The Ultimate Cheat-Sheet To Self-Publish Your Best Seller Book

I know you have a book in you and you are ready to get it out. I know that not because I am psychic but because you are reading this. I know I have one too (I am working on my second).   This is a wonderful time for the both of us!

I will take full credit right now: James’s latest book, “Choose Yourself” would have been a disaster and a flop if not for me.

DO NOT EVEN QUESTION ME IF YOU ARE READING THIS, JAMES.

Let me tell you that James’s story.

November 2012: I notice that James has just sent an e-mail to a consultant we use that said: “please upload this to Amazon when you can.” A book called “The Choose Yourself Era” was attached. That’s it. One line. One attachment.

Thank God he cc-ed me!

I open the attachment and see the very first draft of “Choose Yourself”, which back then was naked, un-edited, and totally raw. It was a disaster in the making. An easy mistake to make, like the one I did with my first self-published book. 

It gets worse.

It is so early in the process that the book is not even called Choose Yourself yet. Back then it was called “The Choose Yourself Era” which very much sounds like “error” when you say it out loud.  I stand up in frenzy.  My head is spinning.

No! I say to him. How dare you?  I have not even seen the first draft! And you are ready to PUBLISH?

I calm down and continue: How about this time we do it right? How About we self-publish it professionally? 

There is that word again “professionally”. It makes the world of difference.  It is the turning-pro mantra, it is what distinguishes the girls from the women, the boys from (well) bigger boys, the cooks from the chefs, the amateurs from the professional writers.

If it weren’t for the tough love I gave him that night the book would probably NOT have been a best seller.  

As it stands today I am proud to say that it is.  I was there every step of the way.  I got my MBA in Professional Self-Publishing by full immersion, I had no choice, I wanted it to succeed, I believe in the message. 

I love the cover

How did we do it? 

We surrounded ourselves with people who knew a LOT more than us, we listened, we followed advice, and this post is the result of everything I learned.

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Last week a group of women with whom I meet regularly to ‘master-mind’ asked me to give a talk about all the things I learned throughout this process. I gave that talk over a Google hangout. 

I got very good feedback from the people who attended so here I am sharing it with you so you can also make your best work 'be, feel and look professional' and also make it a best-seller. 

Will it work for ALL books? I don’t know, but I do know that the chances of it NOT doing well increase if these 28 details are overlooked.  

James has already published an article on this, but here is my own take on my MPSP, my Masters in Professionally Self Publishing a book.  (I am choosing myself to call myself that).

Here is to your book!  Here is to the hard work you put into it, here is to the love you used to create it.

I wish you all the best, may it be a complete success!

PART ONE GETTING CLEAR

1. - Think Self-Publishing 3.0 

What does that mean? That you will do it professionally, it will look professional, feel professional, sound professional, have the right marketing, the right grammar and spelling and inside and outside layout, the right cover, and on and on and on.  It will be a work of art. There will be no way to tell that it is self-published.

Note: many “mainstream” published books are done very unprofessionally.

This is not about self-published versus traditional published. That distinction is over.

This is about how you take what’s in your mind and create a printed work of art. Often, only YOU can do that, provided that you assemble the right team.  Professional self-publishing is a team effort, not a lonely enterprise.

2. – Get Clear On What are the Goals of your Book.

If you are not looking at this point you are MISSING OUT! I thought it was not important. Wrong!

It is VERY important.  It is a complete game-changer.  Here are three different things you may want to achieve with your book, decide what you want. You need to know if you want to:

1-    Make a lot of money. Some people are interested in making a living from writing. Can it be done? Yes, keep reading

2-    Reach the biggest number of people so that your message spreads. For example if nobody knows you yet. Can a book help? Yes, a book is the new business card.
  
Others want to spread the message because they believe it. This was my case with James’ latest book.  It is down to earth and has it is a necessary tool for this time. I believe everyone should read it.
3-    Hit the NY Times or other Best Seller list. In other words, you want recognition so that you can get paid for speaker gigs, and get advances from publishers for future books, or other opportunities.

Of course you may want more than one of these. That is fine, but knowing which ones and in what order will clarify your way through the process.  Venture out without knowing where you are going and what will happen? You will get lost.

For Choose Yourself we wanted to spread the message (point 2), to have the largest amount of people actually read the book, and then, as a number two we wanted very much to hit a Best-seller list (point 3).

