Category Archives: Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing Continues to Challenge Traditional Publishers

Digital Self-Publishing Trends Upward

While retailers were talking– once again, about the importance of mobile, video, personalization, and other digital trends at IRCE 2015, My Web Writers attended Write-to-Publish to learn more about the 2015 publishing market for writers.

The notable trend in publishing is the migration of authors from hoping to be signed bywtp panel traditional publishers to taking the reins with self-publishing or a middle ground solution. The number of e-book and self-publishing companies in attendance at Write-to-Publish this year was easily double what it was a few years ago.

With the average book only selling 500 copies, most traditional publishers at this conference mentioned they’d like to see newer writers cut their teeth (or break their pencils) on self-publishing. But, passing over potential is a profit gamble for publishing companies.

What Experienced Authors Have to Say about Self-Publishing
James Altucher says that for writers,

“the key is the Era of Validation is over. Nobody needs to pick you. You pick yourself.” Altucher suggests that “your book is the new business card.” He also divulges that “When I self-publish, I make about a 70 percent royalty instead of a 15 percent royalty with a traditional publisher. I also own 100 percent of the foreign rights instead of 50 percent. I hired someone to sell the foreign rights and they get 20 percent (and no upfront fee).”

Harry Bingham, an author for more than 15 years, now embraces this latest era in the publishing industry.

“And then too, if I was going to be published e-only by Random House, I would receive just 25% of net ebook receipts. That’s about 17% of the ebook’s cover price as opposed to more like 70% by simply publishing direct with Amazon. I couldn’t understand why I’d want to do that. I mean, yes, I’d have listened if they’d come to me saying, ‘Harry, I know giving up 75% of those net receipts sounds like a lot, but we’re going to add a whole ton of value to the publication process. We’re going to do a whole heap of things that you can’t do on your own. And here’s a stack of in-house data which shows that we can boost your sales way past the point you could achieve.’…

They didn’t actually make any argument at all. When I said no to 25% royalties, that was it. No further conversation… And this, I think, will be the theme of this fourth era that’s now just possibly emerging. It’s a world where authors with plenty of Big 5 sales experience choose to say, ‘You know what, I’m not playing this game any more.’ Where authors make a positive choice to walk away from the terms offered by good, regular publishers.”

For new authors, this fourth era is great news. You can self-publish or take the improved odds of succeeding with traditional publishers now that veteran authors like Altucher and Bingham are walking away to self-publish. Learn from the process and consider your options with each new book.

Market Your Business with a Book

For businesses, self-publishing provides both a marketing channel and an unexpected income stream. Most digital marketing firms took advantage of publishing downloadable e-books years ago, but there are still some brick and mortar companies leaving stories unwritten. Today, it’s easier than ever to hire ghostwriters to create content about your company’s CEO, creative product uses, successes, or early days in the industry, and then turn those stories into e-books or self-published coffee table books for your lobby or employees’ bookstore. Paul Jarvis suggests

“self-publishing through Amazon makes sense for authors who are willing to give up the customer details and accept lower royalties for a potentially higher sales volume. I’ve seen a massive spike in sales by selling this way.”

In his Indie Author Manifesto, Mark Coker reminds authors that, “A few years ago, it was practically unheard of for an indie author to hit the New York Times bestseller list. Now it happens nearly every week.”

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Filed under Authoring Books, Business Strategy, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing

Create Better Content for SlideShare

SlideShare has become a key distribution channel and a powerful content marketing tool – and businesses worldwide have taken note! With its 60 million monthly unique visitors and 215 million page views, SlideShare has launched into the top 120 most-visited websites in the world. It’s also now the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content.Content for Slide Share

What this means for content marketers or any business who wishes to enhance their marketing efforts, is that SlideShare could be a relevant tool to incorporate as part of your strategy. However, just like any other content you share on the web, it must provide value and insight to your viewers in order to really have an impact. Let’s take a look at 7 different ways you can create a quality SlideShare presentation and effectively market it to their vast audience and to your own target audience.

