While attending a party, I was introduced by a friend to a woman named Susan (not her real name). She told Susan that I was the “Book Marketing Diva” and an expert publishing consultant and that I might be a good resource for her. This included helping her avoid mistakes, pitfalls and dangers in the publishing industry.

YOU HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK–Susan was a leading business consultant. Her clients included large companies throughout the country. She had recently self-published a nonfiction business book and had sold 3,000+ books through her own marketing efforts in less than a year.

YOU WANT A PUBLISHER–Susan wanted to get a publisher. She believed her book could be a bestseller if she had a publisher who would do the marketing and promotion for her book. I did not want to pour cold water on Susan’s dream, but my many years of experience in the industry included having many traditionally published authors come to me after having a major disappointment with the lack of success of their own books, which they attributed to the lack of marketing and promotion by their publisher.

This included some of the biggest publishing companies in the world. And authors with top credentials and impressive books.

A PUBLISHER SAYS THEY WANT YOUR BOOK–It appeared Susan’s dream to get a publisher might come true when a friend of hers introduced her to a top executive at a very prestigious big traditional publishing company, and the company said they wanted to publish her book.

Susan was flattered and excited this publisher was interested in her book.

AUTHOR BEWARE!–There are many vanity presses and “self-publishing” companies that will flatter you and tell you they want to publish your book. If you wish to make a wise decision, you need to do research to find out what you are getting into with any publishing company. 

BEWARE THE PUBLISHING CONTRACT–The publisher sent Susan a publishing contract. And she asked if I would review the contract and give her my opinion. I told her I could take an initial look at the contract, but that she would need to hire a literary attorney to review and negotiate the contract.

Literary law is a very specialized area of law and any contract must be carefully examined by someone with up-to-date expertise in publishing. I told her that I also had personal experience with this publisher, top contacts with them as well, and some inside information that might be helpful.

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING USING A LITERARY AGENT–As I told Susan, it is usual for an author to first get a literary agent. The literary agent would secure a publisher and then negotiate the contract, and could have greater leverage to negotiate a deal than a single unknown author.

YOUR BOOK IS AN ASSET– If you are an author, your book is valuable intellectual property and it is very important to be careful with your assets and publication rights. Don’t part with either too easily. This definitely applies to self-publishing as well. If you sign with a publisher, you may unknowingly sign away rights and lose control of your book.

I had one author client who wanted to re-publish her bestselling children’s book published by a big name publisher. She could not do it because she had sold them the rights. Years had passed and they were no longer interested in her book. They did not to reprint it. But she wanted to re-print it. But could not do so. She had to spend a great deal of money on legal fees and a great deal of her time fighting to get those rights back.

BEWARE OF TRADITIONAL AS WELL AS VANITY PUBLISHERS AND SELF PUBLISHING COMPANIES–Companies go out of business. Companies go through mergers. I have a new author client who published with an indie publishing company that was acquired by another company.

LOST IN SPACE: NO ONE WILL NOW RETURN YOUR PHONE CALLS OR EMAILS–Now, she cannot get anyone to return a phone call or e-mail. All the previous employees are gone.  And I have another author client who published with a “vanity” press or so-called “self-publishing company” (and this is a pretty well-known company in the world of publishing), and their customer service is so bad that it was almost impossible to get any follow-up or help whatsoever. I had to actually take over and troubleshoot the process in order to cancel my client’s contract. And they company would not return the book files, so these had to be re-created, which involved time and expense.

USE CAUTION WITH PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK WITH ANY PUBLISHER–I don’t want to discourage any author’s dreams for their book. However,  I advise caution about even going with a publisher, any publisher. You really do not need a publisher today. There is a new paradigm in publishing and it is SELF PUBLISHING.

Literary agent Andrew Lownie believes that in 5-10 years, 75% of books will be self-published.”

In my own experience, I have had many authors come to me who were traditionally published, even by big name publishers. They thought these publishers would market their books for them, only to be bitterly disappointed.  They found out, after signing away their book rights, that the publisher did little to nothing to promote their books.

SELF-PUBLISHING MAY OFFER A BETTER FINANCIAL REWARD THAN USING A PUBLISHER– In fact, very few books are actually profitable, whether published by a traditional publisher, or self-published. However, there can be other reasons to publish a book than just pure profit, including creative self-expression, building professional credibility, building a business, creating a brand name, using a book as your “business card,” and providing valuable information.

