Category Archives: The Book Business

Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Estate Planning Checklist for Authors

Anyone who has been reading this blog (or my non-fiction publishing guides) for a while knows about my sales background. I’ve worked in various positions—mainly print advertising sales—over the years while building my authorship on the side. After being laid off from one of those common jobs, I was certified to sell prepaid funeral and cemetary services. I did that for a short time. Now, some of you may find that career path a bit odd or morbid. But I have to say it was an eye-opening education for me. I’m so glad I did it, because I learned so much. It is so important for everyone to have an estate planning checklist completed for the family members they leave behind. It is equally—if not more—important for authors to plan ahead in this way.

The Standard Estate Planning Checklist for Everyone

When a loved one passes away, there are so many decisions to make and things for family members to do. If it’s a sudden passing and that person didn’t leave any instructions regarding his or her wishes, it can be especially traumatic. Unexpected upfront funeral and cemetary expenses can leave family members strapped for cash. They may have difficulties locating important banking or insurance information to cover those expenses. They may be unaware of who all to invite to the celebration of life. The list goes on, so it makes sense to plan ahead. In the very least, everyone should take care of the following three details and let family members know where to find them:

  1. Draft a will that includes who will be named the executor, beneficiary, and trustee/legal guardian (if young children are left behind) of your estate. It is also wise to stipulate a power of attorney in the event you are disabled in any way that prevents you from making decisions for yourself while still alive.
  2. Attach a list of employment, mortgage, banking, and insurance contact information that is easy for family members to follow.
  3. A contact list of those who should be called to attend your life celebration is also great to include. This list is important even if you aren’t preplanning/prepaying your own funeral and cemetary arrangements. It can make things a lot easier for your loved ones to ensure everyone you cared about is aware of your passing.

An Author’s Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist

Authors have another important list to include with their wills: all your titles in publication. It’s wise to include where you published each title through (e.g., the name of the publishing house, distributor, or ecommerce site). It’s also important to include all possible editions (e.g., paperbacks, hardcovers, ebooks, audiobooks) and any contracts you have in place for subsidiary rights.

Why are these things important? M.L. Buchman explains it well in his book Estate Planning For Authors: Your Final Letter (and why you need to write it now) (Strategies for Success) (Volume 2). One important take-away is this: your book’s copyright outlives you by 50 years in Canada, 70 years in the United States. Did you know that? Assuming you self-published and retained 100% of your book’s copyright ownership, this means your estate will still be paid royalties for ongoing sales. Your beneficiaries could still potentially earn a living from your work many years after you pass on. So, you will want to give them instructions regarding how you want your intellectual property managed after you’re gone. I recommend picking up a copy of M.L. Buchman’s book for more details on how to go about this. It’s important, not only for you but for your loved ones.

* * *     * * *     * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Make Money Online with Ebooks

Make Money Online (Book One)

Make Money Online (Book One)

Ebooks can be highly profitable digital assets for authors, online marketers, and business professionals in general. Think about it from a strictly business perspective for a moment; it’s clear an ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site.

Ebooks can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or airplane, or even when standing and waiting in line. They are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to other relevant information sources (e.g., company webpages, blogs), providing even more value to readers.

Ebooks are updateable which is especially helpful to those who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. With a digital asset like an ebook, you don’t have to pay storage or maintenance fees of any kind. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there; they’re more than happy to help others promote and sell their digital assets all over the world. Pretty much every major ecommerce site has its own affiliate program now, and this is like having a massive sales team at your disposal without having to pay anyone an upfront salary.

Make Money Online by Providing Valuable Information

You could be in any room chatting with your family members, friends, or business colleagues. It doesn’t matter where it is or who you’re with. At some point during the conversation, a question of some sort almost always arises; what is the first thing everyone does? You each pull out your smartphone, iPad, or tablet and open the web browser to search for an answer. We all have instant access to timely information at our fingertips now, and we’re all constantly accessing it.

Make Money Online (Book Two)

Make Money Online (Book Two)

Consider this: Twenty years ago if you wanted to learn something, you’d go to the library or bookstore and pick up a book. If there was new information on a topic, it had to go through a long publication process – an average of 18 months! By the time that new information came out, it was often already outdated.

