By Frank Cardinale
Why did you chose to self-publish?
As a father of four young children and cyber security consultant with multiple projects on the go, I wanted to finish my book as soon as possible before it remained an idea on my computer for eternity. While one of the editors of my book recommended trying the traditional publishing route, I felt that it could delay it indefinitely if I were to get into a rejection and re-edit situation. Most importantly, as I feel strongly about the theme of the book and often found myself discussing it with other parents and students, I wanted to get it into their hands as soon as possible.
What inspired you to write your book?
When I became a parent, the concept of education became important again, wanting to give my children the best education possible. I wasn’t the best student and after a little reflection, something stood out. While I was receiving bad grades for messy handwriting and the inability to sit still for long periods of time, my teachers were bringing in their computers for me to fix, and asking me how to install programs and write scripts. I was being graded on my ability to write reports on books I had no interest in, but not on the ability to configure MS-DOS, RAM and hard drives. My report cards began making me feel incompetent, and worst of all, I began to believe I was.
As I believe many students go through this experience, I decided to write a story that highlights the issue and wrote Gift From Above. My goal with the book is to reach students or parents with children that are struggling with school, and highlight to them that the education system isn’t a good fit for everyone and that there are many ways we can still obtain a high-quality education.
What was the publishing experience like?
The publishing experience with Tellwell was exactly what I had expected. I provided my finalized manuscript, and within a couple of months, the Microsoft Word document became a book available on the major retailers.
The best part was working with the Tellwell marketing team. Through various questionnaires and consultations, they helped me realize what my science fiction and self-help book was really about: a book about those who struggle with the education system. The marketing team also provided an invaluable marketing guide based on feedback I provided to them during one of the consultations, which gave me practical strategies based on the type of advertising I was willing to perform and the amount of time I’d be able to spend promoting my book.
Once the book was published, I started promoting it within my immediate network to see how they would react to the book. As expected, the book resonated well with one of my target markets, parents, as well as others who read often. As a result, I generated sales and some of the readers posted reviews on the book’s page on Indigo.ca.
I then wrote an article on my largest social network, LinkedIn, highlighting the theme of the book. From the simple post, I received numerous “Likes” and comments, making the book visible to my extended network. The activity generated book sales and made it visible to potentially thousands of LinkedIn users.
My next step was to further promote the book on Amazon and Goodreads, where I’m actively running Giveaways. I’ll be spending the next few months or more here trying to get the book visible to more readers through Giveaways, obtain reviews, write articles that highlight the theme of the book, and generate discussion with those interested in the topic.
What piece of advice do you think you would have benefited from before starting the publishing process?
I would have benefited from thinking more about my target market, understanding common promotional tools, and how to launch my book. It’s easy to lose track of this as a new author when you’re busy trying to fix the final mistakes in your manuscript, but it can help you run more targeted cost-effective promotions. Given that those who self-publish likely have a very limited advertising budget, running more efficient promotions can result in better visibility for a new book, and ultimately more of your budget available for future promotions.
What advice would you give to a new author wanting to self-publish?
Do whatever you can to cross the finish line and avoid leaving that Word document on your computer with your work inside it. Regardless of how publishing your book turns out, it will confirm that you know how to deliver something complex, and will open the door to your future projects and opportunities. It will eliminate the “what would have happened if I published that book” scenario that will linger in your mind for the rest of your life.
Self-publishing is a low-cost, low-risk opportunity that can have a tremendous reward. In investment language, it’s one of the best “investments” you can ever make!