But the truth is, since publishers pretty much expect an author to do their own marketing, an author has a much better chance at making money if they self-publish than if they go with a publisher.

HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH YOUR BOOK –Excellent overview by Jane Friedman


IF TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS EXPECT YOU TO MARKET TO YOUR OWN BOOK, WHY DO YOU WANT OR NEED A PUBLISHER?–It has become very easy now to self-publish your own book and get worldwide distribution. You do not need a publisher to do this for you. You can use such services as Create Space (Amazon’s print on demand service) or Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon’s ebook service.)

DEVELOPING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM–It does take an investment of an author’s time (and usually some money) to actually promote a book.  Today, publishers expect you to market your own book, and they are looking for authors who have a “platform”, i.e, a built in ready-made audience that will want to purchase the author’s books. Your platform can be a million followers on Twitter. Or a large email list. Or followers of your blog. Or readers of your articles in magazines, newspapers. Or viewers of your television show. Or those who come to hear you speak as a professional speaker.

DEFINITION OF AUTHOR PLATFORM– This is a great article by Jane Friedman about the Author Platform

PRICING YOUR BOOK PROPERLY–But if the author prices the book correctly, he or she can get a much bigger profit per book. For example, one of my clients who was traditionally published and made perhaps about $1.00 per print book royalty is now making between $4.00 – $6.00 per print book royalty. So if he had stayed with a publisher, he would have had to sell four to six times the number of books to make the same amount of money. So if he sold 1,000 books on his own, he would have had to sell 4,000 – 6,000 books through a publisher. And he still would have to do all the marketing himself.

FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE–Please do your homework before going with any company for publishing, whether it is a publisher or author-services company that allows you to self-publish and have complete ownership and control (such as Create Space).

copyright 2018 – Joan Holman- Online Marketing Guru & Book Marketing Diva – www.holman.com

pubslush Are you an author or aspiring author? Have you considered crowdfunding for your self-published book?

Are you writing a book or do you have a finished manuscript? Are you aware that there are people who might help you fund the publication of your book ?

Kickstarter Is for Funding All Kinds of Creative Projects, Including Books–Perhaps you have heard about Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Their stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Since Kickstarter’s launch in 2009, more than 5 million people have funded more than 50,000 creative projects including films, stage shows, and video games.  Those who agree to contribute money to fund a project are offered tangible rewards and special experiences.

Take a look at some of the crowdfunded book projects on Kickstarter at:


PLEASE NOTE: I will be speaking at the MIDWEST FICTION WRITERS meeting in Edina, Minnesota on Saturday, April 12, 2014. My topic is How to Market Your Book In An Online World. Read more at my website www.bookmarketingdiva.com.


You Will Be Charged for Approximately 8-13% of What You Raise at Kickstarter–Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal. Kickstarter takes 5% of funds raised. Money pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments and Amazon charges an additional 3-5%. Kickstarter claims no ownership over the projects they produce. Film, video and music are the largest categories and have raised the most amount of money.

Another Option for Crowdfunding Your Book Is Pubslush–Although you could use Kickstarter to crowdfund the publication of your book, you might want to also look into another platform to raise funds to create books–Pubslush.

Pubslush Is for Crowdfunding for Books–Pubslush is a platform exclusively dedicated to raising funds and testing the market for your book projects. It was founded by the mother-daughter entrepreneurial team of Hellen and Amanda Barbara.

About The Women Running Publush–Hellen is an educator and philanthropist, and is the founder and former president of For the Kids Foundation, a nonprofit focused on education improvement in New York. Amanda serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need. An advocate for crowdfunding in the publishing world, Amanda has spoken at various conferences, such as Writer’s Digest, Tools of Change, Crowdfunding East Conference, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit.

This infomation is taken from the Pubslush website at www.pubslush.com

What is Pubslush?

Pubslush is a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. Our niche platform allows authors to raise money and gauge audience response for new book ideas while readers pledge their financial support, democratically bringing books to life. By offering publishers and industry professionals their own unique pages, Pubslush gives these innovators the power of customized crowdfunding. Pubslush’s highly-rated personalized service and focus on user education helps to ensure our authors are as successful as possible.

How does it work?

1. Authors build a book campaign, submit a summary, a sample of their work and build rewards.
2. Readers financially support their favorite submissions, in exchange for a reward (like a first edition, digital preview, etc.).
3. Authors raise money and use supporter analytics to publish successfully via any publishing route they prefer.

