Category Archives: Publishing Information & Advice

Children’s Books, Graphic Novels, and Art Projects? Work Backwards from Distribution

Print-on-demand printing has revolutionized the publishing industry. It has minimized the startup costs necessary for professional publication, and gives small players access to big markets.

What is Print on Demand (often called “POD”)? POD means that your books aren’t printed until a customer or bookstore orders them. In the old days, when you “published” a book, you would pay a printer to run off 1,000 copies or more, and then you’d pay a distributor to keep them in a warehouse. That meant a big expense up front for all of that printing, and big risk for you (what if they don’t sell?), as well as additional ongoing fees for warehousing and distribution.

When you work with Columbus Publishing Lab, your book files are stored digitally by Ingram, our distributor. When a customer orders a book, from Amazon let’s say, Amazon calls up Ingram and asks for one book. We print one copy of the book right away and hand it off to Amazon the same day it was ordered, and they ship it out to the customer, pretending like it was in their warehouse the whole time. The cost to print and fulfill the book are deducted from the wholesale price, and the author gets paid without any upfront cost to print and store the book.

This is incredible! But it does have one drawback. In order to keep that system efficient so that we can print thousands of different titles each day, there’s a limit to the book sizes and options that we can accommodate.

If you want a book printed at an uncommon size or with special features, like pockets, embossing, or fold-outs, you won’t be able to take advantage of POD technology. You’ll be back in that old boat of paying a printer for a big order up front, and then either paying a distributor to warehouse it, or putting them in your basement and trying to find a way to sell them yourself.

It’s almost never an issue for novels, but we sometimes run into this when an author brings us a complete project like a Children’s book, graphic novel, photo book, or art project. The author has already completed all of the design and artwork, but unbeknownst to them, it’s at a non-standard size. Or perhaps they built the project with some special feature in mind, like a fold-out map that isn’t critical to the project, but now everything is built around that feature.

We always work with the author to find a way to make it work, but that usually means that we either need to reformat everything and redo a lot of work, or we need to print a large quantity up front and distribute those books old-school from the warehouse. What that means either way: Things just got a lot more frustrating and expensive for the author. And the fallout is usually an over-priced book and poor sales.

But there’s an easy solution: Give us a call! And call us early. (You can also now text us at 614-805-3982.)  Let’s start from the end point and show you the parameters for what we can print and distribute with this amazing POD technology.  Armed with that information, you’ll be able to make good choices from start to finish regarding how you size and layout your pages and what features you’re expecting.

Most illustrators don’t care if the page is 8.5″ x 8.5″ or 8.5″ x 9.5″. So if an 8.5″ x 8.5″ page will save them thousands of dollars in up front cost, it’s all gravy. They just don’t have that information until we talk, but if they know before they start, it’s easy enough to make it work.

We can’t wait to work together with you. You have a great idea that you’re excited about, and we’ve got the nuts and bolts knowledge to make sure that you have the best market access possible, and you’re in a position to succeed.

Regardless of your project, it’s never to early to start a conversation. The journey is so much easier when you know your destination.

Thinking About a Holiday Book Release? Let’s Talk Now!

As you lounge in the sun this summer, it may not feel like the holiday season yet. But if you’re thinking about releasing a book to be sold this holiday season, now is the time to start a conversation. Call or text us at 614-805-3982 or shoot us an email at info@columbuspublishinglab.com.

We can complete a full production package for most clients in about 6 weeks.  But there are a couple of really good reasons that now is the time to move.

Our phones start blowing up around September 1. The kids are back in school, and authors everywhere are suddenly remembering that eager gift givers will be ordering books soon. We always prioritize our authors first-come, first-serve, so production can take a little longer in the fall.

Secondly, when Black Friday hits, you want a well-built book profile that attracts potential buyers. You need your book to have a stack of good customer reviews on it. That doesn’t happen overnight. For most books, a September-October release is ideal. That gives you some time to pass the book off to reviewers, sell some initial copies, and generate good buzz before strangers start comparing your book to every other book they might give as a gift.

