On Tuesday night I went to a seminar & social put on by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. It was entitled The Ever-Evolving World of Publishing with Charlene Dobmeier (President of Kingsley Publishing Services) and Sarah Ivany (Managing Editor of Freehand Books).
Both these ladies have a lot of experience in publishing, most in small press. This is not something I’m interested in, but I am interested in publishing in general (and hanging with Nancy and Leanne who were also there). I learned a few interesting things about the publishing process and industry. I thought I’d pass them along.
1. Write the best story possible. They truly believed that most stories submitted were only half-baked. Take your time to make sure it’s done right.
2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. This was in reference to self-pubbing a manuscript and skipping steps in the editorial process. They believed there are four stages to this process, after you’ve written the best book possible. The substantive edit, the copy edit, the proof read and the design (font, cover, etc…). They believe that most people should take the same amount of time to work on these stages as the publishing houses (approx one year). *snort* (While I believe the editorial process is often overlooked, I don’t think Indie authors need the same amount of time as a publishing house since they only have one book, usually, to look after.)
3. Publishing is a team sport. No matter if you’re looking to traditionally publish or go Indie, you will need a crew of great people around you to help you out. Editors, designers, etc… in order to produce a quality product. They suggesting hiring freelance editors, publicists and cover designers. (they suggested using Kickstarter.com if you need funds to pay your team.) And in the end, that is what it is all about. Producing the best quality product you can.
4. Promotion, promotion, promotion… and, oh yeah, marketing. Now that you have produced the best book you possibly can, you must keep striving to create an author platform to promote/market yourself and your book. They mentioned social media quite a few times but with no real guidance as to what to do. (This is where I direct you to the awesome Kristen Lamb’s blog for help.) One useful tip they did give out to authors of ebooks was to give away 50 to 100 free copies to anyone who’ll write an amazon review. Good or bad, the page hits from the reviews will drive up your rankings and get your book seen.
I hope these tips help. Basically, it all comes down to a quality product and promotion. As writers today, we must have a social media presence to find our target audience. Find them and tell them of ourselves and our books. We are the best sellers of our books. (Caveat: Of course we can’t actually ‘sell’ our books online. We must build a following and hope that they help sell it for us. Again… see Kristen Lamb’s blog for advice here.)
So what do you think of this advice? Anything useful? Anything you’d like to add?