Rodney Page first published a book in 2005, and seven years later has learned just how much the industry has changed. Learn about the hybrid indie publisher he went with and which vendors he chooses for his marketing efforts.
1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.
Powers Not Delegated is a fast-moving political thriller set in current times. The reader will recognize many national challenges and circumstances in the book; they are based on reality. And, though fiction, the book highlights the type of leadership and policies we, as a country, must embrace to effectively overcome those challenges. The characters are vivid representations of the best and worst we have in our political system today.
2. Why did you become an indie writer?
Honestly, I first tried the traditional route for Powers Not Delegated, but soon learned the publishing landscape had changed dramatically since 2005 when my business book was published. I was determined to get the book published, thought it was pretty good and that a large market existed for the genre and theme. I researched the various self-publishing models, paying close attention not only to the relative costs, but the processes themselves; what I could do myself and what I would have to contract. When it was all said and done, and I assessed my skills, I settled on a hybrid indie publisher.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
Yes, I wrote a non-fiction business book in 2005 and went the traditional route: an agent and a mainstream publishing house. I was fortunate to network to a great agent, and in those days, a non-fiction author could break through if the subject matter was ‘hot’ at the time. My book addressed the challenges faced by companies in a high growth environment, a lot different environment than today.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I’ve enjoyed it, no big surprises. I asked a million questions before I signed with the publisher. And they were very open and honest about what our respective roles would be. Everything that’s transpired so far has been as expected. My publisher, BQB Publishing, frankly, has been delightful to work with.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
Since the book doesn’t come out until October 30, all my thoughts are speculative. However, I will share those activities I believe will prove effective. Related to the publisher’s marketing activities, ask questions and find out what they will do, and offer suggestions. As an example, in my case, I learned the publisher’s distribution network didn’t address PX stores on military bases. Once I inquired, the publisher moved quickly to close the distribution gap. Personally, I’ve spent countless hours on the internet identifying organizations, blogs, influencers, even individual potential buyers in my target markets for marketing communications. Additionally, I developed a blog targeting my target audience. A website is a requisite, and, of course, the social media. I focus on Facebook and Twitter. And I suggest authors diligently seek reviews and interviews.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Again, at this point, this is an opinion more than based on real experience. I’m not spending a great deal of energy on scheduling book signings. Everyone says I need to do them, but I view signings as tremendously time-consuming and expensive for the value received. I’ll do some signings and see what happens, but think my time might be better spent working on other marketing activities.
7. Which services or vendors do you recommend for the marketing methods you used?
First, I found GoDaddy’s website and blog offerings very cost-effective, and their templates for creating the site and blog are fairly easy to use. And if you utilize email marketing, GroupMail is also cost-effective and easy to use.
8. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The importance of a good editor! Fortunately, my draft was pretty good in terms of plot lines, plausibility and general organization. But I learned so much about the nuances of word crafting. There’s no substitute for an experienced editor who’ll take the time to understand what you are trying to accomplish with your book. Also, find an editor you can easily work with; stow your writer’s ego and learn from open give and take.
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Have a better prepared draft of the next book when I begin the pre-publication process. Having been through the editing process, I believe I can cut a week or two off, getting the book more quickly to market.
10. Indie authors face the challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie just starting out?
First, if an author is not familiar with the fundamentals of marketing, I suggest he/she find a crash course in ‘Marketing 101.’ Fortunately, I have over forty years of business experience, much of it in marketing and sales. I understood the concepts of target marketing, channel analysis, features vs. benefits, etc. Until authors understand the philosophy of marketing, they will be confused and overwhelmed with the tactics: everything from developing the ‘elevator speech’, to developing a blog, to the messaging on their websites. And, I might add, after meeting and talking to authors in writing and author groups, many of them have the “If I write it, they will come” approach to potential readers; that a well-written book will sell itself. It just ain’t going to happen.
11. What are you currently working on?
Powers Not Delegated is the first of a trilogy. By the People, For the People, the second book, will probably be released in 12-14 months; I’ve finished a pretty complete draft, and it should go into pre-production around the first of the year. Also, I’m toying with a Civil War time travel theme, a completely different type book than the trilogy.
12. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
“He writes very plausible, believable and well-researched books that effectively integrate historical facts, current events and intelligent fictional plots and characters for entertaining and fact-paced reads.”
13. How can readers learn more about your books?