Self-Publishing Business 101: The Art and Science of Book Promotion – Capitalization

A start-up small business vs. wishful thinking

An author writes. That is what he or she wants to do. In most cases, an author dreams. He or she dreams about bestsellers, about making a living from writing, about his or her book being made into a movie. These are all good-in fact, they are all great. Dreaming, hoping, fantasizing about ultimate success in one’s own writing is a virtue. Writing, however, is hard and writing really well is harder; it takes motivation, persistence, and continuous improvement.

For independent authors, the entire self-publishing journey is a three-stage adventure as described in Not a Gold Rush: The Taleist SelfPublishing Survey: “Writing a book is the first leg… getting it self-published is the second. The third leg is marketing your book.”

The writing process is what every author understands and completely relates to. The publishing process is, to a lesser extent, also a familiar setting for authors, especially the experienced ones. However, after a book is finished and published, the next phase of getting the book known and making it sell is usually like stepping into an entirely different world. It’s a hard adjustment to make for most, but the fact is promoting one’s book is akin to operating a small business; it has very little to do with writing or the publishing process. An author who realizes, accepts, and adjusts to this reality has already taken the first step.

Proper book promotion is something that a lot of authors don’t do. These are the authors who try to find someone willing to put energy into translating their dream into this functioning small business of promoting it. Agents do this. Traditional publishers do this. They become that second personality, that small “business mind.” In doing so, they allow the author to primarily stay in his or her writing, still dreaming and hoping, because the agent or publisher can take on the lion’s share of the small business that can actually belong to the author if only he or she knows how to handle it and handle it well.

Even in this case, when the agent or publisher is generally more involved, the author is still asked to step in and participate in the business quite often. The primary responsibility for the alter ego rests with somebody else, yes, but so does the profit. Less than 5%-by some measures, less than 1%-of authors find an agent or traditional publisher willing to take them on. For the other 95-99%, however, you-the author-are going to have to be two different people: a writer and a small business owner.

The characteristics of running a start-up small business

If you’ve never owned a small business, you would have no way of knowing what it’s about. I’ve owned and run small businesses for 27 years. There were times I have succeeded, as well as times I have failed. I’ve had Inc. 500 businesses, consulting businesses, marketing businesses, publishing businesses, and more. Based on my knowledge and experience as a businessman, I can tell you with 100% certainty that promoting one’s book and oneself-with the operations you have to go through-is just like operating any other small business. It has the same cycles, it has the same start -up needs, it has the same waiting, it has the same team building, it has the same “making-decisions-with-inadequate-data” characteristics, it has the same “throw-many-things-up-on-the-walluntil-you-know-what-you’re-doing,” it has the same fear, and it has the same thrills.

The most important thing you need to know is that running a business has its own skill set needed, just like anything else. The most common problem among people who try to start a business is they may think that, if they are just good at what they already know, they’ll succeed. Someone good at working on cars starts to charge people, word gets around, he works on more and more cars. Eventually, the fateful day comes when he starts to hire people to help him. He is confident about his knowledge and experience as a car mechanic and believes that it’s good enough to take things to the next level based on that skill alone. He, however, is about to embark on a venture of which he knows nothing-making a business work, not just making a car run. He is about to find out technical and managing kills have little to do with each other.

The same thing goes with marketing your titles. Although a fair amount of book promotion is writing-blogs, articles, social media postings, press releases, etc.-this is just about 20% of it. You’ll want to concentrate on that and that’s a good thing. What is essential is that you accept and make it your mission to learn as much about the other 80% as you can, and spend enough time on that 80% as well. If you do that, you’ve got a shot. Unless you get an agent or a traditional publisher, if you say to yourself “Someone else can do all that. I don’t want to think about it” and then you do exactly that, you’ve lost before you have even started. This is not to say you have to be an expert in all parts of book promotion; it is, however, to say that you need to understand all parts of your new business well enough to oversee it. As what best-selling self-published author, Hugh Howey, mentioned in his article, “Hugh Howey: Self-publishing is the future-and great for writers”:

“The success of your work will depend on you knowing this business and embracing all the challenges that a self-published author faces… Promotion will be up to you.”

We all start from somewhere-or with something-and it is always preferable and more effective to understand the basics first instead of trying to take in the whole all at once. Before you start with-or overhaul-your book promotion business, there are five things or the first five tools you have to get to know and familiarize yourself:

• Capitalization

• Delegation

• Expectations of returns

• Systems orientation

• Fear

Important Note

We’d like to mention here and now, something that runs throughout the series of articles. As mentioned earlier, starting and running your book promotion business is exactly like starting and running any other small business in one big way. There is one simple rule of thumb, far more important than any other that will spell success of failure, and it is this:

If you avoid the biggest land mines, you have a chance at success. If you emulate those that have succeeded before you and truly make your best effort at doing that, you have an even greater chance of succeeding. In this series of articles we are going to show you the biggest land mines, and tell you what has worked best.