Today is very different.

We live in the Information Age. Basically, the greatest industry in the world today is the information industry. Those with access to information and the ability to distribute it the fastest are the ones who are poised to be our next millionaires and billionaires. (Singal, 2016)

Make Money Online by Connecting People in Meaningful Ways

Now let’s take that a step further. It’s not only about your ability to quickly distribute information to the masses that could potentially earn you a profit; it’s more about your ability to use that information to connect people together in meaningful ways. Intellectual property can be a priceless asset to the owners who know how to do this well.

Make Money Online (Book Three)

Make Money Online (Book Three)

In discussions with industry leaders like Seth Godin and Clay Hebert (among many others), it has become clear that we are in a Connection Economy. The connection economy rewards value created by building relationships and creating connections, rather than building assets by industrialism. This means the most valuable companies will connect buyer to seller, or consumer to content. If you don’t buy that argument, consider these facts:

1. Uber is the largest “taxi” company – yet they own no vehicles and excel at connecting riders with drivers.
2. AirBnB is the largest provider of accommodations – yet they own no real estate.
3. Facebook is the largest media company – yet they create no content.
4. Crowdfunding businesses like Kickstarter and IndiGoGo [sic] are expected to surpass venture capital for funding in 2016 – yet they have no funds to invest. (Altman, 2015)

You can create these kinds of meaningful connections through ebooks. There are umpteen unique ways for you to bond with your readers, uniting them with additional people and resources. You can write fiction or poetry to entertain them and then connect them with like-minded book club members. You can use non-fiction to educate them and recommend additional related services.

Make Money Online With Ebooks

Make Money Online (Book Four)

Make Money Online (Book Four)

There is an ebook publishing technique that many of today’s most successful independent authors (a.k.a. indie authors) are using to sell thousands of books every year. Some of these authors are earning six-figure incomes from their ever-growing online platforms. What is a “platform” you’re asking? It is a loyal readership. And that’s what the “Big Five” trade publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—are looking for when scouting new book projects. They’ll sign the unknown indie authors with built-in audiences that can guarantee them sales before they’ll re-sign a known trade-published author with limited traction. That’s the reality of this business.

Selling physical books in an offline marketplace is different from selling digital books in an online marketplace. In the traditional offline world, authors must appeal to people such as booksellers, reviewers, and publicists to help you sell more books; but, in the online world, you’re working with mechanical algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your exposure. This is a blessing. This is a new and highly effective way to reach the masses and earn a profit in the process. Ebooks are possibly the best way to make money online nowadays.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Six-figure Income as an Author: Truth Versus Myth

six-figure income

six-figure income … as an author

Six-figure income … as an author? Is it possible for indie authors to enjoy that level of success? The truth may surprise you as much as the myths do.

I’ve shared several case studies of successful authors both on this blog and in a recent 2018 release. Amanda Hocking, Mark Dawson, Liz Schulte, and Timothy Ellis are four impressive examples of authors who sell thousands of books. They are all using similar online tactics, and productive writing is number one in that list of activities. I’ve recently found more writers to add to this distinguised group of indie authors. Their stories are worth sharing here because they speak about the realities of building a full-time career as an author. They also bust the first two myths wide open.

Six-figure Income Myth #1: It’s Unrealistic to Expect a Six-figure Income as an Author (Especially With Non-Fiction Books)

When I first started researching author success stories like these, each one seemed to be a fiction writer. When I shared my findings with others, I was met with comments such as this one: “An important difference in Fiction Writing as opposed to non-fiction — Readers buy for entertainment, not to solve a problem, so you can successfully sell multiple products to the same reader pool.” Such a comment suggests it’s somehow easier to sell multiple fictional products to a single readership than it is to sell multiple non-fiction books—that it’s easier to build one’s readership based on entertainment genres rather than self-help/problem-solving genres.

