I remember when I first started drinking at the fountain of book expertise. Actually I still do, but back then it was all so overwhelming and bewildering. Book experts had me running in all different directions trying to figure out what and how much to do to get my books published, noticed and read. Some of the advice was free, most was not.
It wasn’t until I settled down and started thinking strategically about a business and marketing plan that would serve as a blueprint for my actions. I had to figure out what I wanted for my company and what was appropriate for us. There are hundreds of great ideas out there, but every one will not fit your strategy. Once you know what you want, it is easier to make decisions about which suggestion or offer to take.
When I started publishing over a decade ago, there was only a fraction of the number of current book experts dispensing advice and most were affiliated with the major publishers working on the sidelines. Fortunately, independent publishers had the formerly named Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) now known as the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN) to guide their efforts. But publishing was just as scary then as it is now, except now it feels like there are more friends than barracudas circling around.
With the explosion of self-published authors enabled by technological advances and the industry’s recognition that the real growth is in independent publishing, the number of book experts in production, marketing, media relations and distribution has multiplied. So to pick one’s way through this crowded field, a publisher or self-published author needs to take time to jot down a simple business plan even if it is no more than bullet points. Invest time in organizations and groups within the industry and get educated. Then you will be able to make choices based on your own goals and save a lot of ignorant money. The book expert pitches and suggestions will continue, but you will be in a better position to discriminate.