Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

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Self Promotion Tips > Should Indie Authors be promoting their books to mainstream publishers?

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message 1: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Mose | 23 comments I am newly self-published, and have recently signed up to the Publetariat Vault, a service intended to act as a showcase where mainstream publishers can discover new Indie authors and sign them up for the big leagues. Mixed feelings here - what do you think? Unrealistic? Would you jump at the chance if a traditional publisher wanted to sign your self-published book? Or do you think we should wear our Indie Author badge with pride and concentrate on marketing directly to readers?


message 2: by Angela (new)

Angela Corbett | 6 comments Hi Greg,

I think it's different for every author. Some people want to be able to say they are signed with a major publishing house, others don't care and just want their book available for people to read. With the changes going on in the publishing industry right now, it doesn't seem to matter whether you are traditionally published or self-published, you still end up doing a large part of the marketing and PR for your book. The publicity you drum up for your book is more important to sales than who your publisher is. I've found that most people just want a good book to read and don't care who the publisher is. If a traditional publisher wanted to sign my book I would consider it, but it would have to be a pretty amazing deal for me to give up the rights to my book when I've done all the promotion on my own.

-Angela


message 3: by Kevis (last edited Sep 01, 2009 11:50AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 105 comments Greg,

I agree with with Angela. Whether or not you should jump at the chance to market your book to a commercial publisher depends on your specific goals. The first thing that every indie author should be aware of is that book deals are not only scarce, but they are not as appealing as they used to be. Chances are very slim that a traditional publishers will sign a new author to a six figure book advance. Like Angela says, unless your name is Stephen King or Dan Brown, you're still going to end up doing most of the PR work for your book anyway. In many ways, getting signed by a commercial publisher is a disadvantage in the sense that you will probably lose all creative and marketing control over your work. To add insult to injury, it may be several months or even years before the publisher releases your work to the public.

The upside to being with a commercial publisher is that your book will be sold in bricks and mortar retail stores throughout the country, and possibly even the world. But the downside to that benefit is that you are expected to sell a certain number of books. If your book sales does not meet their quota, it will be dropped from their book line like a hot potato and you will be back to square one and forced to sell your book once more as an indie author.




message 4: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments It never occurred to me to do anything other than set up a publishing company on my own. Now that I've talked to a number of authors who were signed by major companies and have been less than thrilled about the results, I think I fell into the right situation for me.

They say income was pathetic, promotion was mostly up to them, their books were gone within six months to a year, and they had to wait for years to try and regain control of their titles--some even had to pay for that right.

Maybe my goals are different from most, but I don't think I'd jump either.


message 5: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Mose | 23 comments Thanks for the interesting replies. I've got my books in one bricks and mortar store so far - my local independent, naturally - and although I know that online sales are taking over, I guess I'm a sucker for seeing the thing on a shelf. But yes, I think I agree that it would have to be a very good offer...


message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenlmason) | 3 comments This is a dilemma I'm facing myself. The UK is very resistant to self published authors and it's virtually impossible to get your book into a bookstore unless you're with a major publisher. But I love being in charge of my own destinty, publishing when I want to, designing my own covers etc. I'd find it hard to relinquish that power to someone else. But I need a major publisher to market the thing.


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 40 comments Nancy wrote: "It never occurred to me to do anything other than set up a publishing company on my own. Now that I've talked to a number of authors who were signed by major companies and have been less than thril..."

Tell us about your own publishing company. Sounds interesting.
Thx


message 8: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments Elizabeth,
As I said, I'm asking the group if they want me to reply here or if they would rather I answer your question directly. I'm not sure the details are interesting enough to warrant a group reading.



message 9: by George (new)

George Jr. | 2 comments Nancy, I think it sounds interesting.


message 10: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Mose | 23 comments I agree. I think it's a threshold question for any author, and is relevant enough to keep in this thread. I made myself the publisher by buying an isbn, but i didn't set up a company for long-winded obscure reasons related to the fact that i now live in france. As I read on another discussion board somewhere, 200 years ago authors were publishing themselves. now they are again. So yes, please, I would love to hear of your experience and if/why you recommend it to others.


message 11: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 334 comments Mod
A discussion on the IWOFA authors' yahoogroup shared something really interesting.

Mainstream and New York editors will visit indie and self pubbed authors' websites to check out their work, especially if the websites are great and have superb excerpts.

It helps if someone they know recommends the site to their attention.