I received a similar comment from a local “author marketing consultant” soon after: “Our particular audience is business (in many ways a tougher market than fiction) and business types rarely write more than one book. … Writing a book and getting it published are the easier parts. Making enough money to live on or even to cover the time invested in the writing of the book, let alone make a significant profit on book sales is extremely difficult.“ Extremely difficult? That didn’t sit well with me at all, so I went in search of a non-fiction success story. And guess what? I’ve since found many. Steve Scott, Joanna Penn, and Jeff Haden are just three examples.

Six-figure Income Myth #2: Success Will Strike Suddenly, Like a Lightning Bolt

I highly recommend you read a transcribed podcast from The Creative Penn blog titled The Motivation Myth. How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up To Win with Jeff Haden. During this interview, authors Joanna Penn and Jeff Haden discuss what it really takes to make a living from writing. They provide truly helpful and honest advice about how one can transition into a full-time author. Here’s a brief excerpt from that webpage:

Here’s the thing. When people ask me about side hustles and keeping full-time jobs, if you’re going to do that, the first thing you have to do is say, “I will be the best at my full-time job of anyone there.”

Because typically what happens is your attention starts to drift and you slide in a few things during your regular work time and you’re focused on other stuff. And you owe better to your employer, you owe better to yourself and I just think it’s a poor way to start.

So I worked really, really hard at my job which was good but then I worked every night. I worked most weekends. And I just I tried to shorten that cycle because there’s a certain amount of time it’s going to take on your side hustle for you to build it up to where you can make that your real hustle.

…I’m lucky enough now that I get to meet some really, really successful people and talk to them about how they got there. None of them ever describe this little lightning bolt moment or “I hacked my way to success” or I found this shortcut that got me there. Every one of them worked harder than everyone else around them and they had a goal, they figured out how they were going to get there.

Jeff Haden did the work: the “side hustle,” as he calls it. He worked harder than anyone else and was able to make writing his full-time job within one year. For Joanna Penn, it took five years to transition to a full-time writer. It took another four to earn six figures. Joanna graciously shares her exact timeline in this blog post.

Six-figure Income Truth #1: It Takes Time and Commitment

That’s the reality of this successful book publishing formula. It takes time and commitment. There are zero shortcuts to a six-figure income for authors. But if you’re willing to do the necessary work until, then you’ll see the success you desire. It’s possible for both fiction and non-fiction writers. In fact, I’m willing to bet it’s even possible for poetry writers.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



What Does it Mean to Be a Best Selling Author?

What does it mean to be a best selling author? What exactly constitutes a bestseller? Much of this depends on the best selling list you’re referring to. There are many to choose from.

What does it mean to be a best selling author

What does it mean to be a best selling author?

What Does it Mean To Be a Best Selling Author in Canada?

In How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, we looked at what constitutes a bestseller in Canada. What has to happen for an author to be recognized as a national bestseller on an official Canadian bestseller list? According to BookNet Canada, our country’s leading organization for creating bestseller lists for most major Canadian publications,

A book doesn’t become a bestseller by reaching a certain sales threshold. Bestseller status isn’t based on cumulative or lifetime sales, and there is no set amount a book has to sell to make it a bestseller. It’s more of a competition or race: whoever sells the most copies in a particular time period (usually a week), wins . . . . We can’t reveal sales numbers, but to give you a very rough idea: when a book is in the “Top 10,” it’s usually sold several thousand copies across Canada in one week. Sales numbers of category bestsellers (lists restricted to a specific genre, like cooking or mystery) can be lower, though.

In Canada, you cannot simply label yourself a “Best Selling Author” just because you’ve sold several thousand copies of a book. You can only label yourself a bestseller once your book has been recognized on an official published bestseller list. The only way to get on one of these lists is for traditional bookstores and retailers to report your book’s sales to BookNet Canada.

Canada has its set of rules. Other territories and publications have theirs.

What Does it Mean To Be a Best Selling Author on Amazon?

What does it mean to be a best selling author

What does it mean to be a best selling author?

In How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell it WORLDWIDE Based on Value, not Price!, we briefly discussed what constitutes a bestseller on ecommerce sites such as Amazon. Amazon’s system for determining who lands at the top of one of their best selling lists is vague. Most algorithms are designed that way (e.g., Google’s algorithm) to keep people from cheating the site’s indexing processes.

