I spent time last week reading some books about self-publishing and marketing on my Kindle app. The best one was Smart Self-publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters. I was originally going to get John Locke’s book because Holly Lisle recommended it. I chose the other one because a reviewer on Amazon said it had the same information with less hype and fluff (and more than one reviewer kept pointing out the fluff in Locke’s book).
I still haven’t read the Locke book, so I can’t compare, but this one by Winters is just wonderful. She not only tells you the tools you need, she tells you the skills you need (or need to get), which tools are best for the level you can afford and how to keep initial costs down. Her information regarding professional editing, for example, is just fantastic. She also covers marketing, though not as thoroughly as 100 Ways to Market Your Book for Free (or Really Cheap) by Carol Denbow.
Some of her information about social networking’s impact on book sales appeared contradictory to me. On the one hand, she says you should use social networking fully to get your name out there, then states that few of the people who liked her or friended her or whatever actually bought her book.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to get involved in social networking. It does mean I’m not going to see it as a potential way to sell my book. It’ll just be for fun and a way to connect with fans I already have who may or may not buy my stuff. That takes a lot of pressure off.
Based on Winters’ advice, over the weekend I created a business plan. I’m not looking for a loan so it’s pretty straightforward and simple. Four pages, actually. It has a projected budget, a production schedule, a marketing plan, and a list of goals both short-term and long-term. The part that’s really keeping me focused is the production schedule. I’ve never tried to put deadlines to my writing before, so I’m not sure how much I can expect from myself. However, it’s good to have a plan so that you at least know the order of all the tasks that need to be done.
So, to summarize my efforts so far, I’ve completed my personal business plan, and begun “production”. In my case this means I’ve revised a rather long short story and am about to print it out for my “editor” to read. Once he’s looked it over for grammar and spelling, I’m going to begin work on the cover and formatting, which seems to mean stripping any existing formatting for conversion to ebooks. I’ll post when I’ve uploaded the short to the various retailers so that you can see what my efforts look like. I hope to have all this done by the end of January or earlier.
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