.. When the entire book has been edited I return to the computer and make the necessary changes. Then I’ll print the book one final time and again check for errors. Finally, I’ll have another person make a last check for me. Having another person make a final check of the book can be beneficial. They will look at the book with a fresh view and catch errors that you may have overlooked.
One of the most important parts of editing is to check the book’s facts, and its completeness. You must make certain that the book contains no factual errors and that it adequately covers the topic. If your book falls short in these two areas, it will most likely be a failure and a waste of your time and money, as well as a waste of your reader’s time and money. So always double check each fact and make certain that all of the important facets of the topic are discussed. In other words, make sure that your book has something informative to say ..
and that it’s said correctly. After the book has been typeset, you can make one final check to look for small errors. It’s almost impossible to catch all errors, but you’ll want to remove as many as possible. (Note: there are minor errors in this report. See if you can find them.
It’ll be good exercise.) PRINTING THE BOOK Costs to print a book can vary widely, depending upon many factors and upon the printing company that you choose. Examples: (1) The type of paper used in the book and on the cover. There are many different grades of paper from which to choose. 50-pound offset paper is commonly used for the interior of most books. (2) The book’s dimensions and number of pages. (3) The number of books printed.
You’ll pay a much higher cost-per-book if you have, say, 1,000 copies printed rather than 5,000 or 10,000 copies printed. But the number of books that you produce should also depend upon how many you think you can sell within the first year of marketing. You can always order an additional printing, if your book proves to be a fast seller. The price-per-copy usually decreases at about 2,500 to 3,000 copies. You’ll want a sufficient number of pages in your book to adequately cover the topic. Don’t write in a too wordy routine just to add extra pages. Make sure that you have something worth saying ..
then say it succinctly. How-to readers dislike rambling prose. So leave all fluff out of your book and get to the point. At the same time, you’ll want enough pages in your book to suitably impress the reader that it contains an adequate coverage of the topic. You can’t completely cover a wide ranging subject in less than 100 pages.
You may need 200 or 300 pages. However, some narrow topics can be nicely covered in 10 to 50 pages. (This booklet is an example.) It’s often acknowledged by self-publishers that page count determines the price you charge for your book. But, in general, I disagree. To me, it’s the value of the information you provide that should determines price. For example, if you have discovered a unique, fast, easy, low-cost way to make fuel for automobiles at home, and can relate that information in 6 just pages, you can most likely sell your report for a very high price.
Who cares how many pages it takes? It’s the how-to information that’s important. Once you have the complete specifications of the book, it’s time to get printing quotes. You should contact at least 4 or 6 printers for these quotes. Too, many printers will give you samples of their work. Here’s a typical request for a book printing quote: Please quote prices for the following book, Cash From Your Computer.
120 pages, trim size 8 x 10 inches, 2 color glossy cover, perfect bound, printed on 50-pound offset paper. Quote prices for 1,000, 3,000, and 5,000 copies, including delivery price. This book is to be finished within 30 days of receipt of camera ready copy. Before you choose a printer, be certain to check on reliability, quality and length of time to produce your book. Ask for a few customer references and don’t be bashful about checking with them about the printer’s reliability and qualifications. You don’t always want to go with the cheapest price. For example, you may find a nearby printing company that will print your book at a slightly higher price than a far away competitor. But you can pick up the books yourself, thus saving the cost of shipping which may lower the overall cost. The most important thing you can do is to find a printer with whom you can easily work.
A printer who will readily work with you can provide a lot of help getting your book ready for printing, thereby saving you time and money. While price is an important factor, I look for reliability, honesty, speed and service first. BOOK MARKETING Book marketing efforts really begin before the book is even printed. You must define and identify your most likely customers, determine why they would want your book, design benefit laden ads and brochures and direct your ads toward the most likely place your prospect will see it. It can also consist of developing a wholesale program to dealers, wholesalers and bookstores.
