Monthly Archives: April 2012

Self-Publishing Success Stories

Photo Andrew Magill

Amazing figures !  Today’s post is just a link to a blog about – you guess it:

Self-Publishing Success Stories

I know some of these authors, as I constantly “meet” them

on social media networking sites or on their blogs.

A very encouraging read, and as the blogger mentions,

these authors all wrote great books, with great covers

and they do a lot of (free) promotion on the Internet.

Happy writing & promoting!



Hyper Smash

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Bestsellers, Marketing


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Free Advertising Overseas

Free-lancers and self-publishers have a few things in common, including limited budgets and thus a need to be creative. Maybe that’s why Jess, my friend, agreed to take along a copy of “Bella” and send back a fantastic photo, showing the book against the backdrop of the Argentinean Andes.

The other part of my “overseas advertising” plan is to have her leave the book in some well-trafficked area, say a hotel lobby or busy cafe.  Whoever picks it up will see a note from the author inside the front cover that says:

“Dear Friend, By chance, you have happened on my “message in a bottle”. It has made its way into your hands all the way from my home in Rockville, MD, a quiet town outside of Washington, D.C.
My message is simple. I have written a story called Bella, about a widow’s quest to learn the truth about her husband’s mysterious death, and her affair with a reporter she lures into the investigation. There is a short, engaging video that tells more. Please watch it at: Though we are an ocean apart, you can send me a message too.  Use: steve a t  I very much appreciate your interest and feedback. If you like Bella, please tell your friends and help us spread the word.”

This idea has produced interesting photos from Greece, Italy, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Peru, and now, a mysterious little city in Argentina.  I hope to hear soon from someone in Ushuaia.

Re-blog from:



Hyper Smash


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What Does it Cost to Publish?

Dan Poynter, the self-publishing guru  wrote:

“Let’s compare prices for traditional ink-press printing, digital PQN (Print Quantity Needed) and POD (Print-On-Demand, one book at a time). We will compare a softcover (perfect bound) 144 page 5.25 x 8.25 book with black text and a four-color cover. These estimates depend on the current prices for paper, labor etc.

1. Press (ink on paper): $1.55 each but you have to print at least 3,000 to get a price this low. So, your print bill will be $4,650.

2. Digital printer (short run): 500 copies for $2.80 each or a print bill of $1,400, or 100 copies for $5.17 each and a print bill of $517. For more details, see The Self-Publishing Manual.

3. POD (single copies): May run $6 to $10 and are often bundled with other services. Print-On-Demand is a good option when a book has run its course, your inventory is exhausted and you still receive orders for a couple of copies a month. Rather than invest in inventory, you can have books made one-at-a-time as needed.

Hardcover:  Most books are manufactured with soft covers, called “perfect binding.” In traditional printing, hard or “case” binding runs about $1.00 extra per book. For digital production, the cost for case binding is $1.65 to $3.25 each, depending on the page count (thickness) of the book. Those prices include the hard covers and the dust jackets. Then there is typesetting which most of us do on our computers, book cover design and other pre-press expenses.

Well before and after the book is printed, it has to be promoted with book reviews, news releases and social media networking on Twitter, Google+, FB, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. For a book like the one described here, you should budget about $3,000 to $5,000 to get started. A good portion of your budget will be spent on promoting the book after it is printed.

Why not recording your book on tape, disk and download?
You are not just an author or just a publisher or just a book promoter, you are an information provider. Some of your potential customers commute or travel a lot; they do not have time to read your book. But they do have time to listen to it.

You are an expert in your area. You must dispense your information in many ways: Books, magazine articles, audiotape, video tape, seminars, speeches, and private consulting. All of the messages are the same but the delivery method for each is different. Spoken-word recording is an efficient delivery medium. Use your book as a script and record it word for word.”

More tips for REAL self-publishers can be found in his books, his many books I must say.

Register your publishing business
To be found by other authors and potential customers, add your company to these publishing directories: (forum)

Become a member of the Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Organization. They provide information, resources and opportunities for everyone involved in or interested in publishing, whether you are an author or small publisher.



Hyper Smash


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Writer Beware, Beware and Beware Even More!

This morning I received an email from Attorney and Writer Mark Levine who created an outstanding book, every author should read:  “Book Publishers Compared”.   He sent me
The Author’s Bill of Rights”.  

It starts with: “ All author’s have the right to expect certain things from a self-publishing company.  Only choose a publisher that …”

I am totally disagreeing with him in calling publishing services  “Publishers” (which are in fact printers or agents for printers or e-book formatters or agents for formatters). They are absolutely NOT!  The term “publisher” is unfortunately not regulated by law and it takes a long time to get this oxymoron out of people’s mind and writing.

Anyway, he wrote a very fine book (and e-book) that involved a lot of research and will help to save hopefully many writers in the future from signing unfavorable, unethical or right-out criminal contracts.  Please read also these articles I wrote in the past about POD or Vanity publishers:

and this one about a description of Dan Poynters book,  how you can publish completely independent  – he does it since the 70s:

As Victoria Strauss wrote: “There are sharks out there in the literary waters. Literary deceptions abound, from fee-charging agents to dishonest editors to …”  

Hopefully you check out these advises and get a lawyers’ opinion before you sign your rights away – not like a friend of mine years ago when she signed a contract for all of her books, not even worldwide but through the whole universe – and for a term 70, in words: seventy years!!! after her dead.  She had to pay more than CAN $5,000 to get her book “published”, by a Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, print shop who keeps his machines busy by unaware writers, who want their manuscripts seen on book store shelves.


