Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Crowdfunding a book

Today (OK- in my lunchbreak) I have been looking into crowdfunding. Recently there has been a surge in self- publishing and this can be an expensive business. Here is where crowdfunding can help. A UK company, Unbound, offer a service where authors can submit an idea for a book, set a funding target and then try to raise funding for the project. Once the target is raised the book is published by Unbound and 50% of the profits go to the author. This compares well with the 5-10% profits offered to authors by traditional publishing companies. It takes a lot of hassle out of the self-publishing process. Other companies such as the US based Crowdpublishr have taken up the mantle and are offering similar services. You can read more here. see also Crowdscribed.
This concept is similar to the model, familiar to publishers from Regency period onwards, of publishing by subscription.
Nevertheless, 50% of your profits is a large amount. If you are a control freak and are happy to build your own publicity website you could just use a normal microfunding site such as Kickstarter.

Marketing, of course is the key question here. A big company might or might not be far more effective in publicising your book than a lone author. Is it worth paying someone to publish your book and if so, who and how much? It might be that companies like Crowdpublishr could be a great help in this area.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Marketing: the Advance Information Sheet

The Publishers Association gives some information about how to create an Advance Information Sheet.  This was traditioinally sent out to bookshops and distributors six to nine months before a book is published, so that they can pre-order stock.

The Writers and Artist's yearbook suggests several ways in which one can find the names of the correct journalists to write to for publicity.

Setting up a business

I decided to set myself up as a publishing company. I'm not really sure why I am doing this, except that I've always wanted to run my own business like my father did. I almost did so a few years ago, and looked into how to do it, and it looked interesting and useful. So I am taking a bit of a leap in the dark here. The main aim at the moment is to learn and practice how to run a small business and to end the year in credit and to publish my book.

The British financial year starts, I think, on 6th April, so I think that will be the official start date of my business and I have applied to my usual bank to set up a business account there. That will mean that the finances of the publishing enterprise are kept separate from my personal finances, which will make them more transparent. They give free banking for 18 months to startups.

You have to register with the British UK for self-assessment for tax purposes.

The Publishers' Association give some advice on starting out as a publisher

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

More about marketing

Here are some interesting blogs about marketing books:
The Book Designer

“Develop an audience of people who like your writing so you can sell enough copies on the first day to get your book up to the top of Amazon, where it will then get more attention,” suggests Culwell on the Publisher's Weekly site.

The Publishers Weekly site quotes extensively from “  Lori Culwell, author of How to Market a Book and founder of BookPromotion.com. It is important to collect a mailing list and allow potential users to leave their details and you can have a form on your blog page to do that: such as,:
- MailChimp (free and good for basic email list)
- aWeber (costs $1 to sign up)
- iContact (works well for both beginners and more advanced lists)
- Benchmark Email (can add video and image customization)
- Constant Contact (allows for XHTML and other design elements)
 
"There are also numerous sites where an author can promote his or her eBook, often through targeted giveaways, including Addicted to eBooks, Free eBooks Daily, or FreeBooksy. Worthwhile outlets for hosting giveaways for print books are Goodreads and LibraryThing."