Other marketing methods include: sending publicity releases, mailing review book copies to editors of appropriate publications and, perhaps, appearing on radio or TV talk shows. There are literally hundreds of different ways to sell your books. One self-publisher sells 30 to 40 books every day by hawking them on the street! Imagine .. no ad costs, no direct mail costs, no discounts, no postage .. just pure profit.
Some publishers go so far as to design an ad, or direct mail piece, for their book before they even write it. If they have trouble writing a hard-hitting ad, they would probably have trouble selling the book. Too, a pre-publication ad can give you something to live up to as you prepare your book. All book ads, direct mail pieces and brochures should focus on the benefits that the book will give the customer. These benefits include: more money, a better job, health, happiness, knowledge, love, luck, personal improvement, and so on. Your ads need to convince your prospects that they’ll enjoy these benefits by buying your book.
Therefore, your ads must be eye-catching, descriptive and inspirational. If you don’t want to tackle writing your own ads, hire a direct response copywriter to do it for you. The really goods ones can often bring you more business than you can handle. Look in direct response trade journals such as Direct Marketing magazine and DM News for copywriter listings. Another important factor to consider is the overall appearance of your ads and brochures. Simply put, they should look appealing and be easy to read. Make sure that you follow the rules of typesetting, proper graphic techniques and, most importantly, employ a stop-the- readers-in-their-tracks headline and use well written, compelling ad copy.
Many self-publishers who sell by mail order offer some form of money back guarantee. Most offer a 30 to 90 day refund for returned books. Owen Publishing always gives a full year. A good, reliable guarantee will definitely improve sales of your book. Mail order book sales can also be increased by adding incentives such as: 10% discount when buying before a certain date; free report with each purchase; buy four books get the fifth one free; or some other low-cost freebie.
A bonus for promptness almost always increases book sales. But remember, when you’re mentioning your bonus, relate the benefits derived from that bonus .. not just the bonus itself. If you intend to sell your book via mail order, observe the ads used by other booksellers and take time to read several books about mail order techniques. One of the lowest cost ways to sell your book by mail is called the two-step method. Using this strategy, you place low- cost classified ads to obtain inquiries for your book.
You then send to each inquiry a packet of information, including an effective sales letter. Most often, you’ll want to send a follow- up mailing to those who didn’t buy. And offer an additional incentive. This two-step method is the lowest cost way to start. It’s used by some very successful companies, and has led many self- publishers to success. As time goes on, and your experience increases, expand into display ads and direct mail campaigns.
OTHER SELLING TECHNIQUES One way to promote your book is by making personal appearances at book stores. You can arrange a book signing party with the book store owner or manager. The book store orders 50 or 100 of your book and advertises the party. The author personally autographs each book as it’s sold. Some authors go on national tours that encompasses autographing parties, talk show appearances, speeches, seminars and trade shows. It should be mentioned that this way to sell your book is, in reality, difficult.
Getting book store owners or managers to agree to book signing events takes some doing. Your topic must be very, very interesting and you must be convincing enough to get your foot in the door. It takes work, but it can be a lucrative way to sell books. The dealership selling method works well for many self- publishers. There are many mail order book sellers who may be interested in selling your books for you on a dropship basis.
The mail order book dealer advertises your book(s) in his catalog and when an order arrives, sends you 50% (or whatever) of the retail price along with a shipping label addressed to the customer. You then ship the book directly to the buyer. This method works very well if you have camera-ready advertising brochures for the dealer to insert with his catalog or other mailings. The dealer will put his name and address on the brochure and have several thousand copies printed. He then distributes these brochures along with his other sales literature or, perhaps, even runs ads for your book.
