By Mary Walewski, CIPA President

“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” —Creighton Abrams

I recently met with a new marketing client. This author was close to publishing his book and freely admitted he was totally overwhelmed by the experience. He expressed what most authors I’ve met have said,

“I thought writing the book was going to be the hard part.”

What author hasn’t been a little shocked to find out that, in addition to writing the book, you also have to become an instant expert in editing, graphic design, publicity, online marketing……?

I wasn’t surprised that my new client was a bit overwhelmed. He had just realized that his book had become a 2nd job and of elephantine proportions at that. Our meeting ended with creating a to-do list for both of us.

Hiring a professional to do various aspects of your publishing process is certainly one of the ways an author can “eat the elephant.” But where do you start?

Just Google it.

Googling “how to publish a book” brings up a bunch of self publishing sites and related publications on publishing — 266,000,000 of them. Ignore the obvious “publish your book with us” sites (they can be very expensive) and focus on publications like Writer’s Digest and blogs for starting information. Articles in general publications will hopefully lead you to the websites of some of the leaders in self publishing and publishing trade organizations like CIPA.

Read about it.

Read a book or two on self publishing. Search “self publishing on Amazon and you’ll get 121,792 to choose from. Search on “book marketing” and you’ll have another 312,000 books to browse. Suggestion to start: narrow it down to what’s at your local library – most likely they’ll have several titles.

Talk to people who’ve been there already.

Talk to authors you know, or join a Meetup of authors. How are they finding answers to their self publishing questions?

Join CIPA! (You knew I was working up to this, didn’t you?)

Organizations like CIPA serve to educate our members about publishing and marketing books to help them avoid expensive mistakes. In addition to our monthly meetings, we also have CIPA Brainstorms, (formally called Focus Forums) small group meetings about specific subjects. This summer, we had three webinars on different topics – Our 20 Biggest Self Publishing Boo-Boos, 10 Steps to a Hardworking Website and How I Sold 5000 Books to American Furniture Warehouse. And let’s not forget about the vast amount of knowledge shared by our members. Details on joining here.

Hire a pro.

Hire a professional to guide you through the process. This could be one-on-one coaching, classes, or having someone do it all for you. CIPA has members who are editors, designers, marketers and more. Get referrals whenever possible from your author connections.

If you’ve already published and are ready to gear up your marketing for the fall, these steps will work for you, too. Do a little research and talk to fellow authors and professionals about how to get back on the promotion track for your book. A little knowledge will help to shrink that elephant down to a manageable size.

Be sure and join us for CIPA’s kick off meeting on September 19. We’re still finalizing the program; watch for details! In the meantime, I hope to see you at the 21st Annual CIPA EVVY Awards, Sunday, August 23, 2015! Details here.

Mary Walewski
CIPA President 2015-2016