There are some differences to Canada’s rules, and there are some similarities. Amazon is different from traditional lists in that its bestsellers are determined by online sales. Amazon itself tracks these sales by computer IP addresses rather than by physical sales. It is similar in the sense that bestsellers are determined by who sold the most books during a certain time period versus who sold the most overall. It’s like a competition. Whoever sold the most books in this allotted time period is the winner, the bestseller, for this time period. So long as your book remains in the top 100 sellers for any given category, it will remain on the best selling list in the category each time Amazon refreshes the list (hourly). You can achieve this status with 10 books or 10,000 books depending on your competition within a category. That much we know for sure.

What Does it Mean To Be a Best Selling Author in The New York Times?

I recently came across an interesting (albeit dated) article by Tucker Max on the Entrepreneur.com website. The title of the article is “How Bestseller Lists Actually Work — And How To Get On Them.” Tucker’s viewpoint of these lists is quite cynical.

Simply put — every bestseller list is a lie because no bestseller list measures the best selling books. Let me repeat that, so you can grasp the gravity of what it means. No bestseller list measures the actual best selling books.

Every single bestseller list either measures a limited number of sales in a few places, or far worse, it’s a curated list and a small group of people are deciding what to put on their list. And they’re picking books based on what they think are important books, not based on what is actually selling.

He makes a good point. It is true that both Canada’s lists and Amazon’s bestseller lists are based on the number of books sold during a certain time period. It was the same thing with the Calgary Herald bestseller list I landed on in December 2013. Apparently, it is much the same with even the most prominent lists in the USA. According to Tucker’s article, The New York Times list only counts book sales from its preferred list of retailers rather than tracking actual total sales of all books in the country. 

What Does it Mean To Be a Best Selling Author Period?

It’s great marketing. Being able to label yourself and your book as a bestseller sounds great and somehow brings credibility to your authorship. That’s all it really means to be a best selling author. It doesn’t always mean that you’ve sold significant numbers of books. It’s doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve sold enough books to earn a decent profit. It just means that, for a short period of time, your book sold more than anyone else’s did in a particular bookstore or on a particular ecommerce website.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.




Organic Web Weaving: Modern Book Publishing, Sales and Marketing

Organic Web Weaving

Organic Web Weaving

Organic web weaving is every author’s road to book sales success. Writing is selling in the online world. Writers are natural online marketers. Polished Publishing Group (PPG) can show you how many of today’s top authors are selling thousands of books every year using some simple online techniques. Most of these techniques require effective writing.

The best way to sell books in today’s world is to utilize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply combining traditional offline sales and marketing methods with modern online techniques. Doing so can actually be counterproductive. This is because traditional publishing takes time while digital publishing requires momentum. If you want to succeed at publishing and selling books nowadays, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per month. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest ally. Used right, it can help you stand out among the millions of books being published worldwide each year.

Organic Web Weaving Techniques That Work

"Rapid Release" Publishing

“Rapid Release” Publishing

1. Blogging: If you have published (or plan to publish) a book, you will need a website to promote it. That’s your starting point. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; a simple blog will do. If you haven’t already done so, you can create one for yourself using either WordPress.org or Blogger.com. Just follow their user-friendly instructions along with the instructions I give you in the three books shown on this blog post.

2. “Rapid Release” Publishing: There is a form of online book sales and marketing known as “rapid release” publishing that many of today’s most successful authors are using. Many of these authors are selling thousands of books every year by publishing this way. Some of them are earning six- and seven-figure incomes from their growing fan bases. Even mainstream authors like James Patterson are jumping on this bandwagon. He publishes multiple books in short periods of time, too. He refers to his “rapid release” book series as his BookShots line.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

3. Social Media Marketing: Did you know social media activity is one of the things Google rewards that can help to improve your SEO? Well, it is. And certain social media sites will earn you more points than others, so I’ve learned. For example, did you know YouTube is owned by Google? Now that you know, you may be more inclined to start posting more video content on a regular basis. I dedicated an entire book, titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, to teaching authors how to utilize social media marketing as part of your online sales strategy. I strongly recommend you read it. Yes, it is possible to sell books using nothing more than a comfortable chair in your quiet writing room, a laptop, an Internet connection, and your own God-given talent for writing. Authors around the world are proving it every day. You can join the fleet.