Please notice throughout this series of articles that, periodically, we will describe a behavior or an attribute a pattern of decision that either defines a bigger reason why authors fail or defines something that those self-publishing authors who reported making an independent living from royalties are doing. Our suggestion is that, when you see those you keep track and make a list of behaviors in common with authors that fail or with the Top Earners. We suggest that you refer to this list regularly and make sure you’re always avoiding the fail behaviors and emulating the ways that led to success. Most authors-in fact, most people-will tell themselves “This doesn’t apply to me” in this or that circumstance. They will go off on their own adventure, ignoring both lists, and end up looking around for whom to blame when they fail. It is your job and your responsibility to *not* be one of those people.

First up-Capitalization

It is important to strongly consider capitalization before you start your book promotion business or any business for that matter. There are ways to prepare properly for those and ways to reduce capitalization needed.

Most self-publishing authors make one or two mistakes right out of the gate. First, they do their book production themselves. According to the Taleist survey for self-publishing authors, majority of the 1000+ respondents stated that they earn more than 3.5 times of the royalty/revenue if they have the production work done by outside professionals, compared to if they did that work on their own. Second, when authors hire an outside firm to do this work, they tend to show poor judgment in their selection of firms. There are those who would spend $3000, only to get subpar production work done when they can get high-level prepress for 1/3 of that cost. With the former mistake, they enter into book production already having sabotaged themselves out of 2/3 of the returns they might get for promotion. With the latter mistake, they enter promotion $2000 poorer with what may or may not be an attractive product, which further decreases the chance of the book to sell.

Capitalization planning depends on a realistic idea of the amount of time it will take for promotion to succeed to a breakeven point. Most authors-in fact, most first time small business owners-vastly underestimate this amount of time. With most small businesses, it takes 3 to 5 years to get to breakeven. While the amount of time it may take to get to breakeven with book production is less than that, most authors-and most small business owners-give up after 3 to 6 months of effort. If you want to make it into that segment of the Top Earners-self-publishing authors who reported making a living off their royalty income (10% of self-publishing author respondents)-you should capitalize such that you can maintain your plan for at least 18 months, a probable timeframe to reach breakeven point. There are authors who accomplished this within 12 months, but very few in a shorter period of time.

The amount of capital needed obviously depends on the promotional systems picked, and this varies widely. It depends on what you can do yourself with competence. It depends on your willingness to invest time daily. It depends on the systems you decide to use whether or not they are “best-bang-for-your-buck” systems for your book or not. It depends on your ability and willingness to learn and adjust on the fly. The subject of amount of capital will be addressed later in this series and in more specific terms.

Capitalization is one part of the picture we are trying to put together, and like the rest of the foundations we are going to discuss, it also branches out and affects other aspects and, eventually, the whole venture. But, in order to understand the basics and the whole small business-start-up subject, we will start with the overviews before narrowing down into more details, during which we will introduce more important aspects of book promotions from the business perspective.

On the next article, we will tackle techniques on proper and effective delegation of tasks, knowing when and where to ask help, as well as what your focus should be in the start-up process.

Forex Education Tips – 5 Steps to Successful Forex Trading

Close to 95% of all Forex traders will lose money. We’re not just talking about novices, either. Whether you trade Forex for a living, as a hobby or just for fun, odds are against your success. That’s a simply astonishing fact. However, the remaining 5% of Forex traders somehow manage to break even and there are those lucky few that actually make money in the currency market – consistently!Like the TV show says … “How’d they do that, anyway?”That’s the million dollar questions, isn’t it? Countless books, seminars and expos have been hosted to answer this very question. That sad fact is that thousands of books have been written and countless seminars and interviews have been conducted in an attempt to answer the magic questions. The reality of the situation is that there is no magic formula; no one single Holy Grail of Forex trading.So what do the successful traders do that the rest of us have simple not comprehended. They have mastered a process of winning where they combine and customize several factor to produce consistent results. They have mastered the Process of Trading.The Process of Trading is:Strategy > Money Management > Self-MasteryHere are some simple Forex Education tips to help you master the process of forex trading:Success Tip #1 – You’ve Got To Have a PlanYou must have a written business plan that will detail all aspects of your trading. When are you going to trade, how much to risk, strategies for entries and exits are just o name a few. To become a consistent (profitable) Forex trader you have to plan your trade sand trade your plan.