What do authors do with the money they raise?

Publishing a book is like making a movie. A lot goes into it. Editing, design, formatting, digital conversion, marketing, publicity, registration, distribution, and more. Authors using Pubslush raise money to offset these costs to publish their book successfully.

How is Pubslush different from other crowdfunding platforms?

Well first and foremost, Pubslush is for books only. We offer flexible funding, are completely global, have the lowest fee in the industry of 4% and we provide our authors with valuable market analytics. For a full list check out the Pubslush 101.

How does Pubslush affect publishing?

1. Reduces uncertainty. By allowing authors to establish an audience in advance of publication (and to know who that audience is), much of the risk involved with book publishing is eliminated. This a major problem in the industry and is why so many celebrities are published: because publishers know there is a built in audience. Now everyone has a chance to prove their worth!
2. Improves the quality of self-published work. One of the biggest gripes of self- published content is the lack of quality. By providing access to capital and resources to navigate the industry, we hope to eliminate the stigma around self-publishing.

Is Pubslush for authors only?

No. Pubslush can be used by anyone representing or involved with an author, including publishers, agents and industry professionals.

Who can submit?

Anyone with a great book idea. Unpublished or published, novice or professional. If you have what it takes, prove it!

What types of books are on Pubslush?

We accept every type of book across all genres.

Why will people support books on Pubslush?

Readers support books for the same reason people vote on American Idol; they want to be involved in the discovery process. Pubslush gives people a much-needed voice in the publishing revolution.

Who publishes my book at the end of the Pubslush process?

Authors are able to choose any publishing route they choose. Authors are never in contract with Pubslush at any time and retain all the rights and royalties to their book always.

Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one. – Seth Godin

It is a great time to self-publish.  Publishing your own book has become easy and affordable and can help you:

  • Promote Your Business
  • Build Your Credibility & Your Name
  • Showcase Your Knowledge


  • Self-publishing is fueling an explosive growth in publishing in the United States.
  • Over 50% of the total output in 2008 of 560,626 titles came from print-on-demand books (which totalled 285,394 titles).
  • Print-on-demand publishing in 2008 increased 132% over the total of 123,276 print-on-demand titles in 2007. This marks the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth in the print-on-demand segment, and there is no end in sight to this trend.
  • New publishing technologies have fueled the growth of print-on-demand and short-run books and have opened up opportunities for anyone to self-publish a book for a reasonable price in a short period of time.

IF YOU SELF-PUBLISH, KEEP IN MIND THAT BOOKS WILL NOT SELL THEMSELVES — Many authors think books will just sell themselves. Or they think if they get a mainstream publisher, that publisher will do all the promotion of the book for them. The truth is most publishers expect authors to have a “platform” and to market their own books. So, either way, you are going to have to promote your book. If you self-publish, you or someone is going to have to market your book. Some self-publishing companies do offer services to help you with this promotion, as part of special package pricing or as add-on services.

MOST SELF-PUBLISHED AND TRADITIONALLY-PUBLISHED BOOKS DO NOT SELL MANY COPIES – The average number of books sold by a self-published author is 75. However, only about 2% of books published by traditional publishers sell more than 5,000 copies and only about 8% of books published by traditional publishers make a profit.

Other reasons you might want to self-publish:

