15 Questions, and Why Everything is a Niche: At a Local Indie Publishing Group Meeting

by | Dec 12, 2009

David Cole (Bay Tree Publishing) <p>at BAIPA today

David Cole (Bay Tree Publishing)

at BAIPA today

At today’s meeting of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA), President Pete Masterson as usual presided over the first hour’s Q&A session. I always find these interesting. Each month there’s a lot of people who are new to BAIPA and the questions people bring to the meeting reveal something of the state of independent publishing at the moment.

See for yourself. Here are the 15 questions asked at today’s meeting:

  1. How do I advertise book launch parties at local bookstores?
  2. Is Indie Reader book listing worth the money?
  3. Which are the best digital “presses” for quality color photography reproduction?
  4. Is Lightning Source better for a self-publisher than CreateSpace?
  5. If I use up my 10 ISBNs, can I get more that will identify me as publisher?
  6. If you print at Lightning Source, who is the publisher?
  7. Why do we have to set a discount?
  8. If you print with a publisher-services company, who sets the list price?
  9. What’s the difference between being in Amazon Advantage, and selling to Amazon through your distributor?
  10. Should an author of a children’s book with companion products self-publish or try to get a publisher?
  11. Do you need permission to quote small amounts of material from copyrighted sources?
  12. How do you adjust a book so it’s compatible with digital printing?
  13. How long does copyright last?
  14. How does a self-publisher find a lawyer to consult?
  15. When will ebooks have color?

Speaker of the Month: David Cole

Speaker David Cole (Bay Tree Publishing) shared wisdom gained from his thirty years in many facets of the publishing business.

Cole noted that many people who are new to publishing don’t realize that only 10% of the work is creating a book, the other 90% is marketing.

He emphasized that “everything is marketing,” since setting the tone of the book, designing the cover, setting the price, and all the other decisions we make in bringing a book to market, are decisions that affect the marketability of the book.

Cole, also a marketing consultant, alerted the packed crowd that “the biggest marketing decision is made when you decide what to write.” He said that the market has fragmented to such a degree that every interest, no matter how small, can now be considered a niche. This presents opportunities to small publishers and self publishers.

This niche marketing along with print on demand distribution eliminates some of the advantages that large companies have enjoyed due to their ability to effect economies of scale. The most cost-effective marketing is now available online. Amazon.com has passed Barnes & Noble in sales, and the tools available online make niche marketing possible.

The Van Yoder Online Author Model

Cole encouraged authors to follow the model established by Steven Van Yoder in Get Slightly Famous, (a book published by Cole’s Bay Tree Publishing) by:

  • Establishing a web presence for their book
  • Including the table of Contents and an excerpt on the book’s website
  • Featuring reviews for the book, background on the subject area, author information and a link to buy the book
  • Blogging. Authors should have blogs so they can establish an ongoing presence and interaction with readers

Although traditionally it’s been uneconomical to find and connect communities of common interest, social networking tools excel for that use. Creating an appealing online identity, giving good quality information, and being proactive are the tools for book marketing success today.

It’s a Network Effect

The rest of the meeting was spent on “elevator speech” (30-second) introductions, and plenty of time for networking. Connections were made, friendships revived, and we learned something too. There’s so much expertise in the room each month, there’s always someone to ask if you have a question. The collegial environment of indie publishing is thriving in the San Francisco Bay Area.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

2 Comments

  1. David Bergsland

    Of course, I had to start with a typo: What is interesting for me… The amount of typos have not changed much.

    ;-)

    Reply
  2. David Bergsland

    What is interesting form is that almost all fifteen questions now have different answers in 2012.

    Reply

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