October 18th, 2012 | Add a Comment
Tom Andry is the Associate Editor of Audioholics.com and host of the AV Rant podcast. He has a Masters of Arts in Psychology with a specialization in Program Evaluation and Organizational Behavior. Tom loves all things geeky including science fiction, comic books, and role playing games. He is a proud father of three boys and rides motorcycles and rock climbs when he isn’t staying up late writing, watching movies and playing video games. His first book, Bob Moore: No Hero is FREE and available at all the major outlets. The full length sequel, Bob Moore: Desperate Times, is now for sale as well.
Your last book, Bob Moore: Desperate Times was made available to the public in October, 2011. How well has it been received by the public so far?
The response has been really encouraging. Bob Moore: No Hero was really an experiment to see if I could complete a story. I put no limits on myself. The sequel, Bob Moore: Desperate Times was my first real attempt to write a complete novel. I wanted the book to be bigger and better than the original novella and, by all accounts, I succeeded.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing vs being published.
Control has to be the biggest advantage. The self-published author has complete control. Of course, they have very little support which is the main advantage the publishing houses provide. Not just marketing support, but editing, access to bookstores and more, covers, knowing what will and won’t sell…all of that. The self-published author has to do everything themselves. They may seek out help from friends or from Internet sources, but it is often hard to get really good (i.e. critical) feedback.
If you are the type of person that is willing and has the time to do all the marketing, researching of artists, submitting your book for review, writing guest posts, and much, much more, self-publishing is perfect for you. It is a lot of work but you get all the control and, therefore, all the reward. You also have all the expense. If you want a professional cover, you have to pay for it. Editor? Be ready to pay for that as well. Marketing, appearances at conferences, ads…it all costs money.
With traditional publishing, you lose some of that control but you get help. You aren’t going to be able to sit back and let everyone else do the marketing and such, but you’ll have access to a lot of resources and knowledge that the self-published author lacks.
What do you think is the main factor, other than writing a quality and professionally edited book that differentiates a successful self-published writer from one who remains forever out of the limelight?
Probably the biggest is time. With traditional publishing, a marketing plan can include a big push to get your book in front of a bunch of people all at once to gain some buzz and momentum. While that initial buzz can happen with the self-published author, more often it is a slower progression. Much like an underground band that slowly builds a following from word of mouth, the successful self-published author has to be prepared for the long haul. Eventually they’ll reach critical mass and suddenly that momentum the traditional book publisher paid for will be realized.
And then someone will interview you and ask you what it feels like to be an overnight success.
One thing I tell myself about this process is that it can take many years to secure a publishing deal and see a book in stores. I’ve read stories of very famous, very successful authors that have waited five, ten, even more years. Every cent you make between the completion of your first manuscript and that five-year mark is profit.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Not enough and too much. I write for a living so I have to do my paying work during the day before I do anything on my personal projects. I tend to write at night after the kids go to bed. The marketing stuff happens sometime in-between.
When a book first comes out, I’ll spend weeks submitting the book to review blogs and do other sorts of marketing. But that tapers off pretty quickly as the pressures of life intrude. I’d say I spend, on average, a few hours a week on marketing. I should probably do more though.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
Most won’t think of price as a “marketing technique,” but it can be your most powerful tool. My plan was always to give away my first book and charge for the second. When I finished Bob Moore: Desperate Times, I sent it out for review (also and important marketing technique to publicize your book provided the reviews are good). Those reviews are due to start publishing any day now. Even without any sort of formal marketing on my part, the book still sells consistently on Amazon and the other ebook etailers. That’s all because of the tens of thousands of people that have read the first book for free.
Giving away the first book has introduced a lot of people to the world of my characters. Releasing the second book at only $3.99 allows them to continue enjoying those characters for a very reasonable price. With the majority of the price of the book coming back to the author (rather than the publishing house), I may be selling less books but I don’t have to sell as many for the same money to come my way.
Who formatted your book? In how many formats is your book available?
I formatted both my books (with the help of my wife). With the first book, I published directly to Amazon and let Smashwords handle everything else. I wasn’t happy with that solution (for reasons I detail on my blog here and here) so, with Bob Moore: Desperate Times, I published directly to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. I still went with Smashwords for the rest of the etailers because they represent too small a part of my sales to bother formatting for them myself, and because some won’t let you submit directly.
I detailed how I formatted all my books on my blog (here) and even created formatting guides for others interested in self-publishing. Honestly, if you set up your document correctly before you start writing, you’ll have few problems with self-publishing. Apple will be an issue because…well, because they’re Apple and that’s how they roll…but Amazon and B&N are actually easier than publishing to Smashwords (a service that most think is there to make self-publishing easier).
Thank you Tom for taking the time to answer these questions
Browse through Tom’s book here, get to like them and then buy them
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