Raise Money to Get Your Book Printed as a Broke Self-Publisher

Looking for a way to help pay for your first run of book? Sell advertising at the back of your book.

If you’re a new and fairly broke self-publisher who’s trying to raise some money to get your book printed, you may have to get a little creative. If the bank isn’t biting, low on cash, and your cards are maxed out, why not try to sell some advertising space at the back of your pre-published books as a way to get your book printed?

Think about it—you’re going to be printing multiple hundreds of books and pushing them to a highly targeted group of consumers. For instance, if you have a book printed about starting your own small business, you know that there are a whole crop of advertisers out there hoping to reach new small business owners.

How this Idea to Get your Book Printed Can Work

This idea for getting your book printed will work best for a non-fiction or self-help book that provides valuable information. For instance, if your book is about relationships, tap local matchmakers and the countless dating services (both off and online) that are trying to get off the ground. A real estate agent might also pay to advertise in the back of your printed book offering advice on buying a new house.

As you can imagine, this plan to raise funds to get your book printed will work best if the advertiser has a website and ships products or provides a service to people all over the country. But if you plan to push your book heavily in your own town or city, a local brick and mortar business can benefit from this type of advertising.

Ask Your Buddies

What about other authors? Many self-published and even traditionally published authors have an advertising budget (don’t you?). Ask your author buddies if they’d like to advertise their books in the back of your printed book.

And what about your other buddies? Surely you have a friend or family member who is trying to get a new business idea off the ground or works for a company that places local advertisements. Instead of asking him for a cash investment to help get your book printed, sell him ad space in your printed book instead.
Be reasonable with your advertising rates, especially if this is the first time you’re trying this method of gathering funds to get your book printed. About $100 per half page ad sounds reasonable. Once you start to see a positive result from these book ads, then you can raise your rates and make it a more exclusive situation for possible advertisers.

Additionally, offer to include the ads on your book website as well. Even if your printed book doesn’t sell well off the bat, this will at least assure that the advertiser gets some online exposure from your book project.

Cross Promotion Opportunities After You Get Your Book Printed

Now before you say, “I don’t know if that will work,” think about the cross-promotion opportunity as well. If an advertiser knows you’re pushing his company name and maybe even his picture in the back of a published book, he’s going to be even more fired up about getting his own friends, family, and contacts to buy it—maybe even in bulk. Always off two free copies of the book for the advertiser to keep.

One last thing before you get the book printed—make plans with the advertiser to offer a discount to the customer if he mentions that he saw your ad in the back of your book. If the advertiser’s product or service is on a website, arrange to have the advertiser set up a special landing page or discount code so that he can tell where the traffic came from. This way the advertiser will see the value of promoting in your book, and possibly pay for more ads in future book printings or releases. Always think ahead.

Can’t Hurt to Give This a Shot!

So if you’re struggling with how to get the cash you need to get your book printed, consider taking a galley of your pre-published book and the cover around to your local businesses to try to sell ad space. If you’ve got positive reviews in already, bring that along with you as well.

Good luck to you on your self-published book. When you finally do get your book printed, then comes the really hard part — selling them!

7 Tips for How to Sell Books

I’ve been working on a brand new series of mini eBooks on how to sell books that will address a wide variety of questions on the mind of self-publishers. In the process of writing, I’ve been developing a short list of the basics of how to sell books successfully as a self-publisher.

Here it is so far, in no particular order:

1. Let Go of Your Ego

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your book is better than all of the rest out there—especially if you’re brand new and have never hit a bestseller’s list in the past. Keep your ego in check and humbly push forward with your book marketing plan.

2. Learn Something about Marketing

Ideally you should learn ALL YOU CAN about marketing, but at the very least you should learn the basics. Start by learning about the four Ps of marketing. This is what they teach you in marketing 101 and it applies beautifully to selling books. See if your local community college has some inexpensive courses you can take to get more familiar with marketing and sales.