This is especially important for independent and small press books.  Sure, Dean Koontz or Danielle Steel can drop a book on Black Friday and it will fly off the shelves. Those are authors with existing readers. But for a new author and a book that doesn’t have quite the same scale of release, book buyers want to know that the book is good before they pick it up as a gift. It’s up to you to make sure that your reviews demonstrate who loves your book, before the holiday buying frenzy begins.

Many copies of your book that are gifted will be given by people who read your book, loved it, and think a friend or family member might like it too. That takes time to happen.

There’s another reason to start now. We can’t wait to work with you. We want to have the time to do things right, to help you understand the industry and make good choices, well prepared, without any extra stress. We pride ourselves on our ability to do great work, and to deliver it on time. But we also value our relationships with our authors, and if we can start on your book now, that gives us plenty of time to work together, think our decisions through as a team, and sometimes take a second look.

So let’s start a conversation. We’ll provide all of the services you need to ensure your book looks as good as the Nora Roberts novel next to it on the shelf, and if we time it right, you’ll have more reviews on Black Friday than she does. Give us a call or text us at 614-805-3982, or shoot us an email at info@columbuspublishinglab.com. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Don’t Waste Your Money – 3 Alternatives to Paid Book Blurbs That Really Work

I hate seeing authors waste time and money.

At Columbus Publishing Lab, we help authors self-publish books that are as good or better than the books coming out of large, traditional publishers. And we help them do it in a way that can be profitable. We don’t sell pipe dreams, we sell real services that work. And we help our authors avoid common pitfalls and false promises we see in the self-publishing industry.

Paid “trade review,” book blurb or book review services are a huge waste of time and money.  This is something we get questions about all the time. I hate seeing authors get sucked into these things.

I’m not going to drag any specific company’s names through the mud, but these are services which charge some amount of money (typically $200-$800) for a review and a praise blurb for the back of your book.

“Best book of the year.” – Bedirkus Reviews

And they usually offer some other goodies to sweeten the deal. Social media promotion, some kind of newsletter or catalog that goes out to libraries, etc.

Based on my decade of experience working with authors at every level of the publishing industry, I can tell you that the reality of these so-called “trade reviews” is that they just don’t work. They do little to no good for your book sales, and the price tag is way too high.

They all purport themselves to be honest reviews, but I’ve never seen anybody get a bad one. How is that possible? Typically, the provided long-form review will have a few counter-marks, to make it feel authentic. But you are paying someone to give you a positive review, and everyone in the industry knows it.

The reality for these services is that if they don’t provide generally positive reviews, they will cease to have value to authors. Self-published authors will pay $400 for a praise blurb for their book cover, but authors likely won’t gamble the same amount for the prospect of possibly receiving a good review.

There are four reasons that these reviews aren’t worth your money:

  1. No Credibility – Everyone in the industry knows the names of the companies which offer paid reviews. It’s not necessarily a bad mark, but it’s not going to give future agents, publishers, other reviewers, etc. the glowing impression you’re expecting, and it’s not going to pay off in credibility for you. You might as well put a praise quote from your mom on the cover.
  2. Long Timeline – These review services typically take weeks to provide reviews (4-6 weeks seems to be standard), unless, of course, you want to pay for “Expedited” service.
  3. Expensive – Most of our authors aren’t working with huge marketing budgets. Of all of the things you can spend your money on to promote your book, this isn’t anywhere close to the top of the list as far as bang for your buck.
  4. No Real Organic Reach – These services typically advertise that X number of bookstores and libraries read their reviews, or they may broadcast your book to X number of social media followers. I’m not accusing them of lying. I’m sure they send a catalog or an e-newsletter to that many outlets, but it doesn’t mean that anyone actually reads it or that it nets sales. In my experience, I have never seen any evidence, or even a single anecdotal account from real life, that indicates that an author received any kind of real publicity, sales, attention, etc. because of one of these paid reviews. As far as social media followings, have you ever purchased a book because you saw a paid review service promoting it on Facebook?

