Posts Tagged ‘self publish’

When It’s Time To Print Your Indie Book In Bulk

Once upon a time when the only option to traditional publishing was Vanity Press, printing your own run of books was very costly…and risky. These day, however, a POD (Publish On Demand) indie author’s capital expenditures are relatively very small. Basically, you only pay for those books you send to yourself for promotions, reviews, book signings, and direct sales out of the trunk of your car. Even though you are allegedly getting them at “cost,” your POD provider most certainly is still making a profit on the transaction. It’s a win-win.

Unfortunately, there may come a time (especially if you experience a modest amount of success) when getting books from your provider becomes limiting. Getting them at “cost” still cuts deeply into your profits, especially when you include shipping and handling. Also, your POD provider may have a limit on how many can be sent to you at any given time. You run into the situation of sweating it every time a book signing or convention looms, not sure if you will have enough books on hand for the event. That is the moment it would be handy to have several boxes in the garage. That is the moment you may decided to print in bulk.

Printing in bulk reduces your per unit cost significantly and ensures a ready supply for when that radio station or A&E newspaper requests a copy for review. It gives you peace of mind.

There are many, many printers out there who would be happy to accommodate you. You can either research them one by one on the web, ask for quotes, or you can use a service like that provided by Printellectual.com of The Jenkins Group (though there are others out there). They submit your information to participating printers, you receive quotes from many of them, and you pick the best deal that suits you. I ended up using Total Printing Solutions and had a pain free experience. I knocked off $2.50 per book, saving me a huge sum of money I otherwise would have spent over the course of the year by ordering 10 books here or 20 books there from my POD provider.

You may be doing just fine with zero or next to zero printing costs from your POD provider. Your book may be selling fantastically with on-line orders. But for those of us who need to get the word out through book signings, reviews, conventions and other real-world events that require hard copies on hand, you may consider ordering in bulk from a printer.

From the Synopsis to The Pitch: Promoting Your Writing

If you write, chances are you do it for one reason: To share your writing with others. Few, if any of us, write something just so that we can stick it in a drawer never to be seen again. We aspire to be story tellers on the grandest of scales. The Holy Grail of story telling is to publish so we can reach a world wide audience. To achieve that goal, we must do many things. From me, to you, to Stephen King we are obligated to jump through many hoops to promote our stories. One of the most common hoops is to simply explain our story to whomever will listen.

For example: You’re at a cocktail party and someone approaches you, saying, “I heard you wrote something. Tell me about it.” You’re being asked for a brief over view. A summary…a synopsis. Which is precisely the same thing a publisher or agent will ask when you approach them for representation. It is also what a bookstore owner or manager will ask when, as a self published author, you inquire if they will sell your book on their shelves. They first need to know what it’s about, and briefly.

If you can’t give them a memorable synopsis, you won’t get very far. It’s also important to realize there are different kinds of summaries to give depending on who you are addressing. A publisher or agent will eventually want to know the entire plot to determine marketability. An individual or bookstore, however, doesn’t want to know the ending, they just want to be intrigued enough to consider purchasing. Regardless of your audience, your summary must start out the same: With an attention grabbing line or phrase somewhere in your introduction that hooks the audience into learning more.

“Hook” is the appropriate literary term for this device. An entire book could be written on the topic of hooks alone. In fact, there is a literary agent who devoted a portion of her blog to hooks and invited readers to participate in a “best hook” competition. She no longer blogs but you can learn much by reading her archive at http://misssnark.blogspot.com.

For a publisher or agent the hook will figure prominently in your query letter, which is a single page document that introduces yourself and your story while seeking representation. Once you’ve grabbed their attention, the rest of your synopsis should seal the deal and make them take the next step. They will either ask for a full blown synopsis, an outline, sample chapters, or all the above.

As mentioned, an individual or bookstore will not ask for that much information. Their summary will be more succinct as will be their hook which will be more like the tag line you hear during a movie trailer or see on a poster. They should be motivated to buy your book immediately (or at least tell others about it, effectively becoming your viral marketing).  A summary given to this audience is called “The Pitch” (as in sales pitch, because that is essentially what it is). You want it long enough to give all the intriguing details, but short enough that you don’t lose their attention. It is very similar to what job seekers and self-promoters call an “Elevator Speech.” It’s just long enough to sell yourself while you have a potential employer or client trapped with you in an elevator.

If I were trapped with you in an elevator, my pitch might sound like this:

Every fairy tale has a grain of truth to it. If you could go back in time and see the actual event that inspired a fairy tale chances are, because people are as complex as they are, it would be far more interesting than the resulting childhood fantasy. That is what I had in mind when I wrote my novel ‘Echoes of Avalon’—a fairy tale for grown ups. It starts out in Medieval history as Sir Patrick, an Irish knight returns from the First Crusade in the Holy Lands. He’s lost his faith in people and God and is haunted by an apparition that follows him, pointing accusingly. In this state a stranger finds him and offers a new beginning as a knight protector on the fabled Isle of Avalon. Skeptical, but with few options, Patrick takes the offer. From here the story slips into the realm of fantasy as Patrick is introduced to ghost, goblins, and talking wolves on an island harboring a secret academy filled with the youth of the world’s nobility. It is here Patrick is tempted to believe again…and fall in love. That is until the ultimate villain arrives with sinister plans for the island, and the woman in Patrick’s life. Patrick soon learns that before he can battle monsters, he must first defeat his demons.

That clocks in just under a minute. Plenty of time for an elevator and it won’t lose anyone’s attention over coffee or cocktails.

It’s not enough to write a great story. You have to share it by first promoting it. The most fundamental task of promoting is simply giving your listener an intriguing summary. Hone your pitch. Craft your synopsis. It’s worth it.

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