Organic Web Weaving Services Through Polished Publishing Group (PPG)

You can do it all yourself by following the user-friendly tips in the above three books. You can also contact PPG here to learn more about how we can help you weave a powerful web. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll see results.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.




How Do Independent Book Publishers Help Writers to Publish Books More Easily?

Publish Books More Easily

Publish Books More Easily

Want to publish books more easily? Hire an independent book publisher to help you navigate the entire process. Here’s why:

1. Traditional (trade) publishers take a long time to respond to the writers who submit manuscripts to them. It can take from three to six months to learn whether they want to work with you or not. Usually, the answer is no. You can waste a lot of time submitting ideas to trade publishers with very little chance of success. And if they do accept your book, you can expect at least a full year—possibly more—for the book to be published. You can also expect to have very little say in the whole creative process.

2. With self-publishing, you maintain all creative control and copyright ownership of your book, and you can publish it quickly. But you also take on all the work (and any expenses related to that work) from graphic design to editing to formatting and distribution. There is so much to be done when publishing a book, it can be overwhelming for new authors.

3. Independent book publishers, more specifically hybrid publishers, support writers/authors in publishing. For a fee, these publishers can take all (or most of) the work off your hands while allowing you maintained creative control and copyright ownership. They can also usually create a quality book much faster than you can.

Publish Books More Easily With These Helpful Tips

An independent “hyrbid” publisher can help you with everything from proper formatting to printing to effective sales and marketing. That guidance may come in the form of helpful how-to books or other paid services. Either way, you’ll surely find this kind of support useful.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.




My Winding Road from Traditional Publishing to Digital Publishing

How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! © 2013

I started Polished Publishing Group (PPG) as a “digital publishing” company in November 2009. In retrospect, I didn’t fully understand effective digital publishing at that time. Nine years later, I can confidentally say I do, and the way I run my company is evolving as a result.

Like many others in my generation and older, I come from a traditional publishing background. I cut my teeth on paperbacks, hardcovers, and offset printing at a small literary press back in 1993. We put all our authors’ books through a thorough, substantive editing process followed by an even more fastidious graphic design and proofreading regimen to polish them to perfection. Then we “sold” (and I use that word loosely) our books by mailing out printed press releases and review copies to all the relevant media in our area, entering some books into contests, arranging the occasional breakfast launch or evening wine and cheese reading event for others, and shipping part of our inventory to various Canadian distributors to house for us. Other than that, we relied on standing orders and word of mouth to “sell” our books to the masses. Once the next season of frontlist titles came out six months later, the latter became part of the dust-collecting backlist.

An Early Education in Traditional and Digital Publishing

It was an eye-opening experience for someone like me who took this job straight out of college thinking I was going to learn what it takes to become a bestselling author from the inside out. (Even just writing that sentence makes me chuckle now.) As detailed in the introduction of How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, I quickly learned the realities of this industry. I came to see that our top authors were the ones who bought wholesale copies of their books from us and worked tirelessly to sell them out. They saw themselves as entrepreneurs, and they treated their books as their businesses.

Small Canadian presses aren’t alone in this. Far from it. In fact, the “Big Five” international trade publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—also admit to focusing primarily on their frontlist titles for only a short period of time. Once those books fall to the back list, the responsibility of continued promotion falls to their authors as detailed in this excerpt from Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson (16-Mar-2012) Paperback:

As soon as a book shows signs that it’s going to take off, the sales, marketing and publicity operations mobilize behind it and look for ways to support it with extra advertising, trying to get more radio and TV appearances, extending the author’s tour or putting together a new tour to cities where the book is doing particularly well, and so on. … the sales, marketing and publicity operations are geared and resourced in such a way that, when they see that a fire is starting to ignite, they are able to pour generous quantities of fuel on the flames. … But if further appeals fall on deaf ears and sales fail to pick up, then the marketing and publicity effort will be wound up pretty quickly – ‘In two to three weeks we might pull the plug,’ … So how long does a book have out there in the marketplace to show signs of life? How many weeks before it becomes a dead fish that will be left to float downstream? … I would say the life of a book today is about six weeks. And quite frankly it’s even shorter than that, but you probably have six weeks and that’s it. (Thompson, 2012)

How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price! © 2014

Unless you’re selling it yourselves, authors. Sell it yourself and your book will have a much longer shelflife. As long as you stay focused on selling on any book, it will remain a frontlist title for you. That’s a fact.

