In 2010 I had my first traditionally published book published called “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money“. I can tell you now, having a “traditionally” published is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it’s amazing to have had the experience of seeing my book in bookstores and going through the traditional path of getting a contract, with a signing bonus, all the way through to seeing my first book arrive in my hands and then into the stores.
On the other hand. A lot of it really sucked. Honestly though, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Because I learned that’s not the way I want to do it, and it forced me to embrace a new way to do it, come up with new ways to help you do it as well.
Let’s get this straight right off the bat. I am not writing this piece to condemn the book industry as it stands today. Plenty of others are doing that just fine without me (MUST READ). Things are changing BIG time right now in the book industry. It’s like a nuclear bomb went off, and the next few years will prove that there will be an entirely new business model arising from the ashes.
So again, I’m writing this to tell you about the future of self-publishing, book marketing and funding as I see it, not to trash the current traditional book industry.
Being a marketer and Web entrepreneur, AND an author who has published “traditionally” and self-published, I believe I have certain unique opinions and perspective about these topics. Particularly the topic of marketing.
FUNDING PROBLEMS FOR NEW AUTHORS
Many will argue that one of the reasons that make a traditionally published book deal still attractive is the signing bonus. Everything else that you used to need the publishers for is gone. You can hire a proofer, and editor and cover designer (good ones) for very affordable rates nowadays. You can upload to Amazon and Nook on your own and set your own price. You can even have your book available for print on demand so people who wants printed copies can easily order them.
So the signing bonus that they (traditional publishing firms) can pay you up-front is really their biggest asset, in my opinion. If you can get it.
I got paid five-figures to write Attention! and I was grateful for it, especially since I was a first-time author. Because of the signing bonus, I was able to put many of clients on hold so I could write and finish the book on time. That was really helpful.
For most first-time authors, there isn’t going to be a signing bonus like I got. I got mine because of my years of experience and frankly, because of my reach (my blog, my social media connections, my influence with others who have the same, etc…). They (the publisher) knew that I could “get the word out” and sell a lot of books, which I have done.
So if you’re like most everyone, there isn’t going to be a publisher throwing you bags and bags of cash. So what do you do?
You could just write it anyway, which you should do, and self-publish it yourself, which you should do, and learn how to market it, which you should do. All easier said than done. Actually, the first two parts are actually the easy parts. The marketing is the real challenge.
Back to the signing bonus. It doesn’t exist. You don’t have it. So why not try something different?
WHY NOT PRE-FUND YOUR BOOK?
Think about it. If you have a book in your head, why not pre-fund the writing of that book BEFORE you start writing it. This is exactly what I’m doing with my new book series entitled “Business Around a Lifestyle.”
Take a look at what I’ve created here. It’s a landing page where I talk about how I’m going to write these books, and how I’d like you to be part of the books by pledging early to them. It’s pre-funding. Think about the advantages of this.
1. You get proof that people want to read your book before you write it
2. You get a community of people interested and active about what you’re creating together
3. You pre-sell books
4. You can go direct to consumer (You don’t even need Amazon)
5. You get paid before you write (like a signing bonus)
So far, by just sending a handful of emails to a few people I know, I’ve raised over $450. I plan on promoting this new campaign to my email list as soon.
This is certainly not the newest concept on the block. Sites like Kickstarter offer you the ability to fund projects. But then again, Kickstarter takes their cut of the action. And they don’t allow “how-to” books. I applied to use Kickstarter for this pre-funding project and they rejected me because they said they only want “creative projects”.
Which got me thinking. Why do we really need them? We don’t. Anyone can easily sell their books direct with a little bit of effort using tools like Paypal and 1ShoppingCart or a million others.
WHAT ABOUT AMAZON?
The future is direct to consumer. Amazon is the middle-man, just like the publisher was. If you can build a community of your own, you can leverage that community. Sure, you’ll want to put your books on Amazon and other places, down the road, but again, they take their cut as well.
There’s a definite big list of advantages to being able to sell direct to your fans.
BILLIONAIRE J.K. ROWLINGS IS GOING DIRECT, WHY CAN’T YOU?
Want further proof that the book industry is imploding? Harry Potter author J.K. Rowlings has since decided to go direct to consumer. In other words, she’s building a new community where she will sell her new work direct. Nope, her fans won’t even have to go to Amazon, they’ll go direct to her, where she doesn’t have to pay the cut to anyone.
Mark my words, she will turn a one billion dollar empire into a 2 billion dollar empire in less than a few years by doing this.