Notes from “Test-Market with Self-Publishing: Get Your Ideas Reader Ready”
Kati Neville is co-author of Fix, Freeze, Feast (Storey Publishing, 2007) and an expert on self-publishing. She was quite successful with self-publishing, and was a great resource for those interested in publishing their own works.
Kati Neville asked some key questions for writers to explore when thinking self-publishing:
1.) How is your idea unique? What resources are similar/different from it? Make the business case for your project without emotion.
- Who is your market?
- Who will sell it?
- Think about timing, try to tie into key events.
2.) Do you need to partner with others to strengthen or balance your content? If yes, list the qualities of your ideal partner before you search. Do not enter into a partnership lightly.
- View it like a marriage
- Be realistic about “convenient people,” you may not want your neighbor or your sister to be your business partner.
- It’s okay to have a “business perspective.” You can be formal, it may speed things up.
3.) What professional contractors and supplies do you need to complete your project? If your goal is to use self-publishing as a stepping-stone to a traditional publishing relationship, you should budget more for professional services/products. And don’t skimp.
- Often times people you can work with people who are just starting out in the business to get a deal, even though they have less experience, it may be worth it.
4.) Are there industry standards or style guidelines you should use? Find out before you sit down to write.
- Do a little research before you begin writing, there might be a format that you should use, especially for things like cookbooks and instructional books.
5.) Will your final product be printed traditionally or electronically? Develop a solid knowledge of your audience and take into account your marketing/publicity plans (and those of any partners). Focus on small print runs, even though they cost more per copy.
- Think about the audience you want, are they “book people?”
- Cooking is tactile, the people are gift givers, they like to have something to read in their hands.
- When printing, you can always print more but not less. It’s hard to know how many books will sell.
6.) Do you have professional headshots and the beginnings of a professional platform. This is critical for those angling for a traditional publishing deal.
- This is important to express to the editor who you are, it’s important for people to see you.
- You have to display your expertise in the field, convince them you are a professional even if you aren’t.
7.) What is your marketing/publishing plan? Define the actions and contacts that will increase the visibility of your work among its audience over the long haul. If your product is an e-book, this includes the professional appearance and reach of your host company.
- How do you get out the word?
- Get an interview on a more popular podcast
- Script it
- Work on social networking
- Things take a long time, be in it for the long haul.