At the end of last year I took a long hard look at my publishing company and determined that I’d made some critical mistakes over the years that cost me not only time but lots of money. I thought my problem was limited to marketing or sales but it turns out my biggest problem was cash flow. I had very little and I had to come up with a way to create a positive cash flow in hurry. Today, I share with you the mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve done to fix them.
Mistake Number One: Starting a Publishing Company
If I could do it over again, I would have used a small print on demand service and printed 50 copies of my books at a time. This way I would not be saddled with boxes of books that cost me money to store. Five years ago I had my books stored in a closet in my apartment. When the upstairs apartment’s washer sprung a leak, water came down through the walls into that closet and I lost upward of 70 books to water damage. I didn’t have renter’s insurance and had to eat the cost of those books. I still have the publishing company however, I now operate it differently and consider to be but one stream of income instead of depending on it to be my bread and butter.
When I began, I created a website to sell my books and linked it to every book business directory I could find. I made them available on amazon.com and I sold 1 book online. So I abandoned the internet and engaged in guerilla marketing and sales strategies. As a result I sold more books but it meant I had to sit at a vendor table every chance I could. I’d pay $50 to have a table for 10 hour and most times I’d sale $100 to $150 worth of books. At first I thought this was the answer to all my problems. Until, I sat at a table all day and sold nothing. Even if the table was free it was hard to justify the time spent not making money. Networking and making new contacts is great but only if you eventually find a way to leverage them to your advantage. Now my books are available online, I do vending and set up book signings whenever I can. I believe in-person selling is the best because people like to talk to the author and have them personally autograph their book.
Mistake Number Three: Not Using My Gift to its Full Potential
Writing is nothing more than a communication gift. Those of us who can form coherent sentences are able to communicate ideas and concepts to the masses in an effort to either educate, entertain, or encourage. I was limiting my gift to only writing plays and books. I’ve since expanded the use of this gift to include: public speaking, ghostwriting, editing, and creating creative marketing pieces to promote myself and others.
I hope this little glimpse of my life as a self published author has served as a cautionary tale as well as sparked your determination to keep going. Write by any means necessary and get paid in the process. Know your worth and don’t settle for less. Keep pressing my friends, you are closer now than when you first began. Live to tell your tale.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin
- Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (reviews.cnet.com)
- Mistakes Are the Portals of Discovery (girlsheartbooks.com)
- How To Get Your Self Published Book On Bookstore Shelves (selfpublishingmadeeasy.wordpress.com)