Having had 31 nonfiction books published so far – 20 of which were published traditionally with some subsequent ones self-published as eBooks, and the last one self-published in print and Kindle – I’ve learned quite a bit about contemporary publishing generally and was grateful to Bookemon for appreciating that.
Unlike so many non-traditional publishing businesses, Bookemon emerges as a trustworthy resource and although I have yet to produce a book with them, I believe that they do offer a credible and fair service.
Here’s how the interview went: you’ll find it helpful…
Suzan St Maur is the founder of HowToWriteBetter.net where she and some of the world’s top writing experts share articles and tutorials on writing professionally for any purpose.
Suzan enjoys consulting, writing, editing for and coaching clients as well as running her other business interests, writing her own books, blogs and articles, plus giving blogging and other workshops, radio interviews, etc., on how to make your writing more successful.
We recently checked in with her to get her advice on self-publishing. Here’s what she had to say:
You are quite a prolific author on a variety of topics. How do you decide what you’re going to write about?
I write about writing, across many genres. Needless to say I can’t write as an expert on everything so on my website I have guest contributors and columnists who share their expertise on topics like writing fiction, writing for job search, academic writing for students, etc., which complement my own writing which focuses on business, marketing, online content and general promotional activities.
How has the self-publishing industry changed since you started your career?
It has emerged from the doldrums of “vanity publishing” to being a very viable business model for many authors worldwide, including me.
What are the advantages of self-publishing?
Freedom to make your own decisions on titles, formats, cover design, etc., which often are badly restricted by conventional trade publishers who are likely to have much less knowledge of marketing and promotion than authors like me.
If you play your cards right you can gain a much higher return on price per unit sold by self-publishing than you can with the conventional publishers
What are the drawbacks?
Probably a less advantageous distribution element, especially if you write self-help and business books connected to your business. However that’s not so much of a problem if you get out there and promote your books yourself, and if you do speaking engagements on your topic you are likely to sell hard copies of your book in quite satisfactory numbers “back of room.”
To make a go of it, however, you do need to be good at promotion online and offline and need to invest some time and money into that.
What should writers look out for when seeking out reliable self-publishing tools like Bookemon?
They should look out for the scammers, of which there are thousands and thousands. I help other authors sometimes, as a coach, and am horrified at the stories I’m told about the cowboys out there taking advantage of wannabee authors … especially fiction authors.
Not much has changed since the bad old days of vanity publishing
What are the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn about the publishing process?
With traditional trade publishers:
They have very little ability in terms of marketing and publicity, unless you are likely to be a million seller in which case they draft in people who – at last – know what they’re doing.
I work in marketing and across all my books published by trade publishers (about 20) I have despaired at their naive lack of professionalism in marketing techniques.
That’s why I self-published my last book and intend to do the same with the next few.
With so-called self-publishing services:
Varied. There are some who are worthy of respect as they are honest but equally there are some who capitalize on wannabee authors’ – particularly fiction authors’ – desire to see their beloved works in print and are willing to be scalped stupid for the privilege.
What’s one writing tip you find yourself repeating over and over again?
Write as your audience speaks and in business, write only about what benefits there are here for you, the reader, i.e. what’s in it for you?
This article first appeared on Bookemon.com.
As a thank-you from me to Bookemon, please read this about them
Bookemon, creator of a unique online book creation and sharing utility, is a global technology company with offices in US, Hong Kong and Shanghai, China. We were founded by a team of seasoned executives and developers who are pioneers of the online book publishing industry.
Our mission is to empower everyone to create, collaborate, share and publish their life moments, stories, experiences and knowledge with friends and families. We strive to enrich, enlighten and educate each other through books created by people from all walks of life.
Can’t say fairer than that, right? Check them out.
And don’t forget – whatever else you might want to know where your business and other writing is concerned, here’s where to click…