3. Revamp Your Book Cover

One of the first things I tell my clients when they ask me what they can do to sell more books is to redo your book cover. Many times the book cover is the one issue that is preventing people from clicking that “buy” button and giving your book a try—especially when it comes to online sales. Get a professional to work on you book cover.

4. Do a “Price Check”

I cringe when I see a new self-publisher’s paperback novel priced at $20 for 160 pages. Many book buyers won’t even pay $20 for a 500 page book. Check the price tag on your book to see if you might be overcharging. Many brand new self-publishers are finding success with pricing their eBooks very low (99 cents to 2.99 per copy) as a way to get people interested in their work. Then they price their backlist books and sequels higher.

5. Get Familiar with Social Media

If you’re not on social media, you need to be. While many social media sites are not a direct line to book sales, they help you build a community and interest around you and your books over time. At the minimum, join Twitter (for posting your blog posts and updates about goings on) and Facebook (to connect with book clubs, avid reader groups and other authors).

6. Take a Class in Sales or Public Speaking

If you’re not comfortable communicating with others, whether offline or online, take a class to teach you sales and public speaking techniques. These skills will become invaluable to you as you go forward with your book selling efforts, including attending book signings, doing interviews or even just talking to people on Twitter. Also, you’ll find value in listening to motivational and educational audiobooks daily.

7. Seek Positive Reviews

Reviews are solid gold when it comes to selling books, especially when you’re selling them online. People are social creatures—we listen to the opinions of others when making a decision on whether to buy something. Seek genuine reviews from your targeted readers early on in the book publishing process.

 

 

How to Turn Your Car into a Book Mobile as a Self-Publisher

Since self-publishers don’t have the same funds as traditional publishers, you should always be on the lookout for ways to promote your book without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for inexpensive but effective way to advertise your new book, try a car magnet. You can turn your car or truck into a “Book Mobile” for about $40.

Car Magnets

Find a printing service that offers car magnets. These magnets are about 9 x 12 to 12 x 18 inches in size—they fit perfectly on the side of your car door.
Create the book advertisement in a standard book layout program (like InDesign, or even Microsoft Word). Keep the ad simple—all people need to see is the book cover, title, and maybe a short description of what it’s about. When you’re driving, all people are probably going to see is the title. When parked, people will have time

Position the book cover on the right-hand side of the magnet. Make it as large as the magnet’s dimensions will fit.

Type in a quick headline, preferably three to four words long, on the left side in large lettering. This will be the most difficult part, because it’s hard to summarize your book’s purpose in just a few words. Set the font to 72 point or higher—whatever size will fit the size of the magnet.

Type in your book’s website address or an 800 number across the bottom of the magnet so that people can contact you for more information. You may have to adjust the side of the book cover to allow room at the bottom.

Convert the document to PDF format or a TIF file (CMYK color mode) using an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop. Send or upload the PDF or TIF file to your printing service. Have 2 magnets printed—one for each side of your car. Now you’ve got a certified “Book Mobile!”

Tips:

Some printing services allow you to design your magnet right on screen—just choose an overall format, add images, type in text, and make it all your own. This will save you the aggravation of having to lay the design out in a graphic design program and then convert it to PDF format.

Be sure to carry bookmarks and copies of your book in your car at all times in case someone asks you about the book while you’re driving around town.

 

How to Develop a Book Marketing Budget

To launch your book properly, it’s a good idea to sit down and start writing a detailed book marketing budget. The budget is a preliminary task that you should complete before you spend a dime on publishing your book. Some small publishers make the mistake of jumping right in and spending on their newly finished books before they get a full view of how much it will cost to properly release the title. Start typing out your new book marketing budget in a blank Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Here are a few key categories that you’ll want to address in your budget.

