Talking Points for "Ask Heloise" Interview
Liberty Broadcasting Network
3 Million Listeners Weekly, Nationwide
Below you will find talking points for a nationally-syndicated radio program about self-publishing, broadcast on the popular "Ask Heloise" radio show on August 15. 2004. This is not a verbatim transcript, but previously prepared 'talking points' used to organize the program.Introduction
Co-author Danny O. Snow was interviewed in a special live segment explaining how nearly anyone can self-publish a book, using new technologies to lower costs and reach readers more directly.
Many of the resources cited in the broadcast (such as locations of online lists of designers, distributors, editors and printers) are available exclusively in the book. Please note that Snow does not endorse specific products or services, nor accept fees for mentioning them. This is a brief introduction to self-publishing. You are strongly encouraged to research other sources before publishing a book.
This brief report was prepared for a one-hour radio broadcast. For more detailed information about self-publishing, click HERE to order the paperback, or request a copy of U-Publish.com: How 'U' Can Compete with the Giants of Publishing by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow at your local library!
Do your homework before you start writing!
"...Self-publishing is much easier now," said Calvin Reid, an editor at Publishers Weekly. "Before, you had to spend thousands of dollars. Now you can have your book wonderfully published for several hundred dollars and print on demand." Add to that, "conscientious, relentless marketing," Mr. Reid said, "and you have a recipe for success."There are about 50,000 new copyrights every year… and that's just in America. Traditionally, fewer than 5% of all books written were ever published -- but this is changing dramatically as new technologies make it faster and more economical to publish books. In 2003, the number of new releases soared to an all-time high of 175,000 new books in a single year. A record number of these books were self-published.
-- The New York Times
Equally important, authors who self-publish books today are increasingly successful in bypassing conventional marketing channels. Instead, savvy self-publishers sell directly to readers at live events, online and through lucrative specialty outlets that are often overlooked by the traditional publishing industry. These "non-traditional" channels are nearly TEN TIMES more numerous, easier to target, often pay more, and pay faster, than mainstream book trade outlets.
Professionals in the publishing industry tend to look down on self-published books, citing frequent writing errors, amateurish layouts and cover designs, or other problems that are rarely seen in books from major publishers… BUT there is absolutely no reason why a self-published book can't meet professional standards. Here are just a handful of books that were originally self-published:
What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles: 22 editions, 5 million copies and 288 weeks on the bestseller lists. Now published by Ten Speed Press.
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters: more than 25,000 copies were sold directly to consumers in its first year. Then it was sold to Warner, which sold 10 million more.
Real Peace by Richard M. Nixon.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield: his manuscript made the rounds of the mainstream houses, and then he decided to publish it himself. He started by selling copies out of the trunk of his Honda -- more than 100,000 of them. He subsequently sold out to Warner for $800,000. The #1 bestseller in 1996, it has now sold more than 5.5 million copies.
The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson: sold more than 20,000 copies locally before they sold out to Morrow. It has sold more than 12 million copies since 1982 and been translated in 25 languages.
A Time to Kill by John Grisham.
The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer: this classic was self-published in 1931 as a project of the First Unitarian Women’s Alliance in St. Louis. Today Scribner sells more than 100,000 copies each year.
So don't tell me that self-publishing isn't a viable way to get in print! If you have the passion to write about a subject you love, the time and skills to prepare a quality book for publication, the confidence to take some financial risk, and most of all the determination to promote and market it proactively, you can self-publish successfully.
For those who do, this report will briefly summarize the most important things you can do to succeed, and some pitfalls to avoid.
Note: for more detailed information, click HERE to order the paperback, or request the book titled U-Publish.com by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow at your local library.
Don't write a book first, then try to find readers for it. Instead, research your readership BEFORE you start writing. Study other books on your subject at libraries, bookstores and online. Fill a need that isn't already met, or do a better job meeting the need than other writers. Books that are unique have an advantage, but nearly any quality book with a clearly-identifiable audience can be successfully self-published.Start writing with the finished product in mind.
Observe whether comparable books are paperbacks or hardbacks, how many pages they contain, their prices, and how they look. Plan yours to be truly competitive when it is published.
Novels and poetry are tougher than non-fiction, because it is harder to pinpoint the audience for general fiction than to identify readers for a book about a specific, practical topic. But even a first novel or book of verse can be successful, if you plan carefully beforehand, and work hard (and work smart) to market it after publication.
