When we think about publishing our written work, I believe for most of us, our thoughts still turn first to the old-school vision of mainstream publishing. After all, it’s been around all of our lives. But with the advent of print-on-demand publishers, on-line book selling, and the current proliferation of e-book marketing, mainstream publishing may not be an author’s best option anymore.
Just as writing is about expressing your own truth, I believe publishing is now about finding the best way to bring your writing into the world so it is visible to those who may be interested. To me, this means aligning your mode of publication with your intended audience, the purpose of your written work, and your own creative style.
For example, if you earn your living as a speaker or trainer, you may want to publish your book through a print-on-demand (POD) publisher, sell print copies at all of your events, and make print and e-book versions available from your website and/or Amazon.com. If you are a web developer, you may want to skip the print book altogether and sell the e-book through your website and possibly Amazon. Or, you might give away the e-book on your site to encourage subscribers to your blog – where the real juice is – and where they might decide to hire you. If you are a fiction writer, you might jump on the new trend of selling your e-book for $.99-$2.99 on Amazon and taking advantage of all the promotional tools they have right now which can bring in a pretty good return. If you are a teacher/healer, you might want to use an on-line seller or your own website as your sales outlet, publish both print and e-books, and go where your audience is – this might mean distributing to wellness centers with shops, or it might mean developing a presence on social media and some of the larger website/forums where your readers congregate.
If you already have a well-established presence – a platform – and a timely topic, mainstream publishing may still be the best for you. On the other hand, if you are a talented teenage girl in Japan, tapping out your book on a cell phone may be your best path to success. I’ve seen blogs, which people read for free, turned into books which they buy for cash on the same website. And I’ve seen books which don’t sell well in print published chapter-by-chapter as e-books for $2.99/chapter, where they seem to do quite well. And then there are membership sites, where subscribers pay to read your posts and updates, and donation sites, like Kickstarter.com, where donors can be solicited to fund your writing project and receive various bonuses from you in return. The possibilities are endless.
What’s important, in my view, is to take a close look at the purpose of your writing and the role it plays in your life work. Then get creative. You get to choose, these days, the medium, the delivery channel, the profit margin, and the kind of promotion that fits your own writing and your purpose. Because your finished book – or blog – isn’t dead; it’s a manifestation of your reason for being here on Earth, so let it work for you in the best way it can.