Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Setting the Baseline on the eBook Publishing Experiment

"I'm nobody, who are you?
Are you nobody too?" - Emily Dickenson

J. A. Konrath is highly successful at self-publishing on Kindle - but he has so much going for him, and he does so many different things to give his sales a boost, how do you know what is working and what is accident? And how do we know if any of this would work at all for the average joe?

So the main thing I want to do with this eBook/Kindle Publishing Experiment Dare is to help establish a baseline. What is the result of the minimum professional effort? What can a book do on its own? And then later on, I can try out various marketing efforts to see what difference they make.

When I say "minimum" effort, I mean professional work, but without anything outside the book -- no reputation, no platform, no immediate marketing plan to credit or blame for success.

I figure you need at least:

  1. A good book, well edited, properly formatted and converted.
  2. A professional cover.
  3. Professional catalog copy.

That's all you need to get into the Kindle store and Smashwords (which gets you into a whole lot of other venues). From there, Amazon and Smashwords both have internal systems to help readers find the books, but you do have to optimize the book and cover and copy to make use of that. So that's another task that has to be done up front.

And, of course, I will do more marketing later, so I have to build a foundation for that into the book too. For instance, I need to decide on things like whether to use a pseudonym, and what website or contact info to include in the author notes, and whether or not I'm going to publish the sequel and put that info in the book as well.

Of course, the marketing I do later will be much like the marketing you might do for a book published with a traditional publisher. And in that sense it should be a good learning experience for my writing career overall.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss covers and titles.

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