Anything can be automated, even book self-publishing.
|(Photo credit: Pascal)|
Your overall goal is to get a volume of books published to serve a particular niche. A volume of books, such as a series, is how any author makes (or has ever made) real money. The authors who only ever wrote a single bestselling book usually got famous after they died - check it out.
My approach has been to test the self-publishing lines with other people's books. And it's gotten me financially free. I can do whatever I want and still get the checks deposited to my account with no other work. (So if I need to take a month off to renovate a house, I have that option. Like what I'm just wrapping up instead of keeping this blog more active...)
Earlier, Lulu used to do a decent job with whatever you threw at them. When they expanded to include Amazon and Kobo, they got picky.
My recent reject: • Our retail distribution partners no longer accept content that is freely available elsewhere, including but not limited to public domain material, content aggregated from online sources, and content that is identical to existing publications by other authors or publishers.
Lulu, like Smashwords, only wants to distribute original works. But they will publish your book on their own store for you.
A General Series of Publishing Steps0. When you are publishing, you have to have the publishing mindset. You aren't an author, you aren't an editor, you are there to publish books. Publishing also means marketing.
1. Select your niche. Best if this is something you are absolutely fascinated and love to find out new information about. Something you could talk all day about. Research this thoroughly with Market Samurai or something similar to find out the demographics, potential profit, keywords, etc.
2. Find some books which add value to this area. Many PD books have been poorly marketed now that they are in the public domain, and many have never been marketed well. The push to create ebooks has resulted in a bit of a boom-town mentality, which you can use to advantage. But don't stop there. More value is needed.
3. Create some great value in the books. Find a set which make sense (same author or same area or fills a missing need.) Get these into shape so they are available. You'll also be publishing in many formats, which helps to bring more authority to these books. Also consider publishing a binder or collection of ebooks - in addition to the single volumes. All books get hardcopy versions as well as ebooks.
4. Get these edited into shape. I'd say publish around 5 books at once is simplest. Watch out for Mission Creep. I've started with 7 and wound up with 13. Too many and you start losing track of details. The money is in the details.
5. Distribute these books. Print version via Lulu to Ingrams, Amazon, etc. Get your ISBN for that version through Lulu, then go ahead and publish your ebook version. If PD or PLR-based, don't distribute through them. The other distributors are Google Play, iTunes, Nook, Kobo. You can publish PD books on Amazon, and that takes more details than this one. Overdrive is another. Also, consider publishing PDF version on Scribd (if it's not already there) and DocStoc. Once you have published many, many books, you can qualify to publish on Overdrive.
6. Part of your distribution will be creating a landing page for every book, which is part of the ebook itself (they'll have the link in front and back to go to for more material and related books.) Google also want's this link to send people there to buy it.
7. Create a podcast, presentation PDF, and video (from those two combined) for each book and publish these everywhere you can. Slideshare for the presentation PDF, as well as another 8 or so other doc-sharing sites. Ship the video to as many different places as possible. (The search engines don't consider these duplicate content.) Consider getting an audiobook made for each book. There is also an upcoming release of Pixxfly which will do your distribution and syndication for you.
8. While you promote the book via Google+ when you publish, you'll then also go further to get social signals by using Synnd. These "prime the pump" so that the search engines find the landing pages and push people onto the sales pages of the distributors.
9. If you want more traffic, buy ads from Stumbleupon.
10. Create an opt-in lesson series to build your audience and collect their emails by permission.
11. Offer that list special deals on print versions to your list (you can create private address hardcopy books via Lulu at a much lower cost) and similarly sell ebooks that way.
12. Start blogging about each book, with chapter excerpts and reviews. Ensure you also put these up as PDFs on Slideshare and other doc-sharing sites. Review each book in the series and add any additional data about the author as well as your own thoughts about how people could use these to improve their lives - or be entertained, at least.
13. Set up a digital set of these on affiliate sales sites and promote these to your list as well - if they like the books, they can make some extra income promoting them.
14. If you're energetic, you can create an "evergreen launch" which is a set of videos which give a special offer to those who arrive on that page. Affiliates love this if they convert well.
About this point, you start your next set.
Key points to this self-publishing assembly linea. You add value always.
b. You publish everywhere possible, in all formats possible. Let the distributors do the sales for you.
c. You use Search Engine Marketing to get your books discovered on the distributors. (Affiliate sales sites are just additional distributors.)
d. You build your audience by collecting email addresses - which can be used to create "instant bestsellers" on Amazon.
e. The whole thing has to fit together hand-in-glove. Your next book series has something to do with the earlier series you just finished. Narrow your focus to exactly what you like to talk about most - and become an expert in this area.
I've got more to do in order to flesh out this scene. The above is the broad strokes of how to market your book as you publish it. An overall hidden point is that the book you publish isn't the end-all - it's just the beginning of a journey for you and your readers.