Saturday, May 17, 2014
Self Publishing: Stupidity or Strategy? SUSAN HARRIS
Plain and simple I don't like rejection.
I have no shortage of friends, school was a breeze, husband-finding was neither long nor arduous though the three-year engagement was. Long, that is, not arduous.
I generally achieve what I aim for. My determination could be credited to training in management, or maybe the innate manager was determined to be trained. Whatever it is, I'm a business woman. And I apply business principles to my life, be it for profit or not.
My gifting comes from the Lord, and I honoured that with over 15 years fully devoted to His work. He blessed, I invested in the Kingdom, and flourished.
Many wonder why I self-published my latest book, Remarkably Ordinary. After all, I occupy a coveted spot in the ranks of the traditionally published. Would I jeopardize future contracts and my relationship with my publisher? Would traditionally published authors wrinkle their noses at me?
Unequivocally, I reply "No" to the 'jeopardizing' question, and "I don't give a penny" to the 'nose-wrinkling' one (but I'll give a shiny one to whomever purchase books).
Publishing is an occupation, and publishers are businessmen. I am an entrepreneurial female with self-published books who was able to broker deals with an entrepreneurial male. A few years ago I successfully negotiated hoards of contracts for an employer in an area where professionals feared to tread. I was the mouthpiece, and the Holy Spirit lent me words that arrested colleagues, impressed bosses, and persuaded the parties to embrace change with their signature. The Holy Spirit is still with me and I use His partnership to represent myself.
Because rejection has not played a dominant role in my life, as I get older, I'll be danged (this was a swear word when I was growing up) if I'd throw myself in rejection's pathway. I refuse to be labelled a reject or to hunt for a decade for someone to publish my book or to accumulate cabinets of refusal letters. I can't imagine why I'd want to erode my confidence through those means.
I ask myself, "Should I place hope in a company (publisher) when I could become that company?"
I researched the publishing industry, examining it through the lens of the 70-30 principle. If I assessed a success rate of 70%, I'd go ahead. I knew enough to start - writing, pricing, communicating, promoting, marketing, accounting, budgeting, packaging, shipping. Controllable and uncontrollable barriers. Scoping. Timing. Milestones. Adding value. Removing waste. Saying no. Keeping focused. Obtaining legal advice. I learned as I went along, and I keep learning every day.
Economics underscore that if operating variable costs are covered, business is viable. I heeded both variable and fixed costs. The textbooks ask, Is marketing making what you can sell or selling what you can make? Despite finding success at both, I subscribe to the latter.
The book market is a competitive one, but more critically, it's an elastic one, i.e. highly responsive to price.
I set my own prices in the range I'd pay for a book. I'm an ebook gal, and my favourite digits next to 0.00 are 99 (¢), but I'll consider a dollar or two higher. Since few books are as urgent as Diet Pepsi, I can wait for a deal or a freebie. (Unlike my Kindle, my cupboard supports the Just-In-Time system, thereby rendering the demand for DP inelastic). Seriously, though, I find the ability to control price one of the most attractive aspects of self-publishing.
All my books have yielded 100% returns and more, although Remarkably Ordinary did it in days. I'll be stupid if I disregarded the most strategic business decision I've made in my writing career.
(An excerpt from "Insights into Being Successful Right Where You Are" coming later in 2014).
Susan Harris newest book Remarkably Ordinary - 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are is available at your favourite Amazon site.
Susan Harris is a former teacher in Management of Business. Her credentials include a B.Sc. in Management Studies, post-graduate diploma in Education, Diploma in Writing, Diploma in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Certificate in Theology. She holds membership with the Canadian Council of Human Resources Association and notable writing groups in Canada. She is the author of four books - Remarkably Ordinary, Golden Apples in Silver Settings (White Lily Press), Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids (Borealis Press). She was born on the tropical island of Trinidad but now lives on the prairies with her husband, daughter and the gregarious cats.
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