I knew that much nine years ago. I had also learned how to sell after leaving my job at that literary press to begin a lifelong career in corporate sales with some of the most prominent industry leaders in print media, office supplies, and multi-function digital and offset printing. I had a strong grasp on digital communications and how easy it now is to communicate and do business with people all over the world so long as each party has a proper WIFI connection. So, in my mind, I was a “digital publisher” because I operated in a virtual office environment, and because I not only had the experience and expertise to help authors produce trade-quality books; I could also teach them how to sell their books worldwide both offline and online.

But Here’s the Problem With That

I now know effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply intermingling yesterday’s offline sales and marketing methodologies with today’s online techniques. Doing so can acutally be counterproductive because the latter requires patience while the former requires momentum. In the traditional offline world, authors must appeal to the interests of people such as agents, booksellers, reviewers, and publicists to help you move more books on their schedules; but, in the online world, you’re working with impartial algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to increase your exposure as detailed here: https://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/2018/06/a-shortlist-of-googles-top-ranking-factors-an-excerpt-from-search-engine-optimization-seo/. In other words, if you want to succeed at selling books in this day and age, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per week and promoting it on someone else’s timeline. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest sales tool.

How to Publish a Book in the East That Your Can Sell in the West © 2018

How much speed and productivity are we talking about? There are literally millions of new books published around the world every year now. The playing field has drastically changed from when my publishing career began 25 years ago. It is far more competitive and nearly impossible to stand out among the crowd if you’re doing things the traditional way. I’ve come to see that my approach has to change with the times if I’m to survive in this new digital arena and all my authors—myself included—are to thrive. More and more, I’ve also come to see that it’s necessary to embrace a digital revolution known as “rapid release” publishing, as discussed in my latest book titled How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West. You can reach people worldwide now, but there is a right way to do it that will improve your odds of success. This is the new publishing model I’m now developing for PPG’s upcoming authors.

How do I know this works? I’ve watched the PPG Publisher’s Blog increase from a mere 1,000 registered users in early 2017 to over 5,000 a short year later (and still growing) by doing all the things I recommend to you in my new book. I’ve also seen downloads of my backlist books on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral collectively increase from under 5 books per month to over 300 per month on average (and still growing) within the same time period. That’s my firsthand experience with this to date, but that’s nothing. You’re sure to be inspired by many even greater success stories contained within the book. And once I’ve grown my own numbers to a “respectable” level by today’s North American corporate standards, I plan to package the program to help you achieve the same effective digital publishing results with a dedicated team by your side.

For those of you who are public speakers and business professionals selling your books at trade shows and conferences, the traditional publishing methods still apply. You’ll find the first two books mentioned above are still helpful. For everyone else, stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.  

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



When Should Writers opt for Self-Publishing over Traditional (Trade) Publishing?

When should writers opt for self-publishing over traditional (trade) publishing? This is a loaded question because the answer might be different for one person than it is for another. It all starts with your own personal preferences and goals as detailed in this blog post from a while back: Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before Publishing Your Book. From there, it’s important to research the various publishing options available to you to determine which one best complements your goals. I talk about these three book publishing business models in one of my most recent free downloads titled Your Ebook is an Asset … if You Own the Copyright. Here is a brief excerpt from that ebook:

Some authors will submit their manuscripts to a traditional (trade) publisher for consideration in the hopes it will be published for them free of charge. What they might not realize is that whoever is paying for the publication of a book is the one who ends up with primary control over that book. Trade publishers don’t pick up the bill simply out of the kindness of their hearts. They are business people who are buying a product to try to turn a profit for themselves, and that “product” is the copyright ownership of your work (whether permanent or temporary, whether full or partial—it varies with each contract and each publisher).

