Why You Don’t Need a Big Publisher to Sell Enhanced eBooks
Thanks for joining us at EMRE Publishing. We want you to feel at home as we teach you the latest methods of creating enhanced, or what we like to call “embellished” eBooks. Although it may seem complicated right now, after you become familiar with the basic concepts, you will be able to contribute to the brainstorming sessions we will have to develop your title.
I have already written a handy eBook (Running with the Big Dogs: A Creator’s Guide to Using Electronic Media*) you can use for these lessons, and you can get a copy by registering for our Advanced Course in Using Electronic Media for Creators. I have been both an accomplished online college instructor and independent author for many years, so I know we can work together to develop the best possible product for your effort.
This first lesson is about why you don’t really need a big publisher to sell eBooks. We concentrate our marketing and publication efforts for three audiences: authors, professionals and families. The good news is that none of these groups needs to become published by a “Big Five” publisher in order to make sales, to generate brand interest or to create an entertaining eBook for one’s family.
Why are we confident you can publish without the assistance of the giants of publishing? This lesson is about what is covered in Chapter 1 of your new book. The answer to this question is “reader involvement.”
If you ask any Internet marketer today about what makes a successful online sales product, he or she will tell you it’s how well you can get your audience involved in the decision-making process. Whether you’re trying to sell your book, your product or service, or your family’s best wedding pictures, unless you can get the reader involved in your eBook’s story you will lose.
This is, in fact, the major reason people don’t read more enhanced eBooks. When they are created without the reader in mind, the reader will quickly lose interest. Therefore, when I discuss the “interactive” or “immersive” quality of eBooks, I mean that unless the eBook is properly planned out for interesting interactivity that gets your reader involved right away, then your product will ultimately suffer. The likelihood of failure will be quite high.
When one follows the rules I discuss, the need for a big publisher decreases substantially. Both independent and big publishers work toward one goal: a quality product. We at EMRE Publishing want to teach you how to organize your enhanced eBook with that goal in mind.
What follows is my main argument as to why you don’t need to be published by a giant publisher in today’s market. I will cover six reasons why you can publish your eBook successfully without a big publisher.
- In Chapter Five of my eBook, Running with the Big Dogs, I discuss how to embrace the social flow. This is from the perspective of the independent author because it is the “indie” who has reaped the most advantage from this status of being on his or her own. Why? Because most Indies have what we call a “niche” or targeted audience in mind before they even begin to create their book or product. This is where you hear the “dream stories” of six and seven figure advances paid to first-time authors by the big publishers. These authors are, in fact, lottery winners, because the odds of you getting such an advance in today’s publishing industry are next to nil.
- We at EMRE use information about your prospective readers to create your enhanced eBook, whereas a Big Five publisher might even tell you who your audience should be because, of course, they have all that fantastic marketing information at their disposal. Guess what? We believe only the author really knows who his or her audience really is. If the independent author or professional doesn’t know this information, then he or she may not be prepared for the rigors of publishing in any form.
- Let’s face it. As an author, professional business person or family, without an audience, you are not ready to take the next step on the journey to publication, which is to focus on your reader’s interests. Once again, most big publishers will take over this aspect of publication. They will know what the reader will want in the form of cover illustration, content inside the book and even which readers your book will appeal to most. This is not true, for the most part, and I’ll tell you why: big publishing still works on the old paradigm of “we pay you an advance based on how many copies of the book we think we can sell to make back what marketing and sales costs we put into this investment in you, the author.”
- If you don’t get an advance, then what do you get for the money you will have to put into your eBook project? Here’s the answer: If you publish on your own you get to keep whatever you charge for your eBook, and this “keeping” will last forever (or as long as the Internet exists — despite the crash of the Internet horror story from my wife). At any rate, a big publisher will keep most of the proceeds of your sales in digital format (that’s why Indies like Hugh Howey keep their digital rights), and this is not a good thing! Again, why? Because paper publishing sales are decreasing every quarter about 7.5 percent. Digital publishing sales are increasing every quarter. That’s why we’re seeing the big “war” between Amazon and the big publishers. Guess who’ll make the most money with eBooks? The Indie publisher.
- Big publishers, on average, take over two years to bring a published title online (both in print and digital formats). We at EMRE can get your title created, marketed and selling online in less than an average of two months (depending on the complexity of interactive and multimedia content). The big publishers will tell the author it takes this long because they want the best quality book in the end. Not really. I was published by Harcourt, and most of the time was taken by the marketing department arguing with me over what should or should not go into my book. They weren’t arguments about getting the reader involved or how best to contribute to the reader’s interest. They were arguments about how they “knew” all the answers and that I should just shut-up and take it. The reality in big publishing today is that only the “big authors” (read most sales) get star treatment. The rest are beholding to the whims of the publisher (and, increasingly, the agents) who are supposed to be working for you!
- Marketing and sales costs, for the most part, are borne by the author. What? Yes, once again, unless you’ve proven yourself (in sales of books), you are not worth the risk by business people to invest in your effort. Independents, on the other hand, have already thought out their business plan, publishing plan and family story, so they are ready to invest in themselves because they believe in themselves. What a concept! Believe in yourself, and you won’t be disappointed.
Now that you’ve heard my argument about why it’s better to be an independent publisher, why don’t you help me out and respond to a few questions I have for you concerning your project. These answers will help us to establish a publishing and marketing plan that will attract your readers’ interests, and we can also use the information to brainstorm and establish a product production process to develop your enhanced eBook.
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*Kerry Dunn, author of the “soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture novel,” Joe Peace, had this to say about my eBook: “Jim Musgrave’s Running With The Big Dogs: A Creator’s Guide to Using Electronic Media, is an essential guide for artists — of all disciplines and experience — who are interested in presenting their electronic media in the best possible light. And if you are a creator who enjoys the necessary things like food and shelter, you should be interested in this topic. In a slim, easy- to-understand volume, Musgrave outlines strategies, theories, and ideas artists can utilize to present their work in the best possible light for their target audience, seasoning these important lessons with examples from his own experiences as proof of what works, and what doesn’t, in the digital age. It is doubtful any artists struggling to obtain a market for their work will fail to find something within these pages that will point them in the right direction. If you understand that markets make the creator, then too you understand why this book is a crucial piece of the puzzle.”