- Agent / No Agent – One of the first dilemmas an author faces. Typically, an agent steers authors to traditional publishers. However, there are a number of smaller independent presses that do not require agents. The big publishers deal almost exclusively with agents. Only hire an agent if you really believe you have a shot at a big publisher.
- Vanity / Subsidy / Partnership / Collaborative Publishing – Lots of authors are pulled into publishing opportunities for which they pay for services or agree to purchase a certain number of books up front. These scenarios come in a number of flavors and rarely benefit the author beyond getting their book out. These entities are rarely focused on selling books to the book trade, and instead make their profits from author services and sales. Traditional publishers do not charge fees and make their money by selling books.
- Editing – Quite a few self-published authors use friends and family to assist them with editing. Many times, their friend, the English teacher, has helped to edit their book. While it is always a good idea to edit before publishing, a traditional publisher typically has a multi-round process that looks at much more than just grammar and spelling.
- Cover Design – Contrary to popular wisdom, customers do judge a book by its cover. It’s important that a book looks like it is expected to – similar to other books in its category – and that it conveys compelling messages. I can’t tell you how many self-published books have a nice photo on the cover – probably taken by the author – of ocean waves crashing at the beach or of a sunset or a lone tree in a field. Fonts matter. Imagery matters. Use a graphic designer experienced in book cover design. A traditional publisher has people on staff to do this, or hires out to experienced professionals.
- Book Design – Besides a bad cover, few things are more annoying than bad book design. The front matter should contain the expected elements. The margins should be set correctly. The pages should flow properly – right / left. I have seen hundreds of poorly designed books that scream “I was self-published” when I started to thumb through them. Quality in design is very important. There is a minimum expectation among book buyers – especially with the chain stores.
- Format — EBook vs Print – Many self-published authors stick with ebooks only. Many stick with just the opportunities through Amazon. Recent trends have seen a decrease in ebook sales, and an increase in print. However, authors should have both. It’s very important ebooks are well-designed too and function as expected. It is not as simple as just loading up the paperback format and allowing a converter to generate an ebook.
- Distribution – This is often the biggest challenge for self-published authors. How do I get my book into as many stores as possible. Unfortunately, distributors require deep discounts from the cover price in order to process your inventory. Often this is just a small percentage about print cost. As soon as return fees hit from an unsuccessful book signing, all profits for the author/publisher are wiped out. It is important to be in the right distribution channels at the right cost. Do not overreach and put yourself into a negative cash flow situation.
- Marketing – Self-published authors are faced with marketing on many fronts – how to sell to the book trade through distributors, how to sell directly to independent stores, how to sell directly to readers, how to sell online, etc. Each channel requires a different strategy. It is important to know who the target reader is, and where they are likely to be found.
- Advertising – The vast majority of advertising – especially print – does not work. There is a negative ROI. Web advertising is almost as bad, unless you hit the target perfectly. Direct email campaigns are low cost and yield weak results. How do you build buzz without breaking the bank? The answer to this question is evolving.
- Author Publicity – Authors often confuse this with book marketing. Author publicity involves promoting the author as a brand – in addition to the books they’ve produced. It’s important that authors engage with their public, whether in person, in the media, or online. Publishers tend not to be involved with author publicity. Publishers focus on book marketing and merchandising.
- Reviews – Word of mouth is a great way to get attention. Good reviews on Amazon and GoodReads can garner attention. However, bad reviews can be the death of an author. It is so important to be sure you are putting out a quality product – well designed – as expected. However, that doesn’t mean the content itself is well-accepted. Regardless, don’t let a bad review about poor design or editing be the end of your writing career.
Lawrence has taught business and project management courses for ten years, and is the author of eight books. He is also an award-winning digital artist, and has designed dozens of book covers . Lawrence is the former President of the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association (MBPA)
Most interested in U.S. & World history and other nonfiction (sports,
professional, hobbies) — also historical fiction, mystery/thriller.
Will consider YA fiction, contemporary and historical romance, horror (no
vampires), literary fiction.
Not looking for children’s picture books and poetry at this time.
Mechanicsburg, PA – Sunbury Press is hosting a book release party at its headquarters at 50 West Main Street in Mechanicsburg on Friday February 1, 2013 from 6 pm to 9 pm. Authors William Martin(Quoting Liberally), C James Gilbert (A Deeper Sense of Loyalty) and Robert Miller (The Cogan Legend) will be presenting and signing their books.
VIP Guests (from 6 to 9 PM):
Robert E. Miller, the author of the early Pennsylvania murder mystery “The Cogan Legend” will talk about his debut novel.
About The Cogan Legend:
The Cogan, a mysterious stretch of Pennsylvania with towering hills, swooping trees and narrow roads, claims the life of a lovely young woman, best friend to Ann Fairchild, a passionate, headstrong girl of 18. Barely escaping with her life, Ann succumbs to shock and is unable to recall exactly what happened that cold, wintry day in the Cogan. Meanwhile, Ann’s new suitor, Army Lieutenant Phillip Matter, hunts for the killer. Driven by guilt and shame for not saving the girls from harm that day, he grows increasingly more frustrated as he scours the Cogan for a killer he knows is still there.
