Is there a market for your non-fiction book-in-progress?
The short answer is yes, especially if it is about your passion subject.
Having a book in print adds hugely to your credibility. You will find that you will be in demand for interviews if you have a book to offer. Those of us with a mission or a story to tell who do not have a book in publication always struggle to get interviewers’ attention.
Secondly, many who have attended a workshop either in person or on Zoom, would like to reinforce their experience by having a hard copy to read.
Back of the room sales are a winner for every speaker. They also offer an income stream which can help towards your costs. In our case we offer a 40% discount to authors who order their own books.
Having more than one book also helps people widen their knowledge of your subject and will appeal to people who already bought your first book.
This is a status that every author wants to achieve, however, it is not that easy and requires significant effort and marketing skills to achieve.
Robert Kiyasaki stayed with a friend in Singapore while he attended a conference there. The friend happened to be offering a sales course at the time.
The next day, after his presentation, a participant asked:
“How can I become a best-selling author?”
Robert Kiyasaki replied:
“ Why don’t you sign up for a sales course.”
“ Don’t be ridiculous” answered the author “I am a writer, not a sales person.”
“ Did you notice” replied Kiyasaki “ It always states ‘best-selling author’, not ‘best writing author?”
The short answer is that a book will only do well if the author supports it and is a good marketer (or has engaged a good marketing team).
There have been a couple of cases in recent years of books that were in fact not that good, but were supported by aggressive marketing campaigns and as a result, achieved number one status on Best-Selling lists.
This is what happens when the book market gets flooded with mediocre titles. The good titles have to have proper marketing behind them otherwise they just don’t get seen.
Most traditional and independent publishers have marketing packages to which an author may subscribe (at a cost). However this can become expensive so you have to have the finance to back your book.
Another option is to Do It Yourself, but this requires some skill and quite a lot of time. A good example of this approach is Nadine May who spends a lot of time every day posting on all major platforms including Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Facebook.
A publisher’s obligation is to publish, obviously. This includes all the hundreds of tasks that ensure wide availability for your title through distribution networks around the world, plus mechanisms to ensure that your book is found at the bookshop counter. It also includes all the business side of things: collecting the money, paying royalties and so on.
An author’s obligation is to support their book (in other words to become s best-selling author.
If we go to a job interview, we make sure that we are neatly dressed so that we make a good impression. Similarly, a good presentation of your writing and yourself will make a huge difference to the chances of you getting a contract with a publisher, so let’s explore what you will need to do.
It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about your chosen publisher. This would include searches in Linked In, other social media to see what they post and what genres they prefer, and the specific focus of their publishing endeavor. For example if they are academic publishers and you have children’s books, applying to them would be pointless.
Do have a look at the website to find out what the criteria are; such as do they consider unsolicited manuscripts? Some publishers prefer to work with literary agents, while others are open to free submission.
Include a comprehensive personal biography. Mention any previously published work and if it is still in print. List your personal achievements as well, such as any literary prizes you may have won. Mention also any associations where you may be active, such as writers’ groups, or professional groups. You do this to establish your capability in your particular field.
Put forward your marketing plans for your book. If you are a non-fiction writer do you have established media exposure such as a You Tube channel, a blog or website? Are you planning any public lectures or workshops? Are you a member of any online group/s where you would be allowed to speak about your life’s work and your book?
Include a précis of your manuscript and your reasons for writing it. If you choose to submit selected chapters only then you should mention the overall word count.
All the above actions and ideas will help a publisher to make a decision to commit to publishing your masterpiece. My experience with submissions is that very few writers go to the trouble of working on a good presentation. Those that do that will make a big impression on the publisher.
We should not forget that a publisher’s job is to publish and this does not include marketing. Most publishers do offer marketing packages at a range of fees.
The author is by far the best ambassador for their book, so an enthusiastic and credentialed author can make the publishing decision easy.
Vanity Publishers perform a service for money where they will produce your book professionally. They usually deliver a professional quality product, but it can be quite expensive. The downside of this is that there is no Gatekeeper for the quality of content. Essentially, if you can pay the money then you qualify. Standards are low because the author takes on all the financial risks.
There are no good prospects of sales because the market tends to be flooded with low-quality books and traditional booksellers usually refuse to buy titles from these ‘publishers’. Contributing to this is self-published books (covered in more detail in the next blog).
The open gates policy of Vanity and self-publishers has led to a veritable flood of titles being published. At the last count more than a million titles a year are published in the English language alone. It becomes very difficult to get noticed in such a crowded marketplace. Good marketing becomes essential.
The deals on offer vary quite a lot, so one has to look at the contract to see the details. Vanity publishers are poorly thought of in the book world, because of their open-door policy with no gatekeeper.
A very important consideration for all authors is what genre does your book fall into?
I recommend visiting a book store to make a note of the genres as listed on the shelves.
Which one will your book fall into?
If you can’t categorise it, then the book store manager will not know where to put the book, so it might end up getting lost on a shelf where it doesn’t belong.
My company published a series of novels by one author which was categorized as Visionary Fiction. Most book shops don’t have a genre like that so her books generally ended up in Fantasy or Science Fiction, neither of which is correct.