  1. Understand the difference between SlideShare and PowerPoint

Foremost, it’s important to understand the differences that exist between SlideShare and PowerPoint. With a PowerPoint presentation, you are often in the room with your audience, giving a speech along with your PowerPoint slides. This is why your slides don’t have to (and shouldn’t) convey every small point to your audience. You are doing this verbally.

For a SlideShare presentation that’s standing alone out on the web, you don’t have the benefit of being in the same room as your audience explaining or clarifying those details. These essential differences mean that your SlideShare presentation needs to communicate a complete message that can stand alone and doesn’t need anyone else there to explain to the viewer what they are looking at.

  1. Choose large and appealing graphics

Unless you want to bore your audience to death with page after page of white slides filled with content, you will want to put a special effort into making your presentation visually appealing with graphics and colors. Choose large and vibrant images that complement your text. Or consider inserting some infographics and video clips to convey your main points through different types of media.

  1. Appeal to a broad audience

Once you upload your SlideShare file to their vast community of users, it’s floating freely in the world where anyone can click and view your materials. For this reason, you want to make sure your content is written in such a way that is appeals to a broad audience and can be easily understood by people of various backgrounds and education levels. Anything that is too technical or lacking important details won’t resonate with the larger audience.

  1. Use font size and style to highlight important points

Since SlideShare is designed to be a standalone marketing tool, you won’t have your voice or hand gestures to emphasize the most important ideas to your audience. You can still achieve this by using different sizes and styles of font to highlight what you want people to remember. A bold, larger font from all the rest will be seen as a heading or a main point and will alert viewers that this is something they should note. Using different sizes and styles of font will also to create an aesthetically appealing presentation with visual interest.

  1. Make the information easy to digest

At some point in our life we can all remember have to read a terribly boring text book or article that is filled with endless paragraphs of black font on white paper. Without even headings or chapters to break up the ideas, it felt like one big blob of words. Chances are you tuned out before you really absorbed the main points. Avoid falling into this pitfall with your SlideShare content but separating your ideas into small, easily digestible bites and spreading them out over different slides. It’s better to have more slides with less content per slide than the opposite.

  1. Turn it into a PDF

Once you’ve put the final touches on your SlideShare, you’ll want to publish it in a format that gives viewers a high quality version and is compatible across many platforms. A PDF is the most recommended way to achieve this. The PDF will lock in your style and formatting so that your SlideShare looks the same to all viewers regardless of how they are accessing the content.

  1. Harness the power of SEO

Finally and most importantly, keep search engine optimization (SEO) top of mind when you are selecting the topics and content to include within your SlideShare. Because this content is hosted on the web and accessible to a vast audience, SEO plays an important role in how your SlideShare will get found. Research all the keyword options for your topic and focus on the ones that are most popular or most frequently searched.

What other tips and tricks do you have for creating better content for SlideShare? Share your ideas by commenting below!

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Filed under Brochures, Content, Infographics & Memes, Self-Publishing

Six Ideas for Marketing Self-Published Stories

By My Web WritersIMG00480_3

Self Publishing is taking the world of books by storm. It’s true that self publishing has made it quicker for authors to move from writing a book to making the book available to readers. However, marketing your book makes all the difference between whether readers will find and read your work, or whether if will languish on a virtual shelf.

Here are some ideas for marketing your self-published stories:

Platform, Platform, Platform!
Go to any writer’s conference, and you’ll quickly tire of the term “platform.” It’s what agents and publishers look for in a prospective author, and it’s basically your presence. It’s the way you get noticed, both in person but now largely online. Platform can include a blog, a Facebook fan page, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus … you get the idea. The more presence and credibility you have online, the more likely readers are to know about you, and therefore the more likely they are to buy your books.

Begin by starting a blog. If you write about one particular genre or niche, focus your blog around that theme.
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Signature Lines
Building a platform takes hours, over months and even years. Not every marketing idea is so vast, though. Start easily by adding links to your books in a signature line that will go out every time you send an email. Sure, your mom already knows you wrote a book. But perhaps the mom who serves with you in the PTO doesn’t. You never know where information in a signature line may lead.

