4 reasons to take self-published authors more seriously than ever

Nowadays, it’s quickly becoming the norm: before their stories are even finished, writers are already considering their self-publishing options. And who can blame them? From speed-to-market to more creative control to no rejection letters, it’s an enticing prospect.

But some are quick to thumb their noses at these writers, believing them to be going rogue, bucking the system in the name of vanity.

News flash: the 90’s called. They want their stereotype back.

In fact, self-publishers of today are to be taken very seriously indeed. Why is this?

1. They’re raking in the dough. Self-publishers tend to be financially smart, understanding that in a traditional author-publisher relationship, the money flows mostly one way: to the publisher. So they’re being proactive, and reversing the equation. Now, they’re collecting up to 85% of retail price in royalties, instead of giving up about that same amount—for life!

2. Their books look fantastic. In some cases, even better than books that come from publishing houses, who, surprisingly, can even mess up the classics. Case in point:

Let’s get real: everyone judges books by their covers, so the interesting—shall we say liberties?—the designers took with this cover will probably cost them sales on this print run, even though it’s a well-known book.

Compare that to Allison Marie Conway’s recent self-published poetry book, Vein, which positively oozes sensuality.

Talk about a sexy book cover. And very inviting. Who wouldn’t want to read?

What today’s self-publishing author realizes is that when you have a book that radiates, not only does it attract more readers, it’s a lot more likely to get shelf space in a brick-and-mortar bookstore like Barnes & Noble (which won’t accept anything that looks homemade). And here’s how to publish a book that radiates.

3. Their books are professionally edited. Big publishing houses employ armies of editors, red pens at the ready. Sadly, self-publishers would often skimp on this very necessary step, believing that with a few read-throughs, their manuscripts would be ready for the limelight.

Not anymore.

Today’s savvy self-publishers recognize that it’s very difficult to pick out all of their own typos and dangling modifiers—especially in manuscripts they are so intimately familiar with—and even more difficult to spot inaccuracies or errant assumptions. They know there’s no substitute for a trained, careful eye on their work, and as a result, any self-published book you pick up nowadays is much more likely to be a great read.

4. They’re getting movie deals. From Andy Weir (ever seen The Martian?) to E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey, but you’ve probably never heard of it) to Amanda Brown (Legally Blonde), self-published authors know that with a few beta readers, an honest critique or two, and a thorough markup by a freelance editor, their promising story can turn into a phenomenal, polished work that gets talked about and passed around—all the way to the silver screen.

Would any of this have been possible twenty or thirty years ago? Maybe, but it would have been much harder. The advent of e-books, blogs, social media sharing, and websites like ChapterBuzz have all made it much easier for the self-published author to reach readers and sell books.

Self-published authors know they have something to say, and nothing will stop them from saying it. When properly produced, a self-published book will stand out from the crowd, and could rake in thousands, even millions.

If you’re still stuck in that old mindset of ten years ago where expectations for self-publishing authors were much lower, wake up and smell the coffee. Heck, it could even be the self-publishing author next door who’s brewing it as she sits down to write.

And take her more seriously than ever—she could be the next big name.

I’m Timothy Pike, a publishing consultant based in Philadelphia, PA, specializing in helping you publish a beautiful book and grow your audience. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter.

Wanna make (great) money as a writer? 5 beliefs that are holding you back

I know you’ve dreamt of it.

Making a full-time income as a writer, that is. Spending your mornings in PJ’s at the kitchen table, steaming mug in front of you, beautiful words flowing onto paper. Or the stolen afternoon hours at the coffee shop tapping away on your laptop as your story takes shape.


Like so many writers, you probably harbor some long-held beliefs about writing (and publishing) that are only holding you back from this dream life of making money with your writing, watching as it slowly replaces your day job and becomes your full-time hustle.

I’ve got news: this doesn’t have to be a dream.

Let’s get started. Do you lack confidence in your writing? Our first wrong-headed belief is that only an immensely talented writer can make it big. Wrong! That’s what editors are for, and by the way, all great writers have editors. Stephen King has an editor. And there are all different types of editors: editors who can help you simply put story ideas together, editors who can help you structure your novel, and editors who can help tighten up your sentences to make your writing crisp and concise. Need a recommendation? I’ve got plenty!