We accomplished both.  But we were very clear on what the first goal was and that was tremendously helpful in making the thousands of small decisions that went along the way.  And when I say thousands I am not kidding, there will be at least a thousand decisions, keep reading and you will see for yourself.

3. - Should I Worry About Being on Bookstores?  Self-Published books don’t make it into those temples!

The reality is that bookstores are not only disappearing (where did Borders go? Why is every Barnes and Nobles having less and less inventory in their stores other than in a few major locations?).  Also, the few ones that are still standing don't carry a lot of books. 

Empty shelves
Publishers take huge risks in putting your book in a bookstore as they a) will likely have to pay for space and whether your book  –within a shelf- faces front or just the back of it, and whether it is on the main table by the entrance or shelved.  

But the biggest risk is that if the books do not sell, then bookstores can return the books to the publisher, at a loss to them.

Is there a way to get your book in bookstores anyway? Yes, but why would you want that?  Think it through.  Look at this excerpt of an article from USA Today (April 2013 below, it says:

After three years of triple-digit increases, the number of e-books sold last year grew by only 43%

ONLY. As if that was a bad thing.

Really? ONLY 43%?  I would say that is pretty good!

It is true, many people will still buy paperbacks or hard covers, but the trend is going towards e-books. 

Think about 50 Shades of Grey for example. Part of the appeal of that book is that people could hide behind a kindle or nook to read a rather naughty book.  It is not the kind you want people seeing you reading in the subway. 

E-books are also wonderful on people’s backs as well, no more carrying 20 pounds of books around, it is all in one device. I love e-books.

But how do I really know that kindle is the way of the future?

Because I check sales for James’s book daily and it is much harder to hit a low number in the hierarchy of sold books for “kindle” than for “paper-back” or “hard cover”.   Not only that, but Kindle is an app, as in a downloadable application, and it can be accessed from any devise, I-pad, I-pod, smart phone, computer cloud, anywhere.


Kindle is an App. Anyone can download it


Kindle books move much faster, the competition is fierce, especially in non-fiction, which is one of the hardest categories. That is how I know.

However, If you still (after reading this whole post) MUST have your book on bookstores, then read part three of this post to see how one best-selling author managed to “hire” a publishing company as a distribution outlet (meaning that he still self-published but only dealt with a publishing house to put it on bookstores).

4. - What Does It Mean To Have a BEST-SELLER?

There is a hierarchy that gives meaning to the ‘best-seller’ list effect, but just like all hierarchies, it’s going away. Vanishing. Fast.  Nevertheless, for now, there are 3 lists you can hit.

List #1:  THE NY TIMES BEST SELLER LIST

You only need to sell about 2500 copies of your book in any given week to hit this list.  BUT it has to be spread over certain bookstores around the country that nobody knows of (think secret sauce).  Also, they DO NOT count e-books.  Not sure what century they are living in but that is the fact.

Here is the kicker: you can BUY YOUR WAY into the NY Times Best Seller List.  Might not be cheap, but it is doable. 

By the way, there is nothing wrong with this, by all means, go ahead and choose yourself to do whatever it is you want to do.

Having a NY Times Best Seller hit does still (my guess is not for much longer) get you credibility, speaking gigs, and maybe advances for future books from major publishing houses, although those advances are going down really fast. From James:

“Here are my advances on my first mainstream-published five books in order: $5,000, $7500, $30,000, $100,000, and $30,000. Advances are coming down quickly!”

Publishing Houses also take advantage of the “paying to hit the NY Times list” in a different way, i.e.:  they can pay to get a book on that first table you see on those still standing bookstores.  It is never a coincidence that they are there, that is why we are all more likely to buy them.  Someone paid good money for you to see them.

Good luck getting a publisher to do that for you if you are not Stephen King or your book is not called Lean In, or This Town.

List #2: THE WSJ AND USA TODAY LIST

If you get into any of these two lists you become what is known in the industry as a “NATIONAL BEST-SELLER”.  That is what Choose Yourself is because it hit the WSJ best-seller list (on top of being a #1 in Amazon see next point).

These two lists DO count e-books.  Finally!

List #3: AMAZON BEST-SELLER

This is by far my favorite list and I have a feeling it will be the favorite of everyone pretty soon. Why? Because it’s real. 