Before you start writing for self-publication, read books by experts. This report was written to fit a one-hour radio broadcast, and covers only the basics. Books by experts include insights drawn from years of experience that you can absorb in a week or two. A single good tip from an expert can save you many times the cost of buying a book.
My first "bible" was The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter, available at most libraries and major bookstores, or at ParaPublishing.com with a ton of resources, many of which are free. Dan is widely recognized as the father of the self-publishing movement. He got me started, and has helped literally thousands of others to publish books independently.
There are many other good books about self-publishing... too many to discuss here! A couple new ones I'd recommend are Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud and Publishing Basics, which is FREE from BooksJustBooks.com upon request. John Kremer and Fern Reiss have several publications about marketing that are excellent… And let's not forget some great newsletters, by Jim Barnes at IndependentPublisher.com and Rita Mills at The American Book Cooperative -- to name just two.
Another way to gain expertise is to join trade associations like Publishers Marketing Association, Small Press Action Network, Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network and Small Publishers Association of North America. These groups provide outstanding opportunities for education, and they are exceptionally welcoming to newcomers. PMA, for example, holds an annual "Publishing University" where you can attend highly informative workshops and seminars that are ideal for the new publisher. It's hard to overstate the benefits of membership for those getting started in publishing.
After you've finished reading what the experts say, talk to a book designer and a printer, to learn the best ways to prepare your manuscript.
(Note: Get the paperback for locations of lists of book designers and printers, maintained online to remain current long after we go press.)
An experienced book designer can explain things like why each chapter should start on a right-hand page, or why faces in a photo should be at least as big as a dime. A professional printer can show you how to save money if your completed book fills a particular number of pages in a particular trim size, or why color printing inside a book is very expensive. This information can guide you in preparing the manuscript for better results.
Throughout the process, get professional help when needed. It's called self-publishing, but it DOESN'T mean you need to do everything yourself! This is especially true for things you aren't fully qualified to do. Today, it's possible to produce a quality book at a fraction of the cost of traditional publishing, even budgeting for professional assistance. You'll probably spend hundreds of hours writing and publishing the book -- don't throw away your time and money by refusing to pay for qualified help in key areas, and end up with a sub-standard book. Think of yourself as a general contractor building a house: You're in charge, but of course you job out the wiring to an electrician, rather than trying to do it yourself. As a publisher, use specialists in editorial work, typesetting and printing unless by chance you're an expert yourself.
Budget accordingly, and remember that it pays to compare services and pricing beforehand.
In very round numbers, for a 200 page paperback, a conventional publisher would probably budget almost $10,000, starting with 3,000 or more copies. Allowing a generous budget with editorial and design support, a self-publisher can often get started for less than $2,000 plus the cost of printing 100 to 500 copies initially, at $3 to $5 each.
Note: for more detailed information, click HERE to order the paperback, or request the book titled U-Publish.com by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow at your local library.
Write about a subject you know well, and one that you enjoy. This will not only make the experience more pleasant, but more profitable, as you will see below.Self-Publishing versus Vanity Publishing
Begin writing with a specific plan, based on the "homework" you did at the beginning of this report, studying comparable books and getting professional input from a designer and printer. For example: "My goal is to write a paperback book about organic fertilizers that I will sell for $11.99 at gardening centers, tree nurseries, flower shows, horticulture clubs, from my own Web site and by direct mail. It will be about 15,000 words (or 100 pages) in length, 5.5x8.5" with a full color cover and black-and-white interior with a few illustrations."
Pick a style manual, such as the AP Stylebook or Chicago Manual of Style and follow the guidelines consistently. For example, when a quotation ends with a question, does the question mark appear inside the quotation marks, or outside? Either way is OK, but the manuscript should be 100% consistent throughout.
A big part of writing well is economy of style: express your points clearly and simply, with as many words as needed, but not a single word more. Economy of style will later translate to economy of budget, reducing your typesetting and layout costs, printing costs, shipping costs, and more. In the long run, writing 20 extra pages that are not essential will add to your publication costs -- and do your readers a disservice.
Work with an editor, or at least a qualified proofreader -- someone with a working background in spelling and grammar. This is true even if you are a gifted writer; authors are often so close to their own work that they overlook problems that might seem obvious to an outsider.
(Note: See the book for editing tips and a private Web location where you can get a list of editors for hire, updated regularly to keep readers current in the years ahead.)