Book Editing and Design Costs

Once you finish writing your book, brace yourself. Before your only investment was time and thought—now you have to start spending money to get the word out about your unique creation. You now have to hire a few people to get your book ready for printing and publishing:

  • Book editor
  • Typesetter
  • Cover designer

Book Printing Costs

A major initial outlay for a self-publisher is your book printing expenses. The traditional method is to purchase a set of books (about 250 to 1000 to start out) and then order more when you run out. The costs when you speak to a book printer include:

  • Book printing costs
  • Prepress fees
  • Shipping costs

You can also use a POD service like the one offered by Createspace to print your books on demand. I’m liking the POD option more nowadays because I sell most of my titles online. However, keep in mind that printing with a book printer may give you a lower per-book rate and also open more doors to potential distributors and brick-and-mortar bookstores to carry your book on shelves.

Book Advertising Costs

In 2010 and beyond, I believe self-publishers and small publishing companies will find the most success advertising online. But when you go on book signing events and the like you’ll need some other advertising materials. So be sure to include the following possible costs in your book marketing budget:

  • Putting together and publishing a professional book website. You can simply use a web building tool offered by your web host, choose a professional template, and add your book details, but you may want to hire a professional to handle this (I discuss book websites in my eBook series).
  • Building a newsletter list and using email newsletter services to get the word out about your book
  • Creating postcards, bookmarks and business cards for your book to distribute at events
  • Creating flyers and large mounted book posters to display at your events
  • Hiring a designer to prepare book marketing package materials (like your sell sheet and letterhead)
  • Buying radio ads can be useful for certain types of books

In addition to basic book advertising expenses, don’t forget to list the cost of putting together sales packages for potential reviewers, distributors and small bookstores who may want to carry your books. You’ll have to print professional materials and send them via an express mail service to your intended recipients.

Book Traveling Expenses

When you publish a book that gets some attention either locally or nationally, you’ll have to budget for trips to book signings, festivals, fairs, and other events. That includes:

  • Airfare, rental car, hotel
  • Vending table rental fees (if applicable)
  • Display tables, stands, tents and other supplies for your books if you’re planning on attending book fairs
  • Outfits for your book signings (you’ve got to look good!)
  • Cost of placing a few radio or newspaper ads in the other cities where you plan to visit to promote your books (people who may be interested in your book need to know you’re coming and why—they don’t know who you are yet!)

Book Selling Helpers

One mistake I made when I just started out selling my own self-published books was to try to do everything on my own. I probably could have made longer strides more quickly if I had just hired a few part-time people to help me out! You don’t have to hire on full-time employees as a self-publisher—obviously you can’t afford that just yet. Consider the following ideas for getting book selling helpers and add the cost to your budget:

  • Hire independent contractors, like virtual assistants, online (such as on Elance)
  • Talk to an administrator at a college nearby to see if there is an intern program you can join
  • Pay your working age kids or their buddies to be your helpers
  • Consider the cost of hiring a book publicist to help you get the word out about your book

Educational Materials

Before and after you self-publish a book it is very important that you read up on the process in detail. Gathering knowledge of self-publishing helps you gain an advantage in the self-publishing world. This is a small segment of your book marketing budget, but worth adding:

  • Invest in resources that teach you the basics of self-publishing a book
  • Invest in resources that teach you the specifics of how to sell and market a book
  • Attend seminars at book publishing fairs and major events to hear from other successful self-publishers and network

Use these suggestions as a starting point – obviously you’ll have more items to add your book marketing budget in the near future.

Book Marketing Plan Tip: Changing Your Perspective

Have you really taken a look at your book marketing plan? Not just how you plan to promote and sell your books, but how you package and organize your self-published titles?

Maybe you’re not taking advantage of the full potential behind your written words, or you’re not opening yourself to the realities of how small publishers survive.

Once you get a better grasp on what it really means to self-publish and sell books for money, you are more likely to take advantage of its benefits by thinking with your business mind instead of your fantasy world mind.

A Quick Example of Refocusing Your Book Marketing Plan

For example, instead of focusing on promoting one long 400 page novel for an entire year that sells 2,500 copies at $16 retail and $7 wholesale no matter what you do and gives you $17,500 in revenue (common for a standard paperback book being sold wholesale), maybe you should instead work your buns off writing at least three titles a year that are about half that size (maybe 150 to 200 pages) for $12 retail and $5.40 wholesale that sell a combined 7,500 copies (or more since you can just keep marketing them to the same people). This way you can bring in a decent yearly revenue of about $40,000.

