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The Blog

News and Notes

Observations and opinions about the brave new publishing world.


You’ve written query letters to every publisher and agent, attended countless “How to Get Published” workshops and have read dozens of books on the subject. You’ve even sent birthday cards to every relative of Simon and Schuster.


Sadly, with no results.


It’s time to seriously consider self-publishing. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing your work.






Higher royalty rates

Generally speaking, traditionally published authors receive approximately 15-20 percent of net revenues. After you factor in the costs of manufacture, design, promotion (if you’re lucky enough to have a publisher that actually promotes your work) and distribution that usually comes out to less than a buck a book. When you self-publish you keep 100 percent of net revenues. For example, let’s say it costs $5 to produce your book and you sell it for $15. You keep $10/book. Even after you figure in the cost of basic expenses like: cover and interior design, editing and digital marketing most books break even at around 200 paperback sales. Costs to produce and distribute eBooks are far less, thus making your break-even point even lower.


You can be a control freak

You make all the decisions. The book you produce is exactly the book you want to produce. If you don’t like the cover your designer did, have it redone. If you don’t like some of your editor’s suggestions, don’t use ‘em. Everything is in your hands, period.


No pressure

Most traditional publishers have little patience. They want results (i.e. sales) quickly. If your book doesn’t do well in the first six months, it’s very possible you’ll be forgotten. When you self-publish, you’ll only be accountable to you. Finding an audience for your work can take a long time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


You can control costs

Most published authors have absolutely no say in how their publisher spends money. Since authors are paid on net revenue or profit, this can be a big problem. All expenses incurred getting your book to market will be figured against your future earnings.


Turnaround time

Most publishers can take up to two years to get a project done. If you self-publish, you can often get to market in weeks. This is especially important with books that have a newsworthy tie-in.




Publishers have great contacts

When you go through a publisher, they usually have great relationships with major publications and media outlets. However, the landscape is rapidly changing and there are some great resources to get your book some great pub.


There is a whole lot of crap out there

Self-publishing, especially with the rise in popularity of eBooks, has produced some works of, let’s say, dubious distinction. Making sure your book stands out and looks professional is more important than ever.


Publishers can make your book better

Good publishers make good books. Generally speaking, they are experts in editing, manufacturing and distribution. Authors are best served heeding their expert advice.


If you would like to talk to a self-publihing expert, please email david@eckhartzpress.com or rick@eckhartzpress.com.

Whoever said, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, wasn’t in the publishing business. Some studies show that potential readers make their purchasing decision within the first three seconds of picking up a book. Not only do you need a great cover, you also need a great title to make sales. Unfortunately, the title is often an afterthought for many authors.


Here are some great tips on picking a title that gives your book every chance for success.


Create intrigue or mystery –Don’t give away all your book’s secrets. Make your reader want more. This is especially true for fiction. Avoid using phrases that are inside jokes or are vague references to themes in the work. Great Expectations, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and The Devil In the White City are all good examples of using intrigue and mystery.


Funny Sells -If you’ve written a funny book, write a funny title. This isn’t always easy, but it’s extremely important when writing parody, comedy or satire. Erma Bombeck was great at this, a couple of our favorites: When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home and Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. James Finn Garner’s, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories is another great example.


Make a Promise-Make a promise to your readers that you’re going to fulfill. This is especially effective with “How To” books. Suzanne Somers, Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat after Forty and Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People perfectly identify to the reader what they’ll receive.


The Shorter the Better-Titles that are too long are difficult for cover designers. You don’t have to over explain your content. In fact, some of the best titles only have one word: Night, Hamlet and Matilda.


Sadly, the following authors didn’t read this blog.



We get this question frequently from new authors: Should I do a blog tour?  The answer, like most things in the publishing business, is, “it depends”.


What is a Blog Tour?


A book blog tour is a virtual tour to help an author promote their book without leaving home. It’s the digital online equivalent of going to a string of brick and mortar locations to promote your book, but without the expense or hassle of travelling (or even wearing pants). The author is featured on a series of blogs to hopefully encourage readers to purchase their book.

Blog tour lengths vary, but most last about a month and include a combination of reviews, author guest posts and giveaways to create buzz. The blogs will embed point of purchase links to retail outlets and websites that carry the book.


How Much Does it Cost?

The raw cost of most blog tours range between $150 and $350. All expenses for any book giveaways (including shipping) are also the author’s responsibility.


Is it Worth It?

It depends. If your sole criteria is book sales, then probably not. When you consider giveaways, your total cost will be approximately $250. If you’re netting $5 for each book sale (average between paperback and eBook) you’ll need to sell 50 books to break even. That’s tough, real tough.

If your criteria is increasing exposure and optimizing SEO for your blog, depending on the blog tour’s readership and click through rate, it might make sense. The problem is that most tours don’t have the circulation to make a difference. Make sure you get hard analytics on any blog tour you’re considering. Subscribers are far more important than hits. Also, make sure you talk to other authors who have done the tour. What results did they get?

If you’re doing it get reviews of your book and have just fun, go for it. Keep in mind that doing a tour is very time consuming. Writing guest posts and doing Q&A sessions are a lot of work.


Do it Yourself!

That’s the spirit! There is nothing stopping you from reaching out to blogs and getting yourself booked. If you take the initiative, you can pick and choose which sites are best suited for your book. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to just “book review” blogs. Think out of the box and approach any blog or site that could be beneficial. When we promoted The Balding Handbook, we reached out to hundreds of humor, radio station, podcasts, bald-centric and news blogs. We had great success, The Balding Handbook lasted two months on Amazon’s Top 100 Humor Kindle Books List.


The Bottom Line

If you’re doing the blog tour to get rich, don’t do it. The chances of making back your investment are low. On the other hand, if you’re doing it to get some exposure and have some fun, a good tour might be a valuable experience.

For help with blog tours, out of the box marketing ideas and comprehensive marketing strategies check out our publicity packages.