We didn’t just write this to rain on the parade. There are better alternatives, and they’re mostly free.

Before we embark on any objective, the first question to ask is “Why are we doing this?”  The most common answer I get for paid reviews is “Such and such from my writer’s group did it and got a great review.” Call me old fashioned, but everybody’s doing it, just isn’t enough for me.

So what’s the value in praise blurbs anyways? There are two big ways that they help: 1) Social Credibility – quotes for the book jacket, website, etc. prove that someone has actually read this book and liked it. When a reader picks up your book, having someone else’s positive opinion absolutely helps; and 2) Promotional Connections – when you put a praise blurb on your cover, you have more access to that reviewer’s contacts and network.

And of course, paid trade review services claim to offer these exact things. But at such a high cost and with such poor results. You can achieve more for much less money.

Here are three alternatives that really work:
1. Use your personal network (or find a personal network) – reach out to published authors you know for a praise blurb, no matter how small they are. It’s free to you, it’s shared publicity for them. Even if the author isn’t well known, or isn’t even any good, that praise blurb will carry at least as much credibility as one from Bedirkus Reviews, and you just saved $400. And you can probably get a review from a friend in less than two weeks.

You’ve also just incentivized a real person to push your book – on their blog, social media, to their friends – because their name is on the back of it. Their network is an audience that isn’t overburdened with constant spam of book recommendations, and their friends trust them to recommend good books.

Obviously better authors, and authors in your genre will have a better result. Reach as high as you can, but take what you can get. If they say yes, don’t forget to return the favor by pushing their book to your followers.

2. NetGalley – NetGalley is a service that connects your book to real reviewers. NetGalley makes your book available to thousands of professional book reviewers, who can get a copy of the book for free if they’re interested.

This is less valuable for praise blurbs, as it’s often a better fit after the book is released, but it’s a great way to get real reviews on Amazon and out on some book review blogs. These are real people, so they have followings – people who like their personality, their taste in books – and these fans trust and use their recommendations.

Be forewarned, these are real reviews in the wild, so you might get some bad ones, but that’s OK.  Even bad reviews can lend credibility, as it demonstrates a wider readership of the book. Unlike paid trade reviews, real reviewers are incentivized to leave honest reviews. If they’re not honest, they’ll lose credibility with their followers who trust their recommendations.

NetGalley can be a little bit expensive, but we work in volume, so if you come through Columbus Publishing Lab, we can give you a better deal than you can get if you go directly to NetGalley.com.  Most of our authors receive 3-10 reviews for about $200, which is a far better deal (and with far greater reach) than what you’ll pay for one review through a paid trade review service.

3. Ask for help! When you work with Columbus Publishing Lab, we want your book to succeed. That’s how we stay in business. Our authors get great results, and then they tell their friends “These guys can help you do it right.” So let us help you do it right.

You may not feel like you know a lot of authors, but we know a ton!  If you’re getting a comprehensive publishing package from us and you’re committed to publishing your best book, we’d be happy to connect you with some authors in your genre so that you can request a praise blurb. Not all will say yes, or they may want you to review their book in return, but that’s how new networks form, and that’s how we all move forward together. And you can’t beat the price!

Paid trade reviews aren’t a black mark on the book. They’re simply not worth the expense. They don’t net any effective exposure, lend any more credibility to your book than the name of an unknown author, and they take way too long to get.

There are better alternatives that make the most out of the money you have to invest in your book. You can spend a bunch of money, or you can make new friends. When you’re pushing a book with a small marketing budget, there is nothing that will help you more than friends in your corner.

Before you commit to trade reviews or anything else, let’s have a conversation. We want your book to be successful, that’s how we all win together. Give us a call or text today at 614-805-3982 or shoot us an email at info@columbuspublishinglab.com. Our initial consultation is free. We look forward to speaking with you.