All you will have done here to double your income is write an additional 150 pages.

Not to mention, ten years from now, you will have a catalog of 30 books that will make money for you in trickles forever. You sell your books for money for eternity and make residual income: isn’t that what all the gurus say we should be shooting for? Just something to think about.

Self-Publishing Word to the Wise

Most self-publishers can make a decent living selling their books for money if they have a proven process that they duplicate with each title.

Word to the Wise: Once you get a good process and a solid book marketing plan or strategy, stick with it!

If you are about to self-publish a book, take a long, luxurious deep breath before jumping in the water. How you manage your new career will determine whether you’ll sink or swim in the self-publishing world.

 

Stay tuned for more REAL tips for self-published authors including marketing and promotions (what works and what doesn’t), short runs versus large printing runs, and handling your finances as a self-published author.

 

Raise Money to Get Your Book Printed as a New Self-Publisher

Looking for a way to help pay for your first run of book? Sell advertising at the back of your book.

If you’re a new and fairly broke self-publisher who’s trying to raise some money to get your book printed, you may have to get a little creative. If the bank isn’t biting, low on cash, and your cards are maxed out, why not try to sell some advertising space at the back of your pre-published books as a way to get your book printed?

Think about it—you’re going to be printing multiple hundreds of books and pushing them to a highly targeted group of consumers. For instance, if you have a book printed about starting your own small business, you know that there are a whole crop of advertisers out there hoping to reach new small business owners.

How this Idea to Get your Book Printed Can Work

This idea for getting your book printed will work best for a non-fiction or self-help book that provides valuable information. For instance, if your book is about relationships, tap local matchmakers and the countless dating services (both off and online) that are trying to get off the ground. A real estate agent might also pay to advertise in the back of your printed book offering advice on buying a new house.

As you can imagine, this plan to raise funds to get your book printed will work best if the advertiser has a website and ships products or provides a service to people all over the country. But if you plan to push your book heavily in your own town or city, a local brick and mortar business can benefit from this type of advertising.

Ask Your Buddies

What about other authors? Many self-published and even traditionally published authors have an advertising budget (don’t you?). Ask your author buddies if they’d like to advertise their books in the back of your printed book.

And what about your other buddies? Surely you have a friend or family member who is trying to get a new business idea off the ground or works for a company that places local advertisements. Instead of asking him for a cash investment to help get your book printed, sell him ad space in your printed book instead.

Be reasonable with your advertising rates, especially if this is the first time you’re trying this method of gathering funds to get your book printed. About $100 per half page ad sounds reasonable. Once you start to see a positive result from these book ads, then you can raise your rates and make it a more exclusive situation for possible advertisers.

Additionally, offer to include the ads on your book website as well. Even if your printed book doesn’t sell well off the bat, this will at least assure that the advertiser gets some online exposure from your book project.

Cross Promotion Opportunities After You Get Your Book Printed

Now before you say, “I don’t know if that will work,” think about the cross-promotion opportunity as well. If an advertiser knows you’re pushing his company name and maybe even his picture in the back of a published book, he’s going to be even more fired up about getting his own friends, family, and contacts to buy it—maybe even in bulk. Always off two free copies of the book for the advertiser to keep.

One last thing before you get the book printed—make plans with the advertiser to offer a discount to the customer if he mentions that he saw your ad in the back of your book. If the advertiser’s product or service is on a website, arrange to have the advertiser set up a special landing page or discount code so that he can tell where the traffic came from. This way the advertiser will see the value of promoting in your book, and possibly pay for more ads in future book printings or releases. Always think ahead.

Can’t Hurt to Give This a Shot!

So if you’re struggling with how to get the cash you need to get your book printed, consider taking a galley of your pre-published book and the cover around to your local businesses to try to sell ad space. If you’ve got positive reviews in already, bring that along with you as well.

Good luck to you on your self-published book. When you finally do get your book printed, then comes the really hard part — selling them!