Self-Publishing’s Dirty Little Secret

by ldespain on June 10, 2014

If you’re self-published, you probably already know what the secret is. Ready for it? Self-publishing’s dirty little secret is that you might not sell very many books. In fact, you might not sell any books, period.

Wow, that’s a sad, sorry statement, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s true, and I don’t hear a lot of people in the self-publishing industry mention this. They’re happy to tell you how much their services will cost, and where your books will be listed, but not how many you might sell.

Here’s the truth: if you’re willing to work at it, your book has a fighting chance. The beauty of digital publishing is that everyone can publish…the drawback is that everyone can publish. The key is to make sure your book can be found.

I’ve compiled several different marketing methods that might work for your book or ebook. Some things (author signing at Barnes & Noble, PR release) are easier done by the publisher. Other things (author central, author blog) are much easier for the author to do. Some things you can only do if you have a print book (author signing). Other marketing methods will work regardless of whether you’re digital-only or if you’re in print and ebook.

Marketing is the critical skill that no one in the publishing industry is addressing. It’s even worse if you’re trying to sell ebooks. Publishers don’t  have the time to address marketing for every book (and expect authors to do a large part of the markting themselves), while authors want to understand but can get caught up in the “if you build it they will come” mentality. The truth is that you might build it, but if no one knows where it is, they can’t find it.

Have you tried these methods? A combination of these methods? What worked & what didn’t? I’d love to hear your feedback.



My Story: Who Is Giving Your Book TLC?

by ldespain on January 12, 2014

As an author (or publisher) you have options in choosing a formatting expert, whether you’re needing an ebook or print book, or both. You could post your project on a job site like Elance, work with a large conversion or design house, or find a small boutique operator like me. The experience you’ll have is different with each option and it can be helpful to know who you’ll be working with before you make your decision.

Although I’m convinced that you’re more interested in your book project than you are in me (as you should be!), I’ve been told that sharing my story is something I should be doing, so here goes!

Right now, I am blessed to have businesses in 2 areas – book formatting and quilting. Since I was a little kid, books have been important to me; I had a part-time job in high school at the public library. I was the kid who would stay up all night to finish reading a book…the one who had her head under the covers with a flashlight, excited to finish the latest “best” book she had ever read. (The book I am currently reading has always been my favorite…whatever it is!) After college, I went to work in Christian publishing, stayed at the publishing house for 13 years, and then struck out on my own.

Quilting is both my passion and the thing that helps me to relax. I now have a quilting machine – it’s as big as a car and just about as expensive. I use it to finish other quilters’ projects. I love it!

So that leads me to what I do best – I finish things. I can’t say that I always finish a project on time, but darn it if I don’t do whatever I can to make it happen. Who needs sleep, after all. (Kidding! Sort of.) The way I see it – I help creative people, whether in quilting or in books, take their project further along to “finished.” Sometimes creative types don’t have the right set of technical skills to finish what they’ve started. I get it. Who wants to learn a typesetting program like InDesign if writing is their true passion? Who wants to learn the intricacies of HTML to create an ebook? There’s kind of a lot to it, if you do it right.

So, if you’re interested in finishing your book, I’d love to hear from you. There are some very exciting opportunities right now for authors who want print and/or ebooks. The TLC is included in every project I do. : ) Contact Lisa at 918-232-6155 or

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Business Tips From Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares

March 28, 2013

I’ve been watching marathon episodes of Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu and have gathered a nice list of business tips that Gordon Ramsay uses on almost every episode. Ok, yes, it’s a rather formulaic reality TV show, but that’s part of its charm…and the main reason why I’ve been able to come up with this list. […]

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Must-Have Self-Publishing Resources

March 24, 2013

I’d like to share some of my favorite tools, resources, and information for self-publishing. These are things I recommend to my author clients on a regular basis. CreateSpace This is my favorite option for print on demand (POD) and/or printing in general. Here’s how it works: you upload your print-ready PDF and cover files to […]

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The Holy Grail: Formatting an Ebook That Works for Everyone

February 3, 2013

This post may end up being more of a rant than normal. My apologies in advance. Formatting an ebook is one of the most enjoyable yet simultaneously one of the most frustrating experiences. I love the feedback I get from happy authors who are pleased with the final result. At the same time, there are […]

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Digital Product Development Strategies

November 20, 2012

This has come up quite a bit recently. I’ve had a lot of people contact me who are interested in offering ebooks online, and who want to understand their options. The first thing you need to do is determine your goals for this promotion. Do you want to get your name out there or are […]

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Seasonal Book Sales and Publishing Calendars

November 5, 2012

This topic was a total mystery to me when I started my publishing career. It took several years in the industry to understand which books sold when, how stores wanted to be marketed to, and what months tended to be quieter than others. Another related topic is the typical lead time a trad publishing house […]

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Is Publishing Without a Platform Possible?

October 15, 2012

YEP! In the olden days (like 10 years ago, hee hee), it was virtually impossible to publish unless you had an established following. In Christian publishing (my background), that meant that you had a TV evangelism show on a religious network or even a mainstream one. Traveling preachers had a decent shot at a steady-selling […]

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How to Get Unstuck – In Writing (and in Life)

October 10, 2012

What do you do when your kid says “it hurts when I bend my arm”? Do you rush over, and start asking: “Do you need ice? How about some painkiller? We could put a warm compress on it. Do you need a band-aid? We’d better call Urgent Care and get an appointment for you!” If […]

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Kindle Select Real World Results

October 3, 2012

If you’ve been wondering about whether YOU should try Kindle Select, or KDP Select, let me encourage you – yes, you should!! When you publish via Kindle Select, you’re agreeing to allow Amazon exclusive distribution rights for your ebook for 90 days. During that 90-day time frame, you have the option to allow free downloads […]

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