Our 2017 Average Author Earnings – $1,530

There’s a lot of flashy showmanship and big promises within the self-publishing industry, but a lack of reasonable information and realistic expectations.

At Columbus Publishing Lab, we value long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships with our authors, based on trust.

As you consider self-publishing, we think it’s important that you base your decision on facts.  We’re committed to honesty and transparency, and our average author earnings is helpful information as you consider self-publishing with us.  When you make a confident choice with realistic expectations, we have a foundation for a successful relationship. And that’s good for everyone.

Of our royalty-receiving publishing clients, the average author received $933 in royalties in 2017.

A portion of our books have very limited sales—these books are family memoirs, books for a specific audience or event, or they’ve been on the market for a long time. In any case, the author isn’t pushing this book and doesn’t want or expect a lot of sales. When we adjust the same data set for these books by eliminating all of the authors who received less than $100 over the year, the average “active” author received $1,530 in royalties from us in 2017.

We encourage all of our authors to think about their book as a two-year investment. On that timeline, greater than 65% of our authors recover more money in royalties than they spent on production with us.  I think these numbers reflect that.  Most of our authors turn a profit, and these numbers don’t even include books sold directly by the authors, which we don’t track.

In addition to the royalties they receive from us, most of our authors directly sell books (which they can buy from us at the cost to print)—at events, festivals, through their website, on consignment at local bookstores, or through distribution channels they might have set up personally. Our average royalty listed above is only for book sales through conventional distribution methods like Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo and iTunes which are administrated by us.  Most of our authors are making money with direct sales as well as the royalties they receive from Columbus Publishing Lab, which means that in reality, our average active author is making significantly more than the $1,530 we’re paying them.

Most of our competitors don’t release this kind of information. In fact, I’m not aware of any that do. I don’t blame them, as I suspect their data doesn’t look this good.  At Columbus Publishing Lab, we’re committed to producing books with excellence, and that’s evident in the results our authors achieve.

We encourage all of our authors to follow the step-by-step professional production plan Brad Pauquette, our CEO, created and outlined based on his years of industry experience as a publishing consultant. It works. And our authors who invest in their book and follow all of the plan are profitable more than 80% of the time. Join our mailing list by clicking here and we’ll send you a free copy of Brad’s book so that you can learn all about The Five Key Steps to Professionally Publish Your Book.

Self-publishing is a business. And it can be a profitable one. Contact us today at 614-805-3982 or email us at info@columbuspublishinglab.com to discuss how we can get your book to market with the best chance of success. We can’t wait to work with you and bring your book to life.

The Truth About E-book Only Production

I have something shocking to tell you. There’s a lot of bad advice on the internet.

At Columbus Publishing Lab, we advise a 5-step publishing process for all books that we produce.  This process is based on founder Brad Pauquette’s industry experience, and our confidence is based on the results we’ve achieved. It’s not “cheap,” but it produces a book as good or better than what’s coming out of the Big 5 publishers. And it pays off.

In an effort to save money, and based on bad advice on the internet, many of our clients are interested in only producing an e-book. But, if you’re producing an excellent, professional book, e-book only distribution isn’t going to save you that much money.

Our 5 steps of the production process are 1) developmental editing, 2) copy editing, 3) interior design, 4) cover design and 5) proofreading.  Learn more about these 5 steps by grabbing a free copy of Brad Pauquette’s book, The Self-Publishing Handbook, here.

The first two steps are typically the most expensive, and that’s what improves the content of your book. Developmental editing and copy editing are the steps that make your book the best piece of literature it can be. These steps maximize positive reviews and sales.  Whether you’re producing an e-book, a print book, or both, these are really important steps.

Foregoing a print book will save you a little bit of money on the interior design and the cover design, but that’s it.  If you’re approaching your project as a professional, you still need professional editing and only producing an e-book will save you less than 15% of the total budget.

