Newsletter #1 / November, 2008
PUBLISHING: How Should We Print the Book?
Here’s a question I get at almost every niche or self-publishing seminar that I give: “How do we determine whether we have our books printed in full press run format (say 1000+) versus print-on-demand (one, a few, or maybe 100 at a time)?”
We use these very rough guidelines.
FULL PRESS RUN when (1) we’ve pre-tested a niche book and we can quickly and easily sell 1000+, (2) we can easily guesstimate a 1000+ sale of a general (non-niche) book to libraries and bookstores, (3) we can comfortably predict 1000 sales back of the room at speeches or seminars in the next 12 months, (4) we have orders from commercial clients for 1000+ books, (5) any 1000+ combination of (1)-(4).
P.O.D. when we need (1) a few backlist books that are well past their selling prime, (2) LARGE PRINT editions of our current books, (3) special short runs for commercial orders, (4) short runs that require special inserts or imprints like logos, welcome letters, or customized contents, (5) some bound copies of e-books, to sell or for a rare printed packet, (6) customized book handouts, usually for workshops or breakout sessions, (7) sample copies for peer and book reviews—but not for galley copies, (8) reprints or replacement copies of (1)-(7). I usually stop P.O.D. copies at about 100-150.
The harder decision is from 100-1000. I bid both kinds of printers at my target volume and let the full price (print, shipping, anything else) and the delivery date determine who gets the print contract. We used to over-estimate, then let the stock slowly sell out. We are going with smaller runs now on bound books as the demand for digital copies increases—and the P.O.D. printers are able to fill an unexpected, quick demand for a short print run (1-8 in P.O.D.)
Not mentioned but part of the equation is how many of the same items we will sell digitally, as a slightly modified download of the same printed book, a significantly restyled e-book, or in some other digital format. Oddly, the more copies were have in paper print of some of our books, the more we will sell in digital form, presumably from recommendations of the paper print readers. I doubt it happens much in the reverse.
Like a hub and the spokes on a wheel, you need at least two critical elements to empire build: (1) a core topic, the hub, and (2) some or many information dissemination means (IDMs). Through the latter, the spokes, you establish, market, and share your knowledge and expertise.
Because finding a core topic is so important, two of the three reports that accompany this kick-off newsletter directly address finding ideas from which a core topic might come, and the third provides some opening thoughts about creating the structure through which you can develop “Lifelong Wealth by Being Indispensable.”
Once you have the core topic, by which means can you best disseminate your information? Let me list about 50 below from which you can select those that work best for you and your clientele. But don’t panic. No empire I know of uses all of them. Most start with one or two and end up fully using 8-10.
IDMs: academic paper, article, audio cassette, audio CD, book, booklet, brochure, bulletin, case study, certification program, class, coaching, consulting, directory, fact guide, manual, newsletter, newspaper, online course, podcast, press release, product, radio or TV, release, report, resource guide, script, seminar (workshop, breakout), speech, study group, talk, training session, video, visual podcast, webcast, website, white paper.
WRITING: Query Letters Are Still Needed for Major Article Acceptance
You can get digital articles fairly widely accepted by just writing them, keeping them to the point, and sending them to sources that provide digital copy to many seekers. A longtime friend from PMA, Ed Rigsbee (www.succeedinspeaking.com), whose niche is partnering strategies, recommends www.ezinearticles.com , and directs us
to Google (search under “article bank”) to find others. The tighter and usually shorter the articles are, the more likely they are to be used. Avoid self-promotion.
But if you want an expertise-strengthening piece in a key publication near the heart of your core topic, you still need to write that sharp selling query letter to see if the editor is interested.
One page is enough, but don’t tell the editor that his/her readers need to read what you have to say. Ask rather than tell. (Query is from inquiry. In this case, “Would your readers be interested in…?”) Make the letter “jump” so the editor says, “I’d be a fool not to have this piece on my pages.”
Finally, write the query in the style of the article yet unwritten. If it’s straightforward facts with some quotes, that’s it. But if you want to inject humor, that must also go in the query in about the same quantity and form it will appear in the final submission.
And unless the editor says otherwise (the current Writer’s Market is a good guide), query by snail rather than e- mail.
How do I know? Beyond selling 1700+ freelance articles (mostly queried), I’ve been that editor (still am) who said/says yes or no. Do the above—and make sure the query is so tightly and clearly focused that the editor knows exactly what he/she is accepting—or rejecting.
MORE WRITING: How to Triple Your Writing Output
If you can write salable copy, that’s the hard half. The rest is speed and proficiency. A week ago, I read a great e-book that tells you how to do that other half. It’s Bob Bly’s
Super-Productivity for Writers:
How to Triple Your Writing Speed, Sales,and Income in 90 Days of Less!
This new, second edition is hard to find. Get it here and you can have it in 10 minutes. Another digital miracle!