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry


message 12: by Nancy (last edited Sep 04, 2009 08:11AM) (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments OK, then, here goes. Setting up up publishing company took about six months. I bought a ten ISBNs for starters, much cheaper than buying individuals, came up with a company name and logo and had them copyrighted, got a California resale license which means initial savings on printing and related materials.

You have to remember my husband and I were Realtors with our own company before I started writing, so we were already familiar with the way taxes work for a small business. (There are some great tax advantages to having a company and some additional responsibilities and paperwork.)It also helps that he was a computer programmer in a former life and can set up websites and programs to keep track of sales. With our other educational and work backgrounds, we were excited about editing (although we do have a professional copy editor), cover design, and all things technical.

The next bit was determining printing. I made all the decisions about it and shopped for prices. Some printers offer better prices or services to publishers than they do to writers.

Possibly the biggest advantage is that when asked if I'm self-published, I'm learning to quickly pick up clues (forgive me, I am a mystery writer) as to how the person asking the question feels about self-published authors. If I want to, I can reply, "I'm with ---." The conversation usually moves on immediately.



message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 40 comments Nancy wrote: "OK, then, here goes. Setting up up publishing company took about six months. I bought a ten ISBNs for starters, much cheaper than buying individuals, came up with a company name and logo and had th..."

Wow. Interesting! Thanks. Do you only publish your own works, or do you publish other authors?


message 14: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments We are open to publishing other authors and have read a couple of manuscripts from local people. Both were very rough. Advice I got from an author I know online through a mutual friend was to edit, edit, edit. That's what I told them. We'll see what the future holds.

Elizabeth wrote: "Nancy wrote: "OK, then, here goes. Setting up up publishing company took about six months. I bought a ten ISBNs for starters, much cheaper than buying individuals, came up with a company name and l..."




message 15: by Angela (new)

Angela Corbett | 6 comments Nancy wrote: "We are open to publishing other authors and have read a couple of manuscripts from local people. Both were very rough. Advice I got from an author I know online through a mutual friend was to edit,..."

Nancy, do you feel like people take you more seriously as a writer because you opened your own publishing company instead of going with a POD publisher?

-Angela




message 16: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 54 comments I don't know if I'd say they take me more seriously --
they are often just free to move on to the next discussion point is all.


message 17: by Angela (new)

Angela Corbett | 6 comments Thanks Nancy! I'm looking at different self-publishing options and just wondered how people react to a writer who owns their own publishing company vs. a writer who publishes with a POD.


message 18: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 334 comments Mod
Not meant to sound snarky. Doesn't one Trademark a logo? It costs about $400 to Trademark a name, just in registration fees.


Nancy wrote: "OK, then, here goes. Setting up up publishing company took about six months. I bought a ten ISBNs for starters, much cheaper than buying individuals, came up with a company name and logo and had th..."




message 19: by Yasheve (new)

Yasheve I think Nancy is a great example. Angela ealier said it all as well. I have struggled with the idea of entertaining offers from major publishers. It just doesn't seem right for me since I have put a lot of work in to market my titles.

What I had to do with the next title that's coming out was search for associations with organizations and printers that could do what the major publishers could do for me that I couldn't do on my own... that's the distribution part. (getting the title into libraries and bookstores). Once I learned how to do that without the help of the struggling major publishers, signing with one is just a vanity thing.

Starting a publishing company is a responsibility that I don't want. I'm not interested in other people's titles, storing books, dealing with returns, and becoming a target of the IRS.

I think you have to make a decision before you even finish your book. Shop it to the majors? Self-publish? Or start a publishing company? Then follow your chosen path.



message 20: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Mose | 23 comments Yasheve, have a look at the community section of the Createspace website. There are a lot of very informative discussions of your various options. Keep in mind that starting your own publishing company can be a fairly simple affair. It means a bit of tax fuss and probably setting up a DBA, but assuming you're only publishing your own books through createspace or lightning source or something like that, it can be very well worth it, provide you have the software for laying out the book and designing the cover. I managed pretty much everything with photoshop and MS Word. And yes, then you have the freedom to make it exactly as you want it, and do the marketing as you see fit. I spoke to a publisher at Granta yesterday who also felt like self-publishing/small press publishing was becoming a very viable alternative. But check out the createspace boards, there's a ton of info there.


message 21: by Yasheve (new)

Yasheve Thanks Gregory. I'll look into it. The TAX FUSS is my biggest issue. Marketing... no problem. Layout... no problem... Tracking sales... no problem. But that tax crap... BIG PROBLEM for me. Cleaning up tax issues right now.


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