E-books account for approximately 40% of our total book sales. If you don’t produce a print book, you’re throwing 60% of your potential sales out the window. Are you willing to sacrifice 60% of your sales to save 15% on your production costs?

That bad “give it a try with an e-book only” advice comes from the days when big initial print runs were mandatory for print books.  Not only did a self-publishing author have to spend money on the production, but they would drop thousands of dollars on an initial offset print run to store in a warehouse.  If that was still the case today, then an e-book only plan would save thousands on that expense. But now, with print on demand technology, there’s no reason to print a bunch of books up front, and that expense doesn’t exist.

Photo credit: GoXanuReviews -creative commons

Using our unique distribution system, there’s no need to print any books up front if you don’t want to.  All we need to produce is outstanding source files, and then those books are printed only when a customer orders the book.  The print-run risk is completely mitigated for the publisher or author, and the customer receives the same prompt book delivery they expect from retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The only way that producing only an e-book works out is if you also use it as an excuse to skip professional editing.  And that’s a bad idea.  There are some outliers—a few books that an author pushed out over the weekend which went on to hit major success—but these are exceptionally rare.  Readers care about editing quality, and readers care about the development of the narrative—plot holes, poorly developed characters and unrealistic dialog bother readers, a lot.

When it’s time to publish, when it’s time to take your first shot and step into the marketplace as a new author, you owe it to yourself to put your best foot forward. Contact us today by emailing us at info@columbuspublishinglab.com or calling 614-805-3982 to learn how we can help you to produce an outstanding book, distributed to all major markets, in print AND e-book.

We look forward to working with you.

Do Book Trailers Work? No. Book Trailers Do Not Work.

We have this crazy rule at Columbus Publishing Lab: we won’t try to sell people things they don’t need, or things that won’t work.

Book trailers don’t sell books.  If your intent is to increase the sales of your book, trailers are a waste of time and money.

If you insist you want to throw away your money so you can be the coolest author on the block, we’ll do our best work and facilitate it. But let me be frank: your book trailer is not going to be the exception, even if it’s exceptional, and it’s not going to sell books.

We’ve experimented with book trailers. After all, everybody’s doing it–almost all of our competitors offer book trailers, and we get tons of requests for them.  We’ve made trailers with live actors and Hollywood-caliber production, top-notch stuff like the one below.  This thing is awesome, but trailers don’t sell books, and this one was no exception.

Any promotional effort will have a fractional conversion rate. Which is to say, of all of the people who are exposed to your marketing, a percentage will actually buy the product. As an example, only a small percentage of drivers who see the billboard about a McDonald’s at Exit 38 are hungry, and fewer still will want a Big Mac.  When it comes to marketing, a “conversion” is a person who is exposed to your marketing and takes the action you want them to take—i.e. buys a product, joins an email list, donates to an organization, watches a TV show, etc.

There’s a lot of variation based on type of promotion, but to generalize web marketing across all industries, a 1% conversion rate is good, .1% is fine (1 in 1,000 respond), and a 5% response rate is ungodly.  ***NB: A like/retweet/comment/etc. on social media is great, but it should never be the objective and it’s not a “conversion.”  An effective web marketing campaign should have a far higher response/interaction rate than 1%.

The goal of any book promotion (a “conversion”) is the sale of one book.  This means that if 1 out of every 100 people who see your promotion buy your book, you’re doing exceptionally well.

What happens in real life is that authors end up spending their time promoting their book trailer.  They promote the book trailer by graffiti-ing every social media platform with the link to YouTube.  On a good day, 1% of the people who see the link actually go and watch the thing. Then of those who watch it, 1% (best case scenario) actually go and purchase the book.  You’ve just fractionalized your fraction,  and now you’re pulling a .01% total conversion rate on the project. Not good.

Instead of promoting a book trailer to promote a book, just promote your book directly.  If our goal is to sell books, a well-crafted “Hey go watch my book trailer,” is about 1/100th as effective as a well-crafted “Hey go buy my book.”

