Who is Your Customer?

At first glance, the answer to the above question might appear obvious. Hopefully, you'd be able to tell me "men who are interested in fixing cars will buy and read my book", "or women who want to grow prize winning gardenias will buy and read my book". Those are good assessments, but you can go another step further and you may discover customers you didn't even know you had. Check out this excellent post by Susan Kendrick to find out how: http://bookcovercoaching.blogspot.com/2008/05/book-cover-coaching-does-your-book.html

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Reality Check

Found this tidbit in the paper this weekend. I found it an interesting reality check especially for those writers and non-writers alike, who think it's easy becoming a million seller.

Matt Leingang of the AP recently reviewed a book by first time author Donald Ray Pollock. In that review he points out that the book had a first time printing of 27,000 copies. Doesn't sound like much if you're on your way to a million right? He also adds, and this is what caught my attention, that 27k figure is 5 times the number of a normal first run printing.

Just in case you're thinking these figures come from a small or indie press, not so fast. The publisher happens to be Doubleday, one of the big guys.

I think there's a fair amount to learn here. Big thing is to be grounded in reality, whether you are publishing for the first time or the tenth time. That way you can make a solid plan of action and you'll certainly decrease your chances of being disappointed.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett


A new self-publishing resource

Last week, I got a media release regarding the official launch of http://www.youpublish.com/. Since one of my major goals is to help you find options in your publishing life, here are some pros and cons for this new resource:

First, You Publish is a new platform for selling digital products. One of the people behind it is Mark Victor Hanson of Chicken Soup fame (who knows just a tiny bit about publishing).

Next, one very unique feature is that it allows someone to upload and either give away, or sell just about any format, PDF ebooks or reports, video or audio instead of only one like most other resources. There is no cost to set up an account, you can stop at anytime.

Another plus is, if you are selling, the revenue split is 50% which is pretty decent by industry standards. The fact that you can upload any product and they handle payment processing could be very useful if your website is not set up to do that/can't handle everything you want to sell.

This can be good or bad, right now it's very new. This is good because there is less work available and yours could temporarily stand out, bad because no one knows how effective/publicized it will be. Again, since MVH is involved, I tend to believe it will be run well.

Another sort of negative: I'm not sure I like the search feature as it doesn't allow search by topic from what I tried. Although, the likelihood someone will search on "mystery novel" and buy whatever they find with no other exposure is probably slim (just like on Amazon or B & N by the way), issues could arise if a shopper doesn't remember an exact title or spelling of an author's name but they know the subject matter.

If you are considering publishing anything digitally, this site could make that task easier than it has been in the past. Worth at least keeping an eye on if the tools it provides suit you and your project.

Cheryl Pickett


Publishing for Fun or Profit

Are you publishing for fun (basically as a hobby) or for profit?
It seems like a simple question to answer and some might even say "profit, duh" and virtually smack me in the forehead.

However, if answering was really that easy, I believe a lot more writers would be more satisfied in the publishing process, or they'd be happier with the level of success they ultimately achieve. I also believe many authors think they're doing one, but in reality their actions point toward the other.

Why? Because while you can certainly enjoy/have fun publishing (I do), it's tough to publish for profit with the activity level and attitude of "just for fun". On the other hand, if you just want to do it as a hobby, admit that, and realize that success will mean something different than steady sales and making income. Neither is right or wrong, but you'll find things will go much smoother if you're honest about what you want to do, what you're willing to do to achieve it and what results are possible from that effort.

How can you tell if you're on the path to publishing for fun or for profit?
Ask yourself questions like these:

Am I happy to make my book available primarily to friends and family? (fun)
Have I analyzed what my reader wants? (profit)
Am I concerned about pre-printing tasks (design, editing) at a professional level? (profit)
Once my book is done, do I just want to get on with writing the next one? (fun)
Do I have a promotion plan and am I doing what it says? (profit)

So, are you publishing for fun or profit? Has your answer changed?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett