April 4, 2013
You plan to self-publish a book? Awesome… Now it’s business time. Your book is a business (and it’s also a product). If you’re an author who wants to make a profit, you have to stay focused on “business” and this means you’ll have to wear many hats. You’ll wear the marketing and advertising hats most often. Don’t forget about the IT hat and the accounting hat. You need technology and you need to keep track of the numbers, after all… Oh, and then there’s the publicity hat. You know, the one where you contact bloggers, journalists, etc. and follow-up with them as well (and send them review copies, etc.). Folks, self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. It takes work, just like any start-up business. Don’t be afraid of the hard work. Roll up those sleeves and give it your best shot…
Of course, there are some things you can — and probably should — outsource to professionals. Not only will outsourcing save you time, but it’ll also leave you with (perhaps) a more successful book I mean business. Here are some aspects of your business that authors tend to outsource:
- Graphic design: Unless you are a professional graphic designer, PLEASE DO NOT design your own book cover and interior. An amateurish book design will be the kiss of death, as I’ve said before. I suggest hiring a professional book designer. We have them here at MindStir Media, FYI.
- Editing: Even if you happen to be a pro editor, your eyes should never be the only eyes taking a careful look at the manuscript you’ve written. Hire a professional editor.
- Printing: You’ll need a book printer. Yes, you should still offer a printed version of your book despite the popularity of ebooks. Ebooks are hot but we still live in a print world and plenty of people still love printed books (and prefer them)… Sure, you can outsource your printing to China, but I like the idea of keeping it all-American. Here at MindStir Media our printing is done in the USA and we offer a quality guarantee…
- Distribution: You probably don’t want to go door-to-door with your book, so some sort of book distribution network is a must! You should absolutely have your book available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com, at the very least. By the way, MindStir Media handles book distribution for our authors.
OK, so back to that first paragraph… You could also hire a marketing/advertising agency; you could have Best Buy’s Geek Squad pay you a visit; you could hire a CPA (this is actually a good idea if you’re making decent money); and you could even hire a publicist. You may encounter a money issue, though, because outsourcing everything would cost you $10,000 – $30,000 (and maybe more) depending on the companies you choose. So, outsource some things and not all things and then go from there. And above all else, remember that your book is a business and you should treat it that way!
J.J. Hebert is the bestselling author of Unconventional and Weepy the Dragon. He’s also the founder and president of MindStir Media, a full-service self-publishing and book marketing company.