Plus, in the end, people aren’t looking for perfection, just your best effort, and—most importantly—authenticity. (Fifty Shades of Grey became a huge hit even though E.L. James’s writing is generally considered middling to poor.)

But that being said, your first book will give you that burst of confidence you need to keep writing others.

Besides, how cool would it be to see the stranger next to you on the plane totally engrossed in your book, not even realizing he is sitting right next to the author? Imagine his surprise when he finds out you wrote it—and imagine your ego boost!

You may also think that you need to focus on hitting the jackpot with your first book. Again, this is wrong. It’s not about striking gold with that one “big hit,” it’s about steadily producing quality work, time and time again, that is authentically yours. Readers respond to authenticity, and will enjoy your work because it’s written in your voice, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Readers also love watching a novelist improve his or her skills over time.

Authenticity and effort. That’s what sells.

Even if you are hell-bent on “winning the lottery” with your first book, the fact remains, you can’t win if you don’t try, right? And getting started is the most important part.

Maybe you think you’ll get less respect as a self-published author. Honestly, I don’t think this has ever been true. It is true that traditional publishing opens some doors more easily, such as reviews in large media publications, but no one is going to actively look down on you just because you chose to be an independent author. Let’s face it: these days, lots of people have lots of things to say, and spending months or years hunting down a publisher or literary agent is a roadblock that many wish to skirt.

Speaking of reviews, consider Tracy Bloom, a successful indie author who busies herself cranking out romance novels during the day while her children are at school. She gets tons of book reviews! And she’s even more in control of the process because over the years she has developed great relationships with book bloggers.

Slow and steady wins the race. Cliché? Yes. True? Absolutely.

Once published, you may think you can rely on word-of-mouth to sell copies. Yes, it’s an important component of sales, but by no means the whole story. As we saw in Tracy Bloom’s case, she doesn’t hesitate to reach out to bloggers, and in this way, presides over very effective book launches.

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to know how to do all this. I can match you up with a marketing strategist who will help you set up a promotional campaign that plays to your strengths. After all, nothing is more counterproductive than feeling overwhelmed. If you’re an introvert, for example, you may wish to use a more low-key approach than an extrovert might.

The greatest part of book promotion is that it’s on your terms, using only tactics you feel comfortable using.

Meanwhile, you’re working on your next novel. Many writers believe that you shouldn’t bother to start writing another book, at least not right away. But I say please do, now that you have one under your belt! You want to get another book out there as soon as you can, because if there’s anything we know about Amazon, it’s that they love making recommendations to customers about what to buy next—and what better to recommend than one of your other novels? Great way to double your sales.

With time and determination—and getting past bad beliefs—the money will roll in. I encourage you to get started today!

Need a recommendation? Have a question? Comment below or shoot me an e-mail!

To your success,

This author is winning the game. Are you?

For me, there’s a palpable, almost electric feeling of excitement in taking on a new publishing client, and listening carefully as they describe their perfect book to me.

And it’s intensified when working with a brand new author, especially one as talented as Allison Marie Conway.

When I say brand new, don’t misunderstand. Allison is no stranger to writing; she regularly crafts fabulous blog posts on her popular—and by all appearances very successful—website, Glory Begin, where she’s amassed a substantial following. (She also hosts a podcast and sends out a phenomenal newsletter, and if you haven’t subscribed to either of these yet, you simply must.)

But with Vein, Allison takes her writing—and her business—to the next level. And she stands to gain a lot: A great way to instantly showcase her writing talent to new blog followers. Even more credibility as an author, photographer, spiritual teacher, and podcast host. A new passive income stream as copies of Vein are snatched up. With this project now complete, she can continue to give herself fully to producing daily content that’s “focused on spirituality, sensuality, creativity and inspiration.”

