by Karen Saunders (used with permission)
Editor’s Note: My colleague for the past 25 years, Karen Saunders offers nonfiction book-publishing services for authors. Many are professional speakers from around the world. She shares these 10 tips for anyone seeking advice about self-publishing. – Barbara McNichol
As a speaker you have an important message to deliver, and your goal is to reach as many people as possible. One way to do this is by leveraging your content into a self-published book. A book will give you credibility, open doors to new speaking opportunities, and provide another revenue stream—that is, if your book is every bit as professional as you are. As a busy speaker, I know you will appreciate these 10 self-publishing tips.
After 25 years in the business of designing book covers and interiors and helping speakers publish their books, I know self-published books can outshine those produced by major publishing houses. Here’s how savvy self-publishers produce first-class books, the kind of books that attract readers.
The following are my list of self-publishing tips:
- A custom book cover design that captures the essence of its content and connects with your target market. A study by The Wall Street Journal revealed bookstore browsers spend an average of 8 seconds glancing at the front cover and 15 seconds reviewing the back cover. People DO judge a book by its cover!
- A compelling book title and descriptive, concise subtitle. If you’re having trouble crafting a title, organize a brainstorming session or focus group. Your title and graphics must work together to persuade the book browser to pick it up. Together they must elicit an emotional response and describe the features and advantages of your book.
- Endorsements and testimonials from VIPs on the front and/or back cover. Make the time needed to ask well-respected peers in your industry to review your book and to follow up with them.
- Editing by a professional book editor. It is imperative to research and select an editor who is experienced in your genre.
- A pleasing, organized, appropriate interior. Use an easy-to-read font and format and quality, opaque paper stock. Request printed books and paper samples from the manufacturer before selecting your paper stock.
- Concise, targeted copy on the back cover. The content on the back cover is prime real estate to promote your book to your target market. Compose a pithy sales header at the top, follow with benefit-laden bullet points, and a call to action at the bottom. The back cover copy needs to answer the book buyer’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
- Proofreading by a professional proofreader. Do NOT skip this important step. Typographic and grammatical errors will scream amateur and turn off buyers.
- The right price, trim size, and specifications for the type of book. Go to the bookstore and browse in your category to research other competitive books. You want to keep your price in line with other books of a similar nature. Notice if similar books are hardcover or softcover, and check their size (e.g., 6×9).
- A copyright page with all the necessary content. These items may include all of the following: ISBN number, LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) number, PCIP (Publisher’s Cataloging-In-Publication) block, disclaimer and protection verbiage, copyright date, credits to contributors, publishing company information, and where the book was printed.
- Design elements are coordinated with your brand. Your speaker platform provides the foundation for your brand. Your book design and content should reinforce and support it. Although your picture is an integral part of your brand, consider carefully before putting your photo on the front cover. Of course, if you are already famous there is no question, but inserting your picture will not make you famous. If however, you are branding yourself as an expert to a specific, targeted niche market, then it is a wise strategy.
Remember, book design is a form of packaging, and professional packaging attracts buyers to products. That’s why successful organizations spend millions researching and developing the best product packaging possible. Make your book the best in its class! Utilize these 10 self-publishing tips in your next book.
Do you have a question for Karen? Ask it here!
You can reach at Karen Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website at www.karensaundersassoc.com.