By Tanya Lee Howe
As an editor who specializes in nonfiction books, I’m lucky to work with people who are experts in their fields. I learn a lot from the business and legal topics these authors explore in their writing. Sometimes, the subject matter really hits home for me and provides me with a new avenue to explore in my own business.
Recently I was able to work on Debbie Elicksen’s book, Publishing and Marketing in the Digital Age. After my first read-through of the book, I realized there is so much more I need to be doing to increase public awareness of my digital profile to promote my own books.
Many writers still go through traditional publishing houses to publish their books. Most authors receive no more than 10 percent of the retail price (e.g., Amazon sells the book for $14, the writer receives $1.40 per book sold). The other 90 percent of the book sales goes into the publishing house for editing, distribution, marketing, and publicity.
If an author self-publishes, he or she can make up to 70 percent per book sold; however, the person has to take care of his or her own marketing and publicity along with the distribution and editing. It’s hard to get connections in newspapers or magazines in order to get the information out there. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are the areas in which publicists at traditional publishing houses focus their efforts on getting their authors noticed. Unfortunately, nowadays these are not the best areas to get notoriety. The place to be is online with a strong presence.
Debbie’s book taught me to take control of my own publicity, which is to make sure I have a website that I update on a weekly basis to keep viewers returning. Every topic I explore on my site needs to be focused on my area of expertise, which is Alzheimer’s awareness. Whether I post a topic or ask someone to guest post, my readers know what to expect when they return. They know my topics won’t stray into what I had for breakfast or why my cats are the best in the world. The readers want information about caregiving, working with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, or where they can go for help. Being consistent and keeping my web presence current is important to establishing myself online.
Using the tips from Debbie’s book, I’m beginning to build more of a following on Twitter and eventually I’ll branch out to some of the other areas Debbie has suggested. I have also reached out to other authors asking if they would like to guest post on my website which has led to me working with an author to co-write some caregiving articles for magazines.
The small steps I’ve taken so far, by using Debbie’s advice, have shown results already. One of these results was Debbie asking me to write a guest post on her website, which is an honor and an opportunity I’m grateful for. If you are self-publishing your work or going through a traditional publisher, please pick up Debbie’s book and learn to take control of your own publicity. Trust me, it’s worth it.
About the author: Tanya Lee Howe is the author of Supporting Parents with Alzheimer’s; and the co-author of Changing Your Name in Canada and Start & Run a Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio. You can find her at www.tanyaleehowe.com or on Twitter at @TanyaLeeHowe.