Yes I know, Barnes and Nobles does count too, but really, let’s be honest, Amazon is where the game is at. If you are in the top 100 most sold books on Amazon you are a best-seller, you are making money and 10 to 15 countries are ringing your foreign rights agent phone off the hook (see foreign rights below).

Thing with Amazon is… you need to clarify what type of best-seller you are.

Are you in top 100 best sellers for the whole world? (Meaning top 100 of ALL books?)  If you are congratulations!  It means they will rank you as an author too. It is fascinating.  It is also VERY HARD.

At its peak James’ book hit #13, that is in the whole world! Which, for a NON-Fiction book, is almost impossible.  The top best sellers are usually in the categories of paranormal or romance novels.

Non-fiction is a hard sell!

When Choose Yourself was #13 in the world he was also #1 for Non-Fiction books.  BUT that is a sub-category.  Within non-fiction it was up there, in its number one glory followed by Lean In et all.

So the thing to know about Amazon is that being #1 in your category is great, but not exactly a total best seller. 

When My book was first published in May of 2011, it hit #1, but it was for the category of YOGA. 

So whenever someone says they have a #1 best seller in Amazon, it begs the question: was it in a ‘category’ or was it ‘for all books’?   If you do ask that question do it nicely. We authors are very sensitive people.

VERY INTERESTING SIDE STORY

As I was getting ready for the call in which I went over all of this points, I noticed that the organizer, a very talented woman, had advertised the talk by saying:

“Get a behind-the-scenes process of how James & Claudia self-published his #1 NYT Best Seller book Choose Yourself”

I am not criticizing at all; I am just making an observation. The book is a National Bestseller, not a #1 NY Times Best Seller, but IT DOES NOT MATTER.  If you hit a list, ANY list, it will be good for the book.  Not everyone knows what the differences are.  But now you do.

5. - What Royalties can I get for my book?

Self-publishing is GREAT for royalties.  Nothing beats getting direct checks with zero cuts for agents or publishers.

We use Amazon because they are a one-stop service for paperback, e-book and now even audio book! So I can talk only from this experience. Some people use different services.  I don’t know enough about them, however I do know that for Amazon:

-       If you price your kindle e-book UNDER 2.99 (meaning 2.98) then you will get a 35% royalty.
-       If you price it above, say 2.99 or higher, you will get 70%
-       Create Space, an Amazon company that prints your paper back copies on demand has a different way of calculating things and it gives somewhere between the 30 and 70%.  It depends on many factors.  It is a good idea to browse their pages and learn about it. The website has a lot of resources and forums.

6.-  Pricing Your E-Book  at US$ 3.99 Is The New Black

It used to be all books were 2.99.  But now a days it seems that 3.99 is a better point price. This is a totally subjective observation. You should try and play with it. 

My book was originally sold for .99 cents.  That is because nobody knew who I was, probably still the case, but now it cost 3.99.  Why? Because US$ 3.99 it is the new black.  And I am trying new things.  Isn’t self-publishing a beauty?  You can change your price any time you want (except for audible).

Why is James’s 4.99?  Because he has a HUGE audience, and the book is amazing. He specifically wanted to separate himself out from the crowd that prices at $2.99. It was a conscious marketing decision to price at 4.99.  

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A LIVING FROM BOOKS:  Remember up in the beginning where we talked about the primary objective of your book? If your goal is to make a living then the key is to write lots of them. 

That is how you build up, and if one makes it big then people are more likely to buy your other ones because Amazon makes very handy “suggestions” and “offers” so you can buy three books by the same author for a lesser price, and THEY take the cut, not you. 

Beautiful?  I think so.

7. - If You Are Still Not Convinced About Self-Publishing Professionally

Here are some little nuggets that might finish you off.

a-    No begging or rejection letters. No proposals.  You are in control. No more manuscripts gathering dust in a mysterious drawer in some moldy attic
b-    You have control over the design of the cover and interior (does not happen with a publisher)
c-     It is your property, you get all foreign rights and all royalties directly, no agent fees no publishers cut, it is your work and your money
d-    You decide WHEN you publish.  James’s book The Forever Portfolio (which I believe was written just for me: see the third huge coincidence in this post), was a financial book that the publishers decided to release at the bottom of the worst recession of our generation, December of 2008. 

James begged to delay the release. But it did not happen.  I think I own the only copy of it, which was autographed just for me, and a clear sign that he was to be my husband.

