Short post today, but I hope you will consider following me on Twitter. Also, if you are looking for all of my tweets, I have begun to use #cheapselfpublishing.
This is my policy on advertising on this blog: If I use (or have used) the product and it is a quality product at a reasonable price, then it's acceptable. The first hurdle I have to get over is myself (and, trust me, the bar is high).
What don't I do? I don't advertise anything that I do not personally use.
So on this blog, you see advertisements for HostGator, GoDaddy, Amazon, and more that you can see here.
I make no excuses for accepting and/or using advertisements (kids in college and all that), but I think it is worth noting here that I cannot be bought.
I have certainly seen ads on other sites that would go with this blog's topic. Ads that actually pay rather well. However, I find the way those advertisers do business is not in the best interests of self-publishers, so you will never see them here.
Why this post? It's housekeeping, if you will. A post to point to in the future.
What do you think about blogs that accept advertising? Leave me a comment below.
Penny Sansevieri (@Bookgal) gives practical advice in the video below on how you can get better reader engagement by making some quick, easy, and cheap (meaning free) changes to your book headline and description on Amazon. I am going to try this one one of my books in the next couple of days.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Sansevieri long ago at a publishing conference in the San Francisco Bay area. She's the real deal. I have also interviewed her for this blog.
Take a look at the video and let me know what you think in the comments.
Yes, that means exactly what it says. Do you have a diverse set of interests? Look at me; writing books and online schools. Rather different.
I now have one place, one short, simple place, that I can send folks to find me over at Flavors.me.
Consider what this is like for a writer. You could use a different link for each book.
Check it out!
This is the answer to a question that I received and have received before. It goes something like this:
"If I want to publish as cheaply as possible, why should I have my own website? I can just put my books up on Amazon."
This is indeed true. If you are solely looking for what is the cheapest possible way to publish a book, using CreateSpace* and getting your book up on Amazon is definitely inexpensive.
But, and here's my question for you, do you plan on selling books?
There are many reasons why a person might self-publish a book (and, in a future post, I will discuss those). If it's not about the sales and about the money, then your plan is good. You get the book up on Amazon and you point all of your friends and relatives to the site and they buy it. Done deal.
However, if the goal is to sell books, I would suggest that you definitely need your own website. Why, you may ask? Because you need a platform from which to market your books. Now, perhaps you have a blog that gets signficant traffic, and that may work as your platform. For the rest of us, though, it's best to have a place from which to showcase all of your writings.
Just because I am saying that you need your own website, don't think that your books shouldn't also be up on Amazon. I certainly sell many more books on Amazon than I do on my website.
Do you know why bookstores are going out of business? Because many people come in, browse for books, open them, read some of it, and put it back on the shelf. And walk out of the store and to the nearest computer to purchase it from Amazon. Not the only reason, but certainly one of them.
Think of your publishing company website as your bookstore. People come, take a look, and go buy it on Amazon. I am more than fine with that. Notice the key part where they end up buying my book. Yes, I make more money if they buy it from my website, but I still make money from that Amazon purchase. Importantly, when I put up my publishing company website, my Amazon sales grew. Each time I add a product, I notice an uptick in traffic and sales (on Amazon).
So here is a good example where I am telling you that you need to spend a little money on a website. In a forthcoming article, I will tell you about a number of different ways that you can build a book publishing website cheaply.
Early on in my publishing venture, I made most all of the mistakes that someone could make. Everyone makes mistakes when they first begin self-publishing. The difference is that I am willing to confess my sins. In this series of articles, I will point out those mistakes and tell you what I should have done (and what I have done).
When I first got started, I knew that I was interested in publishing more than one book. I thought then and think now that they best plan for publishing is to produce a significant number of books. At the time, I was thinking mostly about print books.
Therefore, I needed a website. A website where I could showcase dozens of books. Some of mine and some of other writers. Big dreams.
Now, and this is important, I had no books written.* While there is nothing inherently evil about having big dreams, it's also important to get some things down on paper.
So, because I desperately needed a website for those non-existent books, I had one designed (by someone I found on eLance). I paid too much for it relative to its use. I did use it a little, but not much. Waste of money for the most part.
If you go to my publishing company website now, you would discover a site that has some books as well as clearly a plan for forthcoming works (both print and digital). I paid a very reasonable price, but, importantly, before it was developed, I already had content for it with a plan to develop further content.
So what am I saying?
Don't fall in love with the idea of being your own publishing company to the exclusion of making good business decisions. First, be the writer. Yes, you will most definitely need a publishing website and, yes, it will need to happen before you publish your book (even if most of your sales will be through Amazon), but best not to put carts before horses. There will be time.
This was my first mistake. Spending money that didn't need to be spent for that website. Trust me, there have been others. Stay tuned for my next big cheap self-publishing mistake!
*I should clarify that, prior to this, I had authored or co-authored three books with a mid-sized publisher, Ten Speed Press, in Berkeley, CA.
And just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, I have created a new twitter account for Cheap Self-Publishing. I encourage you to follow me. Also, I would greatly appreciate any re-tweets. Thanks!
Since a couple readers have asked about that Cheap Self-Publishing newsletter invitation above. You are seeing what is the beginnings of the morphing of this site toward a new purpose. Eventually, the entire blog will move to its own domain (and, yes, I do own the CheapSelfPublishing.com domain).
So, as in my post below, why should you sign up? Not only will it allow you to know when the new website is up and running, but I will also give you a heads-up when the book is available this summer.
So sign up already!
So, Tom, why should I sign up for your newsletter?
I encourage you to sign up for the newsletter because I think that you will want to know when my book, Cheap Self-Publishing: Produce a quality book for less, is released later this year.
If you have ever thought about publishing a book, but don't think that you can afford the cost, this will be the book for you.
Okay. You've sold me. How do I sign up?
If you look above this post, all the way to the top, you will see a box in which to put your email address.
Sounds easy, but are you going to sell my email address to the world?
No, definitely not. The only thing that I will use that email address for will be the newsletter and announcement of the book. Guaranteed.
Good deal! I'll go sign up now!
I have written about domains before. I own a bunch; a little over 160 actually. Most of them are set up in some way to make money. Some are much more successful than others. Many of them are centered around a similar topic (which is online schools). Lately, I have been considering what I should do with so many domains that truthfully are costing me more each year than they pay out. Still not sure.
That being said, I readily admit to an illness with regard to purchasing domains. Most of you have no need to do what I have done.
So, to the point of this post, how many domains should you, as a publisher of one or more books, have?
At the very least, you should have:
Yes, I own both Degree Press and Thomas Nixon. If you own both of those, you are in a very good place. You have likely spent a grand total of $30 to do so. Don't go cheap here; don't use other sorts of websites and domain names that you do not own.
At the very least, even if you don't create websites for those, you can set them up to forward to wherever you might like. For a number of years, Degree Press pointed toward my Amazon Associates bookstore. It now, of course, points to itself.