Quick primer on self publishing – Marketing tips for entrepreneurs

Several friends reached out to me recently about self publishing.  It seems like the buzz and importance of branding oneself and their company is reaching the masses and people are looking for ways to market themselves through self publishing.

In 2006, I published my first book in conjunction with several female authors.  The Spirit of Women Entrepreneurs was a showcase of 25 female entrepreneurs and their encouraging messages to women on the benefits of actualizing dreams and passions into successful businesses.  (Btw – If anyone is interested in purchasing autographed copies, please reach out to me at mharidat@newdesignsforlife.com)  For additional details check out Amazon at : http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Women-Entrepreneurs-Determination-Prosperity/dp/0966480678/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283224278&sr=1-2

After having participated in the process, I had a few resources to share.

The first book I recommend is The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross.  ISBN 1-58297-091-2.  They were the founders of SPAN, the Small Publishers Association of North America.  http://www.spannet.org/profiles/blog/list.   The resources they provide in the book are excellent for the person who is thinking…where in the world do I get started?  The age of the internet, options for marketing and printing continue to increase – but if you want someplace to start, I recommend this book.

As well, the grandaddy conference of them is the Book Expo North America.  I just went to their site and their conference was in late May http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/ If you haven’t had the chance to attend, I highly encourage it.  Conferences can be excellent tools to get a crash course on how-tos from the workshops.  It’s also great to network with a room of self-publishers who can tell you some quick best practices.  (Make sure you support those who go above and beyond by purchasing their books!)

In terms of a printer, I found a new printer online that I HIGHLY recommend – www.diggypod.com.   I just worked with them recently to print a book for a series of trainings with my client. While I was hesitant when I initially visited the site that their prices were too low,  I have to say that they delivered on their promise.  The book was printed in a high quality fashion before deadline and got a big “wow” from my client.

When considering if you should self publish – the biggest challenge is not the actual self publishing.  Nor is it the list of resources you need to publish.

The real starting point is determining who will buy this book beyond your 20 friends and family AND what ancillary products can you develop/provide once you gain customers.   Outside of the 20 friends and family who are obligated to purchase the book – who is going to buy it?  What raving fans can you create who do not know you personally?

It doesn’t make sense to invest money and time into this project…unless there is a direct market for customers.  I’ve watched people make the investment in self publishing and lose it due to the lack of developing and testing it with their target market/audience.  And I’ve even watched a few friends who were published by one of the major publishers have to spend considerable time and resources breaking-even.  Sure they were able to garner the initial publicity and book signings.  But a few didn’t have the additional products or services already in place when they started their book tour.   They were only able to sell potential customers their book….rather than the book PLUS additional products.

Make sure you do your research in advance and pre market!

For those of you who have already taken the plunge, what resources have you found helpful?

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