Just read today in The Reporter Connection the following:
Self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? That’s a question we get asked time and again. The choice involves a lot of factors that are specific to each author’s goals. Take, for example, Mark Cuban. The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks recently self-published his memoir, How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
Why did Mark go that route? Time is the number one reason, according to an interview he gave MediaBistro. Mark didn’t want to spend time waiting for publishers to make their money before he saw his, and he didn’t want to spend time on a book tour when he could promote the book himself to his millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.
Here is my take on it:
- Taking out the middleman works because Cuban has the number of followers needed to get traction.
- He has earned the right to sell a billion copies–his intention as he continues to set goals and achieve them.
- Bottomline: he self publishes because he can. He knows he will have success.The worst case scenario is that he can buy the books up himself.
But What About You? How Can You Translate That to You?
First, don’t compare yourself to Mark Cuban. If you want to self publish, start with the goal of getting something of quality out there. Don’t push your book out there without getting it done well, working with top quality providers who can provide you with the support you need to work through the maze of publishing options.
Second, take the time to research as many books as you can on Amazon. I would suggest going through up to 100 or more books that are similar to the one you want to write. Look at them. Create a spreadsheet that shows you:
- Who is the author and his or her background?
- What is the book’s ranking? How many pages is it?
- When did the book come out?
- What are people saying over and over again (the patterns) of both good and bad reviews?
Once you have all this information you can sort it by best to poorest rank and see patterns that will help decide how to position your book, figure out who your audience is and put in all the things people have liked about similar books and what the poor reviews said the authors did not do well. These analysis will help you get a book out that, when it comes out, reviewers will say things like, “Now this book has all the things the other books were missing.”
So, here is an example of what I am talking about–directly from Mark Cuban’s Amazon review page:
I am a huge fan of Mark, his blog, and the mavs. I bought this book as soon as it came out, thinking I would gain a few great insights but instead I found many pages that were simply a copy and paste of his blog. I would encourage mark, if he reads this, to consider only adding original content in future books. This was obviously churned out by his team of admins without the same effort he puts into his other initiatives. (1-star review)
Doesn’t this give you ideas for your book? It should. It tells me, “Melissa, don’t just regurgitate your blogs in a book or your fans will not benefit from your content.” A little bit of searching on other self-published authors or other authors who are rock stars like Cuban would pull up similar reviews. Again, this goes back to my first point, make your book a quality book at all cost.
Third, get a good marketing plan together and do it well before the book comes out. With books the key is getting speaking engagements that include book. This would look like taking on even local engagements where you offer to speak if the organizer of a group who wants you to speak is willing to have the organization pay for 100 books or more. If you don’t ask, you won’t get so keep asking.
Finally, a bonus realization. Books are important. They convey more than a blog can. If written well they will make a huge difference in your life and in the lives of your readers. Take the project seriously and you will gain so much from the effort.