Did I mention the idea of trying to give presentations at the local independent bookstore by way of getting the word out? The plan is to talk about how to put together and produce a self-published book.
It gets better.
On reflection, I recalled a friend of mine, one of the former firm wives who went back and got an MBA and a CFP and set herself up in business as a financial adviser. She specialized in working with women on retirement planning.
By way of hustling customers, she started doing a short community service course at one of the community college campuses, “Retirement Planning for Women.” Yes. That’s one of the things community colleges do, in the continuing ed department: they offer “community service courses” for the general edification and entertainment of the public. These things don’t carry any college credit, and they’re very short and low-key. And therefore easy to prepare and present.
Well. Why not a community service course on Self-Publishing Your Book?
Mwa ha ha!
First off, if these people are duly impressed, at least some of them will want to buy my books (obviously, they won’t know about Roberta’s emanations). Second…I just happen to have enough content around, thanks to an entire journalism textbook (emitted through a real publishing house) and two blogs to compile a whole new book on writing fiction & nonfiction, blogging for fun and marketing, and how to enjoy the (largely unpaid) “Writing Life.”
Last night I tossed the things into a Wyrd file, copying & pasting madly, and came up with 83,830 words — and that’s without an introduction.
Well, holy maquerel. A typical trade book is 80,000 words.
It’s fairly inexpensive to put one of these things together, as long as you neglect to count the value of your time. I could produce such a book in print-on-demand format, offer it at half-price to people who sign up for the course, and still make a small profit on it. More to the point, though, the thing could direct its readers to Plain & Simple Press, the font of all my non-naughty self-publications, and also itself list everything I have for sale right now.
The copy is in hand. It needs a lot of revision and massaging. But…I think if I sat down and worked hard on it, I could put the thing together in less than a month. What a piece of cake!
I could also take it (along with my other opuses) to proposed public presentations.
There are a lot of good reasons to self-publish a book other than a pie-in-the-sky dream that you’ve written the Great American Novel and all that remains to make you rich and famous is to get it in the public’s hands.
Companies can make good use of print-on-demand technology for customer education, employee training, and marketing. Doctors, dentists, and veterinarians can profit from custom-made books for their patients; ditto lawyers for their clients. Genealogy hobbyists and self-published books: a match made in heaven! Nonprofits can use an inexpensively produced print-on-demand book for fund-raising or publicity. Local history groups, archives, and small museums: print-on-demand is perfect for gathering information to preserve for future generations.
That’s the kind of thing I’d emphasize: what practical things you can do with a self-published book, whether it’s in electronic or print-on-demand format.
I’ll bet I could sell that idea. And with it, I could sell books.