You’re an expert in your industry. You’ve got a blogroll of content displaying your business and showcasing your knowledge about your industry. And you’ve got a pretty decent following of people eager to glean information and advice from you. So it might feel like the right time to take that next step and write a book.
Self-publishing isn’t for everyone, but for some industry insiders, it may be the smartest route—especially with the launch of self-publishing platforms on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Kindle.
It's working for Yuli Ziv, who, just in time for Fall 2011's New York Fashion Week, authored Blogging Your Way To The Front Row: The Insider’s Guide to Turning Your Fashion Blog Into a Profitable Business and Launching a New Career. Ziv is the founder and CEO of Elle-magazine backed Style Coalition, a network of top fashion and beauty bloggers, and the co-founder of My It Things, a user-generated fashion site and community.
We spoke with Ziv about why self-publishing was right for her—and why it may be right for you:
1. You’re comfortable and confident with publishing your book yourself
“It’s so much easier, faster, and can really look beautiful,” says Ziv. “Having a published book is a nice credit to have. I really don’t think it matters if it’s self-published or not. It’s about my content and showing a good body of work. All of that will help my business grow and get noticed.”
2. You want to have control of your book
When someone else is paying you to publish your book, they get to make all sorts of decisions regarding the editing of the manuscript, the cover and the title. They also have say over the marketing. Ziv, with her large network and marketing experience, found she’d rather have control over how well her book sells and how it's received by readers.
3. You want to move quickly to get your book out
Topics and trends have a lifespan, and it can take years to find an interested publisher and settle on a contract. Ziv sees self-publishing as a forum for her to be an authority about the evolution and growth of her business and industry.
“It took me five months to write the book and I got the first printed proof within days of sending it in," says Ziv. "Amazon guided me through the process and it was easy. I wrote the book, saved it as a pdf and uploaded it. Whatever else I needed—proof edits, help with marketing—are add-on services you can pay for through the platform.”
4. You want to keep your profits
“The cost to use a self-publishing platform like Amazon is an upfront cost and it isn’t a very big cost,” says Ziv. “So much of the process is done just with a few clicks of the mouse.”
Self-publishing means you won't wait months or years for payment. You'll collect all sales as they come in. And that payment won’t simply be a small percentage of royalties, either.
5. You are the expert in your field and you’ve carved out a niche
Authors often have to dedicate their advance to researching the topic of their book. When you’re the expert yourself, you are the research.
“I knew I had to take advantage of my experience and knowledge,” says Ziv. “I hit a point where I had a lot of knowledge and I had stuff to share that no one has shared. My expertise is fashion, media and technology. There isn’t any schooling on it. There aren’t any books on it. I gained enough expertise in the last few years that I could confidently put it together into a longer format.”
6. You already have a sizable, loyal audience
Through her successful blog, Ziv already has a community of followers.
“People were sharing the content I was putting up,” says Ziv. “I would get e-mails with questions from people all the time. It made me very aware of the fact that there was so little info was out there for people related to my industry. So I grabbed that opportunity and made that niche mine.”
This audience you've built up will become your core readership, and they'll assist with getting the word out about your book.
7. You’re already pretty organized
A third of Ziv’s book was already written thanks to the advice she’d been posting on her blog. She researched and found that most books are about 200 pages, or 50,000 words, long. She set a target date for when she wanted to be finished by, and did the math figuring she could meet her goal by writing 2,000 words a week.
“The way to approach the task of writing a book is to put it into small steps,” says Ziv. “I didn’t want to just share my knowledge in a weekly blog form. There was more value to share with my readers beyond the work I’d already done. I just needed a time management system, and 2,000 words a week doesn’t feel like a big project. Thinking like that and with an outlined table of contents, I was able to work on each chapter individually while running my business and traveling for work. I could juggle it all without losing my train of thought.”
Image credit: Yuliziv.com