Christy Pinheiro is an Enrolled Agent, Accredited Business Advisor®, and financial writer. She is the co-author, with Nick Russell, of The Step By Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit. Christy maintains a free list of reviewers that accept self-published books on her resource website, http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net
TheBookDesigner.com: Christy, tell me how you got into self-publishing, what was your first book, and how long you’ve been publishing.
Christy Pinheiro: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid; but I published my first article in a mainstream magazine in 2006. I published my first book in 2007.
TBD: How many books do you have in print now?
CP: Currently, I have nine books in print (counting an instructional DVD and an audiobook). I have another book coming out in January 2010.
TBD: I notice you’ve just changed the name of your publishing company. Can you give us some insight into what made your change?
CP: Yes—please don’t make the same mistake I did! I loved the name “Pineapple Publications”, and the domain was available, so I snapped it up! But when I tried to trademark the name, the application was rejected because there is already a “Pineapple Press” in Florida. I learned my lesson and used a trademark attorney, Lee, Lee & Associates, P.C. this time around. I’ll never make the same mistake again. It’s cost me at least $1,000 to fix the problem, and resubmit a new trademark application, and now I have to pay for two domains indefinitely because I never know if someone is going to be searching for Pineapple Publications or PassKey Publications.
TBD: It looks like you’ve got numerous books on accounting and bookkeeping, and of course you have your new self-publishing book, but I also noticed a book on running a restaurant. What’s up with that?
CP: I decided to venture into publishing a book on restaurant management. It is supposed to be a series, and the author and I were planning to release one or two books per year– they are short, only about 150 pages or so. Each one has management and accounting tips on how to run a restaurant. The next installment is on how to retain and hire restaurant personnel.
TBD: If publishing is your full-time business now, how long did it take to become profitable?
CP: Two years. It happened fast for me.
TBD: Have you ever printed books offset? I know your latest book is print-on-demand digital printing. Why did you choose one or the other?
CP: I’ve always used POD. I used to carry inventory, however—I would order large quantities and do the order fulfillment myself, to schools, Amazon Advantage, and I also sold individual units on my website. The shipping and packing was killing me. Now I just use CreateSpace and I discourage single orders from my website.
TBD: How do you design the covers and interiors for your books? Why did you decide to go that route?
CP: I use a cover generation software for the covers and I used Aaron Shepard’s “Perfect Pages” as a guide for the interior formatting. My books are technical in nature, so they don’t have to be “eye candy”—but they have to be readable.
TBD: We all know that the hardest thing for self-publishers is marketing and selling their books. What helped you get started?
CP: The Internet is the most powerful marketing tool on Earth. Nothing else compares—I use my website, forums, Internet marketing, AdWords, AdSence, profiles, social networking—everything you can think of, I use. 80% of the traffic on my website is from my use of Google AdWords. All the other traffic is from organic searches.
TBD: Do you plan on getting involved with ebooks or reissuing any of your current catalog as ebooks? How will you do that?
CP: Yes—I am already working with eBook Architects (your suggestion, Joel!) And Joshua Tallent is going to be formatting my book for the Kindle in November. I am going to set the target price for the Kindle Edition at $4.99.
TBD: What made your write your new book on self-publishing? It’s becoming a pretty crowded field.
CP: Really, I wasn’t expecting it to be a blockbuster—but I wanted to help people. I want authors to know that they can do it, as long as they create a good product that really solves a problem or helps a reader do something– this is the goal of all good non-fiction writing, and it’s the easiest way to become a self-published author and support yourself financially.
TBD: Christy there are a lot of people who want to get started in self-publishing, and your new book is a good resource. I wonder what three (or whatever number) tips you might give to people just starting out?
CP: Yes—three things—Don’t ever give up, always use a copyeditor, and listen to suggesstions from other authors in the field. Self-published authors are like a community of benevolent gold miners… we all want to strike it big, but we all try to help each other out in the process. I really love this business and I hope to do this for the rest of my life.
Watch for a review of Christy’s new book, The Step By Step Guide to Self-Publishing for Profit next week.