Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Business of Self Publishing

You have undoubtedly heard much about self Publishing but to succeed, you must know your market, master your material, plan ahead and know thyself.

Know thyself: know what works for you. Think outside tradition. Do it your way. For example, I love to teach; therefore, six months before the pub date, I gave free classes on building greens to guest of over 96 golf courses and received free rounds of golf in exchange.

Desire happiness for the reader, relevant to your work.

Give each buyer something extra.

I welcomed my readers to write in with questions which I answered on the web site. That practice created a valuable product , leading to the sale of the company.

You must do everything possible to create useful content ...and then engage the reader to start something. Motivate them to start where they are. Remain relevant by monitoring their progress. Use the collective mind of your team to anticipate your customer's needs.

My book, How to Build a Putting Green succeeded due to the collective effort of my team, as planned.

Step 1

Build a Launch team.

You need not look far. Prospective team members are nearby. They are in your email files. They comment on your blog post. They like you on facebook and follow you on Twitter. They are all over the place.

Step 2

Use Resource Base Strategy

Map your strategy based on key resources.

Recognize individuals who are most interested in your subject and solicit questions. For example, I often asked my most passionate golf enthusiast "How will the addition of a putting green at home impact your family?"

I received a variety of publishable answers along with permission to publish their comments.

"It adds value to the home," some said.

"...great curbside appeal," said a real estate agent.

I did not think of those most compelling benefits.

"The book helps because putting accounts for 80 percent of your scoring opportunities," said a golf pro whose name I used in the quote.

I sold three thousand books that week...at $49.95

I sold them at my putting greens web page. That means I made most of the profit. I also sold the book through traditional distributuon channels-Barnes & Noble , Amazon.com -at less profit.

There is a great lesson inherent in this discipline. For example, should a writer focus on traditional (vertical markets) or try something more creative?

There is a price to pay for each method. Choose your medicine.

If you go with traditional markets, you must aim to sell lots of books within ten consecutive days for any hopes of making the traditional best sellers list. It does not matter if your book sells ten thousand copies in a month, it's that 10 day period that governs the best seller's list.

It didn't seem good business to me to give the lion's share of proeeds to the publisher and distribution and earn only a modest royalty for myself. That's a fool's game.

No, thank you. I don't care that unit sales are calculated and tracked through traditional channels. This method is used to determine sales performance over a ten day period.

It's great if the book makes the New York Times Best Seller' list, due to volume because the royalty with volume earns you a handsome sum of money but if your book does not make the Best Seller' list, you, the writer, have left up to 60 percent of your money in someone's pocket.

That 60 percent represents the up pricing policy of a carriage trade product, a product that maintains a premium. The lack of competition coupled with favorable market demographics helped support the price point but premium research drove demand and inelasticity of price, thus the $49.95

Know your business.

Step 3

Think Creatively

As business goes,we have to make the work pay. Do so by thinking for yourself. Think creatively.

I Iove writing but I wrote the golf book to make money. It is a how-to book. The how-to category, like business consultants, offers value. Get paid for your work.

It makes better sense to me to sell my art directly to my customer in conjunctuion with traditional marketing efforts.

I know my customer and his habits. He is a lot like me: loves golf, has the time and means, and purchases a garage full of gadgets priced from $19.95 to $150.00, impulsively, all to help improve his game. He even takes golf lessons at about $40.00 per hour on average.

Are you suprised that my book retails for $49 95?

What would have happened to me financially, if I had chosen less imaginative  publishing channels?

I may have missed the benefits of both the best seller's list and the elevated profit in the niche?

Here are the numbers:

$...cost full editing.
$...cost to format book.
$...cost of cover productuion
$...cost to print.
$...cost to market & distribute.

My team accomplished this work. I built putting greens at their homes in exchange for their services.

One of the team members owned a Landscape magazine which exposed the book to the point it was entered into a national diy (Do it yourself) challenge leading to a national landscape award.

The bottom line? I ended up with an out of pocket cost of about $6.00 printing cost per book, $599.99 one time cover expense plus $6.00 shipping and handling to mail the book.

Choose your srategy early on in the game. Either go for the best seller's list or own the niche market. I do not mean to imply that a book that falls short of the list is not profitable.

Think about it. I have, roughly,   $12.00 in the book.

Thanks to:
Jason & Caitlin Montoya of Noodlehead Studios, Tim Lyles of AgriGro,  Dan Poynter, author of The Self Publishing Manual, Beth Guertal, Soil Scientist of Auburn State University, The Patten Seed Company and Ampac Seed Company.

Please, forward your comments to help other writers.

Suggested reading: The Self Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter
at www.parapublishing.com

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year

There is a great expanse before us: 2014
Fear calls it danger.
The mind: opportunity
The heart weighs it.
Love says, take no precaution.