And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that a really good book trailer will cost well over $1,000, if not far more.  Your conversion rate on most of the poorly-produced videos on YouTube is virtually 0.

There are some exceptions:

  1. The book trailer is so exceptional that a viewer just has to share it with everyone they know. This is extremely difficult. Book trailers are essentially commercials, and how many commercials do you see shared on Facebook? The average cost to produce a national-TV-quality commercial is $342,000, and even these are rarely shared.
  2. The book trailer is a second-hit. We have a rule in our promotions—nobody does anything they’re not told to do at least twice. If your book is already saturating the general population, a book trailer can be an effective follow-up to seal the deal.  As in, you were on Good Morning America this morning, and curious readers are now actively searching for materials about your book.
  3. If Crowdfunding is part of your strategy (i.e. Kickstarter or Indiegogo), a video works. Crowdfunding audiences are predisposed to watch videos, because it’s part of the culture of the platform.  The format of this type of video will be different from a “book trailer.”
  4. Other types of videos can work. If you’re an expert or you have something to offer, and you can make videos that do more than just promote the book—for instance, solve a problem, explain a concept, or make people laugh—something which is genuinely good, entertaining and helpful, you can promote your personal brand and sell books as an ancillary benefit. This is a far different approach from a book trailer, however.  In other words, not all videos are bad, just book trailers.

We believe that self-publishing works when it’s done right.  The fact is, our clients think videos are cool and I wish they worked—they can be a lot of fun to make, and it would be a cool service to offer.  But in good conscience, it’s not a service that we can stand behind.

At the end of the day, book trailers are more about the author’s vanity. And we don’t do vanity here. We do professional results and we do return on investment.

Take it from us, skip the book trailer and save your money. There are better ways to promote your book.

Have you ever purchased a book because you saw a book trailer? Let us know in the comments.

Every book is different.  While this blog post is about a marketing method that doesn’t work, we have a toolbox full of methods that DO work.  At Columbus Publishing Lab, we tailor a marketing plan specifically for your book, to meet your goals, using methods that are proven and effective. Contact us to discuss your book today.

Professional Results for Professional Authors – The Story of Brad and the Plumber

I’m a bit of a handyman.  I live in an old two-story farmhouse, and there’s always something to be fixed, updated or remodeled.  Most of the work I can do myself—in fact, there are very few times that I need to call in a “professional,” (a fact I’m very proud of). I save a lot of money by doing the work myself, and truthfully I enjoy it.

Roof Framing Brad Pauquette

My 7-year-old son and me framing in the roof tie-in.

But on the occasions that I do call someone in, I’m almost always impressed with the results.  The right home repair professional knows how to make everything come together just right, it always looks so clean and perfect when they’re done.

A professional does the exact same job as I would do, and follows the same functional steps, but they bring three important things to the table:

  1. They do this task everyday, so they’re practiced.
  2. The have exactly the right tools for the job.
  3. They know all of the tricks and all of the pitfalls, so it turns out just right.

My wife’s 90-year-old grandmother moved in with us this fall, so with only one bathroom upstairs we added a first floor bedroom and bathroom for her over the summer.  I ended up doing most of the work myself.

I had done each of the individual tasks involved in building an addition at least one time before here or there, but I don’t do any of them frequently and I’d never done all of the pieces at once.  I was out of practice.

Sometimes I would find myself reaching for the vice grips, instead of whatever specialty wrench the job required, because I didn’t want to drop $60 for a tool I was only going to use once. It worked, but the nut would end up with little scratches on it or something would be just a degree off-center.  Or I’d find myself trying to make a hole-saw work that wasn’t exactly the right size, because I didn’t want to run out to the hardware store again.

And sometimes, I’d get halfway through a job and think, “I wish I would have started on the other side of the room.”  I just didn’t have enough experience to recognize all of the ways to make the job perfect, or to see all of the areas which might be more difficult.

