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Do Photo Books Sell?

One reader e-mailed me an interesting question last week. So, I decided to write this article. They basically wanted to know if photo/image books sell. My reply was simply: Yes. However, this is not one of the best selling genres so you do need to operate very strategically. Of course, I do not recommend this as something you start out with unless you are a photographer. If you are an amateur or professional photographer, you may be looking for more ways to profit from your work besides doing deals with traditional publishers. Here, we will outline some of the best ways to get your photo book published and selling. Since there are a variety of ways to get your work out there, make sure to utilize these tips.

Choose a Different Subject

There are plenty of photo books that have the same subjects. Don’t choose a subject that is already heavily saturated. Maybe one of your hobbies is scuba diving. You could do a book full of underwater photography. Maybe there is a specific type of creature that is unique that you can gain access to. If you are a tattoo artist, maybe you can highlight your unique collection of tattoo ideas or unique spin on tribal butterfly tattoos. If you like nature, maybe you could take photos that show global warming is indeed a problem. If you love motorcycles, maybe you could do a book about vintage scooters. You could compare and contrast the old with the new scooters, bikes and children’s scooters.

Know Your Audience
Make sure you have a specific audience in mind before you start snapping pictures. As previously stated, learn as much as you can about the people who will actually buy your book. Age, income, marital status, etc. are all important identifiers. Make sure that your audience is willing to buy what you are selling.

Pick a Number
Decide on how many books you can sell? 500-5000 are a realistic number when you are just starting out. Access the Writer’s Digest series to get more information on
the market and the photography audience.

Research Your Publishing Options
Alright, so make sure to research what publishing option is the best for you. There have been some great books on self publishing so do not hesitate to read up on
them. Seeking out a traditional publisher may prove difficult as I have already mentioned this. It is hard for anyone to take chances on an unkniwn author? Thanks
for reading!

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Biggest Mistakes Self-Publishing Authors Make

As previously mentioned, self publishing is growing in popularity and understandably so.  For many, it may be the only way to get published. Publishers are very selective in who they want to take on as a client since they shoulder all of the risk financially.  They are less likely to take on new authors as opposed to well known established authors.   Today’s print on demand technology significantly lowers the author’s upfront costs.  with that being said, there are many self publishing companies that are simply not worth your time and may even fall into the ‘scam’ category.  Make sure you do not repeat these mistakes below.

Not Knowing Who Your Target Audience Is
Many times when people write a book they believe that the book is for everyone.  That could not be further from the truth.  The biggest mistakes that authors make is not identifying what group of people the book will help the most.  In fact, the more targeted your book is to a specific audience the more likely it is to be a success.  Will senior citizens benefit the most from your book or will young teens be captivated by your material (twilight)?  After you figure out your target audience, make sure to have a non-generic title.

Expectations are Too Large
So, You really need to have a reasonable number as to the amount of books you will be able to sell.  Too many people have a number that is way too big and as a result blow their budget.  Do not make this mistake.  Start with a realistic number and then if you do sell more wonderful.  If you are utilizing a print on demand service, then there is little you should be worried about in the first place.

Not having a Marketing Plan
Ok.  So, this is one of the most important aspects of getting people to read your book.  You must develop some sort of strategic marketing plan and this is YOUR responsibility.  You should either hire a company who has worked with authors before or do it yourself.  If you do not get your book in front of the right audience who wants it, no one will buy it.  Always, always promote your book.  The publishing company that you choose if you are not going to self publish is really not going to market your book all that well.  They usually reserve that part of their budget for more well known established authors.

Choosing the wrong publishing company
This is pretty self-explanatory but people still do go with the wrong companies.  A good rule of thumb is this:  Anything that is more than a 15 percent markup on printing is a no no.  Research different companies.  Check around for reviews.  Do not be afraid to ask the questions that really matter.  After all, this is your time, energy and money being spent.

Make sure you consider all of the above carefully.  These are just four things.  There have many great books written on self publishing so make sure you take a look at those as well for many other ideas.

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Which Book Categories Outsell All Others?

Among all of the hype among the most famed authors, the harsh reality sets in.  Most authors make just about under $1000 bucks per month.  The people that we are most familiar with have sold millions of copies of books and therefore generated massive profits.  Maybe if you are struggling to get noticed or are an veteran in the business, you may want to know what genre of books sell the best.  After all, you do probably want to get a leg up on the competition.  Not surprisingly, focusing on one niche has proven to be a very successful.  Let us explore the best selling genres shall we.

Two popular authors from this category come to mind.  They are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  This is not as nearly as popular as the other categories we will mention. Some people absolutely love horror books but some just cannot be bothered.  This is the same with scary movies.  Some people like watching scary movies and just want no parts of it.  Perhaps that is wht this category does not perform as well as the others.