Another inside tip: finish the writing and editing 100% (better still 110%) before even a single word is typeset. You will discover that making changes after typesetting starts is much more costly and time-consuming than polishing the manuscript beforehand.
Last but not least: Take your time writing. Rushing a manuscript to typesetting almost always results in oversights that authors and publishers regret later.
Note: for more detailed information, click HERE to order the paperback, or request the book titled U-Publish.com by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow at your local library.
For many years, authors who self-publish have been concerned that their books might be unfairly stigmatized as a "vanity" publications. Today, the publishing world is changing dramatically, so it is important to draw new distinctions between self-publishing and vanity publishing in the 21st Century.DON'T confuse "Print-on-Demand" with Vanity Publishing
It's not fair to expect most writers to have the myriad of skills required to publish a book entirely on their own: writing, editing, layout, graphic design, printing, etc. As a result, it's common for self- publishers to hire professionals with specific skills. The notion that paying for professional assistance in the process of publishing a book implies vanity publishing is simply false.
A growing number of writers do have the technical expertise needed to manage nearly every aspect of publishing a professional quality book... but they are still relatively rare.
Many self-publishing authors function like "general contractors" building houses: sub-contracting specific tasks to specialists in carpentry, plumbing, roofing, etc. They hire an editor, book designer, printer and other service providers individually.
Others prefer to use a single company that combines services in a package.
In all three cases, the author invests meaningful amounts of time and/or money. So if paying for services is not the issue, whether in a package or not, what's the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing?
One way to make a distinction is to ask how does the publisher earn money? From fees paid by authors, or sales of books to readers? Vanity presses get the majority of their revenues from fees paid by writers... often totaling many thousands of dollars. They make a tidy profit whether the book sells or not. On the other hand, self-publishers earn most of their money by actually selling books.
In our view, the real difference between vanity publishing and self-publishing is whether the author has a realistic expectation of recovering the cost of publication.
True self-publishers approach the publication of a book like a business. They know that they need to offer the public a competitive product at a competitive price. They understand that authors must aggressively market their own books. Vanity publishing usually overlooks the probability (or improbability) of recovering the cost of publication; the author is satisfied simply by getting a book in print.
"Print-on-Demand" (POD) is the hot topic in the world of self-publishing. At one level, POD is just a method of printing with toner rather than ink -- but more importantly it is a business model: printing real books in quantities literally as small as one at a time, as they are ordered by readers. Instead of printing thousands of books first, then hoping that readers buy them, the reverse is true: readers order first, then the books are quickly printed and delivered in a matter of days (not weeks) to the buyers. In other words, waste is practically eliminated -- you print only as many books as you really need, with few (if any) unsold copies left over.From Manuscript to Galley
The largest vanity presses use POD, but that doesn't mean that POD is merely for vanity publishing. Real publishers use it too.
Here are just a few well-known publishing houses that have published books with the world's leading POD printer, LightningSource: Bantam Doubleday Dell, Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Grove Atlantic Press, Harcourt Trade, Harper Collins, Henry Holt & Company, McGraw-Hill, NYU Press, Oxford University Press, Penguin Putnam, Random House, Scholastic Books, Simon & Schuster, St. Martins Press, and Time Warner Book Group.
My book with Dan Poynter titled U-Publish.com is a POD book, printed by LightningSource and Replica Books. It looks as good, if not better, than most books printed the traditional way. We're very satisfied with it, and plan to release another POD edition soon.
In my opinion, within a few years most books other than sure-fire bestsellers will be POD books, in one form or another. And I mean books from major publishers, as well as self-published books.
Whether you choose self-publishing, subsidy publishing or a vanity press, let's assume at this point that you've finished writing, and give your 110% completed manuscript to the book designer to start typesetting.From Galley to Book
Your designer should know your design goals, along with specifications from your printer to achieve the lowest possible print cost, such as ideal trim size and page count. If it is late in the year (September through December) ask the designer to use the following year for the copyright and publication date, and shoot for a January release. This avoids a situation where the book shows the previous year of publication in January, making it appear old, when it is really new.
Work with the designer to make the cover eye-catching, and market-oriented. On the cover, emphasize why readers benefit from buying. The author's photo and biography can go inside the book, reserving valuable "real estate" on the cover to convince readers to buy. Remind the designer to save space for endorsements from VIPs or book reviewers, as explained below. Consider making the spine read vertically, so that it is easier to read when shelved with other books.
