Friday, April 28, 2006
Don't re-invent the wheel: Thanks to spam and the required tools to prevent it, we've lost our infatuation with email. Still, email newsletters are cheap and useful ways to communicate with some folks, specifically those who want you to communicate with them. For this purpose, we use and like the online newsletter tool from www.constantcontact.com. With relatively little technical expertise, you can set up professional looking newsletters and other publications in no time. However, what we really like is the way it manages our email lists, including taking care of opt-ins and opt-outs. We also like the way it tracks response to our publications. It's relatively inexpensive, even free if you have less than 50 addresses. And they have a free trial period. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Not If You Plan to Be Successful: "Print on Demand" (POD) is a new technology provided by vendors who store your book digitally and print off copies as they are ordered, one at a time if necessary. It's a nice technology that can reduce your risk, but it also reduces your chance of making money or recouping your investment. If you're a first-time novelist determined to get into print and haven't the slightest inclination to sell your book, even to your friends, it might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you've got a business reason for publishing your book, it's a dud. We especially dislike the illusion that you're getting some kind of marketing effort when you work with a POD. Rather than running my mouth about, I'll just send you over to Ron Pramschufer's Publishing Basics blog for more than you every wanted to know about the subject. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Start a Blog: Everybody who is thinking about publishing a book or who has already published one should have an internet presence. No, it doesn't have to be difficult or pricey. In fact, it can be easy and free. The easiest way is to set yourself up with a "blog." All you do is go to a site like blogspot.com (the one we use) and set up your site. You don't need to buy a domain name. You don't need to pay a fee. You pick your site name, something like yourname.blogspot.com. You select and customize a template. And you have at it. True, you need some comfort with the internet but not much technical know-how. If you can write, you can blog. (To be honest, not being able to write doesn't seem to prevent people from blogging--just the rest of us from reading.) A blog, short for "weblog," is a versatile tool. With a blog, you make dated entries into what amounts to a journal. Use it to explore ideas for your book. Use it to expand on ideas in an already published book. A blog is an internet site, so the world will be able to browse your site and interact with you if you let them. This can be a terrific way to collaborate with contributors, readers, and potential readers. A blog is probably best used in relationship to your website, but if you don't have a website and want to generate an internet presence, start yourself a blog. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Join Toastmasters International: We always advise would-be authors and publishers--at least the ones who want to be successful--to get away from their computers and to give speeches, workshops, seminars, or other presentations. If you're going to do this, we strongly suggest that you join a Toastmasters International club as a way of spreading your wings, honing your speaking skills, and developing relationships with interesting people. Every club has a different feeling about it, but all have more or less the same structure. They all welcome guests, which is how you'll find one that is comfortable for you. Don't expect a quick fix for promoting your book. Do expect to grow professionally and personally--that's actually TI's mission--and to have fun. And if you're in Colorado Springs, you might try "Downtown Toastmasters" where The Publishing Pro hangs out. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Circulating One Book Is Publishing: Many, maybe even most, would-be children's book authors get discouraged when they find out how difficult it is to get published. And then, because they have a misperception that self-publishing is expensive, they simply give up their dream. What we tell would-be children's authors is to "just do it! At whatever level you can." Self-publishing can be expensive. But it doesn't have to be. In fact, if you are doing your own illustrating and writing, you can create your book on Microsoft Word and get one copy printed and bound. With a bit of expertise, you can produce a "one-off" that looks quite credible. If you circulate only that one book and that one book is enjoyed by one child, you've accomplished something. In fact, we think this is a good way to start. Instead of printing only one book, maybe you print 10 books that you circulate to parents, teachers, and children that you know. You are publishing! Moreover, if you follow up, you can get valuable feedback that you can use to adjust your "next edition." Keep doing this, with your first book or the next. And another thing: you can use your copyprinted books, especially after adjustments based on customer feedback, to send to potential publishers. The main thing is not to give up but to publish in whatever way you can. And then to keep going. The same principle works for other types of books. The Publishing Pro, LLC.