Casey Bell believes authors should learn how to promote their books early in the process. Find out why he encourages writers to save and spend their money wisely.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My latest book is the third book of an eight-book series, American History. It is a book series about American inventors and/or innovators not mentioned in the school system. The first book, American History: Americans of African Descent, was inspired by my nephews and nieces. I wanted them to see more about their ancestors than the slavery and segregation they had to endure. I then decided to keep making books that shows more than the mistreatment of a people in American history and shows the great things people have done. The latest of the series is, American history: Asians in America.
2. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
The best thing about self-publishing is the freedom to do things as you please and to keep 100% of the copyrights and ownership of what you write. You also are free to market as you please. I really just enjoy the freedom I have as a self-publisher. The down side, which is the upside of publishing with a commercial or small publishing company, is the publicity, advertising, and marketing work. You either have to pay thousands of dollars for someone to do it for you or you have to spend thousands of hours doing it yourself. It is not the fun part of self-publishing in my humble opinion.
3. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have contacted other authors to do podcasts, interviews, and blogs. I have just recently started an online project entitled, “Writer to Writer Interviews,” where writers interview one another. I have just now started to network. I only wish I would have started back when I first began writing. Because I am new at it, I cannot give any major results. But I will say, I have more interviews out there due to networking with people.
4. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I haven’t done much marketing. Most of my efforts have been in publicity and adverting. None of which have been that successful due to the fact I lack funds. I will advise anyone who wants to publish books, before you even start writing, to sacrifice that cable, expensive coffee, expensive clothing, and open up a savings account and fill it with the money you’ve been using on your unnecessary wants.
Also, spend time on informing yourself (books, webinars, YouTube, etc) on how to market, advertise, and do publicity, and know the difference between the three. No matter how great your book is, without those three, your book is going nowhere. Whether you learn to do it yourself or hire someone, it takes lots of time and money.
5. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I have thought long, but I cannot think of any at the moment. I personally believe everything works, but everything doesn’t work for everyone. You just have to try everything and what doesn’t work for you stop, and what does, keep it going.
6. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
You need to have and know your target audience. You have to sell your book to more than just your family and friends. Not everyone you know reads, so it is better to target readers.
7. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Saved my money to hire a team of publicists, advertisers, and marketers. I really do not enjoy that part of publishing. Also, although I enjoy graphic design, I would have saved money to pay for a book cover design. Even though we should never do it, humans still judge books by their covers.
8. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Start out informing yourself about advertising, marketing, and publicity. Decide whether you are willing to do it yourself or pay someone. Take webinars, seminars, classes, workshops, etc. and talk to those who have already done it and find out the best way to write, edit, produce, and publish a book. Get information on everything before you begin.
You still will make mistakes (we all fall (fail) when first learning how to walk), but you will make fewer mistakes if you get knowledge up front. Spend more time and money on your needs and less or none on your wants. You need lots (I mean lots) of time and money to be successful in book publishing. And never say you can’t. Wherever there is a can’t in your life, there is a can. Look for what you can do or do have, and ignore the can’ts and don’ts. They are not needed to succeed.
9. What other projects are you currently working on?
A book of quotes and a book on how to be successful by embracing your five unique qualities.
10. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
A unique expression of love and forgiveness.
11. How can readers learn more about your books?
Authorcaseybell.com has everything you need to know about me as an author, my books, and my social media platforms. As well as information on how to be a guest on my online show, Writers to Writers Interviews. Lastly, you can hear or read my other interviews and read reviews of my books as well. Authorcaseybell.com is a mall of information.