The grant of rights clause in a publishing contract is one of the most important clauses because it enumerates the specific rights granted to the publisher by the author. Negotiation of this clause has become even more important in today’s world where increasingly more uses are being developed for literary content.

The scope of the clause may vary widely, it could be all inclusive — granting all the exclusive rights and interests in the author’s work, or the grant could be very narrow — only including a single specific use of the author’s work, or it could be somewhere between these extremes. The critical point is that the publisher only has the right to exploit those rights that are specifically granted to the publisher and any exploitation of rights exceeding the author’s grant could be deemed a copyright infringement of the author’s work.

Copyright ownership of a literary work consists of a bundle of rights which an author, at least theoretically, may assign to the publisher in any manner they choose. Thus, an author may assign all or only a part of his/her rights to one or more publishers while retaining particular rights for himself/herself. (Thomson Reuters, n.d.)

Unfortunately, many authors unwittingly grant all their exclusive rights to one publisher without fully understanding the implications of doing so. As a result, these individuals usually retain only basic rights that recognize them as the author of the work and allow them to be paid a small percentage of its retail price in royalties (usually only up to 10 percent per copy sold). The publisher keeps the rest of the profits because the publisher owns the copyright.

Most trade publishers do not ask for an outright assignment of all exclusive rights under copyright; their contracts usually call for copyright to be in the author’s name. But it’s another story in the world of university presses. Most scholarly publishers routinely present their authors with the single most draconian, unfair clause we routinely encounter, taking all the exclusive rights to an author’s work as if the press itself authored the work: “The Author assigns to Publisher all right, title and interests, including all rights under copyright, in and to the work…”

…The problem is that most academic authors—particularly first-time authors feeling the flames of “publish or perish”—don’t even ask. They do not have agents, do not seek legal advice, and often don’t understand that publishing contracts can be modified. So they don’t ask to keep their copyrights—or for any changes at all. (The Authors Guild, n.d.)

If you choose to follow the traditional route toward publishing a book, you must read and fully understand the contract being presented to you before signing anything away. You should only grant a publishing company the primary and subsidiary rights that it has the full intention (and capability) of exploiting on your behalf so the relationship benefits you both. If any publisher ever tries to tell you otherwise, then walk away.

Interested in reading more about your other two options? You can download a free copy of Your Ebook is an Asset … if You Own the Copyright from your choice of either Amazon, Kobo, or E-Sentral to continue reading. Click on the link for details.



BookShots: The Hachette vs. Amazon Truce?

A few months ago, I published How to Build a Loyal Readership So Your Self-Published Books Get Picked Up by Literary Agents and Trade Publishers which highlights a few highly successful independent authors who are using “rapid release” publishing (among other tactics) to sell thousands of books online. Many of them are earning six-figure incomes. One of the early pioneers earned seven figures in her first year. I’ve since come across an article from 2016, titled “James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books,” discussing how one of the world’s most famous trade-published authors is using the same tactic to sell more books to an extended audience:

…Mr. Patterson is after an even bigger audience. He wants to sell books to people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media.

So how do you sell books to somebody who doesn’t normally read?

Mr. Patterson’s plan: make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available.

In June, Mr. Patterson will test that idea with BookShots, a new line of short and propulsive novels that cost less than $5 and can be read in a single sitting. Mr. Patterson will write some of the books himself, write some with others, and hand pick the rest. He aims to release two to four books a month through Little, Brown, his publisher. All of the titles will be shorter than 150 pages, the length of a novella.

This article states that Patterson created the idea of BookShots to try to capture the growing number of people who just don’t have/make the time read traditional 300- to 400-page novels anymore; but, considering he’s offering these novellas in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats, I’m willing to bet Patterson also sees how BookShots can help him to monopolize on today’s digital selling trends. The fact is, the best way to sell a book online is to publish another book. When done on a consistent basis, as the above-mentioned independent authors do, it can successfully ping both Amazon’s and Google’s algorithms to place an author higher and higher up in the rankings. The higher your rank, the more books you will sell. Online selling has more to do with indifferent computerized processes than publicity or popularity.