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Where to Find Your Potential Readers

Publishing your own books, especially non-fiction, has become an amazing option for lots of authors, not only for your new books, but also for books that have been published in the past and for which you now own the publishing rights.

But publishing your books is one thing and getting those books to the readers who buy and read them.  Let’s find out:

  • who these readers are
  • what they like
  • what they’re willing to pay for your books
  • where they hang out
  • how they like to communicate

There are easy and free ways to find this information. You’re probably not going to be surprised, but the first place you should head is your nearest Google search bar.  Google knows more than anyone about what’s going on online. It’s up to us to learn how to use this incredible resource to find our readers.

Let’s say you write about glider flying. Use Google to search form “glider flying forums” and “aviation discussion boards.” If you write about tennis, use “tennis forums” and “tennis discussion boards.”  You’re going to get a lot of hits to research, and you will find some very active communities with engaged people talking about your specific topic. Some of these forums are quite large, and you might need to drill down a bit to find the sections that apply to your specific niche, but this will put you in immediate contact with people interested in your topic.

Another great way to find your readers is through blogs in your niche.
Blogs that have been online for a while will have a readership of some size. You will need to do a little research to find the blogs that have the most readers interested in your topic.  For instance, if you found a discussion forum, check the links that belong to frequent contributors there, and you’ll start to connect to the blogs in your niche.  Look at the comments on popular posts and start exploring the links (usually the link is embedded in the name of the person who left the comment) for even more places readers hang out.

Finally, use the search capabilities on some of the big social networking sites.

These sites are useful not because they have hundreds of millions of users, but because they each have the ability to locate specific groups of people.  For sample, on Twitter you can use to find trending topics or hashtags (words with # in front of them) related to your subject. You can search on #gardening to find thousands of people interested in gardening and then narrow your search further from there.  You can use this same strategy on Google+ to find articles and people commenting on them with the same #gardening search.

Following all these networks will lead to communities of potential readers you can start interacting with and become a household name in these circles. Once your book is e-published you can subtly promote it there. 



Hyper Smash


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Giving Speeches Helps Selling Books

Writers tend to be shy types, happy to hole up in basement offices, remote cabins or messy dens, turning down social invitations in favor of a computer and lots of coffee (or whiskey: ) Why on earth should they speak publicly?

How speaking can help your writing career:

  • You will sell more books after your talk. Attending a writer’s conference as a speaker / expert is much better than attending as a participant. You get instant credibility, even before your work is examined.
  • The more you speak, the better you get, and the better your speaking resume gets – the more writers’ conferences you will be invited to speak at.  Speakers are looked upon as subject matter experts, even if they aren’t.  Plus, you get to sit at the editors and agents’ table!
  • Speaking enhances your author’s brand and extends the efforts you make through social media because your audience is very likely tweeting or blogging about the conference. Public speeches help even to promote your online platform.
  • People who have heard you speak are more inclined to like you and your writing. There is a kind of celebrity involved with speaking. When you speak, no one else is talking; YOU are talking, and the audience listening. That dynamic illustrates a premise that you are someone important who can be learned from.  If you give out business cards or bookmarks with your information on it – blog site, Amazon book page, website – people will see it valuable, because you have been set apart as a VIP.

How do you achieve this desirable state of feeling comfortable when speaking publicly? 

Toastmaster’s for sample is a great way to learn this skill in a friendly, supportive way.  Everyone at the meetings is working to be a better speaker so you are in good company. After a few months of having a helpful, friendly group of people listening to and critiquing your speeches, heading out to a public forum will give you lots of confidence. The more you speak, the easier it gets. Isn’t it worth a try?

Get some encouragement with these videos:



Hyper Smash


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Are You Able to Explain Your Book in One Sentence?

Can you state what your non-fiction book is about in one sentence? If not, you may not have a clear purpose or theme for your project and you run the risk of writing a book without a point to it.  Completing the following sentence is not as easy as it sounds: “My book is about….”

Your books description, developed from this single sentence, will be used in many ways, such as:

  • Discovering your book’s angle
  • Writing query letters to agents / editors
  • Speaking to agents / editors at writers’ conferences
  • Preparing your book proposal/synopsis
  • Writing catalogue blurbs
  • Writing promotional material for news releases, flyers, etc
  • Giving media interviews

Your book’s description should run about 150 words and must generate excitement, clearly describe the subject and scope of the book, demonstrate its uniqueness, show its benefits and the features that deliver them (sidebars, templates, illustrations, etc.), identify the audience and, lastly, reveal the author’s credentials. “All this in 150 words,”   I see your eyes rolling…

Answering the following nine questions will help you develop your mission statement:

1. What problem will your book solve for its readers? (One only, in one sentence)
2. Describe your typical reader in 2-3 words
3. What is the subject of your book? (One simple phrase)
4. What makes your book unique?
5. What makes your book better than others on the same subject?
6. Why is it a good time to have a book like yours available?
7. List the benefits of your book to its readers
8. List the features that deliver the benefits
9. Describe yourself in two or three words: author and ….

Yes, it takes a lot of work and much re-writing but it is well worth it.  Many aspiring authors say it clarifies their thoughts and helps them create a more marketable product.




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