What they need is a full-service publication, promotion, and manuscript support agency
The reason the ivory-tower publishers dominate the industry is that they have the money and resources to invest in the well-known and famous talent they recruit. But where does that leave the smaller publishers and the independent authors trying to publish their own books with their own money?
High and dry.
Mike Hancock and I were discussing the reasons we wanted to offer our unique services to beleaguered publishers and overwhelmed authors trying to figure out how to promote their own work. The publishers may have been trying to do everything on their own all this time and can’t hope to manage it all. The authors are bootstrapping and building their weak websites and social media brands. They hope that mediocre is good enough to sell them a few books on Amazon.
That is where we come in. First and foremost, I’m a writer and author, and understand what drives a creative person to want to share their art with the world. I understand the need of the writer to make money from their craft. When I went from part-time to full-time writer, my biggest challenge was trying to monetize my talent so I could finally write what I wanted to write, and not have to trade valuable writing time in exchange for money to feed my family.
I understand the drive that makes a person want to spend months and years writing a manuscript, face rejection from big publishers, then give up and either go with a bargain-basement publisher, or try to do it all themselves.
I see fabulous publishers and presses, whose only sin is they don’t have enough financial resources to do the things they know will push their clients to the best-seller list.
I also understand most authors and small publishers don’t realize that book promotion just doesn’t involve press releases and book signings. You have to engage on social media and search for your fans. You have to find your people and delight them. You have to create a community around your professionally-designed website and blog. Your website is not just a place that acts as a hub for all your activities, its a place to connect with your true fans and generate income that doesn’t come from the book royalties.
Also, and not any less important, what most authors get wrong and Mike gets right every time is they assume the hard work is over when they finish their manuscript. But the work is just beginning. You need more eyes on your work. You must find a super-star editor and go through revision after revision. You don’t have to be perfect, but the manuscript must be remarkable.
You need Mike Hancock and his tribe of editors.
You need a cover that doesn’t look like you put it together with Microsoft Word and pixelated family photos. You need a professional cover artist to design it. Better yet, you should be crowdsourcing the effort and have hundreds of artists submit ideas. Hopefully, a publisher will do that, but if not, it’s up to you.
Then there comes the website – one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Most authors and even publishers don’t have the first clue about what should go into an author’s website or blog. A lot of people think you can create a cheap site with a builder like Wix or Squarespace and throw together a bunch of copy that explains the premise of the book. They don’t realize copywriting is not the same as writing book, and there is a science to convincing readers that your book is something they must read.
So they use a boilerplate and amateurish template and don’t consult a copywriter for the sales copy. They throw enough shit on the wall and hope some of it sticks. They don’t understand that a true super-star copywriter operates on a much different creative level that even an essayist or author.
They also don’t understand how their social media brand works with the website to generate sales. They post on social media but have no plan, no rhyme or reason to what they are doing.
They don’t know how blogging can help their writer brand, and how they can use a blog to gather together the true fans who will make or break their writing career.
Most people don’t understand how important video is in the age of YouTube, TikTok, and Vimeo. They don’t know how to create a book trailer that is like a mini work of art, or how to use it to generate eyeballs on their work. They don’t even know where to start.
They don’t know how to stack their success, and turn all the momentum they are creating into making the next book even more of a high-society event.
Everything is connected, and although I am tough on publishers for not doing most of these things with each of their authors, the truth is, most of the time, there is never enough time or money left at the end of the day to do everything. If you go independent, you will soon see that you cannot hope do it all yourself and will eventually need help.
One last thing we can help with is figuring out where to get the money. Sure, as an author, you may get lucky and find a publisher with unlimited resources. Not likely. As a publisher, you may be able to squeeze out a semi-successful launch with very like money, but again, its not likely. That is where crowdfunding comes in.
On top of it all, people will tell you all you need to do is work harder.
A lot of well-meaning authors with “some” publishing success under their belt will try to sell you expensive courses and workshops, trying to make you believe the idea that you don’t need support, money, or a publisher. All you need to do is hustle and grind.
I call bullshit.
You are a writer – you are not an illustrator or graphic designer. Most of you are not editors, and no matter how much you look, you are unlikely to hire the perfect one on a site like Upwork or Fiverr. You are not a web designer and WordPress developer. You are not a video producer or social media marketer.
You are an author or publisher, and if you have 20 years to spend learning, you still won’t know enough to be effective.
You are a writer, or a publisher, and you need help.
That is where a full-service publication, promotion, and manuscript support agency like Weiland Press comes in. We can do what you can’t or find the professionals in our network who can.