Science Fiction and Fantasy
J.K. Rowling seems to come to mind in this category.  What is not to love about science fiction and fantasy?  Who doesn’t want to be taken into a fantasy world to escape the realities of the real world?  I know many who enjoy this aspect of the fantasy novels themselves.  Fans seem not to be able to get enough as one book turns into a series that can go on forever.

Well, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  People have deeply religious beliefs.  If they do not identify with a certain denomination, some people still identify as being spiritual.  Sales of the holy bible continue to thrive each year!

Mystery/Crime Novels
People like to be kept on the edge of their seats.  When you bring in true whodunit stories, you just may have a recipe for success.  John Grisham comes to mind in this category.

Can anyone say 50 shades of grey?  Sex sells period.  This tops the list at over 1 billion in sales anually.  Romance and erotica caters to people’s sexual fantasies.  Imagine a buff handsome man pulling up to your driveway on a motorcycle, moped, or scooter delivering a special package for you.  You anxiously await and when he arrives you let him in…   Need I say More.

Other Genres

People really love their hobbies and personal interests.  The topics of how-to books are numerous including Sewing, crafting, and jewelry making just to name a few.  Someone in my family just got a Singer 7258.  Since she was a beginner, a lot of the Singer 7258 reviews she read suggested she purchase a beginning sewing book so she did. She loves everything there is about sewing now.

E-book sales also tend to do very well, especially in the health and wealth niches.  Alternative health overall is doing well. This blog offers alternative health advice on everything from getting rid of gerd, popular weight loss pills as well as safe diet pill alternatives.  Popular weight loss pills such as phentermine are reviewed.  People will always want to live longer and prosper financially.

If you are not writing in these popular genres, maybe you should reconsider.

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Creating A Relaxing Writing Space

If at home is where you spend the majority of your time, then you may find it hard to be able to create a designated space where you can solely concentrate on writing. If you have children, you may spend a lot of time doing chores around the house and just being a parent.  The room you may have designated as your work space may be a place where your creative juices may not be able to flow freely.

If you haven’t already, make a space specifically designed for writing.  It can be a den, a guest bedroom, the basement, a large closet, etc.  It can even be a designated space within a room itself.

Set the Mood With Color
Neutral colors are deemed as relaxing.  If your room is filled with dark colors, try to lighten up the feel of the room with bright colors.  Good colors are white and light blue for example.  There are several free apps that can help you play around with colors with a room that is similar to yours.

Mix and Move around your furniture
Pull that writing desk closer to the window and open up the curtain.  Add some thin and sleek furniture to the mix that is also comfortable.  I was online looking at stainless steel garbage bins and sleek canisters in all sizes that open and close by a sensor.  Furniture and appliances nowadays are meant to be both functional and stylish at the same time.

Please remove anthing that is clunky and really does not serve a purpose.  This could be bulky furniture, stacks of paper, unecessary accessories.  Allow as much room as possible to freely move around.

Add some fresh flowers or plants in the room and you may also throw in some soothing music.

So, I hope you can take these steps and create a space that is both relaxing and functional.

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Should You Self-Publish or Not?

People’s attitudes differ when it comes to whether or not they should self publish.  Some people are undecided, some entertain the idea, and others really have no interest.  Some people were unaware of all of their options when it actually came to self publishing which only left them confused and possibly not knowing if they indeed made the right choice.

Definition of Self-publishing

People automatically assume that self-publishing involves the author wearing many hats.  This includes and is not limited to:  publisher, editor, publicist, sales manager, etc.  However, many times this does not have to be the case.  You can outsource a lot of the above mentioned so that you can spend your time more wisely.
The actual definition of self-publishing is that the author publishes his or her own work rather than a third party publisher.  People really do not realize that this way of publishing has been around since the beginning of time.   The overall percentage is low of this type of publishing method but it has quickly been gaining steam in the last decade or so.  There are so many mediums where one can be successful at self-publishing which has allowed these authors to be very successful.
Vanity Publishing vs Self Publishing
The two terms have different meanings.  Vanity publishing simply means that a publishing company provides physically bound copies of a book for a fee.  They usually require that you pay for a minimum order up front.  Usually, this service is helpful when there is a relatively small audience such as family genealogies, poem collections or for your own personal use. This may still be a choice if you actually require your work to be in a physical book format.  In a way vanity publishing overlaps with self-publishing services because they exist where you can also print books on demand.  This means that the author can print only what is needed for his or her convenience.  Since the invention of the internet, more and more books are being sold digitally instead of in traditional print format.

Self-publishing can be a great option for any author so it is definitely something you should explore.