They also grossed five times the indirect revenue, including paid speaking tours.
However, advances in print-on-demand technology make self-publishing a viable option. Entrepreneurs, business experts — or anyone for that matter — can publish professional-quality books in quantities as little as one copy at a time. The growth of online self-publishing services, for example, allows independent authors to publish books in easier, faster, and more affordable ways.
“Right now, there is a revolution in publishing,” says Diane Gedymin, editorial director of iUniverse.com, a leading online provider of self-publishing services (see sidebar). “It’s gone through music, it’s gone through film, and it’s gone through most businesses. Now, because of technology, that independent movement has come to book selling.”
Gedymin, along with Susan Driscoll, president and CEO of iUniverse, are authors of Get Published! (iUniverse; $9.95), a book that explores how innovations are changing the way books get published. They offer the following advice for publishing and marketing your book yourself:
Follow editorial guidelines. Get an editorial evaluation to ensure that your manuscript is compelling, effective, and competitive and that the content is placed in the appropriate order. “Even a professional [writer] should
get the help of an editor,” explains Gedymin. “Not every
one knows the professional components and order of a book.”
Develop and implement a marketing plan. Before you can sell your books, you need to market them, explain Driscoll and Gedymin. Get your book noticed by positioning it in the marketplace, creating effective ways to reach your target market, and implementing a winning marketing plan. “Most people buy books because they’ve heard about them from other people,” says Driscoll. “Your book is a great vehicle for word-of-mouth marketing.”
Take advantage of networking. Build a network of contacts, making them aware of your book and the information in it. Use it as a calling card when you go to trade shows. “Attending events is an important marketing tool because you have a captive audience where you can promote your services,” says Driscoll, who encourages authors to “find events that tie into your business.”
Book yourself on radio and television. One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to garner publicity is through radio or television interviews. Start small by contacting local radio and TV producers and hosts — the people in charge of booking — and let them know you are available for interviews or commentary. “Most local radio shows are hungry for content,” says Gedymin. “Call up the producer and offer valuable tips on your particular specialty.”
“I wasn’t a huge [self-publishing] advocate until I did the research,” says Lacy. Her goal was to sell Luv Story for no more than $10, because she’d planned to package the book with her brownies. Sure enough, wherever the brownies go, her book goes.
Writing a book is no easy feat, and the process is time-consuming. Lacy accomplished it in chunks over several years; Clark, who self-published for a quicker release, completed hers in five months. But becoming authors undoubtedly gave them a leg up in their respective fields. Clark is now toying with another book