 650-700 words per section.  Aim for 3 – 4 sections per chapter.   Writing 500-700 words per day x 4 days per week is probably manageable if you’re serious about writing a book at all.   That might level out at around an hour (tops) per section – so up to four hours per week.  If you can’t see your way clear to that commitment then halve it and take twice as long to write your book.

Try not to get overwhelmed.    A simple 12 chapter length book is is a good target – you don’t have to write War and Peace – just a good solid, well crafted series of closely linked articles about one aspect of your expertise is ideal.

 

If you’re unaware of just what mistakes to avoid when writing a book -especially your first one – talk to me.   Or join our Thursday mornings online for FREE advice and ideas… 

 

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Spinning Plates

I’ve just been going through all my company’s service options for clients going forward.  I realised that what we do now is SOOOOO (Add another hundred O’s) much more than where we started a few years ago.  Like most of us, we grow, evolve, and there’s lots of zigging and zagging at times too.

A simple publishing service that sat in the middle of traditional and self publishing models, was far from typical of anything else back in 2006, when I ‘accidentally stumbled in’ and started assisting other speakers with their non-fiction books.  So, there was not really anyone else to model on.   Instead we took what we could from the parts that just made sense, tapped into what we could learn from experts in various parts of the industry, and attended a log of conferences.   Some great mentoring along the way also helped a lot.  But fast forward a dozen years, and the entire landscape has changed dramatically.

In 2019, I’m working with clients from as far away as the USA, Dubai, New Zealand, and I’ve just had someone from Dublin contact me for help.  We (a very specialised team and I) also added Amazon Ninja, Social Media Mavens, and Speaker (Topic) Development to our core business last year, and I’m intending to take some of my GOLD Author-ity Author’s books to the international book fairs again this year.

I remember once, working on my business plan – many years ago now – and realising with the help of my coach at the time, that simple things like:

  1. Work on the business – not just in it
  2. Find a niche and develop that
  3. Charge appropriately
  4. Value your relationships and your reputation above all else!

…are all things that I may have understood at a totally ‘junior’ level back then, and hoped that one day they would make more sense.

They sure do now!

You see, I think in all things, we have to grow into who we are, what we can manage, develop our maturity.    We can’t go there till we grow there either.   It’s experience (nearly 70 books and around 100 authors now) and time that does that.

As I looked at the many parts of what I created in my current review and planning documents this last week, I was inspired by some of what I’d achieved so far.  So much so that I did take a wander back through some of my old points of reference from days gone by – yes including the handful of books that are relegated firmly to the back of a dark cupboard and hopefully won’t reemerge again until I’m long gone!

Now – as we face exciting times such as growth, further development, the whole concept of Publishing 3.0, and my personal new focus and desires as a writer, and publishing coach, and speaker,  I’m thrilled by some of the extraordinary people moving into my space, bringing with them whole new levels of expertise and experiences too.  After all, one of the other things I’ve realised is that one person cannot do everything.   It takes a whole village to raise a child and a whole community of special people to bring a book to life and then get leverage on that book and the author’s potential. It’s like having a lot of spinning plates up in the air – someone can get them all spinning, but you have to have them carefully managed and massaged to keep them from slowing too much or worse, dropping and crashing to the ground – taking some of the other’s with them.

Watch this space, it’s going to be a huge year of many exciting things ahead… if you’re keen to know more, please follow us on FB, Linked In, or just get in touch.

PS – Announcements pending early March… you’re going to be blown AWAY! 🙂 

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Writing a Series, and What to Write Next

Are You Writing One Book or Ten?

I don’t know about you, but I constantly have ideas for books and blogs and articles racing through my head.  Yes it gets pretty darned busy in there at times.   So prioritizing the potential output is sometimes the hardest part of the job.   Here’s a few things you might like to know about how to do this, starting with working out what’s up next.

Deciding on a priority for the next book or series.

Working out what to write and in what order is easy if you follow my simple steps.    Start with the idea.   Let’s say you want to write a book about Customer Service.   Let’s break that down into sections – maybe it’s a book about Customer Service in retail.   Then you could extend do one for Service Industries, or one on Trade or Construction Industry, or perhaps just making it the beauty industry.    Suddenly the ideas are rolling faster than the ink in your Parker Rollerball right?

