Online Business

Self Publishing Update: This Week: Tools For Writing, Self-Publishing Scams

Yo – see I’m back – this could get become  regular you know! – Watch the above video to see just how good the NZ weather is this week – seriously this is HEADLINE NEWS – the likely 7-day stretch of fine, calm weather for Wellington led the national “soft news” program a few days ago! Yup – it’s a small country – but if this is global warming bring it on I say!

I’ve thought long and hard about my business and I’ve come to some fairly startling decisions: 

  • I need to get comfortable with “brand Lis”. I’ve always really, really disliked selling me , unfortunately that’s the game I’m in – people buy online, usually because they have a rapport with the seller. It’s really that simple. which doesn’t mean to say it’s going to be high-pressure  buy, buy, buy – in fact nothing much will change around here – I think the change is more in my attitude. To the writers among you who don’t want to market. I say – do you want to sell books? In that case you need to market,  end of story. It does not mean you have to ban obnoxious, in-you-face, grade A asshole and extrovert.  
  • I need to get over the terror of public speaking – hence the crappy amateur videos, feel free to skip – I’m much better with words. In fact I probably need to get with the whole networking in person thing anyways. 
  • SEO is not dead but it’s only a small part of the bigger picture. I’m watching with interest what Court Tuttle is doing over at his new site and applying his approach to my own sites, including this one. 
  • I’m looking at more “quick wins” in terms of the cash flow stakes, recurring income (affiliates, royalties) are all amazing – but at the moment I need a quick cash injection. 
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Is Lis an A-List Blogger Now?

No not at all. What did and still does annoy me with A-list bloggers is that they essentially make money by teaching  others to make money with little or not experience of using those techniques to make money – ie 100% of their income from the teaching side of things and not the doing side of things. They also tend to obfuscate their earnings, or just plain lie. Quick which headline is more appealing: “Make $1.997,776.31 in the next year” or “Make just over the unemployment rate next year” – yes exactly! 

Unfortunately, my instinctive dislike for them meant I threw the baby out with the proverbial. It’s not so much the “money being in the list” – but really the singularly most important thing to build as an author, entrepreneur, online marketer, whatever, is your list. Why? Because it gives you independence.  Independence from Facebook not notifying your followers,  Independence from Google algo updates , independence from  future changes in Amazon rankings. If I have a list of people interested in me and/or my books and services  I can communicate with them  without involving a third-party who has a different agenda than I. (No I don’t host my own mail list and you shouldn’t either, I use and recommend Aweber, others like MailChimp – the point is they are in the business of providing email services – nothing else, they are on your side  so long as you keep paying them). I suggest that those of you who focus exclusively on twitter or Facebook followers think about that. 

What I’m Reading Now 

I’m liking Guy Kawasaki’s APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

The good bits: 

  • his summary of traditional and self-publishing is spot on  – if you still think being picked up by a publisher is a your goal – read this book, Kawasaki has had several books traditionally published so he knows what he’s talking about;
  • given that he’s been senior management at Apple not once but twice – his review of the rise of the eBook technology is worth paying attention to;
  • his writing advice outline/rough draft/then polish i.e. don’t edit as you go – is spot on.
  • I find his ideas about crowd-sourcing and company sponsorship  intriguing  – watch this space;
  • He has a very well written guide of all the options for self-publishers in terms of using author-service companies or not and the pros/cons of each;
  • there is good information on how to get genuine reader reviews for your book

The bad bits: 

  • it’s regular price is $9.99 – on the high side for an eBook;
  • he recommends Word to write books in – but that doesn’t actually fit with the writing process he describes, plus he recommends a Macbook Air – which is even more irrelevant. 
  • he advises using affiliate links within an eBook –  to clarify you can’t use Amazon affiliate links within a Kindle eBook – this is against the Amazon affiliate TOS. You can use other affiliates though, or you can direct to a resource page at your website. 
  • he recommends social media as a substitute for having your own website/blog – it’s not. 

In his book though he suggests a couple of things I think are wrong InDesign is not the right tool for eBook formatting (and not just because it costs about US $600, or a lot more than that if you don’t live in the US) and I think every author should have their own blog – relying on g+ is not a good policy , because Google can change the rules any day (and probably will) .

Also check out Cathy Presland’s Becoming a Writer course over at Udemy – it’s free. If you’re not familiar with Udemy – it’s a way for independent writers to present their own courses using a mixture of media (videos and pdf seem the most popular). Cathy’s course is about improving your writing – particularly for non-fiction authors – worth checking out. 

Coming later this week:


5 replies on “Self Publishing Update: This Week: Tools For Writing, Self-Publishing Scams”

I’m glad you’re back blogging again!

What you said about building yourself as a brand is something I am thinking about too. I have always HATED putting too much of myself out there online. I am still uncomfortable with the vlogs too. But I kinda think, although we don’t have to be “out there” in the billion ways people are going on about, we do need to have our face out there in at least a few ways. I need to do this more for my book (and get the 2nd book out already too!). Anyway I think you did a good job posting up the video even though you’re uncomfortable with it!

And yes I think the list will be the number 1 asset for all of us to work on!

The videos are getting easier I’m quite surprised – probably because I’m just doing it off the cuff – rather than having a script or even key points. I’ve always been able to do off-the-cuff OK – it’s speech-making I fear! Yup I’m really focussing on list-building over the next few months

Whoop whoop, nice to see you on form again!

I know what you mean about building a brand. I hate the kind of false facade that seems to be the norm for a lot of people in the marketing game. I also really hate the idea of having to watch what I say in case someone takes offence, ugh.

But you definitely do need to put yourself out there if you hope to make sales – because people buy from people, period. My aim is to get myself known in a way I’m comfortable with and build relationships from there.

Yup that’s what I finally figured out – people sell books, particularly the author LOL

Liz, I like you and I like seeing this email. You make me think of Ron Paul. I’m not talking politically, since I have no idea where you are in that arena. I mean the sense that you both want to tell the truth as you know it. That makes for joy as far as I’m concerned.

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