By Stephanie Allen Crist-
Publishing my own work was a business decision, not a path chosen in a fit of pique. The success of my investment depended on two primary factors. First, every hour I spent away from my regular work cost me money, so I had to protect my time. Second, my book needed to be readily available in all the formats my readers would want, so I had to maximize my book’s distribution. There was just one problem: No single service would give me all the pros I needed to overcome the cons of self-publication.
Self-publishing provides a great deal of benefits. For me, the most important was the ability to publish on an accelerated schedule while maintaining my quality standards. Unfortunately, the publishing process required considerable time and money. At first, I thought there would be a single-point service available that would deliver everything I needed to make my book a success. After extensive research, however, I realized that I would need to piece together the suite of services I needed from among several different providers.
The first step was for me to upgrade my website. I needed a professionally designed website in order to market and sell my books. I hired Robb Digital Marketing, one of my marketing clients, to design and build my new site. When it came to my new logo, Tamara Robb recommended 99Designs.com. I was so impressed with their production process that I turned around and hired them to produce my cover art, too!
Based on my experience with my website, I’d already learned that when it comes to design, the opportunity costs of a do-it-yourself job cost are greater than the cost of hiring a pro in the long run, so I was looking for a publishing service that could layout, publish, and distribute my book in print and digital formats.
BookBaby’s digital distribution services would ensure my book was available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other online retailers. Unfortunately, they lacked distribution services for printed books. A friend told me CreateSpace could deliver print-on-demand books through Amazon. I would also be able to buy print books to sell on my website. Unfortunately, CreateSpace wasn’t a complete solution, because their digital books were only for Kindle. The solution for me was to combine them. Using both BookBaby and CreateSpace cost extra, but it maximized the availability of both formats of my books.
As a professional marketer, I knew better than to beleive that my book was finished just because it was published. I also knew I was weak in two vital areas: publicity contacts and social media consistency. Once again, I turned to my network.
I hired Ascot Media Group to handle my book’s publicity and I went back to Robb Digital Marketing for their social media and newsletter creation services. Finally, all the pieces were in place. It took more time and more money than I had initially expected, but the results were outstanding. My first book was so successful that I was able to publish my second book the very next month!
When I first brought this idea to Hope, she said, “Each decision is unique, depending upon budget, fiction/NF, online savvy, speaking talent, etc.” She’s right, of course. Your platform is different from mine. You have different assets, different skills, and different needs. You can’t expect to achieve the same outstanding results for your book by duplicating my suite of services.
But you don’t have to settle for a package deal either.
Self-publishing gives you control over your publishing experience. Exercise your control with care by selecting the unique combination of services you need to make your book a success.
Stephanie Allen Crist is a writer, advocate, and marketer. Stephanie’s first two books, Discovering Autism / Discovering Neurodiversity: A Memoir and First Steps: Understanding Autism, are available now. Learn more by visiting www.StephanieAllenCrist.com and be sure to check out Caressing the Muse, Stephanie’s writing blog.