While we are not ready to step out and start talking about how to market self published books (yet), we do have some interesting impressions of our own about the traditional publishing world that might not mesh well with our writing style.
A book a week is insane, but totally possible if you make it your highest priority. Other work, family and friends have been put on notice that they are going to have to wait until we get done with this week’s book before we come back to them.
Now, the nice thing is there are two of us so we trade responsibility for where we are in the process back and forth, but the weekly publishing deadline is never far out of mind.
There is no way we could do this with a traditional publisher. Beyond the fact that they would not care as much as we do, their process is much more convoluted with editors, copy editors, cover artists, project managers and other assorted people who are lovely, but the more cooks…
Speaking of editors, one of the huge things that we hear about why self publishers are “freight class” is that traditional publishers have all these great editors.
Shortly on the heels of that is the fact that most self published people don’t use editors and so produce shoddy work. Sigh.
This is the LAMEST form of wishing the world was not changing that we have ever heard. While we do not have editors for our blog posts (Tara writes most of them and she really doesn’t care if there is a typo), we have a process of back and forth where Tara writes, Rebekah proofs and edits, and then Tara does a final walk through.
While we don’t claim our self published books are error free (even traditionally published books can’t claim that), the idea that just because we self publish we are throwing crap out there without a look over is not just wrong, it is insulting.
We actually wrote-wrote a book last year and had it picked up by a traditional publishing house. Months and months later we are still waiting for a proof back and unfortunately, the book egregiously out of date at this point.
Because marketing (one of our main genres) is changing so fast, we need speed to market that is just not a mainstay of the traditional publishing world.
About genre, we are not a one size fits all kind of gals. We have “bookshelves” that we are stocking which include; Marketing Books, Entrepreneur Marketing, Sales Books, Writing Books, Authority Marketing, Email Marketing and Real Estate Marketing.
Some of them are more self improvement, some how-tos and some hard core marketing strategy. None are “fluff” pieces and all are written specifically to publish this week.
From what we understand, hopping genres or writing a book that doesn’t fit neatly into a specific category is the kiss of death for traditional publishing. They might love your book, but will reject it out of hand if it doesn’t conform to a specific genre.
We get that. They have finite resources and long memories about “trying” something that didn’t work in the past, so why would they take a flyer on an unknown entity like us.
The beauty of self publishing is we don’t care about genre. We just care about publishing a book a week. We are happy they are selling and that our sales increase each month, but we aren’t having to make all of our sales as untested authors in just two months before someone “pulls us off the shelf” and we slip into obscurity.
Speaking of time, most of our “big dog” author friends are only publishing a book every two years. Dang, that better be one kick ass book!
Traditional publishers have a governor on how many books can hit the marketplace at a certain time. They have to make sure that not too many non fiction books hit the stores all at once so everyone has to “wait their turn”. Now we totally understand that it takes longer than a week to write something that is going to be a New York Times bestseller and that there is a lot of research that goes into these kinds of books, but TWO YEARS.
There are very few traditionally published authors that we see bucking this trend (James Patterson is one of them!) We have heard that one of the reasons we see so few is that prolific authors have to hide the fact that they are writing by using pseudonyms and pen names.
Having tried the whole “pen name” thing in internet marketing, we know that we are not the kind of gals who can keep that sort of thing straight. We have huge social networks and using a pen name would cut us off from using those as promotion channels.
About marketing…one of the major things that traditional publishing is supposed to bring to the table is marketing. We would be on the front table of Barnes and Nobles, book touring in every city worldwide on the publishers dime and have full page ads in the big New York magazines, right?
Um, from what we can see that is not such a realistic picture of what our publishing would look like. They may do that for Stephen King and Malcolm Gladwell, but little old us would have to perform all of the marketing functions ourselves in exchange for relinquishing upwards of 50% of our commissions forever. Seriously?
The final thing Coup d’état that publishers bring is the cover art. They have a long and storied history of putting words on a picture and making it sing.
Except that we do this about four times a week already, designing graphics that have to compete with millions of Pinterest followers, making blog post graphics that will stand out from the crowd on Facebook and a book cover.
There is no magic about a book cover. If we didn’t have mad design skills we would pay a Fiverr.com for our weekly books or use the internal cover makers on the book sites. Then if the book had some success we would go back and update the cover.
Not self publishing because you are worried about whether your cover is good enough is crazy. Get the best you can and then hit the “publish” button!
We Are Weird
Is our system perfect? Nope, but is it better than giving up all control, most commissions and praying that some marketing house will love our books as much as we love our books.
It is better than writing one hundred letters, waiting months for someone to reject us and then groveling for any little glimmer of hope we find.
It is better to be publishing out there where people can actually see and buy our work, rather than lurking in our homes, wondering if anyone will ever find our book good enough to print.
We have no wish to see our books in Barnes and Noble, but if we did we would mock up a cover, take a goofy picture and avoid the whole print publishing hassle altogether.
So would we turn down a traditional deal? Probably not, but we sure are not going to base our next two or three years trying to “get a deal”, waiting and hoping. In fact, we have already been approached by a traditional publisher who was awesome, but looking for something other than what we are good at writing about.
Self publishing is a way for us to learn to write better, make better covers and make money. The cool thing is that we don’t have to wait for anyone to grant us permission, we can just publish as many great books as we can!
Buy The Book!
If you are a non fiction writer and thinking about writing a business book, this it the title for you! In it we break down how to pick a title and topic that will be interesting to readers, how to choose a publishing route and more!
There are no get “rich quick tips” or “how to write a book in a weekend” ideas, just solid advice from published authors who have been right where you are now – wondering how to write a business book that will showcase your knowledge and help others get to where you are now, just with fewer troubles along the way.