  1. To Create A Personal Book for Family and Friends – There are many options for creating personal books for a limited audience. For example, the online service at www.blurb.com offers a variety of easy-to-use templates and layouts for wedding books, photography books, portfolio books and children’s books. These books can be printed and shipped quickly. Blurb also has an option for creating community books or group books, where a number of different people can upload photos to your book. Blurb also has a bookstore where people can view and purchase your book. Or you can choose to make your book private and only viewable to those you choose.
  2. When You Can’t Get A Publisher – Major publishers seek authors who already have an audience, such as a celebrities or media personalities or well-known politicians. Without a platform, especially in today’s economic climate, is almost impossible to get a major publisher. Even getting a mid-list or small publisher can be difficult, although it may not be as difficult as a major publisher. However, if you are writing nonfiction, having the credentials and being an authoritative voice and having a platform are also important and can improve your chances of landing a deal.
  3. To Prove Your Book Can Sell in the Market Place in Hopes of Getting A Major Publisher — If you can sell several thousand copies of your book in a relatively short period of time, you may get the interest of a publisher because you have already tested the book in the marketplace. Sometimes, however, if you sell too many books in too short a time, a publisher may think that you have already saturated the marketplace and might reject you on that basis.
  4. For the Tax Advantages of Being A Publisher – There are expenses related to your publishing business that can be deducted, such as travel to writer’s conferences, purchases of books, subscription fees to newsletters and so on.
  5. To Maintain Control of Your Book – If you want to have control on the final material in your book, and the book title and cover design, you may have to self-publish since it is usual for  publishers to not give the author final approval on copyediting or even to have the right to select the final title or jacket design.
  6. To Print Your Book Quickly– Most publishers work on an 18 – 24 month production cycle. That is how long you will wait to see your book in print. If you want to use a literary agent, which is advisable, it might take several months or even years to secure an agent. Add to that the time for contract negotiations and signing, which can take several months, and it might be years before you see your book in print.
  7. To Earn More of the Profits – The usual royalties for a book published by a publisher are between 6 – 10 %. Sometimes the royalty is based upon the retail price, but more often it is based upon the net proceeds of the book.  If you self-publish and have a distributor, you will usually receive 35%. If you self-publish and use a wholesaler, you usually will receive 45 – 50%.  If you self-publish and sell your book on Amazon.com through its Advantage Program, you will receive 45%. If you self-publish and sell your book through the Create Space online store, you will pay a fixed charge per book and then receive 80% of the retail price. However, if you self-publish and sell directly to the public, you will get 100%.  But, of course, you will  have some expenses in direct sales as well, but the point it that you will receive a higher percentage of the profits than if you go with a publisher.


Get a book for sale online in just a few days at Amazon.com-owned CreateSpace.com

Recommended books to research options for self-publishing your books

Top Self Publishing Firms by Stacie Vander Pol

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine

Let me introduce myself. I am an online marketing and book marketing consultant. I am also a ghostwriter and the published author of the book Hands That Touch, Hands That Heal, and a contributing writer to a number of books, including Online Marketing Heroes, Dear Success Seeker and For This I Am Grateful. I have been involved in all aspects of publishing and self publishing including book design, editing, book proposal development, branding and positioning of books, and much more.

Books are my passion. An avid reader of primarily nonfiction, I estimate that I have easily read well over 5,000 books. My idea of heaven is a never ending library of books with the wisdom of the ages. And all the time in the world to spend savoring the written word.

My categories of interest are biography, inspiration, spiritual, self-help, psychology, business, technology, metaphysics, art, women’s issues, and of course, everything about the Internet and online and offline marketing.

With self publishing flourishing, I encourage people to think about writing their own book. It has been stated that over 80% of Americans would like to write a book.

Although the average sale of a self-published book is only 75 copies, there are still those great success stories of best-selling books that were originally self-published. This includes such books as The One Minute Manager, The Celestine Prophecy, The South Beach Diet,  What Color Is Your Parachute, Legally Blonde, Life’s Little Instruction Book,  The Joy of Cooking, and You Can Heal Your Life.

The key to success for your book is marketing. However, you must also have something that people will want to read. I suggest to my clients that they test market their manuscripts and get honest feedback and make changes if necessary.  If no one really enjoys or sees value in your book, how can you expect anyone to purchase your book or to get a publisher to be interested in your book.

Today publishers want authors to have a “platform.” Your platform is the way you reach people who will read your book. This can be people you have on your mailing list, people who hear you give speeches, people who read your popular blog or newspaper or magazine column, or listen to your radio show. To prepare the field for marketing your book, you should start building a platform.

Study what books have been successful and what the trends are today in publishing. If you start right from the beginning with the goal of writing a book that has appeal to an audience, you have a much better chance of being successful as an author. So many people write a book just to please themselves and then don’t understand why their book just is not marketable. There is nothing wrong with writing a book to please yourself, but then you may be the only one who ever reads it.

For success in publishing, be focused on giving something of interest or value to others through the written word.

e-mail Joan at:  joan at holman.com

Visit Joan’s web site at: www.holman.com

Joan Holman Info

Book Marketing Diva Joan Holman is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based author, ghostwriter, book development and book marketing consultant who works with traditionally-published and self-published authors throughout the world, including many top business and thought leaders. Contact her at joan@holman.com or by phone at 952-595-8888. Websites: www.bookmarketingdiva.com and www.holman.com

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