Let’s get a little more technical  

BOOK Genre: Customer Service

Extensions  – Other books in that Genre:  for Retail, Trades, Construction, Financial Services, Hospitality

Break that down further to Books on specific areas of Customer Services:

  • Fashion Retail =Mens/Women/Kids/Outdoors Stores
  • Trades Retail = Paint and decorating/plumbing/appliances/Tiles/Lighting
  • Construction = Builders/Electrical/Landscaping/Plumbing
  • Financial Services = Mortgage brokers/Financial Institutions/Banks
  • Hospitality = Tourism/Travel/Cafes/Restaurants/Bars/Food/Delis

Before you know it you could write either 20 chapters – each on one of the above areas and make your book very generic to cover all those places who use Customer Service, or need to train staff in that area, or ,you could just get really busy and write 10-20 books.   Each for a specific industry and subcategory.   Customer Service for Landscaping Companies – I bet there’s not much in that category, right?

(Actually I did a quick Amazon search and there’s nothing using that particular set of keywords – but many more generic CS titles). 

But which one first?

Easy – start with what you know. Cover the industry or industries you have to do the least amount of research for.   Then as you go, expand from there. If you know Retail, then start with that.  Niche into: Customer Service for Clothing Stores, then expand into customer service for women’s Fashion, and/or Menswear, then sideline that out to Outdoors stores such as NorthFace, Katmandu, or Macpac types.   Tenting, Boating, Fishing, Sports stores are then a natural progression because they still call on your skills writing about clothing. ie – is it the same selling a flotation devise as a shirt?  Maybe – size, fabrics, features like pockets and zips… you get the picture right?

There are all books on retail and all based on Customer Service.   Some of the information may well be the same – you might even be bored to tears by your own subject after the fifth book, but remember, you now have a series.  A series is easier to market than an individual book.

Just grab a look at how Michael Gerber, author of The EMyth did it.   By the way – I got to hang out for some one-on-one time with Mr Gerber back when he was just starting this expanded process of his book series, and wow, one of the smartest men I ever met, and a real gentleman.   He was the first person to explain this concept to me – and I have read several of these books now.  I highly recommend you do the same to further understand this entire principle.

Once you know what kind of series you intend to write, then put some timing and parameters around it.

On the Subject of Titles

You may decide to write your series as a same name series… like the EMyth for Dentists, the EMyth for Optometries, the EMyth for Construction, the EMyth Manager etc.   Or, you may decide to name your books something specifically relevant to each one For example Louise Hay did it  with Trust Life, then You Can Heal Your Life, then Heal Your Body, then the Power; is Within You,  Each of these books is a stand alone, but as a set they still look and read like they belong together.

The concept behind this is simple.  If you are writing about a topic that you deeply care about, then decide first what it is, and what you want people to do when they read your books.  Ideally, you want them to either read more of your books, or book you to speak at an event where you can promote your books.   Either way – a person who already cottoned on to your brilliance in one book or form, is going to be much easier to sell to than someone brand new.  That’s Marketing 101 – and by the way – my own marketing books are part of a series, and there’s more about this concept in my Advertising, Branding, and Marketing 101 book.

Deciding on your titles – well that’s another whole blog topic, but it is also covered in my new online course about producing your Non-Fiction book.  I also cover such topics in my weekly hangout sessions on Thursdays… details for that is here.

 FREE Authority Author Hangout Sessions – Registration 

 

 

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FAQs about Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction Books

I was talking with an old friend this week, who is one of the most knowledgeable retail marketing specialists I know.  He’s written a number of books over the years, but his self publishing skills are by comparison, almost non-existent.    Sometimes life’s like that – we know so much about what we do, but learning new tricks, especially in an industry that is increasingly complex and fraught with pitfalls, is just too hard.  And this is how it is with my friend.  Despite having attended a number of great training events over the last few years, and having had some moderate success with his books, crossing that hurdle of knowing enough to get real traction with his books is just too hard.