Dealers can be found by placing small, inexpensive ads in the opportunity-type magazines, and by adding the tag-line Dealer Inquiries Invited to the bottom of your own sales materials. There are many self-publishing groups that work together in co-op marketing, either through book shows or by direct mail. You may want to take advantage of these co-op efforts. Also, there are many book shows going on all the time throughout the country where you can exhibit and sell books directly, or make contact with wholesalers. ADDITIONAL INCOME Here are a few other ways your book can produce money for you: selling through book clubs, selling subsidiary rights, movie rights (wasn’t there a movie called How To Make Love To A Married Woman, or something like that, based on a how-to book?), or by selling foreign rights. Anyway, all of these methods can produce some excellent profits with little extra work on your part. It is suggested that you get involved with a local self-publishers or writer’s group where you can develop different ways to make money with your book.
One of the best ways to produce additional income from your book is by selling products that are related to the book’s topic. If you’re selling a book about making money with computers, for example, you should include a catalog other computer books or shareware software. When you get an order for your main product (your book), you ship the order along with a catalog of your other products. Since the customer has already expressed an interest in your topic by buying your book, a certain percentage of those buyers will also be interested in your other related products. That is, of course, assuming that your customer was satisfied.
You can get these other products by developing them yourself, or by acting as a dealer for other companies. Some self-publishers make more money from these bounce back catalog sales than they did from the original book sale. As your sales increase, you’ll need to keep a customer mailing list. You can then mail catalogs or information on your latest book throughout the year to your buyers. Whenever possible, you’ll want to include discount coupons or other sales material in the book itself.
Why? To capture many of the names of people who buy your book through bookstores or from dealers. You’ll notice that many smart publishers include sales literature or catalogs on the last few pages of the book in order to generate additional sales. Another important aspect of marketing is the manner in which you operate your business. You should always bend over backwards to treat the customer respectfully. Answer all complaints and ship all refunds promptly. Process all orders fast and reply to every inquiry the same day, if possible. You want to develop a good reputation for your company, if you ever expect to harvest repeat orders.
INCOME POTENTIAL Many self-publishing authors have become millionaires. Most make an above average living. Writing and marketing your work, the essence of self-publishing, takes learning, practice, perseverance and determination. The work is easy. It’s not like mining 16 tons of coal. But your brain must be engaged at all times and you must constantly seek ways to better market your book. About 5% of your efforts will be tied up in producing your book .. the other 95% will be marketing.
Understand this: No matter how good your book is, now matter how well written, no matter how timely or interesting the topic, nothing will happen until you lead your proper prospect to the point of taking out his or her checkbook and actually buying. So keep in mind that, not only must you prepare a salable book or report, you must begin to master the techniques of marketing. The two skills, writing and marketing, can be easily learned. And, as you progress, you’ll discover pockets of profit that can send your earnings sky high. The potential for earning is staggering.
SOURCES Writer’s Digest magazine at your newsstand How To Write How-To Books & Articles by Raymond Hull Writer’s Digest Books Writer’s Resource Guide Edited by Bernadine Clark Writer’s Digest Books Writer’s Utopia Formula Report by Jerry Buchanan TOWERS Club USA PO Box 2038 Vancouver, WA 98668 How To Make Your Advertising Make Money by John Caples Prentice Hall Ads That Sell by Robert Bly 174 Holland Ave. New Milford, NJ 07646 The Secrets of Mail Order Unlocked by Ed Simpson Owen Publishing Company Battle Ground, WA 98604-0010 The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter Para Publishing PO Box 4232 Santa Barbara, CA 93103 Publishing Short-Run Books by Dan Poynter (address above) Plus, you’ll need a good dictionary, thesaurus and a book on the elements of grammar. CONCLUSION Self-publishing your own book, like most worthwhile endeavors, takes some amount of preparation. You can hire experts to do part of the work for you (design covers, typesetting, editing, indexing, ghostwriting, etc.). It is recommended that you do much of the work yourself in order to save money and to help you learn the ins and outs of book publishing. You can save yourself some problems by preparing an overall plan for producing and marketing your book.
You’ll also want to gather additional products related to the book’s topic that you can sell for additional profits. Thousands of successful authors have found that self-publishing is the only route to take. Why not you?.