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Monday, December 9, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Self Publishing A. William Benitez (INTERVIEW)


**The author will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others
by A. William Benitez
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
BLURB:
Frustration With Traditional Publishers Leads To Self Publishing

In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.

As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.

After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.


After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.


Interview with A. William Benitez of Positive Imaging, LLC:


1. Do you think the self-publishing industry will challenge and perhaps one day dominate over the traditional publishers?

The self publishing industry is already challenging traditional publishers. They are no longer the gatekeepers for published content. This is obvious by the fact that some traditional publishers have already developed subsidiaries to work with self publishers. I don’t see domination by self publishing in the foreseeable future because so many writers still see acceptance by a traditional publisher as validation of their writing skills. Many still self publish in hopes that a traditional publisher will see their book and offer them a contract. Self publishing still faces a stigma. I’ve helped good writers to publish books that are available worldwide yet they don’t view themselves as “real” authors because no traditional publisher accepted their work. I find it frustrating.

2. Through your journey of learning about self-publishing, what difficulties have you encountered?

When I first started out I read everything I could find on self publishing and some of it was excellent. The difficulty for a newbie was being offered too many options. I was looking for one proven method that worked every time and limited my investment of time and money and simplified fulfillment. After publishing my first book, a children’s book that my wife wrote, I gradually developed such a method. After proving it on three more books I published “Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks for Yourself and Others” to share that proven method with others. I now have thirteen books and a half dozen ebooks published using this method.

3. Is self-publishing synonymous with digital publishing nowadays? 

It seemed to be moving in that direction but I have noticed increased interest in self publishing print books. That strong trend was based on it seeming so much easier and less costly to create ebooks. Actually, creating a quality ebook is just as difficult as creating a quality print book and the cost is nearly the same. I think many writers believe that there is much more front end cost and a lot of fulfillment issues with print books. Certainly that can be the case but it’s not necessary to incur those costs or to handle fulfillment of print books yourself.

4. Following up with the previous question, do most authors make more money off of digital self-publishing versus print?

I don’t believe that’s the case and it definitely isn’t for me. The percentage of potential profit is higher from ebooks in most cases but the price of the ebooks is usually lower than print books. I feel the popularity of ebooks will continue to grow but I don’t see ebooks replacing print books any time soon. I’m an avid Kindle and Smashwords fan so I always try to find the ebook version of anything I want to read. My wife feels the same way but I know many avid readers who love the feel of a print book. Besides, there are some books that won’t work well as ebooks.

Most of mine are how to books with illustrations and screenshots that wouldn’t do well on a small ereader so I publish them as 8X10 or 8.5X11 inch print books that I believe my readers prefer.

5. Beside being a writer and operator of Positive Publishing, what other activities are you involved with?

I create web sites and blogs for myself and for others and I manage about 20 web sites and half dozen blogs. I also do woodworking and remodeling of our home. My how to books are mostly on the woodworking business except for the one on self publishing. I owned and operated a woodworking business for almost 30 years and while I have been out of that business for years, I still build furniture and work on remodeling our home. After spending hours on a computer it feels good to use your hands to work with wood. 

Excerpt: 
Planning The Book - The Outline

The Plan

Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise
plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some
knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little
concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for
your book.

The Outline

You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to
your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing
them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on
individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have
listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic
logically follows the previous one.

Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add
whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t
worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as
much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all
these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move
them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the
section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full
advantage of an outline to create your book.

Your Objective

If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more
appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the
market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your
book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.

Knowing Your Market

While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a
book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your
book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those
interested in your book and how to reach them.

While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self
publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so
it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a
strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is
in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased
sales before you even publish.

The Final Format

In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to
be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some
books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is
considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is
the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that
work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for
the Kindle in chapter fourteen.

Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with
both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be
part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage
of them is covered in other chapters.

When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my
wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through
similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s
books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use
for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very
interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way.
There were some similarities but many more differences. The important
thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were
obviously many ways to do that.

There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the Amazon.com web
site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will
have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going
to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are
also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe
that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your
book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as
there are publishers.

If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design
blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved
in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things
that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining
professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose
the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so
helpful, at least while publishing your first book
***

 AUTHOR Bio and Links:

From age twelve I spent my summers and weekends working with my dad, a general contractor, building homes and buildings. I contracted my first home at age nineteen and built my own home by age twenty. For more than 30 years I have operated one-person businesses. Twelve years of my life were spent working for local government managing federally-assisted housing programs. I started as an inspector with a three month assignment and was Director of Community Improvement with 78 employees when I resigned to do writing and consulting.

Writing, Publishing and Consulting

During the 80’s I established Rehab Notes Library a publishing company that published a monthly newsletter (Rehab Notes) with subscribers in all 50 states, Canada and England. I also did consulting and public speaking on housing related topics for agencies and organizations in cities across the country and testified before the U.S. Congress on housing issues.

I wrote and published nine guidebooks on the subject of housing rehabilitation. After 1980 when most federal funding was pulled from housing activities, I took advantage of my construction and business experience and started a handyman and woodworking business.

Over Twenty Years of Woodworking

For over twenty years, first in Tampa, Florida and then in Austin, Texas, I built hundreds of small and large cabinet and furniture projects for individuals, companies and government agencies. During these years I began writing books about my woodworking business experiences.

Positive Publishing

In 2007 I established Positive Imaging, LLC, to publish a children’s book for my wife and then begin publishing my own books and that of other using methods I call positive publishing. To date we have published twelve paperback books, a half dozen ebooks, and presently have several books in various levels of completion.

Computer Experience

My computer experience dates back more than fifteen years and began in response to poor technical support for our computers.   I used home study to acquire A+ and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Certifications.

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and moved to Austin, Texas in 1986, where I now live with my wife, Barbara Frances. We have three adult children, eight grand-children, and two great grandchildren.

1.       Self Publishing Book Sales Pages

a.       Main Sales/Info Page – http://selfpublishingworkbook.com

b.      Createspace Fulfillment Page - https://www.createspace.com/3851405

2.       Main Positive Imaging, LLC Site – http://positive-imaging.com

3.       Self Publishing Support Blog - http://self-publishing-support.com   

4.       PublishingSimplified Blog - http://publishingsimplified.com 

~~~~~~~~~~

**The author will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Thanks for answering my questions, William; it was a pleasure hosting your book! 

Please follow the rest of the tour HERE

16 comments:

  1. This book sounds very informative on self publishing. I guess I'll have to go back and take some more economic and marketing classes....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for hosting my book and I look forward to questions and comments from your readers.

    Bill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your very informative answers!

      Delete
  3. kipha,

    The best thing about my book is that you don't need to go back and take more economics and marketing classes. My goal is always to develop simplified and repeatable methods. Following the clear instructions in my book will lead to a quality book that is marketed worldwide. Thanks for posting.

    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for doing this! Can't wait to check out this book. Sounds like it has some great info on self publishing. ;-)

    cloud.weaver.girl AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Melinda and I would definitely welcome your comments and any questions you may have. I'm glad to help.

      By the way, don't hesitate to stop by my self publishing blogs as they also contain valuable information.

      Bill

      Delete
  5. Nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent gift for an aspiring author wanting to self-publish. I enjoyed reading this post. Much success on your book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As a reader I find this all fascinating.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great interview!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fascinating interview, thanks for sharing!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

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