Brainstorm your Market
Think about who might read your book. For instance, if you wrote a young adult historical book about a German king, you might target high school German teachers. Compose a marketing email detailing (briefly) what your book is about and how it could benefit the teacher and his students.

Or say you’ve written a cookbook for busy moms. Call local MOPS groups and offer to speak at a meeting. Research local specialty foods stores and see if they would be open to letting you speak and do a book signing.

Online Groups
Join online groups or Facebook pages related to your book’s theme. For instance, if you’ve written a romance novel set in World War II, search for WWII message boards, and then within those search out topic threads that could apply to your book. Become active in the group, contributing well-written, insightful comments, and other participants will be more likely to search out you and your books.

Local Media
Despite so many things being online today, don’t forget about the local newspaper. Contact them with a press release about your book. They may even be interested in writing a feature story about you, the local author. Does your book tie in to any local festival, place, or event? Mention this when you contact the newspaper.

GoodReads
Goodreads is a growing site popular with readers. It offers many resources for authors. Sign up (it’s free), and you can list your books there. You can offer a giveaway of your book, which often results in many readers adding it to their “to read” list. You can also post excerpts from your book, make up a quiz about your book – you name it.

~Susan


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Filed under Authoring Books, Content, Marketing, Self-Publishing

Seven Essential Self-Publishing Tips

By My Web Writers

The publishing world has been turned on its head in the past decade, due to the advent of self publishing. No longer do writers need to spend hours, months, or years struggling to write book proposals that could might an agent, and then a publisher. Amazon has made it possible for any writer to get his book to the masses virtually overnight.

But just because self publishing is quicker than the traditional route doesn’t make it a cakewalk. Here are some tips to ensure that your foray into the world of authorship is a positive one.

Write a quality book.

 This seems obvious, but a quick look through the offerings at Amazon will show that it’s not. Just as American Idol has convinced many Americans that they have a future in singing, self publishing has led many a would-be writer to the firm conviction that he’s the next John Steinbeck – or perhaps, Stephenie Meyer.

Take your time writing.

Resist the urge to throw that great novel you wrote five years ago onto Amazon next week. Take your time. Attend local writers’ groups. Read books on the craft of writing. Let someone else read your work, and listen to her advice. Not everyone is meant to publish books.

Hire an editor.

You’ve written a great novel. Now, please, have an editor look it over, both for punctuation/grammar issues and for larger plotting/continuity/character issues as well. We all tend to have blind spots when it comes to our own work. Chances are your editor will find several things that will leave you slapping your head and saying “duh,” but better the editor find these than a reader.

Invest in a quality cover.

Most self-published books are sold online, where a one inch thumbnail of the cover is what will gain a potential buyer’s attention. If you’re good with graphics, you can try creating a cover yourself. Better yet, create several and survey friends and co-workers on which is the most effective. If cover creating isn’t your strong point, you can hire an artist online who will be happy to help. Fiverr is a great spot to hire editors or graphic artists affordably. Check samples of their work first to ensure they have a style you like.

Get help with formatting.

You can write. However, you may not know how to format your book. Whether you plan to publish your work in paperback or digital forms, the formats vary and, especially for digital devices, they change frequently. It’s worthwhile to hire someone knowledgeable in formatting so that your work will be presented in a professional way. Again, Fiverr is a good place to start looking.

Get ready to do some publicity.

One downside to self publishing is that you have no publicity team working to promote your book. Don’t let that deter you: promote away! Contact bloggers on topics related to your book. See if you can hold a session on your book’s topic at the nearby library, or perhaps you can interest a local book club in reading your book. The sky is the limit; start brainstorming ideas for who would enjoy your book.

Learn from your readers.

Once your book is out, you’ll likely get feedback from readers. One great thing about self publishing is that you have the ability to tweak your book, even after it has been published. So, if you learn about a grammar error or something else you’d like to change, a simple fix will result in a better book for future readers.  ~Susan


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Filed under Authoring Books, Content, Editors, Self-Publishing, Writing Careers