From the very first page, you get the sense that your presence was destined, like you’ve arrived just in time for a meeting of souls arranged by some cosmic force. Each poem, seductive in its minimalism, seems to speak to you on a primal level, leaving you simultaneously satisfied while still wanting more.

Indeed, each word is to be savored, as Allison’s readers can attest. “I am drinking it in slowly,” says one. “Like a fine port.”

Check it out:

If you can manage to take your eyes off the gorgeous cover long enough to open the book, the introduction alone will give you insight into why Allison writes, and what inspires her poetry.

Here’s how she puts it:

I know exactly when a poem is about to pour through.

There is a splitting moment just before it comes that is the most pleasurable frustration.

It’s a ripping surge and an ecstatic tug at the veins. Something physically moves the words into being.

I believe that at some level all artists are physically in tune not only with their work but also with the inspiration that comes before they begin the work.

Before we even pick up a pen or a paintbrush or a camera, we are touched by something.

We are sensationally alerted to the inspirational messages and in some strange way we are guided, prodded, coaxed, tempted, seduced, fingered, stroked, shocked, shoved, and caressed into birthing our mystical creations.

Something outside of us reaches in and decides to do whatever it takes to grab us.

I am completely bewitched by this mysterious flow of energy that moves through my body whenever I have the privilege of writing something that begs to be written. I can’t tell you what that energy is as sure as I can’t tell you what put the blood in my veins but I do promise you this: I can feel it.
I promise you it exists.

And I believe it reaches for all of us in the hopes that we will reach back. We want to touch each other in the most beautiful, intimate, and loving of ways. It is affection, it is reverence, it is selfless, it is real.

Now, if that doesn’t make you want to tear open the book and devour it, nothing will.

You can support Allison by ordering your signed copy of Vein now, and by sharing this post on Facebook:

By the way, how’s your manuscript coming along? Let’s talk about your perfect book.

Have you set a date for your book launch? What are you waiting for?

So you’re almost done writing your novel. It’s time to set a date for your big book launch and start counting down!

I know you want to get your writing out to the world, but you’ve been hesitating. Maybe you aren’t sure how to do it. Or it seems like climbing a mountain. Or you’re afraid you won’t be able to get everything done in time.

It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to charge ahead with confidence? Go ahead and set a date.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
—Mark Twain

But how do you know the launch date you set is realistic?

This is where I can help—by creating a launch countdown calendar for you.

A launch countdown calendar clearly defines your goals, and lays out the steps you need to take in order to make your launch date.

Just answer these questions, and I’ll send you your own, personalized launch countdown calendar, complete with target dates you should hit along the way. Use the countdown calendar as a guide during the publishing process.

To help you with promotion, I’ll even post your countdown calendar on my website so you can share it with your friends, followers, and potential book customers. This way, they can follow along as your book nears completion. It’s all about building excitement.

The best part? Your launch date isn’t set in stone.

There’s nothing wrong with shooting for a certain date, then pushing it back if need be. Launching later than planned only builds more anticipation and buzz among your readers. Like the guest who is more than fashionably late to a party, or the band that emerges at 8 for a 7:30 concert, it never hurts to make a grand entrance.

What’s important is that you now have a goal, you know what needs to be done, and your readers will know when they can finally get that book in their hands.

Get started now! Just answer these questions, and I’ll get you set up:

Mark Twain would be proud.

To your success,

CreateSpace better than IngramSpark? 3 solid reasons to choose CreateSpace

IngramSpark and CreateSpace {What is CreateSpace?} are both platforms that offer print-on-demand and distribution solutions for self-publishing authors. But which should you choose? In today’s 3-Point Quickie column, I make the case for CreateSpace.

Easier to sell on Amazon. When you publish your book through CreateSpace, it is automatically placed for sale on Amazon, and they’ll even convert your book to Kindle format. With CreateSpace’s free expanded distribution (which, perhaps surprisingly, uses Ingram’s distribution network), your book will show up for sale at a slew of online venues, allowing your readers to purchase your book at their bookseller of choice. With your name splashed across that many websites, you may start to feel like a Kardashian.

