About Self-Publishing


What are some of the pros and cons of self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

Pat Flynn goes behind the scenes in his podcast SPI 197 on the publishing of Will It Fly. Pat is a successful online entrepreneur, business strategist and blogger. He gives some valuable tips:

  • what are your goals in publishing – money or service
  • self-publishing gives you full control but requires many skill sets
  • traditional publishing is easier but there are deadlines and constraints
  • traditional publishing has established distribution networks
  • self-publishing requires you to do all the marketing
  • the advantages of publishing on Amazon instead of your own website

Below are excerpts from his podcast:


See also previous post.

Digital Branding and Engagement #2


Following on from the previous blog about the Curtin University edX course  Digital Branding and Engagement, the third module: Owned Media Assets was about corporate websites, blogs, email newsletters and social media channels. These media assets included story-telling and gamification of the message. An excellent example of this is the video “Dumb ways to die” by Melbourne METRO.

The fourth module was about Earned Media or brand engagement. This aspect is the hardest to achieve since it requires a degree of advocacy by others in the form of reviews, cites in blogs, editorials, word-of-mouth and uncontrolled social media channels. If you can get advocates, then you are on a winner — see previous post.

Two examples of earned media are:  STA Travel – WanderAustralia ad — which increased the domestic travel by 22% of young Australians

and Happy South Africa — published on 9 Jun 2014, Happy South Africa is a civil movement powered by Sunlight and Mxit, celebrating South Africa’s vibrancy, unity and joy through music and dance. Inspired by Pharrell Williams, everyone who shares the video on YouTube, SUNLIGHT WILL DONATE R10.00 to the SA Ubuntu Foundation. Thousands of moves. Hundreds of cities. One UNITED South Africa!

The Google+ (MKT1x community) assignment part of this edX course was very successful. There was good participation by the class. We were asked for postings to the Google+ community examples of the different types of brand marketing and we were also encouraged to take part in the discussions.

Digital Branding and Engagement


I recently completed an edX course from Curtin University, Western Australia on Digital Branding and Engagement with a grade of 95%. I must confess that when I enrolled I had a low expectation for the course. I expected it to be Marketing 101. I didn’t understand the  power and pervasiveness of digital branding. Yes, we all know how important the digital world has become but perhaps not how it is being used to capture the hearts and minds of vulnerable people for commercial purposes.

The Curtin University edX course on Digital Branding and Engagement consisted of four modules. The first module was on; The Digital Consumer — which explored the role of social media in consumer participation and engagement — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

The second module examined Content Marketing — creating content value and distributing it to target audiences. Content marketing is not new and the video below gives a brief history of it into the digital age.

Then there has to be that classic video clip by Steve Jobs explaining the “Think Different” marketing.


Word of Mouth Marketing

No matter how good your book or ‘voice or brand’ is — it could do with some marketing. What is the best form of marketing? Word of Mouth

What is the best way to get WOM? Brand Advocate

What is a brand advocate? They are type of customer that goes out of their way to stand up for your brand. They are enduringly loyal while recommending and believing in you. The bottom line is that they are a rare breed with a big voice and unlimited power of persuasion.

Did you know that 92% of global consumers trust the word of friends and family over any other form of advertising and advocates are twice as likely to recommend your brand then a typical customer?

So what is the secret to building advocates? Consistency.

– Consistently deliver superior content

– Consistently deliver stellar customer feedback

– Consistently deliver excellent customer experience


Check out to discover more!

What is your Unfair Advantage?

Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn has a very successful online business known as SmartPassiveIncome (SPI) and when asked what advice he would give to someone just starting out, he replied:

Use your unfair advantage. An unfair advantage is a skill, experience or asset that you have that no one else or few others have — it is your competitive edge – for example:

1. The People You Know
The connections you have made over time — through work, clubs, social networks and work colleagues. Your address book of contacts.

2. Your Experience
What you have been through — work, career path, your hands on knowledge of the world.

3. Your Story And How You Tell it
We all have a story to tell. Stories are incredible marketing tools. Your stories should always be true and if you have a good one, tell it and use it to your advantage.

4. Your Personality: Your Ability to Connect with Others
Out of the 7 billion people in this world, you are uniquely you. If you have a personality that people can easily connect with — don’t be afraid to use it. Injecting any kind of personality into your business is an advantage.

5. Your Specialisation: What you Know
It is not just the skills and experiences that you have to offer that can give you a competitive edge, it can also be the fact that you can serve a more specialised segment of a particular market. Remember the phrase: The Riches are in the Niches.

This advice applies to businesses in general and also to self-publishing, which after all is a business.

Life-cycle of a self-published book


Helpful hints from BookBaby

What might be involved in the traditional publishing process? Pitching your book to agents, shopping the manuscript to acquisitions editors, conference calls between the marketing and editorial departments, changing the ending to give your book broader “appeal,” letting someone in New York decide on the title and design, and a hundred other things that are outside of your control.

