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For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers

What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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I can't agree more with you Bill... it is as though you as the author have to sell yourself as much as your work. I know it's a little abstract but Vincent Van Gogh actually shot himself when he found all his paintings that Theo his brother had pretended to sell for him... he died absolutely humiliated, his life work was in shreds. Yet today there is almost nobody who doesn't know the painter Van Gogh. By the way it is a pleasure meeting both of you and thankyou for including me in the conversation. I live in a small town in SA so I don't often have the opportunity to chat with my peers so am delighted to find fellow writers. I wish you both the very best of success and would love to follow your work.
It's nice to meet you also. I live in a town so small, there isn't even a bookstore. We do have a comic book store which sells some books and of course Wal-mart. Your point isn't abstract; for any author an almost forgotten aspect is the art of writing. There has been many an author who found fame and glory long after they had departed this mortal coil. I believe it is probably the most difficult field(in the arts) to gain recognition with.
elliott/bill
I wanted to share with everyone. Today, I had my speaking engagement on my spiritual changes from my book A Healing Heart; A Spiritual Renewal.
There were 150 women and a priest at the Providence Marriott Hotel in Rhode Island. They are a Catholic Woman's Ministry.
I sold 26 books, got paid for the talk, and had my speech on a CD which they gave me.
I had two invitations to speak at their locations.
It was a wonderful day! My first huge break in 2 years.
I'm happy for you and don't forget I ordered a copy only yesterday.
elliott
Hi Elliott,
Thank you so much for the support. I'll let you know when the new books on alcoholism comes out. I also sell my books on my website www.ahealingheart.net. I autograph them and charge no s/h.
Let me know how you like it.
Bill, a super thanks for your 45 pages of dedication with this group. I just spent the night reading a bunch and it was extremely helpful.

I am about to send my ready to print book to the printer (self published) within the next week or so. Presently I am putting together my marketing plan so I have a bit of a running start when the book 1000 copies comes back a few weeks later from the printer and package assembler.

I noticed in some posts you mentioned sending some books to reviewers before it is published, once published they would not review it. I could xerox a copy and send now or wait a month. What would you recommend and would this apply to my situation.

The book is called "The Pet Balloon, Experience Vibrational Healing" so would go into the self help/spirituality /new age category.

I have been developing other ways to communicate about my work on fb and the web which will go hand in hand with the marketing of the book. http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1109301732396 so my next step is getting it to the reviewers (and all the other steps of the process which I will be working on the next few weeks, including putting a new web page up.)

As I prepare to make all this happen, I feel like it is no different then running a BIG company with all the details on has to make the business run. As someone with a self employed business background I find I must really step up to the plate Big time to make it all happen successfully. Truthfully I cannot believe how much work has gone into every step of the process so far.

Do you know of any companies who will work with an author to finance growth in the channels which take 30-120 days until payment or final sale of any returned books. To me I feel like I am ready to take on the challenges of marketing and with an $8.95 fun book/product which hopefully will revolutionize self healing, I am concerned about the cash flow issues if it takes off big time. In business, planning has been pounded into me once upon a time so, I am trying to plan ahead for an issue which hopefully will be right around the corner.

regards

maury
Maury—
I admire your planning foresight. It's always better to be prepared.

Financing growth is a key responsibility of a publisher. When your book takes off, you'll be able to find financial support. One important factor to help find financing will be your margins on your book. Your book sells for $8.95. What is the cost to print? Traditional thinking dictates it must be cost around $1-$1.10; leaving a gross margin of between $7.85-$7.95. With margins in this range, you'll be able to save a portion of early book sales to finance future book sales.

Knowing your margins will also be helpful when approaching banks (or other financing sources) for future funding. Lenders will want to know this information.

Historically, banks have not been keen to lend to publishers to finance large book orders, however. A more realistic source of funds has been your book distributor. The distributor has a vested interest in your book's success. if there is a large demand for your book and no inventory to fill the demand, both you and the distributor lose. It's in your distributor's best interest to finance your book's production.

Continued success with your project.
Margins, yes that seems to be a critical concept here.

On larger runs 5k plus where I hope to be by the third printing I am in that range. On the first two printings I am stuck with smaller quantity pricing for 2500 and 1000 quantity runs which is how I envision my growth curve. I hate to bump the price up on the first two runs and figure I will just have to eat it as part of the growth curve. I was just thinking, I might approach my printer and see if I can get prices down a bit on small volume early runs, or shop around a bit.

Thanks

maury
My biggest challenge?
Well, while I'm writing, it is "is this good enough? Will others read it and like it?"
Then when the book is finally printed (POD) and in my hands, the even bigger challenge is getting people to buy it. I must admit I give away more copies than I sell. And those to good friends and supportive relatives, and by that I mean, not all are when it comes to buying my books!
I have a website, and just recently have posted a promo video on Cold Coffee, Facebook and YouTube. Wouldn't it be nice if all of these starting to have some results sales-wise.
Two books so far, Lost in Long Cove and Smoke Screen. Am I allowed to post links? http://www.little-mountain-publishing.ca
Comments and suggestions very welcome
Hi Suzanne,
I think an author only owes "free" books to their editors, reviewers, interviewers, bookstore managers, and parents. As for "close friends and siblings," I charged at least my cost and the postage. No one was hurt. You should not sell yourself short. Most authors discount their books at signings or festivals, etc. You judge what you want to make on the book. Say the book cost $20 and you paid $10 for it; plus shipping. Put the price at $16.
Go to gift stores and sell by consignment. There are a lot of ways. I'm not sure what your books are about.
You can't worry if someone is going to like it or not. You wrote because you had a story to tell. Get PayPal on your site, cheap service, and sell your book. Add in the s/h. If you give all books away, you'll come out with nothing. If people, even relatives, don't understand it, than they're not friends.
You are right of course. I keep hoping there will be a 'word of mouth' effect, but it doesn't appear so.
I do have PayPal and several other options. Both books are on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca as well as those other affiliates. I had them 'published' by BookSurge, so they automatically got listed on several book sites.
I have just added a promo video for the latest book.
Have a good handle on pricing, but have to watch that Canadian prices are listed, as we can lose if we list U.S. prices to U.S. clients.
Suzanne,
There are 17 things you can do to market your book on Amazon. I'd recommend using every one of the seventeen marketing tools that you are comfortable using. Brent Sampson has a good book on the subject, SELL YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON.

Also, consider having BookSurge publish your book in Kindle format. The cost may be minimal. It gives you another product to sell. Amazon is putting a lot of muscle behind selling Kindle and Kindle books. Take advantage of their momentum. It may help sell more of your books.

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