It was all little tiny things. Things you wouldn’t notice individually unless you knew what to look for. But taken as a total, there is a perceivably lesser quality to my handiwork than that of a professional.

I did hire a plumber to install the shower for me. He knew exactly what he was doing.  He did it in half the time I would have because he does that kind of thing every day.  He had exactly the right tools for every part of the job—$60 for a specialty wrench which will make the job quicker and better is well worth it, even if he only uses it a couple times each week.   And before he even got started, he looked over our framing and recognized a few potential areas that might interfere with the shower placement.  With his instruction I made a few adjustments so that everything would come together perfectly.

My work is good. But the professional plumber did it better, he did it quicker, and even though it cost far more than if I did it myself, it was worth every penny.

At Columbus Publishing Lab, we’re professional book producers.   Hats off to those of you do-it-yourself book producers who can complete all of the steps, but we believe that the quality of our books speaks for the value of hiring a professional.  And we know that the royalty checks our authors receive dwarf the royalties of their average DIY peers.  One big reason our authors make more is the professional quality of their finished book.

Just like your plumber or electrician, there are three things that make our results better: We practice this every day; we have all of the right tools (thousands of dollars in software and hardware); and we know all of the tricks and pitfalls.

And there’s another factor that makes our results truly professional: Producing a book isn’t just one job, it’s five unique skillsets, each of which takes years of daily practice to learn and perfect.  We have individuals in-house who are experienced professionals at every single step of the process—developmental editing, copy editing, interior design, proofreading and cover design. Even our methods of distribution and fulfillment took years to develop, let alone a comprehensive and effective marketing system.

I may know how to do a little plumbing, a bit of drywall and a lot of electrical.  But it would be inconceivable that as a hobbyist, I’m as good at every single job required to build a house as specialized professionals would be—excavating, cement pouring, block laying, framing, roofing, drywall, plumbing, electrical, flooring, siding, window installation, to name a few.

Some authors just want to do it themselves.  I get that.  I enjoy working on my house. Most of the time, even if it’s not quite as good, I’d rather be proud of my own work than pay someone else.

But there is a place for hiring professionals.  If you’re serious about creating a book that will compete in the marketplace with books coming out of the major publishing houses, you need a product that is built to the same quality standard.  You need all five steps of the publication process to be clean and perfect.

We’re here to help.  Whether you need all five steps of the publication process, or just a little bit of help, we’d love to work with you to make your book the best that it can be.  You’ve worked too hard to let a few hundred dollars stand between your manuscript and success.

-Brad Pauquette, CEO

Ready to publish? Let’s talk.  Email us at info@columbuspublishinglab.com.

Want to learn more about the “Five-Step Publication Process”?  Click here to snag a free copy of my book, The Self-Publishing Handbook, which outlines the full process.  It’s a great resource, whether you choose to publish through Columbus Publishing Lab or DIY.

Find more fun photos of our home addition project on my wife and I’s blog here.

May 2016 Newsletter

You can’t spell “marketing” without “mark.”

Marketing tip: Know exactly who you’re trying to capture.

Most amateur marketing campaigns suffer from overgeneralization. I know what you’re bullseyethinking: “I don’t want to exclude any potential buyers.” But the truth is that if you’re creating a marketing campaign that will appeal to everyone, then you’re creating a marketing campaign that probably won’t motivate anyone. The person who is exposed to your advertising can’t just “like” it, it needs to be powerful enough to motivate them to take an action. If you’ve ever practiced archery, you know that the more specific your target is, the more accurate you’ll be. Aim small, miss small. The same is true for marketing campaigns, and the lower your budget, the truer this principle is.

As you consider marketing anything—yourself, your book, your business (and if it’s a book, you’re marketing all three of those things)—your first step is to succinctly identify your target. As a fun writing exercise, describe them exactly. Where are they right now, what are they wearing, what’s the last book they read, movie they watched, what did they eat for breakfast? I know you want everyone to buy your book, but who would be the BEST person to buy your book? Who’s going to like it the most? Once you know who your mark is, you can begin to formulate a plan to motivate exactly that person. Lucky for you, there are more than 300 million people in the United States, and at least a few of them are exactly like the person you’ve described.