PART TWO: 
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AS YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK

 8. - Build a Platform

You need to have a blog and talk about your area of expertise, build community, gather comments, get feedback, see what the real needs are.  And people need to know who you are.

Get on Quora.  Quora is a popular site on which people ask questions and you can search for the ones in your area of expertise, then answer. Position yourself as the expert. Isn’t that great or what?

Get on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it. Do it. 

Interact with people on social networks.  Get Klout “moments”.  Do it all.  Social media is how you build an audience. 

9. - How Do You Use These Tools To Establish Yourself As An Expert In Your Area?

1-    Become an idea machine; always be thinking about how to offer value. Write posts that help people.  Teach, show, and make other people’s lives easier.
2-    Have a genuine voice.  Differentiate yourself.

For example:

When I wrote my book, all the books that were out there on Ashtanga Yoga were very “traditional”, they talked about the philosophy and the poses. I loved them, but I felt something was missing.

I wanted a book that talked about what happens to a human being while being subjected to this specific practice in this time and age beyond following the traditional routines. 

So I took that angle.  I talked about what happened to ME when I started practicing, in this time, regardless of what the tradition says.  I observed how it changed me; I noticed what I liked and didn’t like about it, and I wrote as I talked, from the heart and with the intention to help.

Truth is, when I started my practice I was confused; I had no idea what to expect.   Going to Mysore in India was really confusing.  I had a LOT of questions and very few answers. 

So that is the book I wrote. It was not traditional; it was the book I WOULD HAVE WANTED TO READ a few years back.  

Write that book. 

Write those blog-posts. The ones you wish you could have read 3/5 years ago.

3-    Syndicate your content.  Put it on any blog that will allow you to have it. Within your niche and even outside of it.  Go for it.
4-    Don’t fear that people will steal your ideas, they won’t. And if they do, well, pat yourself in the back: you are being noticed.

Remember what Gandhi said:  First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight you, then you win! 

At least you are not being ignored when you are being copied.

10. - Write

Get good at writing. It comes with the territory.  It is a priority.  It is how you sell yourself.  We all need to be storytellers. This is the Story-Telling Age.

500 words a day can help you develop the writing muscle. That’s it.

Even if you have nothing to write about do it anyway.  You can do just stream of consciousness if you want, or morning pages, it does not matter as long as you are exercising the writing muscle.

James complains to me almost every day, “I wrote, but I didn’t write anything worth posting”. BUT HE WROTE.

Some people write differently.  One woman told me she never writes and then gets inspired and writes for 13 hours straight! God bless her! I was impressed.  I don’t think I could do that, even though come to think about it, I have been writing for three hours now, but 13? Wow!

11. - Read a Lot

Reading informs us of how other authors use grammar, language, and structure.  I love reading. It helps. Do it.

PART THREE:  
ONCE YOUR BOOK IS WRITTEN, THIS IS HOW YOU PUBLISH IT PROFESSIONALLY


12. - Make Sure You Have a good book:  Worth repeating. Would you want to read it? Does it add value? Is it interesting? Is it funny at times? Does it have some personal stories or is it all philosophy?

This is going to be odd advice but: READ IT OUT LOUD. If at any point you feel yourself getting bored while you read, then start cutting. Even if it’s just a word. Even if it’s a whole chapter.

13. - Title:  Remember the beginning of this post?  The story of “The Choose Yourself ERROR? “ What if the book had that title instead? “The Choose Yourself Era”? Not good!

Here is what you can do to choose your title:  Come up with several titles and create ads in Facebook leading to your web-site.  It does not matter what the landing page is, you are just interested on what people click on. 

At the end of your experiment (2/3 days, or a few hundred clicks) you will have a pie chart, and your title will be decided.  The higher the number of clicks the better chances that is your best title – the one that people will be drawn to.

Remember: at first you are writing the book YOU would want to read. But you are publishing the book that EVERYONE ELSE will want to read.

Another rule:  If after you tell the name of your book to somebody else you have to explain what it is about, then think again.  Make it self-explanatory.

Simple is Sweet

14. - Editing:

Think about paying 5K for a good editor. Nils Parker (James’s editor) cost that and it was worth every penny.  He is incredibly talented and has edited many best-seller authors before.  

He not only went back and forth with us about 20 times, he offered ideas on chapters to “add” and chapters to “take out” as well as format, book structure, grammar, spelling, etc.  He is the real deal. 

