Rose Sneeringer, The Book Nurturer, invited me to join her panel of experts in the publishing portion of her summit, “Creating Your Dream Business: How to Follow Your Calling, Fulfill Your Purpose, and Succeed at the Work You Love!” The publishing telesummit is part of a broad selection of entrepreneurial discussions designed to promote creative entrepreneurship. The online event begins on February 15, 2016.
Publishing offers great opportunities for writers who pursue it as a business, but those who pursue writing as an art are often frustrated with their business results. In the publishing summit, we discuss some of the important challenges that face indie writers, how indie publishing is different from traditional publishing, common publishing pitfalls and mistakes, and how to adjust your expectations (or your writing and strategy) to achieve success.
The publishing telesummit covers such topics as:
Book and Cover design
Find the right editor
Take control of your publishing business
Should you hire a book publicist?
EBooks in the web browser
Making your own eBooks with WordPress
Sign up to attend the free publishing telesummit to hear my conversation with Rose and expert book publicist, Penny Sansevieri, along with publishing, marketing, and business advice from the rest of the panel of business and publishing professionals at http://yourdreambiz.net.
The ability to make eBooks with WordPress solves a number of publishing problems. I offeried a free Webinar with Toni Ressaire of pub.ink that walks you through the process of creating eBooks with WordPress and publishing them. That webinar is archived in this post along with my previous webinar about eBooks in the web browser.
One challenge facing authors and publishers is the limited set of tools available for creating eBooks. It’s easy enough to export an eBook from Adobe InDesign or other software, but if you want to edit an eBook, the process is too technical for most writers. The PubML WordPress plugin tools make eBook editing easy, visual, and intuitive.
And the state of eBooks is such that every reader renders them with a not-so-slightly different appearance. Though eBooks are based on HTML and CSS (the standard coding conventions used to render content on the web) eReader devices and software interpret these “standards” with wide variations.
Tom Morkes recently published The Perfect Book sales Page on his blog. I’m usually the first person to reject formulaic approaches to book marketing. Many well-written books are horrible products. But what I like about Tom’s template is that it forces you to ask important questions that can help determine whether your book is a marketable commodity. And it adds basic sales elements that communicate value to the prospective reader. Even if you haven’t written your book yet, consider how filling in the various sections in Tom’s template might change the way you write and publish.
Like this? Learn how to sell more books with Tom Morkes.
The Perfect Book Sales Page: Section 1 – The Big Picture
The Perfect Book Sales Page: Product Summary
At the top of the Perfect Book Sales Page, the title and cover that you’re selling a book, along with some bullet points that illuminate its key selling points. Stop! As simple and obvious as these may seem:
Does your title convey what your book is about?
Is your cover engaging?
Can you name at least three compelling reasons why a reader should buy your book?
So many authors never ask these basic questions. Smart publishers use them to determine what manuscripts to acquire and invest in. Writers who want to sell books ask these questions to help determine what to write. Yes, your book has to be good—but it also has to be a marketable product.
Inkitt.com is an interesting new online platform where writers post their best work and readers find stories to engage with. Inkit’s free contest opened February 2, 2015, and the horror theme is, “You are in the darkest place in the world.” Submit short stories: blood-curdlers, spine-tinglers, skin-crawlers, and hair-raisers to share your writing, scare readers, and win great prizes like Amazon gift cards, custom notebooks and mugs, and story covers!
How can indie writers and self-publishers use a blog to build an author platform? The visitor stats for this site will soon cross the 150,000 page-view threshold and I expect to hit 200,000 by year’s end. Other bloggers have much higher visitor statistics. This article explains how to publish online content to build community around your books.
Build an Author Platform: Set up Your Blog
A blog (short for web log) is a publishing platform that enables you to publish static pages (About the Author, My Book, etc.) and a chronologically ordered stream of articles (called posts). My favorite engine for blogging is WordPress. WordPress is free and most web hosting services have an automatic installer that sets up a WordPress site with a few clicks. I also published my own installation guide on this blog. If you don’t want to buy a domain name and a web hosting account (or have decided that this article is already getting too technical for your tastes), start with a free account from WordPress.com. You can upgrade to your own, fully-customizable copy of WordPress that runs on your own server later. (Download your own copy from WordPress.org when you’re ready). Google’s Blogger.com is a popular alternative. It’s quite functional and it’s free but WordPress is infinitely more customizable.
The first installment of WordPress Websites for Writers and Publishers covered how to download, install and configure a copy of the WordPress software from WordPress.org. WordPress is an ideal, free platform for building websites perfectly suited to the needs of writers and publishers.
This second article in the series covers plugins—what they are and how to install them—and how to create pages for your new website. Here, you’ll get down to the business of writing and organizing content for your new site.
WordPress Websites – Installing Plugins
Once you have set up an empty WordPress site (see the first article), you’ll probably want to hide it from the world until you’ve written content, organized it, and made it look the way you want it to. Fortunately, hiding your site is easily accomplished by installing a plugin. Literally thousands of plugins are available for WordPress. These are add-on technologies that enable you to set up mailing lists, enhance your typography, set up a digital download store, customize background graphics or just about anything else you can think of. Most are free; only a few are expensive. As you build your author site, you’ll rely on plug-ins to provide the unique combination of features that writers and publishers require.
WordPress is a magic web publishing tool perfect for writers and publishers who want to build attractive websites without spending a fortune and build reader communities around their work. This is the first in a series of articles that explain in non-technical terms how to get your site started and how to publish content without becoming a programmer. Search engines and marketing strategies will be discussed and I’ll steer you around common stumbling blocks.
Over 70 million WordPress sites (including the one you’re currently reading) produce over a half-billion new posts every day. Other good options are available, but WordPress offers a huge support community, thousands of add-ons (plug-ins) that extend its functionality and thousands of themes that instantly customize its appearance. WordPress is fantastically search engine friendly.
WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform that enables writers to post articles and receive comments from readers. Eventually, WordPress expanded into a full-blown content management system. In English, this means you can post articles, create pages, embed images and publish many kinds of content with a simple Microsoft Word-style editor. Push the “Publish” button and your content magically appears on your website along with whatever links or navigation buttons are needed.