It’s clear that various brands are effectively using books as smart, strategic additions to their marketing mixes. While e-book sales continue to increase, marketers shouldn’t dismiss the potential of print, particularly for certain B2C audiences.
If your market research has revealed such potential, these nuts and bolts of book publishing are for you.
1) Choose a Format
Before choosing a publishing platform, you’ll need to figure out your format. Specifically, answer the following questions:
- How long will your book be?
- Will it be in black-and-white or color?
- Will you include photographs or art?
- Paperback or hardcover?
- Will you distribute the book yourself or publish to an existing sales platform?
- Do you want to make a profit from the book, will you provide it at cost, or are you going to give it away for free?
These questions will factor into your choice of publisher and the cost of publishing your book.
2) Find a Publisher
Once you have answered the questions above, it’ll be much easier to find a publisher that fits your requirements. For example, if you want to publish a hardcover book of photography, you might consider Blurb bookmaking, a program that allows you to lay out your book within its simple software and then order paperback or hardcover copies online.
If you are interested in publishing a paperback with a black-and-white interior, you might save some money by choosing a service like CreateSpace by Amazon. If you want to give the book away for free, hiring a traditional print shop, which won’t help you with distribution but won’t take a commission either, might be the right choice.
Personally, I’ve used both CreateSpace (to publish and distribute my memoir) and Blurb (to publish a handful of colorful portfolio/resume books), and I’ve been very happy with the products from both companies. Still, there are a number of other publishing services out there (like these), so once you have your requirements defined, do a little research before settling on a publisher.
3) Prepare and Submit Files
Once you’ve defined your requirements and chosen your publisher, it’s time to create and/or format your book.
On Blurb, this means inserting your content into a book-building tool.
With CreateSpace, this means submitting your content document (in Word or PDF form) and a PDF of your cover, according to its specifications (e.g. you will need to embed fonts, format the document for the appropriate page size for your book, and make sure all of your line breaks, links, photography, footnotes, etc. look exactly as you want them to).
Once you have submitted your files to a publisher, you’ll have the option of reviewing your book, usually both online and in a printed proof provided at cost. Proof your book, make any necessary changes, re-submit, and re-proof as necessary.
5) Set Pricing, Distribution Channels, Etc.
Finally, both CreateSpace and Blurb (and I assume other publishers) will ask you to answer a few questions, like:
- How will you price your book?
- In which markets will you sell it (the U.S.? Europe? The U.K.?)?
- What should be included in your marketing description/blurb for your online store and/or Amazon listing?
Once you have proofed your final copy and answered the publisher’s pricing, distribution, and marketing questions, publishing is generally as simple as clicking “publish” and watching your online store go live.
Now, it’s up to you to use your research and prowess to market your book and track your results.