Are Self-Publishers Saps?

I hope you have been reading my information on The Red Hen Association of Self-Publishing Authors. If not, you may want to stop here and click on the manifesto. Today’s publishing reality is that approximately 4% of manuscripts submitted to publishers ever become books. If you have written a book you need to face the truth. The odds of getting your book published through traditional methods are slim to none.

Recently a self-publishing author of my acquaintance inked a deal with a major publishing company for some very large bucks, maybe the largest in history for a new author. How did he do it? I’ll tell you.

  • He is very well connected. He was one of the founders of The Franklin planners. His expertise was in training. This work brought him face-to-face with the biggest names in success and motivational circles Og Mandino, and the family of Victor Frankel. He was also able to borrow credibility from the likes of Spencer Johnson author of Who Moved My Cheese and co-author of The One Minute Manager; John Assaraf author of The Answer; Teacher in the Secret; Stephen M.R. Covey author of  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; and Richard Paul Evans author of The Christmas Box.
  • He brilliantly, if I do say myself, chose me to expedite the printing of his book. We worked together and created a showpiece book that in the words of one NY publisher, “Would stand up against the best in the industry.” What value is there in handing a prospective publisher a completed, well-crafted book instead of a dog-eared manuscript? You tell me.
  • His friends introduced him to a successful agent who believed in the potential of the book, plus the author is a very personable man and excellent salesman. You won’t get far in any enterprise of worth if you can’t effectively self-promote. If you expect your writing to save you by itself, you are mistaken. b21bdf9aWhy was Mark Twain one of the best selling American authors of all time? Was it the quality of his writing alone? No, I don’t believe it. The flamboyance of the man helped his career immeasurably. Think of other examples. Best selling authors have always had a hook, even the poet Emily Dickinson had her spinster sheltered life to engage readers. emily-dickinsonThe back story is important. Find yours and promote it.
  • The agent held an auction. She didn’t beg the book from publisher to publisher hoping to find one. She put it up on the action block and invited publishers to compete for it, and compete they did.

To duplicate his success would be very difficult. You’d have to have the connections and the support of the best minds in your field, but does a self-publisher have to sell millions of books to make money? No. In fact, you don’t have to sell very many books at all to make money. If you can get a book published for let’s say $5, and you can sell it for $19.95, you have a profit of $14.95 per book. One thousand books could bring you $15,000, and five thousand books would net $74,750. To sell five thousand books you are looking at less than 100 per week. How hard could it be to sell 100 books a week? If you market it right, go to book signings, use social Internet sites, and promote it with purpose, 100 books should be a snap. How about 200 or 300? Think about it.

If you have a Facebook account you can join The Red Hen Association group to keep abreast of the progress. Red Hen is also on Twitter under redhenassoc. As soon as our website is launched and we have established an opt-in program I’ll be announcing it. Membership will be free. Saftey in numbers will be invaluable. Please hop on board, we need you.

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© Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bill Ruesch, Talking Through My Hat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.