be vigilant 2

targetIn my not-so-humble opinion, true self-publishing means you print out 90 pages on your HP 2540, staple them together and now you have self-published. If you send your MSS to a company that offers printing, you pay them a fee and they “publish” it. It is not self-publishing. I know, it’s a business and I have no problem with that, but it is not self-publishing.

And the raison d’etre for this rant? Positioning, folks, positioning.

I’ve written lots of content for marketing communications, public relations and advertising. And one thing I learned early on is to define for whom you are writing; who is the target audience?

For the manufacturer of oil burners, it was the HVAC technicians who couldn’t follow the poorly written installation instructions. I wrote a video script that walked them through the process, step-by-step. Did it work? It won an industry award for best training video.

If you contact any reputable publisher and they ask for a proposal for your book, they are also going to ask you how your book, if published, would find an audience. How would you position it?

Here are a few examples from a real life professional association asking how you would promote your book.

  1. How often do you speak to the intended market?
  2. Do you have a list of “high-profile” people who might endorse your book?
  3. Do you publish a newsletter?
  4. Do you have useful contacts in the media?
  5. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
  6. Etc.

And this is before they’ve even looked at your manuscript! You can spend $2,000.00 and up to have someone “self-publish” your book. And I’ll wager they will not ask you any of these questions. They’ll take you money, post the book online and cash your check.

Before you waste any time or money and watch your beloved MSS languish on-line, figure out whom you are writing for. (Yes, that’s a preposition at the end.)

This site can help.

Later.

Comments welcomed.

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About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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