While you are waiting for the design to be completed, consult a book called Literary Marketplace at your local library and compile a list of publications that might write a review. Select only those with a clear, direct focus on the subject matter of your book. Note the submission policy of each publication: some prefer to receive a galley proof; others prefer a finished book. Send a query letter, offering a pre-publication copy. Be sure to mention the projected publication date, which should be at least 60 to 90 days in the future, because many reviewers require copies well in advance of publication.
(Note: Get the paperback for the location of extensive online promotion tools, including book reviews.)
It is more costly to send a copy of the galley than a printed book, so be selective about contacting those that require galleys. In the following section, you can contact other outlets for possible coverage, after you have printed books available.
If you want to try marketing to traditional book trade outlets (mostly bookstores and libraries) you will want to make arrangements with a distributor in advance. This report focuses on NON-traditional markets, but you can obtain a list of traditional book wholesalers and distributors by reading the book.
(Note: Read the book for an extensive list of wholesale distributors, maintained online to keep readers current for years to come.)
One benefit of working with a vanity publisher or subsidy press is that many provide distribution (although sometimes limited, and often lacking returnable terms for bookstores) as part of the service. Visit DeHanna Bailee's "Publish For a Fee" Database to compare several.
To distribute the book through traditional trade channels independently, you will need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and possibly a Library of Congress Catalog Number (LCCN) and/or Catalog-in-Publication (CIP) data, which your designer should include on the copyright page. Information about securing an ISBN is available from Bowker.com while information about LCCN applications and CIP data may be obtained from the Library of Congress at the LOC.gov Web site. Your book designer will also need to add a barcode with the ISBN on the cover of the book.
Create a Web site for your book. Make sure it is a permanent Web location that you own, and that the address appears on the cover of the book. At the site, emphasize why readers benefit from buying the book. Offer a sample chapter or two as a free read. Tell readers how to order the book, even if it is available exclusively from you.
Mention the Web location on your letterhead, business cards, and in every e-mail message you send.
Be sure your site includes an online "press kit" with a sample book cover, your picture, bio, and excerpts that can be used in reports about the book after it is published. If your subject is related to hot topics in the news, reference recent reports. You want to make it easy for journalists to compose articles, by providing them with all the materials they typically need. By making the reporter's job easier, you increase your chance of coverage. Getting media coverage is discussed at greater length below.
Notify personal contacts and anyone with special interest in the upcoming book that it will become publicly available in the next few months. Some may want to reserve a copy from the first printing by ordering in advance.
All the steps above should be well underway by the time your book designer has a galley proof ready for your approval.
When the designer has the galley ready, several important steps follow:In Print at Last
Quickly send copies to book reviewers who responded to your query letter described above. Remember that reviewers are swamped with new books, and their request to see the galley does not guarantee that a review will be published. If you don't hear from them by the time that the book is printed, it's OK to send a follow up, but simply ask for confirmation that they received the galley. Do not pressure a reviewer by asking if or when a review will appear.
If you are fortunate enough to know experts in your field, or celebrities with public name recognition, send additional copies of the galley with a request for their comments. (In the publishing world, we call these "blurbs.") A good blurb from a VIP can be featured on the cover of the book, and on your Web site, to catch the eyes of readers.
Check the galley carefully for problems. Don't overlook seemingly obvious errors like missing pages. Check the barcode and registration numbers (if any) on the back cover and copyright page to make sure the digits are accurate. At this point it is often helpful to bring in an outsider who knows nothing about the book. An extra set of eyes will sometimes notice things that insiders do not.
Assuming your Web site is up and running by now, start accepting "Advance orders" from readers. If you are fortunate to get many orders in advance, it will help you decide how many books to print initially… and help pay for your initial press run. I've heard more than one story about savvy self-publishers who managed to get enough pre-publication orders to cover the entire cost of publication -- including editorial support, book design and printing -- before even a single book was printed! In a case like this, you're in the black from Day One, and every subsequent sale simply increases your profits.
At this point in the process, you should already have a printer waiting to go to press. After making corrections/changes from the galley, your designer will soon be ready to send files to the printer. But how many copies should you print? Certainly you will need at least 100 to 500, for book reviewers, VIPs, reporters, and early public orders. I always recommend starting with the smallest possible quantity.
