Most books -- even books published by major publishers with highly paid and experienced staffs -- fail. People write and publish for many reasons, and there are many ways to define success and failure. Here are some things you can do to improve your odds of succeeding:
HOW TO PUBLISH
The worst mistakes of self-publishing authors are not having professional editing and not having a professional designer-- particularly for the book cover. Even editors who write books should hire other editors.
You’ll probably see ads proclaiming “FREE PUBLISHING” and you’ll also encounter publishing packages priced under $200. Here’s the truth: No company will print and deliver a book for free.
Unless you are prepared to spend $1,000 or more ($3,000 or more would be better), you probably won’t get a high-quality book and will not be able to tell many potential readers that the book exists and convince them to buy it.
It's important to publish in the formats that your likely readers want to read in. Most books should be published as both p-books and e-books. Some should be hardcovers as well as paperbacks. You should also consider "talking books," large-print books and foreign-language versions.
Start promoting your book as soon as you have a concept and a likely title. If you delay promotion until your book has been published, you are too late.
Price your book in line with its competitors. If the price is too high, you may lose sales to less-expensive competitors. If your price is too low, your book may be perceived as not being good enough.
Your book should be neither too short nor too long. It has to be "just right."
You need to build a "platform." It's a major buzzword in current publishing, and not the same as a political party’s platform. Think of it as a metaphor for a structure that will boost you up and make you visible to potential readers, sources of publicity and bookstore buyers. Components in your platform include websites, blogs, business connections, social media, radio and TV appearances, quotes in media, online mentions, speeches, articles, friends, neighbors, etc. Your first book is part of your platform and should help sell your later books.
WhaT to Write
People will generally pay more for vital information than for entertainment.
Fiction and poetry are not necessary to readers. People who want to read a novel may be content to borrow a copy from a friend or the library instead of buying it -- even if they have to wait a few weeks. Fiction and poetry books are entertainment. That means they are options. They are expendable when money is tight; and they have to compete with movies, ball games, video games, music and more.
Novels may be read just once or twice. A nonfiction book, particularly an important reference, might be referred to dozens or hundreds of times and be a vital part of a personal or business library.
In nonfiction, pick a subject you know about, which you can contribute something new about, which lots of people care about, and which lots of people have not already written about. If there are other books on the same topic (and there probably are), make sure you have something important to add so your book can be better than its competition.
If you write about an important and changing subject -- like electric cars -- you can sell updated editions every year or two.
It’s extremely difficult to sell many copies of self-published fiction or poetry -- or the memoir of a non-famous person -- on paper.In order to sell thousands of copies, you’ll have to be extremely lucky or generate a lot of “buzz” through viral marketing, public relations and advertising (time-consuming and often expensive).
It’s easier for an unknown author to sell $1.99 - $4.99 e-books than $14.95 - 19.95 p-books (books printed on paper).
The world is not waiting for your novel, poetry or memoir to be published. If your book should appeal to “everyone,” can you afford to let everyone know about it?
Fiction is usually timeless. We still read the works of Dickens and Homer. Your new novel must compete with other books written centuries ago.
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