I would NEVER cheap out on this.  Good editing is worth gold. And we only hired him after James had already rewritten close to ten drafts (after my tough love session).

Of course sometimes it is not possible to pay that much money.  In that case, consider that both Create Space, Lightning Source and other web-sites offer cheaper services. The draw-back is that they might offer only copy editing (grammar and spelling) but not structure. 

No matter what you do, never let a book go without some sort of editing.  It will not be professional.

15. - Cover Design

You want the cover to say what the book is about. And you want that in one image.  That is not easy. Better to get professional help.

When self-publishing professionally you want to be proud of the product (book) you will be handing out to friends, and the book that people will be receiving in their homes when they order the paperback online.

Also, and this is something that many non-professionals fall for, the interior layout of the book is as important as the exterior.

For example:
How are paragraphs laid out?
Do they have an indent in each one?
Do you use a huge letter at the beginning of each chapter?
What font do you use so it does not look like you just uploaded your Word document? Some fonts look good in digital, some in print. Some in both.
What amount of space do you leave between the margins and the text?
What is in the header?
Where are the page numbers?  

There are lots of different factors; Professionals know how to do what catches the eye. Use them.

James says: “I made sure I put out a product I could be proud of. I used Erin Tyler Design who helped me find the right cover designer and she also managed the interior design process, which was a lot trickier than I thought. She designed the spine, picked the fonts, designed the inside flaps, the back cover, and all the quirks, tables, pictures, asides, etc. inside the book and then helped format for when I uploaded to Kindle Direct on Amazon.”

And I will add one more thing, for Audbile (audiobook) you will need to reformat your cover so that it is a square instead of a rectangle and it needs to meet certain size specifications.  A designer can help you with this too.

16. - Your Photograph

James and I are friends with Tucker Max who helped us throughout the whole process. He wrote an email to me saying:

“…You probably know better than anyone all the amazing attributes James has, and his current photo captures NONE of them. That’s why I’m asking to not only make sure he uses another picture…have one taken that shows all of those attributes about James; his kindness, his intelligence, his ambition, his deep vulnerability, his enduring spirit, his openness, all of that.”

I did. It paid off. The photo is amazing!




So, make sure your photograph, the one you will use for the back of the book and for all promotional materials (and your Amazon Author Central Page) is good and, you guessed it, PROFESSIONALLY done. 

You can expect to pay between $250 and $1000 for a really good photo.  You get what you pay for. 

17. - Author Central Page And Your Bio

In Amazon there is an Author Central Page for each author. DO MAKE SURE you complete it.  Put an enticing bio, get your photo there, and let the world know who you are. 

I am amazed at how many people ignore the Author Central page, which is a great place to talk not just about you but also list all the books you have written as you build up. 

You can also connect your blog and Twitter feed, so people can see that you are active and current and what you are thinking about these days.   Here is also where you can upload a video (professionally done is better, but you knew that) and talk about your books.

18. – Audioboo: Should I Do It?

Absolutely YES!

When people see in Amazon that you have an audiobook it looks more credible. IT IS.

Interestingly, “Choose Yourself” was the first book James also did as an audio book. None of his mainstream publishers suggested to him that he do an audio book. The investment we put into making that audio book has been recovered and so far has generated a 500% profit.

People LOVE hearing the author’s voice, it is intimate and conversationalist and a lot of people listen to audiobooks in cars, plane rides, while doing dishes, etc.

An audiobook establishes an intimate relationship between the reader and the writer; just make sure you are the one who reads it. I never buy audiobooks that are not read by the author.

Think about it, even if your book is about cooking, or yoga, you can still do an audiobook. 

Be careful if you are guiding people into relaxation or doing sleeping exercises,  to warn the listener not to do it while they are driving, but short of that, just go for it.

UNABRIDGED If you dare, go off the page, do what is called “Unabridged” where you don’t just read but tell more stories, go a little off the page, insert little nuggets of wisdom (stories) that are not in the book.

People will love it even more.  You can listen to James’s audiobook for a good example, he told lots of extra stories and went off script, he also had fun with it.  The listeners have fun as well as a result.

Audible, just like Kindle can be downloaded in ANY smart phone, i-pad, i-phone, cloud, etc.  It is not limited to a specific device. It is wonderful.