The single reason self-publishers most often lose money is because of overprinting before actual public demand is proven. I know: you believe in your book and expect to sell zillions of copies. That's good; if you didn't, why would you publish it at all? But good books don't always enjoy good sales, so please be conservative at first, until you have solid, objective proof that larger numbers are actually needed. Remember: you can always print more!
A final note of caution: you will probably notice that the printing cost per book drops dramatically from 100 to 500 to 1,000 copies. For a short paperback, your printer might charge $500 for 100 copies, but only $2,500 for 1,000, literally cutting the cost per book in half. But what if you need only 300 copies? In this scenario, you are left with 700 unsold books at $2.50 each -- ouch! It is MUCH better to pay $5 each for 300 books you really need, versus $2.50 each for 700 books that don't sell. If the first printing sells out, print more next time. Keep this in mind as you go press.
Finally, your book is in print! For many writers, holding the first copy of a book in their hands is a defining moment in life. Savor it. Then roll up your sleeves, because the real work of self-publishing is just beginning…Reaching Readers
Save a handful of copies from the first printing for yourself. If the book takes off, you'll enjoy having a few on hand.
Earlier, you may have received requests from book reviewers for printed books. Mail review copies right away, because reviewers prefer "fresh" books. Depending on the policies of reviewers, you may even want to wait an additional month after sending review copies to make the book widely available to the public, giving reviewers more lead time.
Send copies to newspapers, radio and TV stations in your geographic area, publications of schools you attended, magazines of professional associations of which you are a member, or other institutions where you have a personal connection. Enclose a one-page cover letter, explaining your connection and offering to do an interview. Emphasize why your book is newsworthy.
Book reviews and other media coverage are better than advertising. First of all, they're free. In addition, the public finds reviews and reports credible, while ads are not.
If you received advance orders, ship them promptly, with a note of thanks and a request to tell others that the book is finally out. Media Mail from the USPS is a good shipping method, currently only $1.42 for the first pound (roughly the weight of a 250 page paperback) plus .55 for delivery confirmation, well worth the extra postage. Use a sturdy padded envelope to avoid damage to the book in transit.
Donate one copy to each library, school, church or other organization in your area that might invite you to hold a live event. Offer to do readings, signings, workshops, etc. Note that bookstores are not included above. This is because most bookstores (especially the major chains) prefer to buy books from wholesalers, expect big discounts, full returnability and a long time to pay. At other locations, you can sell directly to readers for better earnings. Remember that we are focusing on "non-traditional" marketing here, through outlets other than the conventional book industry, as you will see shortly.
It's fine to offer some books to local bookstores, especially independents. Just remember that customary terms are far less beneficial to you than those sold directly to readers, or to retailers outside the conventional book trade.
If you are working with a distributor, ask your printer to ship their books directly. Store your own copies in a cool, dry place. Moisture is bad for books, as are variations in temperature. If they are delivered in cartons, leave the cartons unopened until you need them, on a flat surface. You may want to place a board on top of the cartons and weigh it down for extra flatness.
Now that the book is in print, it's time to start promoting it. If you are serious about reaching a broad audience, you must commit yourself to regular, active efforts to cultivate readers, week after week. I've heard stories of authors who spent years writing books, only to quit when their books were finally in print… then whined about poor sales. How sad… and how silly! Books don't sell themselves.Online Marketing
Promoting a book can involve as much creativity as writing one. If you are creative and diligent in your marketing, almost any good book with a clear audience can be self-published profitably. The key is to find the readers most likely to have real interest, and to reach them directly.
To continue our earlier example of a book about organic fertilizers: imagine your local bookstore's customers… how many of them are interested in this subject? Probably very few. But now imagine the customers of a tree nursery or gardening supply center… nearly all of them are potential readers!
It is difficult to predict the specific interests of bookstore customers. Bookstores also expect big discounts, pay slowly, and return unsold books routinely. Outlets beyond the traditional book trade are not only easier to target, but more profitable.
The tree nursery will probably pay more, pay faster, and return fewer (if any) unsold books. Offer them a dozen copies to start, at 20% to 30% below cover price on consignment. If they sell the first dozen on consignment, you have proof of the book's appeal. Offer two dozen at a bigger discount, COD, for their second order. Check back periodically to make sure they have enough stock; it seems odd, but retailers sometimes forget to re-order, or to increase quantities to keep up with demand.
Depending on the subject, you can probably move many books at local retailers whose products are compatible. But your marketing need not be limited to local outlets. That's why the Internet is crucial to self-publishers.
