Why Self-Publishing is a Smart Platform-Builder

Because so many of us in the Women At Woodstock community are thinking about, or actually writing, the book they’ve always dreamed about, I asked Brooke Warner of She Writes Press to share with me the latest developments in the world of self-publishing.  She shared this:

Why Self-Publishing is a Smart Platform-Builder

by Brooke Warner

We are in the midst of a publishing revolution. Changes are happening so quickly that even industry folks can’t keep up, and authors are often left wondering which experts truly have the best advice.  My own opinion and advice for years has been to stay creative to keep in front of the curve. And the biggest creative outlet in publishing right now is to use the democratization of publishing to your advantage.

As the former Executive Editor of Seal Press and now publisher of She Writes Press, I am a champion for both traditional and self-publishing. Authors who don’t harness the power of what self-publishing has to offer are doing themselves a huge disservice. The point of being an author is to publish. So if you are a writer with a ton of content and zero product, it’s time to do something about that. It’s no longer stigmatizing to put your name to a self-published title. In fact, so many big-name authors are doing it, you could call it a trend.

Just last week, David Mamet announced that he will be self-publishing, albeit through his agency, ICM, who’s partnering with Perseus (my former employer) to produce their books. But there are LOTS of these kinds of hybrid options out there (including She Writes Press) for anyone who’s interested in being backed by a team who has experience, and/or who doesn’t want to go even the self-publishing route alone.

Outside of the realm of print publishing is digital publishing, which is undergoing even more exciting changes and presents many entrepreneurial and money-making opportunities. Suzanne Braun Levine just put out a wonderful ebook, You Gotta Have Girlfriends — a book about how nurturing relationships with girlfriends, especially after age fifty, is good for your health and vitality — via Open Road Media, a digital publisher. Suzanne is smart to have published in this format. The “shorts,” as these short-format books are called, are generally anywhere from 10,000-30,000 words and are priced at around $1.99-$3.99. They’re an easy impulse buy for readers and they’re a fantastic way to build a fan base.

Having some sort of strategy in place to capitalize on your self-published book or ebook once it’s out in the world is critical to its success, and to functioning as a platform-builder. Here are my Top 5:

  1. Learn to manage your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) page and take advantage of Amazon’s keywords to increase your book’s visibility.
  2. Excerpt short nuggets of wisdom from your book and post them to social media with a bit.ly link that points back to your book.
  3. Ask your friends to post about your book on their social media.
  4. Make sure you have an email management system (like MailChimp or iContact) in place to capture the names of your readers. Offer them a free chapter if they sign up for your newsletter, or some other free incentive.
  5. Make an offer in your book that drives people back to your homepage or to your social media to get them to sign up for your newsletter. Building this list is critical!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use self-publishing to your advantage, join Brooke for a free webinar, Your Book, Your Platform, Your Success!, this Tuesday at 3pm PST/4pm EST.

Brooke is also co-leading the Self-Publishing Summit 2013 in Berkeley, California, on June 1-2, an event that will shift your perceptions, start making you money off your writing, and even boost your spirits about the state of publishing. Take advantage of the early bird special—just $395 and you bring a friend for free.

Brooke Warner is the founder of Warner Coaching Inc. and the publisher of She Writes Press. She is the author of What’s Your Book?, a finalist for a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year award. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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