There is No Magic Pill

Surveys show that 80% of people believe they have a book inside of them. With the advent of print-on-demand technology and digital books, more and more aspiring authors are deciding to self-publish the book they want to give birth to.

magic pill

Recognizing an opportunity, a number of businesses have cropped up that are offering to publish these books. However, many of these businesses are preying on the naiveté of those individuals seeking to birth their books. Sensing an opportunity for easy profit, these businesses charge exorbitant fees to help authors publish and market a book.

One author I met at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) complained that the vanity press he used to publish his book charged $1,000 to exhibit the book at the show. Think how many books that author would have to sell to recoup that $1000 fee, let alone the thousands of dollars that he paid to the publishing company to manufacture the book in the first place.

One Christian self-publishing company is charging authors an outrageous price to help them market their books. This company is charging $400 to set up a custom Twitter page and $500 to set up a Facebook author page. Really? Ouch!

Setting up a Twitter or Facebook page isn’t that hard. Getting followers is the hard part. The company isn’t offering to collect the followers, just set up the page. How many books would an author have to sell to recoup the $900 it costs just to set up some social media sites? Plenty, and I can assure you that those sales won’t come from just having a Facebook and Twitter account.

One author I spoke with at the International Christian Retail Show asked me how Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) marketing services differed from all the other people who had approached her about buying their marketing services. Here is what I told her.

  1. CSPA is not a marketing service. It is the most affordable Christian publishing association that exists. CSPA did not start with the idea of making money from providing services to publishers and authors. Rather, CSPA started with a group of three independently published authors who banded together to create a way to market in the Christian marketplace that was affordable for themselves and for others. That vision still guides CSPA today.
  2. CSPA does offer our members affordable cooperative marketing opportunities.
  3. However, CSPA’s main emphasis is on education. CSPA strives to teach our members how to affordably market their books on their own so that they don’t end up spending thousands of dollars on a predatory service provider while selling only a handful of books.
  4. Our ICRS membership special (on our website) is just $115 for membership through December 2015. That is almost 18 months of membership!

However, what continues to amaze me is how many authors just want a magic pill. They just want someone to tell them they can sell their books. The sales pitch is great and so the author buys the costly service, only to be disappointed and burned.

Whether it’s weight loss or book publishing, there is no magic pill. Rarely will an author recoup the high price that most publishing and marketing services charge. Your best bet is to do your homework and learn a few publishing and marketing techniques. Then use the services you buy as an ancillary to your own publishing and marketing efforts, not as a replacement.

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No Longer Marginalized

If you have any remaining doubts, put them to rest. Independent publishing (a.k.a. self-publishing) is now mainstream.

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More than 391,000 books were self-published in the United States in 2012, an increase of 422 percent since 2007. Self-publishing now outstrips the combined titles put out by conventional publishers like Random House and Simon & Schuster, which rose to 301,642 in 2012, up 6.1 percent since 2007.

Realizing this trend, industry giants are doing more to reel in indie dollars.

First, Bowker launched SelfPublishedAuthor, a website for self-published authors. Through this site, Bowker began offering services for self-published authors including ebook conversion services and marketing services.

Four years ago, Publishers Weekly (PW) launched PW Select. This quarterly supplement to the PW monthly journal is dedicated exclusively to self-published titles, including reviews of self-published books.

Now, Publishers Weekly has just launched a new website to help self-published writers. This new website, BookLife, features services to help self-published authors with a book’s creation, publishing, and marketing.

Independent publishing is becoming the norm in book publishing. Authors like it because it often gives them more creative control and potentially higher earnings than publishing with a traditional publisher.

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A Drinkable Book

A new book and its design are giving new meanings to the phrase “A Good Book Can Change Your Life.”

I am always amazed at the creativity of book publishers. However, this new book design is simply incredible. Having recently gone to Nicaragua on a mission trip, this book especially caught my attention.

Water is essential for life, yet many communities around the world lack fresh water that is free from contaminates. In fact, 3.4 million people die each year from preventable water-related diseases.

WATERisLIFE, an organization devoted to providing clean water to those in need, recently teamed up with researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia. The result is a Drinkable Book.

This Drinkable Book is revolutionary. It will change lives. You can learn more about it by watching this video.

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