Self-publishing, part 2
Step 7 – Sales and distribution
How much are you going to sell your book for? How will you distribute it?
Pricing is an exercise in being confident enough to charge what it is worth but not allowing your ego to take over. The gross profit margin is significantly greater when you self-publish (it could be as much as 70%). But it is likely that you will offer discounts, special offers and bulk sales to take it to as wide an audience as possible, and don't forget P&P.
Remember that someone will need to store and send out the books (this is the exciting bit!). Distributing your book through multiple channels is a way to target your reader many times over. Sell direct to bookshops, online and face to face at speaking events (start practising your message and signature!).
I decided to print a small number of books and store them at home. It is possible to pay a third party to do everything on your behalf but it will reduce your profit margin. So far, the sales of my book have been steady so I've been able to manage the sales and distribution myself.
Step 8 –The marketing mix
Being consistently visible is essential to your success. To do this effectively you will need a small team to assist you in putting the book into the public domain over a short, medium and long term period. However, bringing others on board will depend on your availability, marketing experience and budget.
I decided on a marketing mix based on newsletters to my personal and professional network. Offering my services as a speaker, networking at select events with people who I felt would be happy to promote my book to others, and online via my website. Write a 12-month marketing plan focusing on the best ways for you to connect with potential readers; this can range from press, radio, TV, online media and even relevant associations.
Step 9 – Promoting your book
There are professional book promoters in the marketplace and hiring someone can help you to raise the profile of your book in a way that you may not be able to. This is because they will already have existing relationships with journalists and other media contacts.
I worked with book promoter Sue Blake at the start of my self-publishing book project. Sue helped me raise my awareness of the task I was about to undertake and to understand the 'bigger picture' of what I had set out to achieve – and how best to get there.
Step 10 – Getting an endorsement
Now that you have the book in your hand – you need to let it go. Asking your nearest and dearest to write a review for Amazon, your website or to include in further print runs may be a good ego boost but you must ask people with a high profile, who can be constructively critical and who are influential.
Start with a target list of 10 VIPs. Send them a complimentary copy of the book, asking for an endorsement or review in return.
Step 11 – New opportunities
When you have self-published your book there are a range of other products and services such as audio versions and talking to groups about your self-publishing experience. Or you may choose to get started on the next book.
Perhaps your book will open the door to a publishing house, help you find an agent or bring a new opportunity to you. Whatever the case, getting this far is a huge achievement, so go out and celebrate!
Step 12 Take a break
Before you start the next self-publishing project, take some time out. It is likely that you will feel mentally (and emotionally) exhausted.
It is also important that you put any remaining energy into selling, distributing, marketing and promoting your book so that it becomes the success that you have worked so hard to achieve.