When it comes to making a presence and acknowledgement from others, sometimes the traditional routes are still the most credible.
Anyone can now profess to be the oracle and add the title of ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ to accompany their name.
It is easier than ever to place ourselves in the middle of the podium in our own winning ceremonies. From ‘click here’ pdf ebooks to ‘sign up now’ workshops, all we need is access to a computer. The growth of sites such Trip Advisor shows people adopting the role as expert reviewer simply by having a mobile phone ready for the first glimpse of a tired looking reception area.
The biggest requirement to be seen as influential is that others can see that you do real things to back up what you stand for and do it in a way that adds kudos. I have now taken that step and currently on my journey to publish a business book and chosen not to self publish. I thank the team at LID Publishing for giving me the opportunity.
This is something that I have been planning during 2013 and have been dedicated to since January 2014. I know that the majority of what I write on the blog and stand for is about taking ownership of spaces that you have 100% control of, which would allude to the question of ‘then why aren’t you self publishing?’
A Lonely Journey, Buy Hey The Stats Look Good!
The barriers to entry are now pretty low when it comes to publishing a book. I know there is complete independence from self-publishing and there are some fantastic examples out there, what it means is that anyone can now produce and distribute a book but it can be a lonely journey.
The ease of platforms such as CreateSpace and LULU provide opportunities that are available at little investment. According to the Author Earnings Report (July 2014), 31% of ebook sales on Amazon are from self-published books. It also highlights that independent authors are earning nearly 40% of all ebook royalties on the Kindle Store. So why I have decided to opt for a more traditional route of looking to build a dialogue with a publisher rather than take advantage of the clear growth within self publishing? Call me a traditionalist, but I have realised that reading books is one of the most important ways that helps me think, apply and grow.
I tend to scribble and write notes as I read. Having something that is tangible in front of me that I can effectively use as a school textbook has far more meaningful depth than reading a blog article or snackable pieces of content (from a tweet to a LinkedIn publisher post). Sometimes you just need to take time to enjoy the full three-course dinner, rather than the Whopper Meal. This is the main reason for choosing a publisher route to produce a paperback book. I wanted to build credibility via a channel that is professionally edited and created so that others can focus on the topic in hand.
To give you a brief idea for the book, it concentrates on the role that content marketing plays in today’s business world. But before we can become committed we need to adjust our mindsets from the way that we have always been told to behave. I have found that with many businesses the biggest challenge is not the undertaking of content creation, but to understand the ability to control the spaces that we have complete control of and how we need to adapt our behaviour in a world where it is becoming easier than ever to shout ‘look at me.’
Many businesses are still shoe horning old practices into new ways or to put more succinctly from Alvin Toffler (writer and futurist) in ‘Future Shock’ from 1970, ‘the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.’
What I’m Learning
One thing that I know from writing a book is that it takes discipline and effort. If time has been spent on creating, then time should be spent on producing the finished product and the credit it deserves. I just couldn’t justify taking full responsibility for everything so I decided that this should be given to those who have more experience than I do (and by that I don’t mean handing to my mum to proof read).
There are elements that need to addressed to ensure overall consistency from: the title of the book; the full editing process; proof reading; design; a PR strategy; and final distribution. To create something that has merit and true worth, no one can take on the full responsibility of each aspect of the book production process with ease. When working with a publisher, particularly the editing stage (which I am currently within), you need someone who is openly honest and not to expect the pat on the back from the family member who scanned a manuscript during a couple of evenings.
We have to remember that it is the publisher’s investment in time too, for a return from the venture, rather than an independent editor taking on a project that you supply. This is a business relationship more than anything else.
A Publisher Is A Seller Of Time
I look at the role of a publisher as a seller of time to an author. To a self-publisher, the marketing of a book is purely on the shoulders of the individual and is a commitment to liaise with Amazon, let alone the time spent in securing distribution with the high street retailers.
Ensuring reach of the book is a huge responsibility, which is why working with a publisher who already has routes to market was a more attractive proposition. Relationships have already been built with the various channels. I know that the book I am writing is not going to give me a visit to a Sunseeker dealership to make a decision for a boat for 2015. What I am setting out to achieve though is to build credibility in what I stand for within the content marketing marketplace and to grow a small pool into a larger sea.
If the book provides access to new subscribers, conversations, relationships and customers then it has done the job by providing a platform to validate what it is that I do.
Why I Chose Not To Self Publish
To break it down, these are the 18 decisions that swayed my decision to work with a traditional publisher and I decided not to self publish:
- Work with a team of people who know how it’s done
- The ability to join forces with a publisher
- Using distribution and promotional channels that have already been formed
- Enabling a reach that I would have had to commit many hours to
- Share ideas with someone who has a vested interest (and for that I thank David Woods from LID for his enthusiasm and knowledge)
- There is a sense of collaboration to make the project a success in order to write more books
- Learn throughout the process the book production stages
- Having a finished final product that aims to look attractive on a retailer bookshelf
- Small profit margins are ok, it’s the credibility that is important
- Having a publishing company with you on your journey is an arm round the shoulder and a kick up the back side
- Deadlines are set and with a bit of self-command it can be managed
- The ability to build relationships outside of the writing arena and utilising a publishing company to help with speaking engagements
- I need to hear it straight when things don’t seem to flow, rather than hiring a freelance editor who would effectively become my ‘supplier’ (and possibly not inclined to rock the boat much)
- The market is currently flooded with books, there are times when we need to call on those who know more than we do
- Attention needed to be focused on editing, proofreading and design
- I know that I need to concentrate on marketing and publicity (as this is the industry that I am part of) but it is a lonely journey when you have no guidance from those who have ‘been there, done that’
- Working with a publisher means (in my eyes) that you are being taken seriously
- I want to work with people whose professional career revolves around business literature
The Content Revolution will be published Spring 2015. It’s an expedition into the unknown for me, but that’s why the guidance from others is always needed to make us more prominent within our industries.
Image: courtesy of Thomas Hubauer