We agreed that I’d help him with that.  I’m very excited about doing so – because he’s a great marketing specialist.   And I respect him immensely, so it’s a joy for me to be able to ‘show him a bit of good stuff’ around what I do well.

But this overall got me thinking about some of the most common FAQ’s about writing and publishing non-fiction that I am address with each week.

FAQs Like These:  

  • How long should my book be?
  • How can you be sure of good structure?
  • What should I write in – which program?
  • Is it really necessary to write it all or can I just record it and get it transcribed?
  • I know Amazon is important, but really do I have to be on there?
  • What’s KDP Unlimited?
  • How do I get an Author Page set up properly?
  • Why can’t I get better reviews?
  • How do I get reviews?
  • Why are reviews important?
  • How do I decide which categories are right for my book?
  • Should I use Facebook Ads for promoting my books?
  • What kind of files should I create my ebook in?
  • Should I do a book launch?  What kind?
  • What is Ingram Spark exactly?

Oh – the list is endless… these are just a few things I’m frequently asked about.  

Starting this coming Thursday, 17th January I’m going to start having open hangout sessions in my Authority Author’s Cafe space on Zoom – so you can ask me any of these and get straight answers, easy solutions, and helpful sharing about all these things. Every Thursday morning at 10am.   I’ll be here.

But you gotta Register so I know to expect you.  It won’t matter if there’s one of us, 10, or 100…. let’s just talk publishing ok…

HERE’S THE LINK

Please review it share it, or create a set of questions… decide if you want to attend once or a dozen times…   but don’t hold onto those burning questions any longer… I’m here to help.

 

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Learning New Tricks in 2018

In 2018 I embarked on a significant new journey of up-skilling in the areas of Amazon, Ingram Spark, and the use of KeyWords and Categories for authors.   Because the indie publishing world is constantly changing and growing, it’s been a wild ride that also saw me working one-on-one with a publishing coach of my own, for my own books.   All of this meant that during the course of the last 12 months, I’ve been able to super-charge some of the work I’ve been able to offer as a publishing coach to my clients.

But because this landscape is constantly changing, and because I seem to have more-or-less the same conversations with variations across so many of the authors I work with, I decided that the best use I can put to for much of what I have been learning is to freely and openly share my newly acquired knowledge.   And so I’m happy to announce that going forward, Thursday mornings at 10 am my local time in Brisbane Australia, I’ll be sitting in my online cafe, happy to connect and talk books, publishing, Amazon, IS, Advertising, and some of the fascinating and extraordinary tools I now use in my work.

You will need to register – via this link

Please turn up on time…   Each week will feature different topics, and sometimes I’ll have guests too who have specific expertise of their own.    This will be nothing like a webinar, but mostly like a regular hangout at the local cafe – and as many who wish to join us and pull up a chair can do so.  BYO coffee or tea, and join in the conversation.     These will run for approximately 30 minutes each – longer if the conversation warrants it.    And I’ll not be recording these…  but a brief recap of some of the highlights will be posted and shared with those who have registered.

These sessions will be interactive – so please do ask questions, take notes, engage in the conversation.   And they are FREE.

So – what are you doing Thursday mornings in 2019?

Dixie

 

 

 

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Book Stores and Online Stores – The Difference Down Under

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked one question back in 2010, I’d have retired already. That question was, ‘how do I get my books on Amazon?’

Back then I’d usually answer with, ‘Why Bother?’

The bricks and mortar stores in Australasia were still selling books, albeit, not terribly well. However, many were closing, and most had diversified beyond selling books, and had ‘warehouse sales people’ behind their counters, many of whom were far from passionate about books, and were unable to be of much help if the requested book by a customer ‘wasn’t in stock or on the computer yet’. Add to that, due to the sheer volume of books available, book store owners and managers were simply challenged beyond believe to know what might be worth stocking and what might gather dust and end up heavily discounted a few months later. It was hit and miss to stock shelves, and Indie Authors missed out most of the time, as much due to the quality of their books, but also due to the lack of sales channels that led them easily to get their books noticed by buyers.

