Jim Kukral made a very good point at ICON 2013 (“The Ultimate Small Business Conference” in Phoenix): publishers are only necessary for signing bonuses. They are in the business of paper, not content, and content is read on mobile phones worldwide. (To show that Jim really is an expert, see his TED Talk video.)
So, if you don’t care about signing bonuses or the prestige of being marketed by a traditional publisher, it’s much faster and easier (once the rejection letters enter the equation) to publish e-books yourself. He mentioned a great 2011 statistic from Amazon:
- For every 100 printed books sold,
- 180 digital books are sold on Amazon.
Print or digital, the sales leads and publicity offered by non-fiction e-books can be obtained faster when you’re the one in charge. Plus, and I completely agree with Jim here, you don’t have to wait around for some horde of Gatekeepers to approve your work. It takes time for the drawbridges to open and close.
Gatekeepers have also melted away in terms of journalism and blogging. Jim, I completely agree – “Who are they to tell me that I can’t publish a book?” Especially after having seen some of the ‘professional’ publications put on bookshelves, I’m quite certain that many Gatekeepers were given the keys to the publishing kingdom by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.
Other Marketing Points to Ponder
- Free Leads to Free: Give away lots of e-books via landing pages = (eventually) no more paying for leads or advertising.
- E-Book = Business Card: Offer free consultations with the expert author (you), and be amazed at who wants to meet with you.
- More Than Blogposts: Consider turning blogpost writing into chapters for e-books, to add credibility (because everyone can & does write a blog).
- Reviews Matter: A list of reviews on a website has taken the endorsement page on a printed book – so find good reviewers.
- Linkable: Unlike print books, e-books allow you to put affiliate links, website links, etc into the content of your book.
- Formatting: Find a contractor on PeoplePerHour, use Pressbooks.com (on WordPress, make a post, export, upload to Amazon), Scrivener.com.
- Covers & Titles: Do pre-promotion, study audience buy-in, and get ‘focus test group’ feedback by asking Facebook and Twitter fans, “what do you think of these 3 titles? What about these 3 cover pages?”
What’s great about Jim’s talk is that you think, at the end, “I could do this – there’s nothing there that I can’t do. Just try stuff, see what works, edit stuff that doesn’t work.” Direct response marketing means that you find out by trial and error – what works, what doesn’t. Use social media. Use email lists. Ask people for reviews. Launch. Rinse and repeat.
Not too difficult, right?