Business of Publishing

I’d say that the TOP question I get asked by people looking to publish a book is:

“Should I publish an eBook or a paperback?”

That’s a great question! Here’s the quick and easy answer:

YES!

I’m a firm believer that you should publish your book in BOTH versions! And here’s why:

eBooks:

  • Lower cost to buy – People who are price resistant are more likely to buy it
  • Instantly available – If your book solves a pain, people don’t want to wait for their solution
  • Available anywhere – Print books though Amazon aren’t available in all countries (or its cost prohibitive to ship!) so an eBook solves that problem
  • Wave of the future – Just like postal mail, printed books are never going away but eBooks are the current technology
  • Highly portable – Big or small, your book weighs exactly the same as the eReader used to read it

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Printed Books:

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I’m always teaching that you don’t have to start from square one to create the content for your book – you can and should start from within your own materials to create the book.

What I hear from a lot of people is using transcripts to write their book.

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Great idea!

Except…

Have you ever actually READ a transcript? Like a word-for-word transcription of a lecture or interview?

It’s NOT easy reading! I have a client who leaves me audio recordings to use as the materials for her articles – and she’s used to “writing” this way and they’re STILL hard to read as a word-for-word transcription.

Which means that a transcription is a great place to start at for materials for your book, but it isn’t a book.

Let me say that again: don’t think you can just slap a cover on a transcription and call it a book!

Here’s a word-for-word transcription from this client:

All of that sounds nice on the outside and like I said I’m not going to waste either of our time and energy talking about whether or not it should or should not be that way but here’s the important thing to remember, regardless of the criteria and regardless of the regulations, promotions really come down to a couple of things and most of us already know that at the end of the day promotions have very little to do with job performance.

Wow! And that’s just ONE sentence of a transcription!

  • Is it easy to read? – No.
  • Is the point she’s driving at immediately clear? – Nope.
  • Is there really juicy stuff in there? – Yes!
  • Is it easy to pick out and put into practice in your life? – Not so much.

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A question I get asked all the time is:

“How do I price my eBook?

(And just to be 100% clear – this is an eBook available on Amazon.com – NOT a .pdf download on your website.)

Excellent question!

First off, know that to maximize your eBook commission on Amazon you need to price your eBook between $2.99 and $9.99. When your book is priced in this range, you’ll receive up to 70% commission per sale.

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And of course, it’s not exactly as simple as that since there are additional factors that go into how much commission you’ll receive. But for the sake of this article on pricing your eBook, that’s the price range we’re looking at.

You can read the Kindle eBook Pricing Page.

There are 4 factors you need to take into consideration.

1. What will your genre bear?
Every genre has a different price point. If you compare romance to self-help, you’ll see a HUGE difference in what price the market with bear for your eBook.

2. How much do you want to make?
Yes, you CAN make money selling eBooks! (I do. My clients do. I know lots of authors who do!) So when you’re pricing your eBook, you need to keep your target sales goal in mind.

3. Are you interested in dollars per book OR selling more books?
If you’re more interested in getting the highest commission per book, you’ll price your book at the upper end of what your genre will bear. If you’re looking to sell more books… Don’t assume that selling for a higher cost-per-unit is mutually exclusive with selling lots of books!

But the answer to this question WILL help you with your pricing.

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I’d say nearly all of the authors I work with have given exactly half a minute’s thought to one of the most critical pieces of their published book: the back jacket copy.

That’s because as an author you get so caught up with creating the MEAT of the book, the content of the book, you tend to let the idea of marketing slip by the wayside. Or worse yet, think that somebody else will do it for you!

And it’s true that many publishing options will give you guidance, and traditional publishing will even write the back jacket copy for you, that never gives you a Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to not even thinking about all the marketing that goes into publishing and selling a book!

So, just how do you write the back jacket copy? Here are five tips:

1. It’s MARKETING copy!
Nobody cares that you spent 3,000 hours writing the book! They want to know what they’re getting. So you need to tell them what’s in it for them – what transformation are they getting.

Think of it as marketing copy that might appear on your website for your opt-in gift: it touches their pain and promises to solve it. The copy wants to convince the readers to pick up the book, buy it, and READ it. Focus on the benefits!

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I’m pulling this article from the archives! It was really well received last year AND has a lot of great information for you.

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Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month and every November, participants from around the world begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. The “rules” state that you can plan, outline, think, and research as much as you want in October, but on November 1, you start a brand-new novel with no words already written.

Writing a book is a great exercise in discipline, refining your thought processes, and creativity. Even if you have no desire to write a novel, November is a great month to do the writing you are interested in. Or the writing that you know you’ve been needing to do for your business but just haven’t had time for.

Here are five steps to get you going:

1. Have a “plan”
You most likely have an idea about what book you want to write for your business. Start there! Unlike a novel which needs characters, plot, setting, mood, theme, etc. the book you need for your business has basic sections that are unique to the information you specialize in.

As you create this plan, jot down all your ideas for chapters, topics, and sub-topics. After you have a page of ideas, you’ll organize them into sections. Don’t think too much! Just get all your ideas down. This will become the “plan” for your book.

(This isn’t an outline! It’s a writing plan. I’ll explain more in step 4.)

And a great resource for you is the Book Idea Workbook.

2. Get it all out
My writing instructors used to call this “writing to silence the critic.” It’s when you just keep writing even if you know that you’re not making sense, contradicting yourself, missing steps, and most importantly, writing like crap!

Write anyway.

NaNoWriMo isn’t a slow and steady marathon! It’s a sprint to write an insane amount of words in just thirty days.

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If you read my newsletter (you DO subscribe, right?) you know I regularly expand my comfort zone: so far in 2014 I’ve:

  • Learned how to rappel
  • Done a 5-day backpacking trip
  • Flown a helicopter
  • Went kayaking on Lake Powell during a holiday weekend
  • Learned how to rock climb
  • And these are just the highlights!

Fine me on Facebook for pictures!

Tomorrow I’m expanding my business comfort zone: I’m offering my first-ever free training call.

I LOVE speaking from stage. I can’t sing (or dance or act) but I love being handed a microphone! And this is just another “stage” – although I’ll be a voice on the phone instead of in person.

So why is this expanding my business comfort zone?

Because I’m slamming up hard against one of the misconceptions that keep people from writing their book:

Even if I publish it, nobody will read it. Nobody wants to read what I have to write.

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You’re reading a blog or newsletter. The author is making great points, teaching you something, you’re getting a lot out of it. And then you realize the author has made a BIG mistake in the writing. Maybe it’s something misspelled, or a wrong word, or even a tricky bit of grammar that can alter the meaning. What do you do?

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So here’s my advice when YOU’RE reaching out to someone about a mistake:

1. Keep it private.
We’re all human and have egos and pride. An email is private and allows the author to save face.

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