Ann’s own guilt gnaws at her. It’s because of her that Rachel is dead. She’s the one to blame! She’s the one whose escapes tarnished the Fairchild name, and she’s the one who disobeyed her father and lied. She had to be punished. It was she who then convinced Rachel to accompany them to this rural setting. And it was she who wheedled and cajoled and begged her father to take the trip that led through the Cogan.
The Lieutenant thought it would be easy to find the killer, he was mistaken. With a stroke of luck on that last day of the search the soldiers capture the killer dragging him from his hiding place. The killer extracts a promise from the Lieutenant. He is taken to Sunbury where a judge, without evidence to the contrary, sentences him to hang by his neck until dead.
Ann’s memory rejects that gruesome day, until she remembers that he is innocent. A desperate effort to reach Sunbury to save Poll Soll proves futile by seconds and instead she witnesses his hanging.
After a time for healing Ann and Phillip marry but the promise that Lieutenant Matter wishes he’d never made turns his happy life miserable and threatens to take away everything he loves and lives for if he doesn’t fulfill it.
C James Gilbert, author of his debut Civil War era novel will present “A Deeper Sense of Loyalty.”
About A Deeper Sense of Loyalty:
In 1860, James Langdon, a southern boy from Macon, Georgia, is all set to celebrate his eighteenth birthday after graduating from school in New York. He has been groomed to handle the business end of his father’s large cotton plantation. A deeply religious lad with an uncharacteristic aversion to slavery, James’s father raised him to believe that unlike other negroes, the workers on Langdon Plantation were sharecroppers and not slaves.
When James finds out that his father has deceived him, it sets up a conflict between the two men that takes a war to settle. When hostilities break out in 1861, he leaves home, ostensibly to serve the Southern cause. Instead, he embarks on his own mission to help slaves escape to Canada.
Now considered to be a traitor and an outlaw by the South, danger is his constant companion; certain death awaits him should he be caught. Although he is powerless to go against his conscience, he is equally ridden with guilt for turning his back on his heritage. James knows that when the war ends, there will still be one last confrontation left for him: facing his father.
Professor William Martin has been dubbed “the Ultimate Quotographer of the American Left.” will be discussing recent political events and presenting his most recent books “Quoting Liberally” and “Quotes from the Underground”.
About Quotes from the Underground:
“Quotes from the Underground – Radical Wisdom in Small Doses” is a remarkable resource and must-read for writers, researchers, activists and indeed anyone who embraces progressive values and hopes to rescue politics from corporate control.” — Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation and Childhood Under Siege
“William Martin does it again with this splendid new volume of insights, wisdom, bon mots, and just plain common sense from those who are working to improve our collective lot.” – David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self Reliance
I highly recommend this uplifting compendium of wisdom for achieving social justice, protecting the environment, and renewing our democracy. Worth taking in large doses. — Jill Stein, Green Party USA candidate for President
“Quotes from the Underground is . . . a stock of patriotic wisdom that should be nailed to the door of the New York Stock Exchange!” — Charlie Cray, research specialist with Greenpeace USA and the director of the Center for Corporate Policy
“There’s something to irritate just about everyone in this delightful collection of verbal prickly burrs.” — Alfie Kohn, author of FEEL-BAD EDUCATION: . . . And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling
I’m a quote collector. They inspire and instruct me. Thank you, William Martin, for compiling this book of quotes. I plan to use them liberally.
— Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood, speaker, and author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power
“An excellent read–or rather lots of them–for atheists and others who care about liberty and our fellow human beings. Words from hundreds of wise people like Richard Dawkins, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Allen, and George Orwell, to make you laugh, think–or both.” — Ed Buckner, former president of American Atheists
“William Martin’s excellent chronicle of quotations from the American Left needs to be lifted above ground and spread across the land. Read, absorb, and take action!” — Jim Hightower, nationally syndicated columnist, radio commentator, author, and editor of the Hightower Lowdown
About Quoting Liberally:
Dr. William Martin has been a college professor at Temple University and Monmouth University and has worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a press secretary, school auditor, and management consultant. He has published the other books of quotations, The Best Liberal Quotes Ever, What Liberals Believe, and Quotes from the Underground: Radical Wisdom in Small Doses. A national columnist calls Martin “the ultimate quotographer of the American Left.” He lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and sells books at Zabby Books @ Amazon.com.
Some samples from the book:
In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy. – Fran Lebowitz
A Romney presidency will be awesome unless you’re poor, sick, gay, female, Mexican or a dog. – Andy Borowitz
If homosexuality is a disease, let’s all call in queer to work: “Hello. Can’t work today, still queer.” – Robin Tyler
I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an asshole. – Unknown
The idea that the blame for our government’s dysfunction is equally shared by the parties just is a giant, steaming mound of horse shit. – Bill Maher
Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings. – Richard Dawkins
All authors will be signing copies of their books after their presentations.
Snacks and drinks will be provided.
The event will be held at:
50 West Main St
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
The location is directly across the street from the Brath & Hughes Art Gallery. about a half block west of the Gingerbread Man. There is plenty of free public parking in the rear.
All of Sunbury’s titles will be on display and available for sale.
Author presentations will at 7:15