In my March 17th post, To e-Publish or Not To e-Publish; That Is the Question, I mentioned that I’m working to establish a new e-Publishing group. My partner and I are making some progress, including a name and website (we’ll share all of that soon), commission schedules, basic mission and strategy, etc. We’re still a long way from done, but we’re moving forward.
One of the big concerns we’ve had—indeed, the real impetus for this project—is how to rise above the inevitable noise in what will be a crowded field of new eBooks. How can we get our books noticed, and then build sales momentum?
There are many answers to that question, but I’ll focus on one in particular here: Professionalism.
One of the advantages the old brick-and-mortar publishing industry offered book buyers was this simple assurance: “We reviewed, and likely edited, this book prior to publication, and you can rest assured it meets the industry’s standards for quality work.” Publishers, editors and literary agents served as “gatekeepers” for the industry, guaranteeing at least a minimum of professionalism.
Yet who shall be the gatekeepers of this brave new world of eBooks?
Well… no one. Mostly.
For the books put out by our group, at least, we will be the gatekeepers.
Our work, and that means the work of everyone in our group, must be professional grade. For the sake of this discussion, let me just assure you that we have a plan in place to guarantee professional quality. Great!
Now, how do we get the word to potential book buyers? Two words: Marketing, Reputation.
First, we have to deliver on our promise right out of the chute, with the very first books we offer. Second, we have to build steadily on that reputation, advancing it with each additional book we release, so that our group’s name will be synonymous with professional literature.
Our name, stamped on a book’s cover, must serve as a SEAL OF APPROVAL for discerning readers who expect professional level work. That will take some time, and great diligence on our part, but that’s the plan. Readers will know this when they purchase a book with our group’s stamp of approval on it: the book has already passed our own rigorous internal review.
We are the gatekeepers. If we’ve endorsed it, buyers can relax and purchase the book with great confidence. It may or may not be a story that appeals to them, but they can take comfort that the book is professional: correct spelling, proper grammar (excluding stylistic flare, of course), proper structure, a coherent plot and well-drawn characters. Professional.
Readers will come to trust us, which means readers will come to trust our authors.
That’s the plan.
Watch for future news, as our group progresses and we are able to formalize our offering, particularly if you’re an author, editor, or graphic artist looking for new opportunities. Just know this: WE WILL DEMAND PROFESSIONALISM at every step in the process. Our readers will expect no less.
‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard. To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).