Interview with Joel Friedlander on Indie Publishing

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Berkeley CWC volunteer Cristina Deptula caught up with the speaker of this Sunday’s meeting for some questions about independent publishing. If you don’t know Joel, he is an award-winning book designer, blogger, and writer. He speaks regularly at industry events and is the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion and coauthor of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide. Joel is a columnist for Publishers Weekly, and was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 10 people to follow in book publishing. He runs a number of helpful websites such as TheBookMakers.com, offering full service book production for authors and publishers.

Come out to our Sunday meeting to ask Joel your own questions about indie book publishing.

Joel-2014-headshot 300xHow does an author decide when to self publish and when to seek an agent and a traditional publisher? What sorts of books do you think are best served by each form of publication?

​Several elements go into this decision. Traditional publishers will be looking for books that will be sufficiently profitable to justify the expense of publishing them. Some authors may not want to wait the 1 to 3 years this process takes, and others want more control of their publications than is afforded in typical publishing contracts. Authors who have ready access to an audience for their books, or who are innately entrepreneurial, are likely to have the best results from self-publishing.

What are some big mistakes to avoid when self-publishing that make your book look unprofessional?

​The worst mistake is to publish a book with an “amateur” cover. It will mark your book as an amateur production before anyone even has a chance to open the book.​ Similarly, publishing a book that hasn’t been edited by a professional book editor isn’t a good practice.

What are some tips to make your self-published book stand out?

​Again, do yourself a favor and hire a professional cover designer and editor. Beyond that, look at the market you are entering. What does your book contribute that is not available? Does it do something better than any other books in the market? Or do it better, more extensively, or in greater depth? Why do people need this book?​

How can authors get self-published books noticed by media and bookstores? Are there hacks to the process or is it still a matter of calling and emailing place after place and dropping off copies?

​There’s no shortcut to marketing a book. Self-publishers can run review campaigns to print, electronic, and online media just like any other publisher. They can advertise on social media sites, build community through blogging or sharing their stories. There are no “magic bullets.” Most self-publishers will not have the assets to attempt a national marketing campaign with offset-printed books, a marketing budget, and a national distributor, all of which are necessary to go beyond consigning books to your local bookstores.​

What’s worth spending good money on as an author and where can a self-publishing author save cash?

​Use free reviews before you pay for any. You can find cover designers who charge very reasonable fees. Editing and cover design are the places to spend your cash. Use a template for your book interior, it will save you a lot of time and money with designers and formatters.​ Partner with other authors who publish books that appeal to the same audience and run promotions where you split the cost. Develop a blog and grow an email list, nothing you can do will pay off as well.

Whether or not you have questions for Joel, we hope to see you this Sunday at our monthly meeting at Preservation Park. Remember, though Joel speaks at 3:15, the meeting starts at noon with support groups to help you resolve issues in your writing or your book marketing…or just network with other writers over tasty snacks and coffee. Doesn’t your writing career deserve a little time this week?

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May 15 SPEAKER— “Increase Your Exposure” with Brian Schwartz of SelfPublish.org

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Brian Schwartz of www.selfpublish.org

Learn what it takes to create effective author profiles pages at Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and more. Tap into simple ways to promote your work and enable others help spread the word about your book. This month’s speaker, Brian Schwartz, explains why you need to establish a presence on social media and how to get links from high traffic sites like Wikipedia, Youtube, and Reddit.

The former president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, Brian Schwartz has assisted hundreds of authors self- publish since 2009. He has authored and published two books: 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times and Finding Speaking Success (Wise Media Group). He was featured in Wild Ink: Successful Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market (Prufrock Press) and wrote a column for the Northern Colorado Business Report from 2012-2013. His YouTube Channel has over 100,000 views. As a recognized expert in digital publishing and book marketing, Brian is a popular speaker at Writers’ conferences around the country. Brian is the founder of SelfPublish.org, a community dedicated to helping authors succeed as publishers by raising the standards of self-publishing.

Visit www.SelfPublish.org for more information.

$10 Public ~ $5 for CWC Members

Our featured CWC author this month is Chris Harris.

Meeting Schedule for Sunday, May 15th, 2016:

12-1 Author Support Group*
1-2 p.m. – Marketing Group*
12:30-2 p.m. –Social Hour
2-2:30 p.m. –Break & Book Sales
2:30-3 p.m. — ELECTION
3 p.m. – CWC member Chris Harris
3:15-4 p.m. – Brian Schwartz

* Guests may visit any of our author support groups once before joining.

Click here for more information about location and time.

SPEAKER SERIES—10/18/15 Jim Azevedo of Smashwords— “Best Practices for Self-Publishing”

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click to view / print flyer

click to view / print flyer

Join us on the third Sunday in October, when Jim Azevedo, Marketing Director of Smashwords, will reveal the best practices of the most commercially successful self-published Ebook authors.

Jim will discuss:

  • metadata–what it is and how to use it–
  • leveraging viral catalysts to make your book stand out,
  • using pre-orders,
  • creating covers, and
  • addressing global market opportunities.

Jim’s can-do attitude is also a result of his DIY ethic, cultivated through 10 years of hard work drumming and promoting for the San Jose rock band Rivals. Rivals, about to release its sixth record, has played hundreds of shows, gone on multiple tours, and was recently named a Top 5 local band finalist by Bay Area alternative rock station Live105.

Our CWC Featured Speaker is Lucille Bellucci! Her short stories and essays have won eight first-place awards!

Meeting Schedule:

1-2 p.m. – Marketing Group meets
1:30 p.m. –Socializing
2 p.m. – Announcements
2:45 p.m. – CWC Author Lucille Bellucci
3-4 p.m. – Jim Azevedo

Click here for more information about location and time.