We used a professional studio for the recording, John Marshal Media (they did Freakonomics, Harry Potter, etc.) It cost about 2100 for 11 hours (two days) of recording.  The final product was about 3.5 hours.   The audio recovered its cost within 10 days.  People LOVE audiobooks.

You will need to get an account with ACX.COM (totally free) to upload your book once you have it recorded and the studio edited it (taking out all the “umms”, etc).

Acx then puts it both on Audible, the Apple store, and Amazon among other distribution channels.  They are wonderful.

19. - Pre-Release?  Hard Cover?

Amazon does not YET offer these services for self-publishing authors (too risky).  But stay put; I am sure it is coming.

20. - How Do I Actually Self-Publish and Make It Appear in Amazon?

Go to CreateSpace.com and kdp.amazon.com.     Upload your books.  Get the kindle store (KDP) to do it for you, it might cost a few bucks but they will do it right.  For the kindle book to appear in Amazon it might take a week, sometimes less if you don’t have photographs and charts and if the book is in English.  For Create Space they will send you a paper back “proof” for you to see, then you approve and it is out.

ISBN:  You will get your ISBN number with both Create Space and KDP.  They know what they are doing. Just follow their instructions.

21. - Marketing

Not everyone can afford a marketing agency, but if you can they can help get the word out in some specific situations in a very successful way.

Mainly start by focusing on your platform (which is free), the one we have been talking about in the beginning of the post. 

When you release your book go everywhere:

Email List

Twitter followers

Your Blog

Facebook

YouTube

Other Things That Help In Marketing Your Book

An IAMA in Reddit  (IAMA means:  I am a writer and investor with experience in blah blah… ask me any questions).  Here is the one James did (see here). This can be immensely popular, or not, that is why a marketing agency can be key to help you with that.    They can get it to be popular.  But that costs a bit.  Worth the investment.

James got 3200 comments/questions with help from Brasscheck, which is the agency we used.

Slideshare is another good website where you can put (for free) a Powerpoint with slides describing the content of your book.   Here is James’ slideshare which was also put together and promoted by the marketing agency.

If your slideshare does not get popular then you run the risk that nobody will see it.  If it gets to be popular they (Slideshare) will email your presentation with their list (good thing!)  Marketing might be a bit expensive but very helpful.
Slideshare logo

James got other ideas for promoting his book, for example, he made an offer by which anyone who bought and read the book within the first 3 months of publication (and could prove it with a photograph and a receipt) would get their money back.

22. - The First 45 Days After You Hit Publish:

These first 45 days will be intense! I lost James in those six weeks, no kidding!  See here for a sample of a few of the podcasts and appearances he did.  That is just a sample, he was on a conference or appearing somewhere every day.

Book tours? They don’t do much; It’s all in the Internet now.

23.- Reviews

It is important to have good reviews right off the start.  Obviously you cannot bribe people for reviews, that would be unethical and not good, but you can have people you know who are familiar with your work read your book BEFORE you publish it and give an HONEST opinion.  They can be your champions and publish reviews as soon as your book comes out.

You want to have reviews right away, a few ones at least, and of course it is better if they are good, but then again, you already took care of that by writing a good book.

A great tip I learned about from a self-publishing pro, Maria Murnane, is to contact all the "top reviewers" in Amazon and ask if you can send them a copy of your book.  Then hope they may want to review it.  Only thing is, this can go both ways.  Top reviewers are respected, BUT they can love or hate your work, like anyone else.

24.- Foreword

Try to get someone in your field to write a foreword for you. It will lend the book credibility and make it more professional.  James was lucky that Dick Costollo, the CEO of Twitter wrote the one for his book.  They have been friends for a long time, and it was very nice of him to do it!

25. - Foreign Rights

From James:

“Now I own all the rights to my book. Most people who self-publish aren’t thinking foreign rights. You still have to have someone who is going to be your advocate with the foreign publishers.  So I got a foreign rights agency, 2 Seas Agency, to handle all of the foreign rights on a commission basis. They go to book conferences all over the world and have connections in each country.

In June, the first month the book was out, Marleen Seegers from 2 Seas sold rights to: Brazil (USD 2500), China (USD 4300), Korea (USD 5000). She is currently in negotiations with publishers from ten other countries. The three mentioned above are where the contracts were finished blindingly fast.”


It will happen...

26. – What About A Book Trailer?