As covered earlier, mention the Web location for your book on the cover, your letterhead, business cards, and in every e-mail message you send.Wrap Up
Invite potential readers to your Web site. A simple Google search will often return thousands of sites that focus on related subjects. Visit them one-by-one, and make sure each site is clearly related. If so, look for a link that reads "Contact Us" and send a brief announcement.
Important: send announcements individually, and address the recipient by name: "Dear Mr. Smith, after visiting the Whatever.com Web site, I thought you might be interested in my new book." DON'T send generic form letters (spam) to many addresses at once. Taking the time and effort to personalize every message will pay off in the long run. It's better to contact a dozen people who are truly interested than 100 who may not be.
Make your site equally easy for others to find using search engines. BruceClay.com has an extensive set of resources to help give your site better visibility with search engines. Google.com is by far the most important, but others like Yahoo.com and Lycos.com are also worthwhile.
Newsgroups are also a good tool for getting the word out about your book. Visit Groups.Google.com and join groups related to your subject. Here again, do not post "off-topic," commercial announcements. Instead, participate in earnest, and post only items that are truly relevant to the groups you join. It's fine to mention that you are the author of a book on a related topic, but make your posts more than just a sales pitch.
At your own site, create a meaningful incentive for visitors to give you their contact information, whether they buy the book or not. One good method is to offer a free e-mail newsletter with updates on the subject, or other information of real value that is NOT contained in the book itself.
My book contains lots of lists for self-publishers to use, such as contact info for designers, distributors, editors and printers. These lists need frequent updating as new suppliers become available, addresses change, and so forth. We maintain these lists at our Web site. In the book, we invite readers to visit the Web site for updates, giving them an incentive to return, and to sign up for periodic bulletins.
You may want to offer a different kind of incentive or freebie… but the point is to gather names and addresses of potential readers for subsequent use, by offering them truly beneficial information, products or services after they read the book.
Do not give personal information about visitors to your site to others, and make sure visitors know that you will respect their privacy.
The benefits of collecting contact information are significant. For example, you might write another book later… wouldn't it be great to contact your previous readers when the new one is released? Or future developments in the news might suddenly increase interest in your book… and you might want to send reminders.
This is yet another advantage of selling direct to the public. When readers buy books from most retail outlets, you sell a book but you don't know who bought it. Don't bother asking Amazon; they certainly collect contact info for book buyers -- but they don't share it with you!
If you are working with a distributor that serves libraries, e-mail everyone you know in other locations and invite each one to request your book at a local library. Also ask them to forward your invitation to others. This is more tasteful than suggesting they buy the book, with the added benefit that it will be available to other readers too. Most libraries are very receptive to requests from patrons. Many have a "suggestion box" for this purpose, and some even accept suggestions by e-mail or telephone.
There are many other methods of online marketing that might be effective, depending on your subject and level of computer skill. Experiment according to your personal situation, and use the ones that work best.
(Note: Get the book for locations of many promotion and marketing resources, maintained online to keep readers up-to-date in the years ahead.)
Online or offline, Dan Poynter says the key is to "think outside the book." On an impulse, he once offered a carton of books about self-publishing to a local photocopy center. Apparently writers do a lot of copying, because the books soon sold out, and the center ordered more. Now Dan supplies many copy centers with his books, as a regular part of his business.
Use your imagination. If you have an idea, try a small test and see if it works. Make a list of every possible public institution, print or broadcast medium, business or individual that might be interested in your book. Contact all of them and explain why, with each proposal specifically tailored to their needs. You may be surprised when an unusual idea takes off, but it will be a good surprise!
One of the greatest benefits of self-publishing is that authors are passionate about their subjects, and know their specific markets better than most book industry people. A traditional publisher or bookstore might know (or care) very little about your book's specific topic; to them, it's just another book that they hope to sell. But the author is a participant. This gives the self-publisher a great advantage in marketing. As someone actively involved in a particular field, you probably follow the publications and broadcasts that cover your topic, belong to related clubs or organizations, attend events, and know others who share your interests. Harness your intimate understanding of the subject, and you can do a better job in marketing than an outsider who simply sees your book as one product among thousands of others.
More and more writers today are bypassing publishers, and the traditional book trade, in favor of reaching readers directly. New technologies for the production, distribution and promotion of books make self-publishing more effective and economical than ever before. In the years ahead, I predict that more authors than ever will publish their own books. You can be one of them.