When you self-publish, on the other hand, the road is straight. The process unfolds like a linear narrative, and YOU are in the driver’s seat. Of course talent, hard work, and luck are as important as ever to your success — but when you find your loyal readership, YOU reap more of the rewards, and you’ll have done so without compromising the thing that matters most: your writing!

How a self-published book moves from your imagination into the hands of readers

The idea! It’s a beaut. Truly inspired. Now set a schedule and start writing.

Write, write, write. Don’t be overly critical. Just get it into words.

Get feedback. Let beta-readers, a writing group, or a workshop critique your manuscript.

Revise, revise, revise. Put that feedback to good use as you improve your book.

Editing. Work with a professional editor to polish your manuscript for publication.

Proofreading. Check your grammar and spelling. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Design. It’s time to create a striking look for your book and book cover. Or better yet, hire someone who will create a pro design on a DIY budget.

Pre-publication file preparation. Stumped? BookBaby can help!

Manufacturing. Print bookstore-quality books in the quantity that’s right for you.

ePUB and .mobi conversion. Turn your manuscript files into an elegant eBook.

Distribution. Make your print books available for purchase in stores, at readings, book fairs, and online. Make your eBook available in over 60+ stores (including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc.)in more than 170 countries.

Promote and sell. Try these 20 thrifty ways to spread the word about your writing without breaking the bank.

Wow your readers. Your book is in their hands. Time for your writing to work its magic upon the world.

Well, we’ve gotten to the end, which means it must be time for you to finish writing that next book!

Is Content King?

I have been preoccupied with two deaths in the family and have not been keeping up with the blog posts. I did come across an excellent PowerPoint presentation about web content – the bottom-line is that if people don’t get to see it, it might as well not have been written. The same applies to an eBook.

The Seven Deadly Sins

What follows is a paraphrase of an article by Dan Smith on the mistakes and actions that can destroy an author’s chances to get substantial media coverage, and how to avoid these common pitfalls. For the full version see the BookBaby Blog

1. Sloth
If you think sitting back and watching royalty checks roll in is your destiny, think again. Virtually all authors must “get out there” and be seen and heard. Book signings and tours are not passive events; they require a hunger for success and kinetic energy level. Interviews can be a gold mine or a disaster for one who puts forth a half-hearted effort. Publicity doesn’t happen; you have to make it happen.

Lazy authors languish in the million rankings on bookselling sites.

2. Pride
If you are promoting a book, prepare for your pride to be pierced a few times. One of the most common mistakes we’ve seen authors make is letting a negative review or a bad interview derail their determination.

The author believes his book is a bestseller; it is his baby, his labor of love. He has great pride in what he has written, so much so that it has created an excessive belief in his abilities and his book; after all—his relatives and friends love it. When the tough times come, pride begets anger, which begets frustration, which leads to disillusionment.

Roll with the punches, and stay the course. Put your ego on bed rest.

3. Envy
Envy serves no purpose in book promotion. The only way other authors get great publicity gigs is because they try. If anything, you should learn from them. Watch successful authors carefully, examine their topic, and then examine your own project. We all can learn something from others; we still do every day.

4. Lust
How does lust come into play with book promotion?  Good publicity can be intoxicating. Appearing on talk shows, reading articles written about you … it all makes you feel good, and it should. We always tell authors to enjoy the ride, because it won’t last forever. However, letting your good time change you, (or bring about actions which have nothing to do with the hard work of promoting your book) can be disastrous. Losing focus–taking your eye off the ball–is a surefire way to run into trouble..

In the end, lust almost always makes for an unhappy ending to what can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. Gluttony
Gluttony in book promotion touches upon several of the other sins. In its purest form, it is the insatiable desire to “consume” as much publicity as possible, and not being satisfied with each opportunity. Local radio interviews, for example, become unsatisfying, and an author starts to shun them because she wants more and bigger opportunities. A book review in a small newspaper is dismissed as insignificant, because she wants bigger newspapers. A local TV opportunity is declined because there aren’t enough viewers to fulfill the need for exposure.

Book promotion is like a seven course meal. You start slowly, testing the waters, then move onto the next course. Small opportunities open the door to larger ones. You proceed in a steady, measured manner, enjoying every course while building confidence, momentum, and sales.

6. Greed
Like gluttony, greed is the offspring of several other sins, and perhaps the most common sin of book promotion.

When clients truly understand the nature of publicity, they are able to roll with the busy times and slow times, knowing it is the cumulative efforts of the entire campaign that count.

Greed may be good on Wall Street, but it will bankrupt a book promotion campaign.

7. Anger
Anger comes in many forms in book publicity. We once worked with an author who received a brutal review of his book, and was so angry he proceeded to drive over 200 miles to the reviewer’s location, storm into the office, and scream at the reviewer.  This was, putting it mildly, a bad move.

The reviewer reacted by contacting reviewers at other newspapers in his company’s chain, and urged his colleagues to review the book. Five additional negative reviews appeared in the ensuing weeks.

It is important to keep in mind when promoting your book, you are opening yourself up for scrutiny. In fact, you are inviting it. You want the scrutiny and attention.  Assuming everyone will react positively to you or your book is foolish and naive.