My feeling is that if you don’t have a lot of money, trailers are the last thing to focus on.  The industry is new and growing but in my evaluation of return on investment this one was the least profitable, even though we did it professionally.

If you have the money and can make a cinematographic trailer with a great director, maybe it is a good idea.  But if you don’t I would stick to other sources, like Slideshare.

27.- Email Lists

Email lists can be a blessing, BUT if you are to be working with one of them, hiring them or paying for one, make sure that they have sold similar products to yours in the recent past and that they can prove results.  Do not pay if you are not sure.

28. - The Choose Yourself Numbers

In the first week “Choose Yourself!” was out James got onto the WSJ Bestsellers List with about 10,000 copies sold.

Altogether in the first month it sold 44,294 copies

Right now it’s at around 66,000 copies and because of foreign rights we are more than likely to hit 100K by the end of the year.

PART FOUR: 
THE MAGIC FORMULA: 
OBVIOUS BUT WELL REPEATING

Ø  Say something unique

Ø  Write it well

Ø  Self-publish it professionally

Ø  Start working on your next book

Ø  Repeat

 Can’t wait to read your book!

p.s.: Want more inspiring stories on self-publishing? 

Hugh Howey's blog 
James's Publishing 3.0
James's 33 Tips to Being A Better Writer 
How To Self-Publish and Sell 300,000 copies of your book

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16 comments:

  1. Love this post. I'll bookmark it for later, because the "six months" I promised you is long blown by this summer. And when you all convinced me on this, they were much simpler days, when everyone said, "just push the button." Super high-tech now:) But--much, much better...I can't keep a copy of James' or Kamal's books around because they keep getting "borrowed" or gifted. I'm looking forward to yours, though, Claudia:)

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  2. Wow, Claudia, amazing article! Really great info! I am giving a presentation in October to a group and my topic is SELF PUBLISHING 101 and although I have spoken on that topic before, I am going to add CHOOSE YOURSELF as a great case study about how to do it right when you self publish. The book title is so important and you nailed it with CHOOSE YOURSELF. Also, the professional developmental editing can make a huge difference and it is important to take the time and make the effort to get it right. I work with many authors and almost all of them do not realize how hard they will have to work at marketing a book once it is published, whether it is self published or traditionally published. Publishers expect authors to have a platform and market the book themselves, so authors may as well self publish and keep the profits themselves. But you do have to be good at online marketing. That is where it is at these days.

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  3. Thank you. That was the best self-publishing guide I've read to date.

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  4. I agree Joan, putting yourself out into the social media world is important, then again, all the other components help, it is like putting together an orchestra, all instruments have to be fine tuned and well rehearsed :-)


    Good luck with the presentation you are doing!

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  5. I hear you, writing is work! Especially as the school year starts again. Good luck!

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  6. Hey Claudia, I had the privilege of meeting with you last year at the Cojourneo event, which was really great (and I even got to ask James a question, which I wrote about - http://goo.gl/OkFyg ).

    This. Is. An. Amazing. Post. My favorite takeaways are "write the book you'd want to read" and "write what you wish you'd known 5 years ago". Man, I could write volumes on that.

    The more time goes on, the more I'm interested in writing a book that helps people find their own voice and get their message out, using the technology everyone is afraid of or doesn't know how to use. Not sure how to marry that all yet, but this post was extremely inspiring. Thank you. Made my day.

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  7. Hi Daniel, yes I remember that event. Glad you are in the process of brainstorming already for your book!

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  8. What an inspiring read, Claudia. Thank you so much for writing this. I will reference it often, as I NEED the guidance and inspiration! xo

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  9. Hi Claudia,

    As a professional book designer for 20+ years I thank you for this post! It's so great to see the self-publishing world wanting to produce better books :) You hit every single key point and helped me how to think about my own forthcoming book. Thank you! And congrats to James...

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  10. This was a very comprehensive post


    I thought I knew a bit about self publishing. But the tools and steps that you mentioned I have not read or heard anywhere else


    Keep on truckin'

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  11. Just another publishing pro (book publicist) chiming in on what a great post this is. Lots of advice here I routinely give to my authors. I particularly love the idea of testing the title in Facebook ads and using Quoro to establish your expertise.



    I generally caution new authors not to self-publish, but it is only because so few of them take the time/money to invest in professional editing, design and promotion. They think of self-publishing as the easy way, when really it's quite a lot of work.

    ReplyDelete
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