I also see Patterson’s BookShots concept as a form of truce between Hachette Book Group (which publishes his books in the USA through its Little, Brown imprint) and Amazon after their epic battle a few years ago. To refresh your memory, Amazon believed that all ebooks should be priced low all the time. The Amazon Books Team went so far as to send out a mass email to all its ebook publishers seeking support of its stance. Below is an excerpt from that email which was also published by Dave Smith for BusinessInsider.com in August of 2014:

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents – it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year. With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution – places like newsstands and drugstores.…

…Well… history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it’s the e-book’s turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette – a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate – are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book.

Skip ahead a couple of years, and James Patterson announced his plan to publish cheaper BookShots novellas to reach the same audience Amazon was talking about. In the 2016 article, it states:

In some ways, Mr. Patterson’s effort is a throwback to the dime novels and pulp fiction magazines that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, when commercial fiction was widely available in drugstores.

There’s the truce. In November of 2014, Hachette was victorious in negotiating a deal that allowed trade publishers the continued right to dictate their own retail prices for the books they produce (as it should be, in my opinion). But Amazon got through in some ways, didn’t it? The company planted a seed with the traditional publishers that obviously grew. And now James Patterson and his team write BookShots.

The independent authors mentioned earlier may not be as famous as James Patterson. Just his name alone commands an automatic audience to sell all the BookShots he publishes each year with ease. But, as mentioned earlier, many are now selling thousands of books online each year using the exact tactics that are detailed inside How to Build a Loyal Readership So Your Self-Published Books Get Picked Up by Literary Agents and Trade Publishers. I now do the same and have seen my personal blog users increase from 1,000 to over 5,000 in one year. I’ve also watched my personal monthly book downloads increase from under 5 books per month to 300+ books per month on average. Now you know what I mean when I say it’s unecessary to add a bunch of extra “fluff” into a book to get it to a certain word- or page-count to make it more saleable. That’s irrelevant in this day and age. You can sell just as many—if not more—books by writing and publishing BookShots like James Patterson does, whether you write fiction or non-fiction.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Why You Should Publish Both a Paperback and an Ebook

This content first appeared on Digital Point Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

 * * *   * * *   * * * 

So many people are now learning the true value in publishing a book to promote their businesses. I always tell my authors that their books are their business cards. A book is a way to highlight your expertise within your field in much more detail than you can do with traditional forms of advertising (e.g. print, radio, television) while also giving you a more professional air in the eyes of prospective readers/customers.

But here are two common misconceptions held by many new indie authors: one, they assume most people only read ebooks nowadays; and two, they assume ebooks are the only books they can sell online using various forms of Internet marketing. Both of these statements are incorrect … as I discuss in much more detail in this highly rated book where I teach you specifically how to sell audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers online.




The truth is, there are just as many people out there who still want to hold a physical book in their hands as there are people who love the compact convenience of e-readers. So, if you only publish an ebook, you’re likely losing out on half your potential audience.

No print budget? Not to worry! With the invention of print-on-demand (POD) technology, today’s indie authors no longer have to print and store physical books in order to sell physical books … whether those books are paperbacks or hardcovers. All you have to do is supply the digital files for your book’s cover and interior to the e-commerce site of your choice because most of these online retailers utilize POD technology to sell books rather than stocking those books in warehouses. Then, whenever they receive an order for that book, they simply print, bind, and ship the exact quantity ordered (whether it is one book or ten) all at the same time. Easy peasy!

Most of the e-commerce sites take digital files in the form of print-ready .PDF files and just store them on their servers, but I don’t recommend selling those .PDF files as ebooks because they are far too easy for users to copy and share with others (unless they are .DRMs … but that’s a whole different post). Instead, it’s pretty cheap nowadays to have the .PDF files converted into either .ePUB (the format used by KoboBooks) or .MOBI (the format used by Kindle) and sell them through the proper channels.

If you want to reach all your potential customers, then you need to realize that some of them are still reading hard copies and others are readying soft copies. Publish your book in both formats to give your customers more choice, and you’ll have the best possible chance at commercial sales success.

* * *   * * *   * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.