Independent Book Authors and Blogger’s Dreams

Filed as Features on June 26, 2007 6:00 am

As you know SplashPress and The Blog Herald are running the Independent Blogger Book Quest in which I’m reviewing a book published independently — without the backing of a major publisher. In keeping with our mission at the Blog Herald, the books will be about blogging, business, and the work of online professionals. Read this post for guidelines to submit your book for review.

The books are arriving and one book has already been reviewed. I’ll bring another with me next week. Meanwhile, I’ve also worked with two new authors — helping one get his concept in line with his purpose, and and another getting permission to connect her with a small publisher.

The folks in question had a sense of how a book is made and what to expect from their investment. If you want to be a book author, you should know what they do.

Perception versus Reality

It seems everywhere we look another blogger is becoming an author. In the world of the Internet, this literate population of authors here are soon to be the norm that car drivers are in the 3-D world. Or at least, that is a large enough aspiration to give that perception. People want to write a book because they believe

  • books make people experts
  • books make relationships happen
  • books make people visible and famous
  • books are a marketing tool to sell other services, especially speaking
  • books generate sales while you sleep
  • books make great bonus gifts
  • books make a great platform to express who you are

All of these book facts are indeed reality. However, the scope of each is often misperceived. Few people make more than a few thousand dollars from a well-sold book. The problem is that often new authors are lead to believe that the items above mean more and greater things than they actually might mean.

The most important qualities of any book are that it is readable and that it gets where people can and do read it. A book that isn’t read cannot do what little the list above promises it will do for you. For each item in the list, add one of these phrases: if it sells, if people read it, if people know that.exists.

Author You Are Often the Market

With digital media, getting a book made for sale is easy. Selling it is the book for a profit once it is made is not. It’s an author beware world when it comes to self-publishing. Though folks may offer top notch services for your manuscript, if they are charging you to do so or, if they are not providing a serious marketing channel that puts your book where readers will see it. Then as an author you need to be aware that YOU are THEIR market. By entering into such a deal, you have changed your role from author to publisher, because you have now are in the business of marketing and selling books too.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a view into services that offer to help independent authors get books made. We all need to know the differences and options before investing in a relationship. All book are not created equal, and it’s not a good book if no one ever gets a chance to read a word.

Liz Strauss has been making books since the 1980s. She writes for Successful-Blog.

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  1. By Karin H. posted on June 26, 2007 at 7:53 am
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    Hi Liz

    I am so looking forward to the rest of this series!

    Karin H. (keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

    Reply

  2. By Liz Strauss posted on June 26, 2007 at 9:15 am
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    Hi Karin!
    I think it’s time we all know more about how things are done in both new media and old media. How can we put the best of the two together if we don’t even know what they are? :)

    Reply

  3. By Beyond Niche Marketing posted on June 26, 2007 at 2:22 pm
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    GREAT POST! BRAVO!! PREACH IT, LIZ!!!

    As I look at your list of why people want to write books… it’s been my experience that while each of those reasons are part of the whole “author mystique” that MANY would be authors think with fame comes riches.

    Because I had previously worked with a client whose clients and colleagues include a few best selling authors, I got a “peek” behind the “glamorous” life of an author long before I decided to write my little tome.

    The most important lesson I learned was this: book sales are considered “gravy” for many of these “names you would definitely know” authors. The real meat of their business was consulting and/or speaking.

    With that knowledge in hand, my goal for my book was for it to act as a “credibility” tool. As such, the costs associated with the book are filed as a marketing expense in my mind. With that goal in mind, my book has done extremely well for me. I’ve landed enough new clients as a direct result of the book that publishing the book has been EXTREMELY profitable for me.

    However, if my goal was to retire and live off the earnings from sales of the book…. well, it wouldn’t be a lavish lifestyle AT ALL! Especially with just one title to my name!

    Again, GREAT POST!!! Realistic expectations UP FRONT will make would be authors less susceptible to falling for many of the “marketing tactics” used by some self publishing houses.

    Reply

  4. By Liz Strauss posted on June 26, 2007 at 2:39 pm
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    Hi Kathy!
    So you have been there and seen what the hallowed halls are like. Glamour is only glamour from afar. :)

    Publishing is a business and we fall into the same categories and patterns as any business folks happen to do. Some know their stuff and some only know how to manager you away from your money well.

    As with any other endeavor, it helps to know what we’re doing upfront.

    Thank you, Kathy, for your rousing enthusiasm. :)

    Reply

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