More royalties. Since Amazon owns CreateSpace, you’re on “home turf” when you’re selling on Amazon. This means that your royalties will be significantly higher for books sold on Amazon than on the third-party sites that you’ll reach through expanded distribution, such as Barnes & Noble. However, when you publish through IngramSpark and choose expanded distribution there, Amazon is just another third-party site your book appears on, and those sales will fetch much lower royalties. My point: since Amazon is the powerhouse of book sales these days, why not grab your share of the pie? And maybe some coffee. Oh, and an extra fork, because now I’m getting hungry.

It’s cheaper and faster. IngramSpark charges a title setup fee, a yearly fee, and a fee for making changes once your book is published. These fees can be waived under certain circumstances, but here’s the bottom line: be prepared to shell out if you sign up with IngramSpark. CreateSpace, on the other hand, charges nothing, even for access to the expanded distribution network. Also, setup and shipping tend to be faster at CreateSpace. They say slow and steady wins the race, but that doesn’t mean you’d want a tortoise delivering your books!

I'm Timothy Pike, a publishing consultant focused on helping you create & publish a beautiful book (that sells!) My flagship offering is a full-service, artisan book publishing package. I live in downtown Philadelphia, and once made a furtive, but ill-advised, attempt to repair the crack on the Liberty Bell.

Promoting your book? The 3 biggest benefits of a street team

Want to sell your book but terrified of self-promotion? Afraid no one will pay attention?

You need a street team to help you! What is a street team? It’s a group of people who love what you write, are excited about your book, and want to help you get the word out.

“Part of building your platform is recognizing you need others to help you along the way. That’s true for you. It’s true for me.”

Michael Hyatt, co-author of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, and street team organizer

So what good is a street team? Here are three huge benefits:

A concerted effort amplifies your voice. The street team feature is available on MyDreamBookTeam (only we call it a “Marketing Action Team”), and it’s super easy to recruit people. As soon as you sign up and add your book project, your friends and most enthusiastic readers will be able to join your team right from your profile page. With a number of people helping you take action, your reach is far greater, and your voice is much louder. It’s like having a megaphone for your promotion efforts! Just don’t scream in anybody’s ear.

Instant results. Let’s say your book is finished and you need reviews. Just go into the “Team Huddle,” a virtual discussion room where you connect with your team, and invite everyone on your team to write a review of your book. Can you imagine 20 Amazon reviews showing up in the same week? Or even simpler: Tell everyone that you’ve tweeted about your book and you’d love for them to do the same. Now it’s not just one tweet, it’s…whatever a whole bunch of tweets is called. A twaggle? Sure! And a twaggle of tweets is powerful indeed.

An easy way to network. Getting an enthusiastic group of people together means someone probably knows someone. One of your team members might know a local talk radio producer who can get you on the air for an interview. Another member may know a local bookstore owner who can work with you to sell your book. Meanwhile, other members can give you valuable ideas and insight, and help you brainstorm new tactics. You want as many allies on your side as possible, and the members of your street team are your network (except there are no awkward networking events to attend—meaning zero risk of accidentally dropping your business card in the punch bowl).

Now the good news: MyDreamBookTeam makes building your street team easy (whether your book is finished or not), so get started today!

You have the power to publish your book! (but you may also have questions)

I’m constantly getting questions about self-publishing from my readers. But forget e-mail—let’s talk it out!

This week only, I am offering free, one-on-one phone sessions designed to answer your questions and get you pointed in the right direction so you can get your book published.

And I’ve found that phone calls work so much better than e-mail for working through your questions and concerns.

You may have basic questions about the process, such as:

  • How does print-on-demand work?
  • How do I get my book onto Amazon?
  • What are the pros and cons of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

I can also cover more specific questions, such as:

  • Should I go with Ingram Spark or CreateSpace?
  • What is the difference between Kindle and EPUB format?
  • How does expanded distribution work?

Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to a real person about these questions and concerns, and get actual answers?

Shoot me an e-mail and let me know the best time to call.

No obligation, nothing to buy! Just a personalized, one-on-one Q & A session, designed to make you more informed about your self-publishing options.

Get in touch with me here!

To your success,