Book Publishing

Having a kid changes things in your life. I used to be able to run my milling machine, welder & do composites work on Saturdays all day while my Wife is at work. Saturday’s are now Daddy / Daughter day where exposing an infant to work in the shop (flying aluminum chips, epoxy fumes & sawdust) would be considered “bad form” to quote captain hook. This brings up 2 key thing what is a kid safe activity that I can do with my Daughter that’s productive to the greater good & Kid’s are expensive, is there something I can do during this time that can make some money.

The other driving force of why I got into book publishing is for decades is my whole professional working career has been focused on very expensive low volume products (luxury Custom Homes, Certified General Aviation Aircraft, Commercial, Military & Industrial jet Engines) These have lots of moving parts, pondering / tire kicking & some projects never making it off the ground on the business side I wanted forever to get into is low cost products sold in high volume, One of the top 10 wealthiest families is the Mars family who make M&M’s & snickers bars. In fact I can raddle off dozens of products where people have done very well in the low cost / high volume space but I scratch my head to find the opposite. So not only can this low cost / high volume business model work, it can work very very well.

I must confess I am obsessed with YouTube and if it was totally up to me I would not even have cable. The more YouTube you watch the more suggested content gets sent your way. One of the suggestions that came up was Project Life Mastery channel with Stefan Pylarinos. He has a ton of valuable and free content on his YouTube Channel & iTunes Pod Cast. He has a good amount of content on making Kindle Books / Self Publishing and offers a course called K Money Mastery (currently $67) that dives deeper into the process. I went thru the course and would highly recommend it for anyone interested in Kindle Publishing, wanted to be an author but have been turned down by traditional publishing houses, or have a good amount of existing written content and would like to do something with it.

Here’s a QR for K Money Course

While a good amount of the course does cover ghost writing / out sourcing / pen names here is some of the stuff I learned after I went thru the source, published some books & what has worked for me.

Your name vs. a Pen Name: a valuable tool in business / e commerce  is called split testing or “AB testing” where you have 2 similar products out there and see what one does better based on the differences. I put 2 books out: my TIG welding book under my own name and another book under a pen name. Because I have a very strong Linkedin presence & network along with a minor facebook I was able to leverage these & promote the TIG book. So before you consider writing under a pen name think about how you can market it. You may be forced into paying for advertising thru fivver or creating a whole social network around the pen name.

Go for bulk content first, then edit it. This can help avoid writers block. More recent events are easier to write about then long term events. I would also set your formatting to the size you intend (6″ x 9″ is my preference) with 1.5 line spacing as you will get a real time total page count.
Add pictures to your book if your subject matter calls for it. Kindle books with pictures will have a digital delivery charge tacked onto them as the file size is larger than the same length book with pictures only. However what will make a long term selling product is quality, pictures say 1000 words and can be a must have in technical how to’s. if your in the $2.99 – 9.99 price range your already in the 70% royalty bracket and the amount taken off for digital delivery is not that much.

Go for Paperback right away. Turns out around half my sales on Amazon are paperback, If your digital only your leaving money on the table. Also Like Stefan says in his course & teachings that shorter books do better (gold fish attention spans etc…) so If your writing shorter books I highly recommend the 6″ X 9″ trim size for the book. My first go around was 8.5″ x 11″ and with lower page counts it looks like someone could have just printed it from a desktop printer. On your paperback version you should keep your images above 300 dpi, however on the digital version you can go down to 200 dpi.

Setting up an Amazon Author’s page is another great feature to add, and you can even help drive traffic to your web site / blog. Note. You will need to set up a separate authors page for each market (UK, Germany, France so on….)

Markets beyond Amazon. Always read the Terms & Conditions of the new publishing houses. Currently as of Q2 17′ enrolled in Amazon KDP Select program does not allow digital publishing on other platforms but you can paperback publish to other platforms. Barnes & Noble’s Nook and direct paperback publishing offer services similar to Amazon’s Kindle & direct paperback publishing. Note you can not publish on Nook for a given title while enrolled in KDP select.

Createspace (an Amazon company) is another option do mass print paperbacks at cost and can even direct send them to independent book stores.

Update Q4 17′

Edition update heads up, With the e-book, kindle edition upping the edition number is a simple deal, however updating the paperback was a PITA. On the TIG book after watching it go on its training wheels for a few months I realized the 8.5×11 trim size was the wrong choice however for a given edition of the book you are locked in. Changing the trim size to 6×9 was one of many updates I did for the TIG book along with a companion support page on this web site. www.gouldaero.com/weld . Once released I had to work with Amazon to get everything up to speed correctly with the product listings. They are there to help but you as the author need to make sure all is well and as it should be with your listings.

When looking for feedback on reviews amazon.com does not cover all countries, I found I had unique reviews on other countries after doing a little digging.

While I do believe in the value of a Minimum viable product “MVP” launch to break you out of the “someday zone” or “I’m writing a book but have not published it yet”. Once the product is up & real its time to get some updates going before heavy duty advertising.

The TIG book did take some review hits for being “to basic or elementary” even though it said “for beginners” in the title so I had to change the ad copy to reflect this AGAIN!!! as Tim Ferris says in the 4 hour work week you must Fire your problem customers. At the same time this made me double down and try to add more content and look for any gaps in the book, including the eventual push to a 2nd edition.