When you have $1,000 to spend on marketing, it would be foolish to think that you can capture everyone. But no matter how specific your criteria get, there are $1,000 worth of people like them out there in the world, and if you appropriately identify them, you can target the buyers who want exactly what you have to offer.

When you market, know your mark. Aim small.

-CEO Brad Pauquette

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Two Ways to Nab The Self-Publishing Handbook for Free

The Self-Publishing Handbook by Brad Pauquette was written to be a resource for writers. Self-Publishing Handbook by Brad PauquetteYears and years of publishing experience have been condensed into this easy to read manual, in hopes that those considering self-publishing will make smart, educated choices.

We could direct you to buy the handbook, but we’d rather give it away for free. We do our best to promote education within the self-publishing community, and if one person’s self-publishing experience improves because of this book, that’s worth it to us.

Through December 28, there are two ways you can get a copy of The Self-Publishing Handbook for free.

1. Sign up for our mailing list. If you want a version of the book you can read anywhere, join our mailing list and receive a free PDF of the book, delivered straight to your email. We solemnly swear never to spam you, and you’ll get advance notice of seminars and giveaways, in addition to self-publishing tips you won’t find anywhere else.

Click here to get your free PDF of The Self-Publishing Handbook.

2. Enter to win a paperback copy in our Goodreads giveaway. We’re giving away five copies of The Self-Publishing Handbook in a Goodreads Giveaway. If you prefer a good old-fashioned paperback, then this giveaway is for you! The giveaway is free to enter, and it’s open for entries until December 28. Click here (or the box below) to enter. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Self-Publishing Handbook by Brad Pauquette

The Self-Publishing Handbook

by Brad Pauquette

Giveaway ends December 28, 2015.

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The self-publishing industry is huge. With so many choices, it can be hard to know which services are worthwhile, and which ones are a waste of time and money. The Self-Publishing Handbook is your guide to navigating the publishing process, no matter which route you choose. From hiring professionals, to D.I.Y. tips, this compact book separates worthwhile services from scams, and gets you on your way to producing an excellent book.

Nab a free copy of this book while you can!

Questions? Contact us by clicking here. 

Self-Publishing Simplified (In 21 GIFs)

Writers are so cool. You should become a writer.

Important

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So write something already.

it's hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

You got this.

Writing words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lot of in-between stuff (mostly drinking and browsing the Internet), you finally finish a manuscript.

Glitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

You start querying, but publishers are all like:

(Jerks.)

Nope GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you go through the five stages of rejection: Rage, indignation, indifference, alcohol, and finally:

Rejection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After you’ve recovered (if you ever recover) you decide to start pursuing other options. Self-publishing is so easy! And free! Who needs professionals? Not you.

Monkey typing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re at a crossroads. Publish RIGHT NOW, or do things right?

What is right

 

 

 

 

 

 

You decide to do some research. Good for you.

Homework research

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe you shouldn’t do it all yourself. After all, your novel deserves the best. You hire some professionals to help you along the way.

professional

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re doing it. You’re really doing it. YOU’RE PUBLISHING A BOOK.

Signing with a self-publishing company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, your editor sees your manuscript for the first time.

editor GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you revise.

Typing GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your cover designer gets all artsy-fartsy-awesome.

Artys fartsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turns out those professionals were a good idea. After a lot of behind-the-scenes work, your book is everything you dreamed it would be.  

finally published

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to make some money!

Famous

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crap. Marketing is hard.

blog marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewers can be brutal.

confused_whatdididowrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

But nobody can keep you down for long. This book is going to work.

tough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You FINALLY sell some books. Looks like that hard work is paying off. You’re so awesome.

You're so awesome

 

 

 

 

 

Now start over.

Panda new