Amazon was equally challenging back then, because due to their own internal rules about needing to have enough stock on hand to supply orders quickly, the warehousing of books and distribution channels meant that if you didn’t have some kind of managed warehousing of your books based in the northern hemisphere, you would likely be rejected by Amazon anyway.

Forward to 2017 and all the rules had changed. Now, as we head into 2019, it was easier than ever to upload your books to Create Space, Ingram Sparks, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, Kindle. E-books can be sold via Kindle within minutes of being uploaded, and Create Space can fill orders within days of your setting up an account.  And a further update – in 2018 Create Space merged with KDP, (Kindle Direct Publishing) to make uploading even easier in many ways.

The quality of print on demand is outstanding, and the need for warehousing hundreds or thousands of copies of your books has gone. No more expensive outlays for authors to stock printed copies, fulfill their own orders by lining up at the post office. The royalties are paid when and as expected, with full reporting functions built into all of the platforms available to sell on.

So, what’s the problem with all that?

Ignorance mostly!

Authors are still struggling to know what to do, how to do it, and the learning curves around uploading can be fraught with deep time-wasting pits of despair. It takes time, and a lot of reading the fine print and understanding the process to do your first upload onto either Create Space or Kindle. Working out how to price your book, determine the best categories and why this is important, and even understanding the special ways that Keywords work for or against your book’s success takes time and knowledge.

Unfortunately, the average newbie author often does not see the value in paying for expert help, despite the fact that they are now saving significant amounts on the production and printing of books. And this is the one thing that needs to change for authors, especially in Non-Fiction genres. Getting armed with the knowledge needed to do this well, is as critical an investment in publishing a book as editing and cover design is.

Being an author is time consuming, often for low returns, and yet is one of the most creatively rewarding things a writer can do. Seeing others benefit from your shared stories, wisdom, experiences is priceless and getting those reviews that mean you know you’ve contributed valuable knowledge to someone anywhere in the world is heart-warming to say the least. Getting those checks from Amazon is also pretty exciting. But if we’re all going to do it well, and ‘ace it on Amazon’ we have to start approaching the technical ends of publishing. That means paying for expertise sometimes, just as you would for social media specialist work, and design skills.

In 2019, I challenge all authors to up-skill – not by diversifying their studies across too many publishing topics, but mastering one or two necessary areas, and sharing that knowledge with others. That will still keep the overall cost of successfully publishing down to an acceptable level for most indie authors – and make it even more viable to pay for the specialist areas you need to dive into occasionally.

So what’s likely to happen to publishing in 2019?

There’s a lot of talk about Publishing 3.0 – the new wave of publishing that will totally and radically affect publishing, and particularly self or indie publishing companies and authors.  Ultimately this will mean authors being able to circumvent even the online publishing options such as Amazon and Ingram Spark to have an even more direct means to market and supply our books to readers.   Stay tuned – as this unfolds I’ll share more about this.   But, the value  issue that we are still entrenched in is the need to have the rankings and marketing tools provided by Amazon and co.

Until we work out how to ace the best seller lists without being part of those lists, we still need to be doing three things supremely well:

  1. Writing and producing extremely good books – not erring on the side of average – ever!
  2. Being well versed in all the many tools and options available to us as indies, and there are so many it’s easy to get lost in these – so the value of publishing coaches is even more valuable than ever.  I am one, but I too engage with the services of one – we all work better with a coach, especially in this fast changing industry.
  3. Thinking of ourselves not just as writers, or authors, or even as thought leaders… but as business owners, with the diversity that goes with the many parts of our businesses that need attending to.   The marketing, the production, the administration, and planning!

And staying abreast of it all – is a full time job!

How are you going to manage as an indie publishing author in the New Year?

 

If you need some help with the writing, marketing, production, or any other parts of the process for writing/production of Non-Fiction books, check out our new online program DIY details, or message about your needs and we can engage with some help for you.   

Starting in January – the last Thursday of ever month will feature the Online Author-ity Cafe sessions where you can find out more about what’s going on in the indie publishing world for Non-Fiction writers.

Details are here: LINK 

 

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