IS YOUR BOOK ART?
Nope. It is a product, and you are a businessman/woman. As a Literary Consultant, I have to give a lot of people the bad news: their manuscript is a piece of art but the moment it becomes available to buy, i.e. as print or an eBook, it becomes a product. In other words, a painting, while it is being painted, is a form of art but the moment it is done and up for sale, it becomes a product. Unfortunately, many authors take far too much integrity in their career (or what will never be a career if they let their ethics get in the way) and do not believe this can be possible or true. What is a book? It is a product. What is a painting? It is also a product. Case-and-point: the sooner you accept that the moment you self-publish your book you are a businessman and not an artist (at least during the process of promoting and selling), the less frustrating the experience will be. It can be painful to look at it this way, but it seems to work. I am not here to tell you about the authenticity of your writing. I respect even the most annoyingly-opinionated retorts and disordered reactions to this frame-of-mind, but if you want to sell a book in a market saturated to the ceiling with thousands of self-published books entering the industry each and every year, you need to sell your book(s) the same way you would sell a product or service.
THE OVERALL OUTLOOK
You just happen to be the inventor…
So how do you change your outlook? I know, it is your baby; you wrote it from scratch and the idea is lovely, yada-yada-yada. No one really cares unless you can get them to read – the – book! It is a good idea to start understanding some of the basics of the business. Look online for writing forums where authors propagate, read articles, and prepare your manuscript. Once done with the manuscript, it is no longer a book; it is a product you are trying to market and sell. As truthfully, you need to be able to catch the reader’s attention from the cover onward. Though they say you cannot judge a book by its cover, the truth is that most people actually do. According to BookSmugglers.com, 79 percent of people will base their opinion of a book – upon first seeing it – based on the cover itself. You cannot attract much attention if you use a solid white background featuring black text; you need to engage the potential reader with something that intrigues them. Also, according to the same survey, 26 percent of readers feel that a cover is a marketing tool, which it is. Once done with writing, proofing, and formatting the book, your job is to make it as marketable as possible. I may be chastised for saying this, but it is wise to form (not incorporate) a publishing company for your own sake. This adds a level of protection as well as credibility. Even go as far as setting up a website. Like I said, I know I will be looked upon as a leper for saying this, but forming a “fake” company does help. It is called “perceived value” and “social proof”: two fancy ways of saying that people have certain perceptions of things, especially books. They want to buy from a company, not an author. This is not statistically proven but I would love to argue with you if you feel up for it.