For more info: New Book, Generate Sales Leads With Virtual Events
Publishing a book has never been easier. Today’s Web 2.0 tools (e.g. self publishing, wikis, crowdsourcing, etc.) completely empower the aspiring author. If you’ve got the inspiration to create a manuscript, then the logistics of going from completed manuscript to Amazon.com has gotten a whole lot easier. Here’s the approach I took to publish my book, “Generate Sales Leads With Virtual Events“.
With self-publishing, you’re in complete control. You dictate all the details of the book (e.g. title, cover image, etc.) and you define the schedule. At the same time, you become your own editor, producer and PR agency. Those are some key trade-offs. In the end, I decided self-publishing was the way to go. Its immediacy is a huge advantage – with a completed manuscript, you can self-publish a book in as little as a day, whereas a traditional book publisher requires several months.
First, I selected my self-publishing service, FastPencil. While there are a number of services available, I had used FastPencil for a family project and found it quite intuitive and easy. It also helped that their support team (especially Dave) was helpful and always responded to my emails sooner than I anticipated.
As you can see above, self-publishing looks a lot like blogging. And it really is that simple. For me, publishing a book was like writing a series of blog posts in Microsoft Word – and then copy/pasting them into a blog editor, with a little bit of formatting afterwards. I then purchased the “Wide Distribution” option from FastPencil and they took care of assigning the book an ISBN and listing it for sale at Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com, Ingram and Apple’s iBooks Store.
As I was working to complete the manuscript, I posted the book’s introductory chapter here on this blog and on a PBworks wiki. My objectives were to get some early promotion of the book (and give potential readers a taste for what I’d cover) and see if the community would want a hand in editing it. Anyone who created a PBworks account could edit the introduction.
Copy edits were welcome – and, I invited folks to make changes to the content. If I liked the edits or contributions, I’d apply them to the manuscript and acknowledge the contributor(s) within the printed book. While no one made edits to the wiki, I think we’ll see a trend towards community publishing of books.
Authors will leverage the web to source spelling and grammatical corrections from a global network of copy editors. And industry peers will participate to become co-authors. You see it today on sites like Quora or FOCUS.com – in the near future, the collaborative discussions sourced there will be excerpted into printed books.
Cover Image via Crowdsourcing
It doesn’t get much better than this: you name your price for a cover design and have a global network of graphic designers bid on your project. You then receive several submissions of the actual (proposed) book cover, which you then need to whittle down to a final few. For submissions you like, you request some adjustments or alterations. Those updates are made by the designers and you make a final selection on the eventual book cover. This was all made possible by a great site called 99Designs.
I’ve worked with some design shops who limited the number of iterations they’d allow on a design (i.e. since each iteration increases their cost). With the crowdsourced model at 99Designs, I received messages from designers that I had not rated their design or provided enough feedback! Such is the dynamic when the incentive model is inverted: you get paid only when your design is selected.
99Designs has done cover design projects for other books, including “The Purpose Driven Life” and “Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Body”. “Crowdsourcing is a great way for book authors to see the many different ways in which artists interpret the title and subject matter of the book. They get ideas and concepts that they would have never gotten otherwise,” said Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of 99Designs.
With a neat polling feature from 99Designs, I invited friends and family to review the submissions – they were able to rate each submission and leave comments. The number of submissions received will correspond to the dollar value of your reward – I happened to set a moderately priced reward, but still received 67 submissions, which I thought was a fantastic amount. The biggest challenge was in narrowing them down to a single selection.
Aspiring authors have more tools at their disposal than ever before. If you’re a high frequency blogger who loves to write, then turning you expertise and passion into a printed book (or, e-book) may be the thing to do. The power is in your hands (and fingers).