Those readers who also follow me on Twitter and Facebook know that I recently attended my first ever Webinar. What an adventure! From the moment I paid my fee, I was on a steep learning curve. I watched in amazement as Outlook diarised the webinar so (thankfully) I didn’t have to guesstimate the correct time (for those of you interested, 13h00 EST in the USA means 20h00 here in South Africa). Then I had to locate a pair of USB headphones with a microphone and figure out how to use them. At one time I worried I’d actually have to dress up, but no webcams were used, so I slobbed around with my hair wild and my face bare of makeup.
When the big moment arrived, there was a slight panic. Too nervous to click on the link to the webinar before the actual moment, I waited until 3 minutes before the start, only to discover I needed to download some software, which took 8 minutes. But then it was A-for-away!
I arrived to find Jane Friedman of Writers Digest University introducing herself and then we leapt straight into the topic “Do Your EBook Right”.
Many of you know from my blog post The Fool that I’ve decided to independently publish my work as an e-book. I joined this webinar to find out more about this new and confusing world.
Here’s a random summary of what I learnt:
1. Three biggest factors of success of an E-book are:
a. Target the right readers
b. Price correctly
c. Your book cover
2. Before you leap into e-book publishing, strategize a realistic marketing plan
3. Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!
4. Make sure your book cover title is easy to read
5. It’s worth the small cost to hire a professional cover designer
6. It’s worth the small cost to hire a professional e-book converter
7. Does your book cover look good in thumbnail size and in greyscale?
8. Give away some of your work for free. Some authors make up to 60% of their work free.
9. The best E-book platforms are:
a. Amazon Kindle
10. Find your dominant readership platform and focus on that one
11. You are providing a service to your readers.
12. Find out what they want and provide a meaningful service
13. Build your presence by participating in on-line communities
14. A website and a blog are the basic essential marketing tools
15. No hard selling your book. Participate and share.
I learnt so much more than the above basic points. The overall message was one of freedom and optimism, with the caveat to have realistic expectations. For an author with an established readership, payback for all the time and effort spent could be quick. For an unknown author like myself, this is a long-term strategy. I may only see rewards after the third, or even fourth book, I publish.
Does this bother me? A bit. I like instant gratification as much as the next person. But, in the end, the thought of the creative freedom that self-publishing an E-book offers me outweighs any of the risks and limitations. I write because I have things I want to say about this world we live in. The path of E-books presents me with an opportunity of speaking out and, if I end up with only a handful of people listening, I’ll be content with having had the chance to have my say.
And so my first webinar experience was exciting, thought-provoking and informative. If you’re interested in e-book publishing, I highly recommend you follow Jane Friedman’s blog. For an interesting and informative read, you can also buy Jane's e-book "The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations."
Right...now I’m off to browse Writers Digest’s On-Line Courses to see if I can find another webinar to attend!
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