Tag: Business

The Day I Canceled My Sales Tax License

sales use taxThis week found me in the predicament of needing to renew my sales tax license with the state. Plus I was already spending 44 cents a month to mail in a form to one of the cities to report that I have nothing to report. So I’ve decided to cancel all my licenses. I really wasn’t selling many books anyway. In addition the prices for tables at events have increased to a point where I just never saw myself selling enough books to break even. The hard part is, for a self-published author, your best bet at selling your books is to get out there and make those one on one connections with readers. In the process of that I’ve learned I’m not a very good sales person, at least not concerning my own work.

I like to tell myself that I can now concentrate more on my writing and less on worrying about selling enough books to make up the cost of getting out there to sell my books. Still it feels a little like giving up. Such are the decisions we face and the second guessing that goes along with them.

Listen To Joe

You have to try hard to miss the name JA Konrath when looking up independent or self publishing. His blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing has been in my RSS feed for a few years now and I always find his posts entertaining and helpful. His latest hammers in the same point that some writers, I fear, still seem to miss.

Don’t Pay To Self-Publish

Read it and please be on the lookout for scams. There is a whole cottage industry in operation whose sole purpose is parting naive and hopeful writers from their hard earned cash. That list covers everything from contests, conferences, books, author services and reviews. True it takes money to make money so you will have to spend a little. Just make sure you spend it on the important stuff, the editing, the formatting, and that cover. If you’re paying for anything else you are being had. Or worse, you are signing away the rights to your works. Knowledge is power. You’ve been knowledged.

Steps to Publishing

I was recently asked for a summary of a few things you need to do to get a book self-published. I thought about and then crafted a nice reply, then thought some more and decided this would also make neat post. So here are a few of the things I have learned.

First write a good book. I recommend working with a writers’ critique group or editor. I used 2 for my last book. One read for content and character and the other for copy editing, though both had a little hand in the other.

Know your word possessor. The book will need to be formatted a few different times. Know how to create uniform headers, footers, page numbering, set margins and line spacing.

Get some software. You’ll need to create special files to upload to the various publishers. You should have and know how to use, Calibre (for making epub books), Sigil for editing (epubs), and Mobi Pocket Creator (for creating kindle ebooks). If that last sentence freaks you out know you can upload word or document files to some publishers and they will create the eBook format for you. You just give up any control over the process and have to take what they give you. You can also hire someone to do this part.

Design a professional looking cover. If you don’t know your way around Photoshop then hire someone to do this, Out of the 2 million + books on Amazon the first thing anyone sees is your cover. Make it one that sticks out.

Sign up for accounts with the main e publishers, Amazon Kindle Direct and Createspace, Barnes & Nobile Nookpress, Smashwords and Lulu. Familiarize yourself with their website and help files.

Get yourself a website/blog to promote the book. Domains are cheap so if you want to look the part, yourname.com helps. So does your own email address: yourname@yourname.com.

Become your own publisher. Haven’t taken this step myself but all you have to do is register the name of your name as a publisher with your state and buy yourself a chunk of ISBN numbers from Bowker.com. This is the route to go if you want to control everything. Actually, I’m pretty sure there is more to it than that.

Lastly get your expectations in check. This book is not likely to pay for a Ferrari, at best maybe a nice dinner, but most likely something from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. It is a learning process and the next one will always be better and go smoother.

That’s all I can think of for now.