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Simplicity rules! Don’t make this plan too complicated. One sheet of paper for you mission statement and another for your trading plan should suffice. Anything more is probably too complicated.Success Tip #2 – Focus on Your Personal PsychologyKnowing yourself will allow you to master the discipline necessary to execute high quality trades with solid money management techniques. Lack of discipline is fatal in Forex trading. Go on a personal journey to identify you attitudes towards risk and money. Get intimate with your strengths and weaknesses as a trader and build in to your trading plan strategies to minimize those weaknesses and maximize your strengths.Different personalities lend to different trading styles. Get familiar with all the different styles and over time you will begin to gravitate towards one particular style. Don’t fight the urge like I did. I insisted I was a day trader, but had only limited results. I found my winning percentages were much higher when I entered swing trades. Guess what’s my bread and butter strategy now!Success Tip #3 – Be Realistic About Your ExpectationsThis is a hard one, I know! I am on the internet every day and the amount of advertising is staggering. Brokers are offering free education (fox in the hen house if you ask me), forums of all different trading styles and points of view. Gurus pushing their system as “the one” that will make you the big bucks. How do you get through all that noise?Let me tell you loud and clear right now – everyone is right and everyone is wrong. You have to make a personal commitment to become a successful trader, find a trading style that works for you and expect a slow and steady approach to wealth building through Forex.What works for me may not work for you. Expect to go through an exploratory period where you are learning and at the same time exploring yourself as a trader. Keep an open mind and don’t pay attention to all the noise out there.Success Tip #4 – Exercise PatienceRome was not built in a day and neither will your trading account. In fact, I tell all of my students that while they are studying to become successful Forex traders they should not look solely at their account balance as an indication of success or failure.By tracking and increasing your percentage of high quality trades you execute is a far better barometer of your progress than your account balance. Cause and effect rule here. Over time when you increase your probabilities through the execution of high quality trades your account balance will respond accordingly.Keep the focus on the process and with time your results will blow your mind.Success Tip #5 – Money Management Is Top PriorityI would rather have a shaky strategy and excellent money management techniques than the other way around. This topic warrants its own blog post to do it justice. Limited your exposure (read “risk”) allows for you to stay in the game and allow the laws of probability to work.

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Let’s take a casino for example. They need gamblers to frequent their slot machines to make money. Why? They have a game that has a greater than 50% chance of making money for the house. The more people that play the slots, the greater the casino’s profits.The casino controls risk by payout tables (always favoring the house!) and increases their probabilities by keeping gamblers at the slot machines (read “free drinks”). As a trader you must limit your risk by committing only 1% – 3% of available capital to a single trade. When you execute enough trades with a high probability strategy you too can clean up like the casinos – but only by staying in the game long term.In conclusion, Forex trading is not easy. It’s hard work and will test the limits of your patience and perseverance. If anyone tells you otherwise .., buyers beware! It can be a very rewarding and profitable venture if done correctly. In the end it is a profession that requires a learning curve and practical experience, no different than an airline pilot or engineer. Understanding how to approach and learn this game will allow you to reap all the benefits advertised. It is your Forex Education that you will master the Process of Forex Trading.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

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The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

Skip The Lines – Bring The Amusement Park Right To Your Own Back Yard

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta. From professional sports to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone. In fact, Atlanta is proud to house some of the nations largest amusement attractions, including the ever popular Six Flags Over Georgia. Children (and adults) love the thrill and adrenaline rush of the large roller coasters. However, one thing most people don’t like about amusement parks is the long lines. By the time it’s all said and done, you can spend several hundred dollars for your family to have an afternoon of fun, and only get a few rides in. This year, instead of spending the day waiting in long lines for short rides, why not bring the fun right to your back yard? With today’s technology, you can literally do just that! One of the advantages of living in a large city like Atlanta is that we have large rental companies that can make your special event feel just like a trip to Six Flags… complete with a train and an ice cream cart!

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If you’re trying to replicate the amusement park feel, there are definitely specific items that you’ll want to be on the lookout for. As mentioned previously, ice cream carts and trackless trains help make the special event feel more like a day at Six Flags.In order to make your next special event more special, try some of the following tips:

Head online to do some research on the party rental company that has the selection your looking for. If you want an ice cream cart to complete your theme park adventure, look around until you find what you’re looking for.

Don’t settle for the first website you see. There are literally hundreds of inflatable party rental companies in Atlanta. Keep looking for a website that offers a wide variety of rental items that you’re looking for.

It’s better to rent everything from one company. Renting in bulk can help you save money. Larger companies will offer discounts for larger purchases of multiple units and rental items.

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Having a day of amusement park fun is cheaper and easier than ever before. By bringing the amusement park to your front door by using a party rental industry, you can include more people at a lower price. So next time you’re planning a special day, instead of spending tons of money for just a few people and braving the long lines of amusement parks, invite the whole neighborhood and bring the amusement park right to your own back yard!