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Saturday, March 24, 2007


The Self-Publishing Dilemma

During the recent Mega Book Marketing University, I'm still processing the information and people that I met from this experience. It was a well-done conference and if you get a chance to attend one of these mega events, I highly recommend it. There are plans to have them in various cities across the United States so be watching for additional information and dates.

During the conference, I met Shelley Phillips, a children’s book author from the Nashville, Tennessee area. We talked briefly about her children’s book, God Is Love, and she gave me a copy of the book. It's a beautiful full-color children's book with a music CD in the back. Shelley has a sophisticated website and asked me to give her any feedback about it. In particular she was wondering if a traditional publisher could possibly pick it up. I took it home and last week I read the book and listened to the CD. It's a well-done product with a good message. She is selling the book on Amazon and if you follow this link, you will see I added my customer review to the page with this book.

Here's the self-publishing dilemma: unless she sells many copies, I believe it will be a challenge to get a traditional publisher to take this book. Why? Full-color children's books with a CD in the back are not inexpensive to produce. Many times, the publisher will like some element a great deal--and often dislike another element in the book. For example, they will love the words and the message but dislike the style of artwork or the music on the CD or _____ (you fill in the blank). The greater the number of variables, the more there is to reject and because of the large volume of submissions, most editors are looking for a way to stem the tide or something to reject. It can be something as simple as the size of the book and whether it's standard or fits with the other children's books for a publisher.

I wrote Shelley as I promised and encouraged her to use every means at her disposal to sell lots of books. For example, Amazon has a number of easy-to-use and free tools for any author. Notice this book released in 2005 and had no customer reviews--until I added mine to that page. A proactive author can orchestrate a few of these reviews. It's pretty easy when someone says they love your book, you ask this person to go to the page and type a few sentences of review along with a Five Star review. The stars are important because Amazon averages these stars.

There are no easy answers with a book like God Is Love. I'm sure it was an investment on Shelley Phillips' part to produce the book in the first place. Now I hope she will find the audience for it. It's part of the self-publishing dilemma and why I've not gotten into this area of the market. Yes, I've written some manuscripts and proposed some projects which have not sold to a traditional publisher. If this happens, I don't self-publish. Instead I figure I didn't pitch it in the right place at the right time to the right person. Not every idea is supposed to move ahead in my view. It wasn't the right one since it did not find a place. Each of us have to find our own way and make our own choices with these situations. There are no simple or easy answers in my view.

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1 Comment:

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Gary Smith Left a note...

I would like to introduce a book that could be a valuable resource to would-be authors on this blog.

Publishing for Small Press Runs is a pioneering book promoting quick and affordable short press run book publication using the latest digital technology for producing covers and text. This 372-page guide currently is being used as the course text for a class at the University of New Orleans. For more information, see www.ChatgrisPress.com, Books, Publishing for Small Press Runs.

For an AuthorViews video, see http://www.authorviews.com/authors/smith/video.php.

 

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