Visit several bookshops if possible because every book shop caters to a different market.
Take a note of how many books are on each of these shelves to get an idea of your competition and the popularity of the genre.
While you are there do have a critical look at aspects like cover design and how the books are laid out.
As usual, there are trends and fashions in book design. Also bear in mind that design styles are different for every country. In the USA the popular trend has been for covers featuring fancy graphics and fonts with a small but impactful image on the front cover. whereas the UK and Europe are generally more conservative.
The United States market remains huge and very important so their influence has to be taken into account.
It has now been more than 25 years since Kima Global Publishers first opened its doors in 1992 with the publication of Rising out of Chaos – The New Heaven and the New Earth by Simon Peter Fuller. We were friends then and still are today. Simon Peter is living in active retirement in Sri Lanka and Nadine and I are still in Cape Town, now in the Deep South.
Rising out of Chaos was a book well ahead of its time, but is now totally relevant to today’s chaotic world. The World is even more chaotic, but the arrival of the New Earth is ever more likely. We are currently offering the e-book edition free (actually nearly free since we cannot do a transaction with no value. PayPal will not allow this).
In celebration of our 25 years we have pleasure in announcing the launch of our new Showroom web site, which features all our best sellers over the years. We would welcome your visit there and your comments.
You can also find out why we do what we do, our mission, and some background as to what we look for in a new publication, so that you as a potential new author know what to expect from us.
We have known for some time that bookstores are struggling, but the latest two developments at Exclusive Books (South Africa’s biggest and most prestigious book chain) smack of a new level of either desperation or at least a change of tack from selling books. Let me explain.
Firstly, an edict has gone out from the owner that all book purchases (even of one book) now have to be approved by head office. It seems like they no longer trust the managers to buy even on sale or return. This is likely to work out in practice that an approved list will be developed which will include only books from the most popular authors and the two or three biggest publishing houses. This will exclude orders to all the smaller and independent publishers like ourselves.
This sounds like the death knell to smaller publishers, but in fact we have been working on what are known as special sales (non book store sales) for some time now and have become less dependent on book shops. Our main motivation was the wafer thin or non-existent profit margin in bookstore sales what with the high discounts (47.5% + 2.5% payment discount) demanded, the costs of courier delivery and the returns. It is sad to see them go, but in the end no loss to us.
Secondly, the owner of Exclusive Books has (or will shortly) establish a Tapas Bar as part of his flagship store (Hyde Park in Johannesburg). A Tapas Bar to add food to the mix . Personally I can’t see how this will bring in readers. Still it may be a profit center which will compensate for the losses in the bookstore. Good luck to him!
If you are someone on a mission you should have been writing on your subject in your WordPress Blog, or even on Hubpages or Bubblews. These writings will have a theme of course (this could be anything from abseiling to zen gardens) and these themed writings could easily be assembled into a relevant eBook.
The writing will also have active links which will make it interesting for the reader who is also a fan of your subject. The writing / editing process will be much easier since most of the work has been done. Sometimes you will need to writing extra paragraphs linking chapters together so that there is a nice flow.
One of the plusses in making an ebook is that sites like Bubblews and Hubpages do not check ebooks for copyright infringement so you may refer to your book without the risk of it being blocked for this reason.
We at Kima Global can help you to make and distribute your ebook. We will design an eye catching cover for you as well so that your book can get noticed.
Why not have a look through your old blog posts to see if you have enough for an eBook. Bear in mind that eBooks need a smaller word count than a conventional paper book.
What do you get? We will edit, supply the ISBN and make your ebook. We will design a cover and a Facebook banner. Once you have approved we will supply an .epub, a .mobi and a .pdf file.
The cost will be $500.00. This will suit a writer who is internet savvy, has a USA bank account, and the time and inclination to manage and promote their own book. That way they get to keep all the rewards.
We are still offering the 50% royalty option. On this plan we will do all of the above plus we will upload to all the major (and quite a number of lesser) platforms and manage the sites and the income. This can be quite a complex process, something not easy to master if you are doing this for the first time. The cost of this will be $400.00.
To sum up, we take away a lot of the technical complications, it costs you less, but you also only receive a 50% royalty.
There is a huge need for good marketing, but if you go to the professional marketing agencies you get a bewildering array of marketing packages, all of them expensive and none of them will (understandably) give you any guarantee of results.
It was in response to this need (and having only a small budget of our own) that Nadine and I developed our own techniques with which we have had proven success. We have been working on and have just published a new eBook titled Breakthrough Marketing at No Cost.
The book is simply packed with tips and useful advice and will work for your book or even for any other product that you or your wife or husband wish to get out into the world. Most of these techniques will not cost you a red cent, but we did make an exception by including two web site options where you can get a fully functional web site including a shopping cart for $3.99 or $5.99 / month – huge value and really essential to have.
The rest will not cost you money, but will take some hours out of your day, but we reckon you will gladly make the effort because you love your book, right? In fact, once set up, the amount of time spent need not be too daunting because the grunt work can be semi-automated.
You will be able to buy this book at a very reasonable cost from a whole range of web sites, including Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and our own site. Click here.
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